The Imperfect Game QUESTIONS

It surprises me that I am feeling rather uncertain about the whole Major League Baseball perfect game* issue this week. If you missed it, and it was so weird that it made ABC News’ primary broadcast: a Detroit Tigers pitcher named Armando Galarraga got the first 26 batters out, without giving up a walk or a hit batsman. No one got on via an error or a third strike passed ball. One more out, and he would achieve something only 20 other pitchers had achieved: a perfect game, though, oddly, two of them were in May 2010. The umpire, Jim Joyce, called the runner safe, though almost everyone else thought, and ultimately the instant replay shows the runner to be out.

So there’s a whole debate about whether the ruling should be reversed by the baseball commissioner and award Galarraga a perfect game. And I just don’t know. I’ve read what the local sports guy and Keith Olbermann, formerly of ESPN, and Jaquandor, who thinks we should just turn off the lights on baseball, have to say. Yet I still have ambivalence.

The fact that both the player and the umpire, who have engendered a lot of genuine good will, even by the Tigers fans towards the repentant ump, is a real feel-good story. For you don’t have to follow baseball to want people to receive what they worked for, for things to be “fair”, and for obvious wrongs to be righted. It’s difficult to achieve that in our politics, so we crave it all the more in our sports.

1. Should the umpire’s ruling be overturned? Dodgers’ radio announcer Ken Levine says YES.
2. Baseball has introduced instant reply to determine whether a home run shot is fair or foul. Should there be more instant replay, which would slow down a sport than already takes longer per 9 innings than it used to? If they do, I don’t think it can be on balls and strikes. Perhaps each team gets one challenge per game. It could be for fair/foul ball hit down the lines, or a play at a base.
3. Why the heck did we almost have three perfect games in less than 30 days? Two of these guys, including Dallas Braden of the Oakland A’s and Galarraga, I had never heard of. Only Roy Halladay is an experienced front-line pitcher. Is it just luck? Is pitching and defense getting THAT much better?
4. Is this the worst blown call ever? <a href=" Salon throws in a few choices. Surely ones tied to Olympics or postseason tend to be more significant. In baseball, that has to be poor Don Denkinger, an umpire who infamous blew a call, also at first base, in the 1985 World Series.
5. On a different matter, is there any doubt that Ken Griffey, Jr., who retired this week with 630 home runs, fifth on the list behind only Bonds, Aaron, Ruth and Mays, and without hint of scandal, such as steroid use, will be picked for the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility?
John Wooden, the UCLA men’s basketball coach, who guided the Bruins to an unprecedented 10 national championships in 27 years during the 1960s and ’70s, has died. He was 99.

But he may best be remembered for teaching his player how to tie their shoes, every year, initially confounding his players, but eventually they got it.

0 thoughts on “The Imperfect Game QUESTIONS”

  1. 1. No. And this is from a life-long Tigers’ fan. If this was overturned, as I said on my blog, it opens a huge can of worms that we don’t want to see opened.

    2. I agree with your assessment. Jayson Stark of ESPN.Com came up with the same idea. One challenge, and whether wrong or right, that’s all the manager gets, and it can’t be about balls or strikes, even if it’s a called third strike that becomes a crucial out in the game. Trap or catch would be another to add to your list.

    3. I think it’s luck. Obviously there is some skill in throwing a no-hitter. Koufax threw four and Ryan threw seven. You have to have the stuff. But there is luck involved, especially a perfect game. And I think the defensive skills play a big part too these days. I don’t think the pitching talent is getting better.

    4. No. Denkinger’s, and sorry to say this about a great umpire, was far, far worse. The Tigers still won their game, and it was early June to boot. The Denkinger call (more then likely) cost the Cardinals the World Series.

    5. None here. He’s a first ballot guy, no doubt. I just wish he stayed healthy enough through his career. He would be the career leader in home runs by now.


  2. I joke about it, but the one thing I can’t get out of my mind is that, you know, at the end of the day Galarraga is still playing for the crap-ass Tigers. Personal achievements are nice, but it’s neither here nor there if it just becomes a footnote to a dismal season.

    Mistakes happen. Should Selig have reversed the call? You can say what you want about Instant Replay, but I’m really not a fan at all of going in and modifying a game post-mortem. It sets a really horrible precedent. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and say this is just a one-time exception, but it also potentially opens the floodgates.

    Also worth noting: if this call is reversed by Selig and then another similar incident occurs without the obvious error – particularly in a game-winning situation – doesn’t it open MLB up to lawsuits with the claim of precedence?

    So count me in the minority of people that actually agree with Bud Selig on this. I know, I’m as shocked as you are.

    As for Griffey,if he’s not voted into the Hall on his first year of eligibility, then the voters need to have their heads examined. Then again, so long as we have the Jay Mariottis of the world voting…


  3. All the parties involved have behaved with an extremely commendable amount of class following the Perfecto-that-wasn’t, but to me, the whole thing reduces to the very simplest morality possible. If it’s within our power to right a wrong — no matter how trivial the wrong might be — we should do it. Period. Any other answer is ludicrous. This wrong can be righted. I don’t think it needs to open up a “Pandora’s Box”, but what if it does? Can a greater emphasis on “getting it right” really be a bad thing?


  4. This is a tough one. I think that if Galarraga had been all whiny and childish it would be eaier to say no. But really, why do we have umpires at all? If we are going to second guess them, then we may as well just get rid of them and run a replay every time. Heck, 90 percent of the cals could be made with high tech sensors, and gadgetry anyway…

    Baseball is a sport, and from childhood we are all taught to play our best and be good sports. I think the example Joyce shoed in admitting his mistake, and the grace Galarraga showed are more significant than the game would have been.

    I would have forgotten a perfect game in time, but I will always remember, and tell my grandkids about, the game that could have been, and the man who refused to throw a tantrum.


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