"You asked me that question, I didn't get it right"
By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
At least Jim Joyce doesn’t work for BP. They can’t pin that one on him.
But few other words of encouragement can be said to Joyce in the wake of his plunder of Armando Galarraga’s perfection at Comerica Park last night. Managers and players around the league were quick to say laudatory things about Joyce in the wake of his mistake (Russell Branyan said Joyce has “eyes like a hawk” and “ice water in his veins,” among other things). But you know and I know that Joyce will live with this for the rest of his umpiring life, and beyond.
In that instant, as Jason Donald and Galarraga met at the first-base bag, my initial (incorrect) thought from my vantage point in the press box was, “I think he’s safe… I think… but even if he’s safe, you have to call him out. You simply have to.” It’s kind of like that pass interference play that gave Ohio State new life in the national title game against Miami in 2003. Even if there was an infraction, the moxie it takes to drop a flag in that scenario is off the charts.
Joyce took that chance, to his own detriment and to the detriment of Galarraga, who will go down as the 20.5th pitcher to throw a perfect game in Major League history.
Two legacies, then, were built last night, one for Joyce and one for Galarraga. And if you ask me, what we witnessed last night was even more compelling than a perfect game. The perfect game is passé. It’s been done twice in the past month, for crying out loud. At this rate, somebody will probably toss one by the time I’m done writing this paragraph.
But this? This incredible ending to the first 28-out perfect game in Major League history? We’ll never forget it.
To ensure we don’t, here are the links to MLB.com’s in-depth coverage of the perfect game that wasn’t (and was):
A full rundown of Galarraga’s near-perfection
Blown call now a part of Joyce’s legacy
Donald’s hustle creates imperfect moment
Galarraga was brilliant, perfect or not
The Indians react Galarraga’s performance and the play in the ninth
Will this be the play that ushers in further instant replay?
Columnist Mike Bauman hopes not