02 June 2010

My knee-jerk reaction

If you haven't seen it yet, Detroit Tigers' pitcher Armando Galarraga was just robbed of a perfect game by first base umpire Jim Joyce.  With 26 perfect outs in the book, Cleveland batter Jason Donald hit a grounder to the first baseman, who hesitated and then threw to Galarraga covering the base.  After a flinch, Joyce called the runner safe, even though the ball beat him to the bag by at least half a step.   Galarraga finished off the game with the next batter.


To my mind, this situation (or travesty, or disaster, or farce, or....) raises two main questions:  (1) CAN MLB commissioner Bud Selig reverse this call, and award Galarraga the spot in history he seems to deserve? And more interestingly (2) SHOULD Selig reverse it?  

I'm going to leave #1 alone; I don't know exactly how far the long arm of Selig's power reaches.  Number 2, though, that's something I might have something to say about (me, opinionated?).  My first reaction (what was the title of the post?) is ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY!  Fire that ump, rewrite the game log, call the batter out!  The most important thing is to get it right, goram it!

Then I thought, and I read some of the conflicting opinions, and I reconsidered a little.  What kind of can of worms would we open by changing this call?  Are we gonna go back and say that Holliday never touched the plate?  Was A.J. Pierzynski out?  Are we gonna go all the way back and give the 1985 World Series to Saint Louis?  While we're at it, can we go back and declare the Pierzynski-for-Nathan-et-al trade void (please)?  Where does it stop?  

Ultimately, I think this was a terrible call, and I feel terribly for that pitcher (not to mention the ump -- he has to live with incompetence as his baseball legacy).  That said, that's a slippery slope, and I think once we start retroactively changing umpire calls, it's going to be real tough to figure out where to stop.  Instead, I think this has to be the impetus for an increase in the implementation of instant replay, so that NEXT time (and there WILL be a next time) they can overturn it within the game, rather than ex post facto.

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