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A Perfect Mess


Armando Galarraga threw a perfect game on Wednesday for the Tigers, but didn’t get credit for it.  It’s been all over the news, and not just sports news networks.  It wasn’t just a controversial call by 20-year veteran umpire Jim Joyce, it was egregiously wrong.  Here’s the video of the blown call (

Unlike other misjudgments, this error can be corrected. The commissioner, pictured below 2-knuckles deep, can turn back the clocks on this.  Why?  Because this was the last out in the last inning in Galarraga’s complete-game pitching performance, with no hits, no walks and no errors.  Making an executive decision doesn’t unfurl the entire deck.  The plays that happened afterward simply never did.  Doing so grants Galarraga what he earned, and saves Jim Joyce any further heartache for robbing the kid (Joyce was audibly contrite in a post-game radio interview).

Why such the big fuss on a seemingly inconsequential call?  In the 130 years of baseball, there have only been 20 perfect games recorded.  It’s more rare than a cogent moment from Jessica Simpson.

Bud Selig has a chance to make this right, but my guess, he’ll just sit there with his finger up his… well… let’s call it “nose” and do nothing.

New Picture (4)

50 Comments leave one →
  1. 06/03/2010 7:23 am

    I just saw this in the New York Times and was wondering why it was there considering it had nothing to do with the Yankees and realized how big a news it is everywhere. And I can’t help chuckling at that last statement and picture.

    • mike00000000001 permalink
      06/04/2010 6:33 am

      Why are you listening to the times? All they care about is getting democrats elected.

  2. Jenelyn Russo permalink
    06/03/2010 7:25 am

    This was so heartbreaking to watch. I actually saw it happen live on MLB Network and I just could not believe it. Then, I switch over to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, where they review two questionable goals so they can get it right. Because there is so much on the line. It will be interesting to see what comes of this, and Selig’s response.

    Have to say, Galarraga has been a class act through this whole thing. Says a ton about the guy’s character. Definitely a good guy.

  3. 06/03/2010 7:34 am

    I am from Michigan and all the TV and Radio stations are all up in arms about this call. However everyone is giving the umpire Jim Joyce credit for being a stand up guy and admitting he was wrong.
    He was on the Drew and Mike moring show being interviewed and Jim was still admitting he made a bad call and applogized again. He was having a hard time keeping it together because not only is he but his family is receiving death threats about is his call.

  4. Raul permalink
    06/03/2010 7:39 am

    This was huge mistake and it needs to be remedied. The umpire admitted he made the wrong call and was very remorseful. Bud Selig should fix this…

    • 06/03/2010 11:35 am

      absolutely this call should be over turned this is a once in a life time accomplishment to have it come down to a blown call !!!!!!!

  5. 06/03/2010 7:40 am

    Given his history of alternating between simply sitting around looking befuddled and hasty, ill-thought overreaction, I suspect Bud will enact some byzantine instant replay system which result in six-hour ballgames.

  6. 06/03/2010 7:51 am

    I have to say that I feel for Jim Joyce. He made a mistake and proved what all sports fans should have already known. He is human. The fact that he stepped up and took responsibility for making a bad call is both courageous and morally right. He didn’t have to. Others would have remained quite and stuck by their call.

    The amount of class shown by Mr. Galarraga, his manager Mr. Leyland, and Mr. Joyce are examples to us all on how people should act in difficult situations.

  7. 06/03/2010 7:57 am

    I live 50 miles north of Detroit and am not a Tiger follower. But seeing the footage, it was an inexcusable!!!! miscall. I firmly believe in instant replay in any sport.

  8. 06/03/2010 7:59 am

    Instant replay should be part of any sport. It’s saved a lot of mis-called scores in football and would have saved the Tigers in this game. Too late to do anything about it which is a major disgrace. The umpire should be fined major $$$$$ for his call.

  9. 06/03/2010 8:10 am

    This post should have come with a warning. I was eating breakfast when that picture of Selig popped up.

  10. midibite permalink
    06/03/2010 8:42 am

    Worst call ever!

    • 06/03/2010 2:45 pm

      Not quite. There was a worse one that decided a World Series. Not just a World Series game, but a World Series itself. That call in 1985 in favor of the Royals seemed to suck all the life out of the Cardinals and they were not the same after that.

      But I saw the call live on MLB Network too, and it was just flat-out bad.

  11. 06/03/2010 8:48 am

    My guess is that Selig will do something after all… this blunder will all but force him to add more replay at the peril of the pace of play. He’s been a staunch opponent of adding more it to date.

  12. Jeremy permalink
    06/03/2010 9:07 am

    Good post. I think this prompted a lot of people to write about it. Where do you draw the line and say what’s fair is fair? Is it not a perfect game simply because it’s not recorded by history? It’s an agonizing situation and I feel for both Jim Joyce and Armando Galarraga. If interested, I kind of vented about it a little last night.

    There are a lot of different angles to take on this topic, I just couldn’t stop thinking about how bad Joyce had to feel about it. Galarraga impressed the heck out of me for the way he handled the whole situation.

    • 06/03/2010 9:17 am


      Great piece of Journalism.

      Readers, check out Jeremy’s in-depth, well-written post. He’s nailed the facts and managed to capture the “human element” as well.

      Like Jenelyn, I saw this live on MLB Network… How, I don’t know. I check that channel maybe once a month. I knew a s#i+ storm would ensue… I still think Bud should do something to roll back the clocks. He’s such a traditionalist, that it’ll never happen. Too bad David Stern doesn’t run MLB too. He’d get this right.

  13. 06/03/2010 9:13 am

    Selig can’t make an exception in this case because then everyone else will be asking for one too. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is. I feel bad for everyone involved (including Joyce), but it’s crazy just how egregiously bad of a call it was.

  14. 06/03/2010 9:20 am

    I was listening to the radio about this on my way into work… if they added the option to review calls in baseball, the game would go on longer than it already does! Although for instances like this, it’s so necessary!!!

    • 06/03/2010 1:32 pm

      Totally… I can’t believe Selig still hasn’t done or said anything. I wrote about it again today because this is as atrocious of an f-up as the original call was.

  15. Me Again permalink
    06/03/2010 9:34 am

    What I find sad is that now his perfect game is going to forever be marred, even if the call gets changed. The stats you have are amazing, that there have only been 20 other like it. There is definitely something to be said for being 21!

  16. 06/03/2010 10:10 am

    Galarraga was about as gracious as a man could be after just having his heart ripped out of his chest. How that call was missed is unknown to all of us but what I do know is that Bud Selig has a track record for doing the inane rather than the sensible. My vote is that this will just be one of those plays that everyone will talk about for years but nothing was done about.

  17. 06/03/2010 10:25 am

    It really is a bit heartbreaking to watch the play. We all know how much every pitcher dreams of a feat like this all the while knowing that the odds of actually achieving it are astronomical. Galarraga was in a sense robbed of what would be the highlight of any player’s career, as this call was clearly wrong. At the same time, however, like many other commenters, I have to give credit to Joyce for admitting that he was wrong. After all, he only did his job by calling it as he saw it, and it’s certainly not the first bad call that’s ever been made. I certainly understand the anger on behalf of Galarraga, but give credit for all those involved for showing some class, a real rarity in professional sports these days.

    I’m a bit torn over the idea of instant replay. It was certainly have helped in this situation but the games are already so long and overdrawn I wonder if it would be practical.

    Oh, and Selig is a douche. Joyce and Galarraga may have class but I’m still lacking a bit 🙂

  18. 06/03/2010 12:35 pm

    What we’re calling it here in Detroit is this:

    “The First 28-Out Perfect Game”

  19. rwyckoff permalink
    06/03/2010 12:51 pm

    for a more thoughtful take on this, see

  20. vicmets permalink
    06/03/2010 12:57 pm

    28 up, 28 down.* couldn’t agree more – possibly the worst call in the history of the game. i don’t know who i feel sorrier for – galarraga or jim joyce.

  21. 06/03/2010 1:12 pm

    I like the ending to Armando Galarraga’s quote: “No one’s perfect.” The irony of that statement.. haha.

  22. sayitinasong permalink
    06/03/2010 1:26 pm

    That call was just…. scandalous!!!

  23. 06/03/2010 1:47 pm

    Total shit show. Too bad for this pitcher.

  24. steamingmug permalink
    06/03/2010 2:25 pm

    So disappointing. Galarraga is a top notch guy for taking this with such grace. Us Tigers fans are still sitting here with our mouths open in disbelief… either way, that game is in the books. No hard feelings toward Joyce though, we all make mistakes.

  25. 06/03/2010 4:25 pm

    Galarraga will be remembered more for the way he handled the disappointment than he would have been if the right call had been made. There have been fewer than two dozen perfect games in the history of major league baseball, but for some reason, most of the names don’t come immediately to mind. It’s a great accomplishment that’s big news for a few days, and then it’s gone. This kid has established a reputation for himself that will have people remembering for a long time.

    • 06/03/2010 4:33 pm

      You’re right. Galarraga has more press than Halliday and Dallas whomever combined… I’ll be able to correct my kid years from now when he says there’s only been 26 perfect games… “Actually Jack, in 2010, there was one more… Armando Galarraga June 2, 2010.”

  26. andyandvickie permalink
    06/03/2010 5:27 pm

    Well written blog. I good find.

    And yes, folks in Detroit are NOT happy.

  27. 06/03/2010 5:30 pm

    Selig has to leave this one alone and uphold the sanctity of the umpires, for better or worse, or this will throw the doors right open for instant replay. I feel terrible, but for the good of the game, leave this alone.

  28. 06/03/2010 5:43 pm

    Selig’s a wimp, he will do nada. It’s a real tragedy. I heard Joyce was crying when he saw the tape. And did you notice Gallaraga’s face for an instant, when he thought he’d done it? and then how it changed when he realized Joyce had called the runner safe? Heartbreaking. Will MLB ever get half a brain and start using the replay tapes for something besides showing the audience complete pitch counts?!

  29. 06/03/2010 6:05 pm

    sorry, but you’re all missing something. i know joyce apologized and admitted he blew it. however, you need to see the replay from the centerfield camera. you’ll see that galarraga did not field the ball cleanly. he double clutched it, had it in his glove, opened the glove as it bobbled a little, then closed up again. this technically allowed the runner to keep going until galarraga closed the glove the second time, which then allowed the runner to be safe. regardless, i still think he should have been called out, but the replay from center shows he MAY have been safe. problem is – i can’t find that replay other than having seen it on espn early this morning.

    also, why did galarraga bring out the lineup card today? to torture joyce or for everyone to see them greet each other? not sure about that, but leyland is a class act, so i’ll assume it was the latter.

  30. 06/03/2010 6:42 pm

    Selig doesn’t have the cojones to do anything.

  31. 06/03/2010 10:40 pm

    I guess I have more of an “oh well” attitude about the “perfect game” as I have been beaten down by horrendous calls by the gazillions in the sport of fighting, of which I’m a huge fan. I have witnessed three judges take the careers and lively hood away from a man, rather than just a “perfect game” record! With that said, the commissioner should reverse the call and make it right and Jim Joyce should be proud to have the integrity to admit he was wrong.

  32. 06/04/2010 3:50 am

    Good post. Too bad the reversal was not granted.

  33. 06/04/2010 7:13 am

    I dunno – because of the way it’s unfolded I get the feeling that this game will fortunately be remembered for what should have been. Often times what should have been in overshadowed by favoritism, politics, culture, etc, and would be heroes are forgotten all together. It doesn’t seem like that will be the case in this occurrence…

  34. Drock permalink
    06/04/2010 8:57 am

    Worst call ever. They robbed him of a perfect game…..


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