DETROIT, MI – One umpire would like to hit the rewind button and get a second chance!
Jim Joyce “prides” himself in the job he does as umpire for the MLB. Everyone makes mistakes, but Joyce picked the worst moment possible to make one. Joyce will, at this point, forever be known in the history books of both the Detroit Tigers and the MLB – and that’s not exactly a good thing. Joyce is responsible for costing Armando Galarraga a perfect game and is the center of controversy for his actions.
On Wednesday night, Joyce blew the call at first base with two outs in the ninth inning which thwarted Galarraga’s perfect game. Prior to the blown call, everyone in Tiger’s Stadium was on their feet in anticipation of history being made before their eyes. Galarraga pitched to Jason Donald who hit a soft grounder to first baseman Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera ranged to his right to field the ball and threw over to Galarraga who was covering first base. The crowd went crazy for just a split-second believing that the 27th out was recorded.
Those dreams were shattered as Joyce inexplicably ruled Donald safe on a play that, even to the most die-hard Indians fan, was clearly an out. It is hard to search for a reason as to why Joyce made his decision. There was certainly nothing obstructing his view and he had the best look out of all the umpires. Joyce simply blew the call, cost Galarraga his perfect game and erased any chance of a historic moment. In the history of the game of baseball, there are only 20 members of the perfect game club. The doors were open for Galarraga to be the 21st member, but Joyce slammed those doors quickly.
The catastrophic event has come full circle in less than 24 hours. Joyce has admitted publicly that he simply blew the call and the Tigers have extended an olive branch to the umpire. Joyce worked Thursday afternoon’s Tigers-Indians game as scheduled as the home-plate umpire. Galarraga and the Tigers promoted a spirit of forgiveness rather than add to the insult of the umpire. The Tigers Pitcher brought out the lineup card and shook hands with Joyce at the pre-game home-plate meeting. Joyce was tearful as fans offered applause.
“I cannot believe the outpouring of support I’ve gotten, not only from my fellow umpires but all my friends, my family and, frankly, you guys,” Joyce said. “I can’t thank you enough. I can’t thank the people enough. I’m a big boy. I can handle this. It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through in my professional career, without a doubt.”
The only question that seems to remain is if Commissioner Bud Selig will overturn the blown call. Selig, who is known for being very deliberate in his actions, will be hesitant to overturn the call according to sources close to the situation. An MLB spokesman said Thursday afternoon that the commissioner’s office had no official comment on the situation.

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