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A Perfect Game? Yes It Is. Halolinks #2

First off, for those of you who may have been in a coma the last 12 hours and missed the play, here's the 27th Cleveland batter in yesterday's Tiger-Indians game:  CLE@DET: TV, radio calls of missed call at first base - Television and radio broadcasters make the call on Jason Donald's grounder to first and the play at the bag.

Umpire Joyce on call that cost Galarraga perfect game - Umpire Jim Joyce discusses the call he made that cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game

A couple more links and GRIFFEY RETIRES, after the break...

Tigers players react to Joyce's missed call - Armando Galarraga, Alex Avila, Brandon Inge, Austin Jackson, and Johnny Damon react to the last inning of their win over Cleveland

Many people will use this incident to demand the use of instant replay in baseball.  While I favor the expanded use of instant replay, I also understand how some believe its use will remove the "human element" of the game.  And the human element is on perfectly clear display in each of the above links.  From Armando Galarraga's saying, "Nobody's perfect, everyone is human", to Jim Joyce repeating over and over, "I missed it", there is no further proof needed that the "human element" lives in baseball.  Although the use of instant replay would correct the bad call, its use will also deprive us all of the opportunity to witness how great a person can be when faced with a situation most of us would never be in.  The use of instant replay would have corrected the call giving Galarraga his perfect-o, but more importantly it would give Jim Joyce peace.  Peace from forever being associated with the failing at one's profession at one of the most critical points in your career.  As a person who has made a mistake that no amount of apologizes could mend, I understand Joyce's situation.  He will forever be reminded of his failing, of his humanity. 

This game was more than a perfect game, or a blown call.  It was the definition of baseball.  It showed us why baseball is so special by showing us how  nothing is certain, no one is perfect, and we're all human.  The use of instant replay will erase the mistakes, but it would also erase these moment of imperfection that endear this sport to so many.  I'm all in favor of increasing the use of instant replay, and in this instance the reason is to give the proper credit to Armando Galarraga, but mainly also to ease the pain of Jim Joyce.  The use of instant replay will make it correct, but will it make it right?


Joe Posnanski " Blog Archive " The Lesson of Jim Joyce
As soon as Joyce made the call, the camera cut to Galarraga. And he smiled. That’s all. No argument. No theater. No wild waving of arms. No, he just smiled, a smile that seemed to say: "Are you sure? I really hope you are sure." When told afterward that Joyce felt terrible about the missed call, Galarraga said that he wanted to go tell Joyce not to worry about it, that people make mistakes.Galarraga pitched a perfect game on Wednesday night in Detroit. I’ll always believe that. I think most baseball fans will always believe that. But, more than anything it seems that Galarraga will always believe it. The way he handled himself after the game, well, that was something better than perfection. Dallas Braden’s perfect game was thrilling. Roy Halladay’s perfect game was art. But Armando’s Galarraga’s perfect game was a lesson in grace.

Jim Joyce will be living with this call forever -  NBC Sports
Based on his comments after the game -- and the fact that, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, he went to the Tigers' locker room and apologized to Armando Galarraga and Jim Leyland personally -- he's feeling it already. He could have taken a defiant stance like we've seen so many umpires take over the years. He could have said that the ball was bobbled. He could have just bullheadedly insist that he saw what he saw and that was that. But he didn't. He has owned up to his mistake in the only limited way he can. But it really doesn't matter, does it? Emotions will rule for the short term and the obvious narrative -- Joyce screwed some young guy out of a perfect game -- will set in for posterity. I get that. But I also feel pretty bad for Jim Joyce tonight. A man who made a mistake he can do nothing to fix and for which no apology will truly be accepted.


Despite apologies and outrage, Galarraga doesn't get his just due - Baseball
Baseball does need to overhaul its umpiring system, but not because of this one call, and not because of Jim Joyce. If anything, Joyce should get credit for admitting his mistake (can you see Joe West doing that? Angel Hernandez?). We ask that umpires get calls right, but most of all we ask that they care and give an honest effort. There's no way to say that Joyce doesn't care, and no suggestion at all that he gave anything less than his best effort. He just got the call wrong. And what about Galarraga? In the strangest of ways, we learned more about him than we would have had the call gone right. In the strangest of ways, we gained more respect for him than we ever could have had he officially been perfect. While we were screaming, he was smiling. When we were demanding retribution, he was offering forgiveness. "Nobody is perfect," he told reporters in Detroit, after accepting Joyce's apology.

Perfect acceptance of an imperfect ump - Dan Le Batard -
And here was young Galarraga, a pitcher with a 20-18 career record, on immortality's front porch, literally a step from this divine place only 20 other pitchers in America's most historic game have ever reached. Fans would have understood if he had thrown his glove or filled the sky with expletives or maybe even bumped the ump in an injustice-soaked burst. But you know what he did? He laughed. It wasn't a mocking or sarcastic laugh, either. It looked like the sweet laugh of acceptance. Tranquility amid turbulence. Almost a spiritual state.

Almost forgotten in all of the umpiring hoopla is Austin Jackson's amazing catch on the first pitch of the 9th inning:  Jackson's amazing catch preserves perfecto - Austin Jackson preserves the perfect game with an incredible over-the-shoulder catch in the ninth inning.

Griffey Jr. announces his retirement from game - Official Info
After 22 seasons, 630 home runs and a highlight reel of catches, Seattle sports icon Ken Griffey Jr. has announced his retirement from professional baseball

Ken Griffey Jr. showed us how baseball should be played - Tom Verducci -
Years from now many people will sit on their porches, and when some hot shot rookie comes up or some center fielder glides into the spotlight, they will say with a wry smile, "Yeah, but I saw Griffey play."From 1989 through 2000, Griffey hit 438 home runs -- the next closest center fielder in that time was Ellis Burks with 247. In those 12 years Griffey also hit .296, stole 173 bases and won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves, providing the definitive statement of what a baseball player should be, what the old timers used to say was straight out of the Spalding Guidebook.