Can’t set that precedent-If Bud was going to overturn the call from Wednesday night he would open a Pandora’s Box of never ending appeals, all of which would be more important than whether one play is scored as a Hit or an Out. As Commissioner, he can’t put any individual accomplishment, no matter how rare, over that of a team. Therefore, every time a team lost a game on a blown call, they would have a stronger case to make than Galaragga did. A blown call like that could impact whether or not a team makes the playoffs or wins their division. Sorry, but that’s way more important than some flukey personal accomplishment. Joel Sherman put this perfectly in his recent article on the subject:
But Selig is not the Commissioner of Wednesday night June 2, Indians vs. Tigers. He is the Commissioner of Baseball. And righting this one egregious wrong — while feeling great in the moment — was going to open a hellish door for Selig.
A bit of history was lost Wednesday. But not a game or a season. If Selig reversed this outcome, then why shouldn’t the Twins be immediately on the phone to demand a return to the 11th inning of ALDS Game 2 last year, when Phil Cuzzi horrendously called an obvious Joe Mauer double foul; or why shouldn’t the Padres ask about the one-game playoff in 2007 in which Matt Holliday still has not reached home plate with the supposed winning run that put Colorado in the playoffs?
What happens when the bad umpiring call to impact a perfect game is in the third inning rather than with two outs in the ninth?
Didn’t affect outcome-One thing that seems to get glossed over in all the outcry over the lost ‘Perfect’ game is that despite the fact that the umpire blew a call, it didn’t affect who won or lost the game. As much as we would all like to have everything perfect all the time, there’s a weak case for overturning this call, unless you value individual accomplishments over a teams Won-Loss record. Players, Managers and Baseball executives would all disagree strongly with that set of priorities.
There is no easy answer-Try this exercise. You’re the Baseball Commish for a day, now come up with a rule that will prevent this from ever occurring again. Review all close plays? That will take all night, as there numerous plays on a nightly basis that fall under that category, 99.9% of which don’t cause such outcry. A recent review of a fair/foul HR call took 8 1/2 minutes to sort out, at which point half of your audience is watching Seinfeld reruns. Also, do we want to be challenging all close plays? Even in 12-0 games in the middle of May? OK, then how about a Challenge flag system? That’s fine, but what if Leyland already used his earlier in the game? Doesn’t solve the problem or prevent this from happening again. Further, Managers will start using those flags on flimsy disputes to slow down the momentum during an opposing team’s rally, give his bullpen pitcher extra time to warm up, etc. I don;t trust managers with anything that stops the game in it’s tracks. When you sit down and try to make a rule, you quickly realize that Baseball is far too situational, far too interconnected to have a one size fits all rule.
There is accountability-Umpires are graded on their Strike Zone and which calls they get right/wrong on a nightly basis. Jim Joyce happens to be among the top umpires in the game, so it’s not as if he’s a repeat offender for whom this was the last straw.
Fans think it means more than it does-Fans make way too much of this accomplishment, as if it cements a pitchers place in Baseball immortality. The fact of the matter is Perfect games are more of an oddity than a statement of ability, like turning a Triple Play or hitting for the cycle. It doesn’t make someone a great pitcher, looking at the list of Perfect Games most of the pitchers who’ve done this were average career performers who had one big day. Nolan Ryan has often said he had better stuff in some of his 1 hitters than he did the no-hitters. One ball just happened to find a hole one night and didn’t find one the other. The general consensus around Baseball is that no-hitters/perfect games are flukey, a confluence of good luck, good stuff, the right umpire and catching the right lineup at the right time. Fans make way too big a deal out of something which, to be honest, really doesn’t mean all that much.
Perfect Games aren’t perfect anyway -The human element runs throughout Baseball all of the time. Now, I know what you’re thinking. This is just an attempt by me to leave everything as is and not change the game I love. But that’s not what I’m arguing and that’s a superficial way to cherry pick one’s view the game. The reality is that there is human error throughout all games, even a so-called ‘Perfect Games’. Do we only overturn the calls that go AGAINST the Pitcher? What about the Ball 4 that Gallaraga throws in the 3rd inning that gets called a strike, resulting in an unwarranted Strikeout? What about the pitch out of the zone that gets called a strike, putting the pitcher in a commanding 1-2 count instead of a defensive 2-1? Anyone who’s ever seen a Pitch FX graph of any Baseball game knows some balls get called strikes and vice-versa. Part of a Perfect Game is getting lucky with the calls, and on this one final call Armando Galaragga’s luck ran out. Players and managers make mistakes all the time as well, but for some reason fans think Umpires are supposed to be perfect. A mature look at Baseball accepts it with all of it’s good and bad luck, and accepts the fact that mistakes made by Managers, players and yes, even Umpires.
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