Only 20 times previously, has a perfect game been thrown in Major League Baseball. Two of those times happening this year. Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay within the last 30 days found themselves with that special achievement and a historic high even some of the greatest have never reached.
Indeed, history has denied to most pitchers, that great opportunity to stand as a part of the few who could deal out a perfect match in the American Pastime. But it wasn’t history who denied it to Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga last night, but rather a poor call by a veteran official Jim Joyce, who found after reviewing the footage how bad the biggest call of his life went:
“I just cost the kid a perfect game,” said Joyce , who personally apologized to the pitcher. “I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw until I was the replay. It was the biggest call of my career.”
MLB might well use this moment in time to re-examine its policy on replay.
While the last thing we want to see is a constant stopping of the game to see if a foot was on the bag, a slide makes it on time or a tag is made, the fact remains that we have the technology, and the integrity of the game is paramount. Perhaps a single challenge per game, that wouldn’t change the nature of the event, but would allow such a career affecting mistake to be challenged before it becomes a weight around the neck of an otherwise decent umpire like Joyce.
To be sure, Armando Galarraga DID pitch a perfect game, but the result is official, the system was not.