I really don’t know what to say. I listened to the final innings as I was driving my daughter home from soccer practice. My heart was racing with the excitement of the moment. I called my wife to have the game on the television so that I could rush in to see the ending and then, one block from home, Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers lost his perfect game with two outs in the 9th inning on a blown call at first base.
The first thing I asked as I entered the house was “Safe or out?” Mrs. Ball, who would be a great umpire, responded, “Definitely out. No question.” I was stunned. I watched it over and over. There it was as plain as the eye could see, the lede in the future obituary of Jim Joyce, “Umpire who blew perfect game dies at age XX.”
To his credit, the first base umpire later admitted he made a mistake on the Jason Donald ground ball that first baseman Miguel Cabrera cleanly fielded to his right and then had made an accurate throw to Galarraga covering the bag.
The celebration began.
Then Joyce called him safe.
The Tigers won the game, 3-0. The Indians lost. Galarraga (2-1) pitched a magnificent one-hitter, striking out three, walking no one. Centerfielder Austin Jackson made a magnificent catch to lead off the 9th to preserve the perfection until Joyce was imperfect.
“I just cost that kid a perfect game,” Joyce who has been a big league ump since 1989 said. “I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay.”
“He feels really bad, probably worse than me,” said Galarraga, to the Detroit News. “I give a lot of credit to that guy, to say he’s sorry. I gave him a hug. His body English said more than the words. Nobody’s perfect, everybody’s human.”
It was first complete game and first shutout for Galarraga. The game lasted 1 hour and 44 minutes. Had the game when it should have, Galarraga would have had perfection in just 83 pitches. As it was, he completed the game in just 88 pitches.
The game is in the books. There will be, nor should there be, any changes. You cannot change history, but you can learn from it.
I have. I have always believed that the human element of the game, the bang-bang plays at first, the controversy that surrounded certain plays, were all part of the fun of the game. I can’t say that any longer. I can’t imagine the attempted night of sleep that Galarraga or Joyce had last night. I can’t imagine how they feel coming to the ballpark today. I can’t imagine the feelings of regret they will have the rest of their lives.
It is time to let technology help the umps make the right calls. Not for balls or strikes. Game altering calls on the bases. We can do that now and baseball should do that now. Don’t wait until a World Championship is determined like this. Humans are fallible, but they should not be irretrievably so. Let’s not let something so unwarranted, so unnecessary, so unceasingly wrong happen again.
Oh, and the rest of the Joyce obit?
“It was the Joyce blown call that forced Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to institute the expansion of instant replay. Despite the hue and cry of traditionalists it was agreed that the technology had reached a point where game-altering calls could be reviewed to the betterment of the game. Mr. Joyce, who immediately admitted his error upon seeing the replay following the game was a major proponent of the use of replay and was an umpire leader in its passage.”
Ken Griffey Jr. played for 22 seasons.
He made 13 All-Star appearances.
He hit 630 homers.
He drove home 1,836 runs.
He was a lifetime .286 hitter.
He had a lifetime OPS of .907.
He saved baseball in Seattle.
He retired yesterday.
He will be missed.
Braves keep rolling, Phils keep not rolling
Omar Infante lined a two-out, run-scoring single in the 8th leading the Atlanta Braves to their eighth straight win, 2-1 over the Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves finished off a three-game sweep of the defending NL champions, winning their eighth straight game and increased their lead in the East Division to 2.5 games. The Phillies have lost four in a row and nine in 11 games, remarkably scoring no more than three runs in any game during that span.
Derek Lowe (8-4) went eight innings allowing six hits and the only Philadelphia run. Billy Wagner worked the 9th for his ninth save. Jose Contreras (2-2) took the loss, giving up only his second run in 16.2 innings and snapping a streak of 13 straight scoreless outings.
Red Sox 6, A’s 4, Big Papi pops another one. David Ortiz AL Player of the Month.
Yankees 9, Orioles 1, Phil Hughes is now 7-1. Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer to extend his hitting streak to 16 games
Rays 7, Blue Jays 3, David Price moves to 8-2 as Carl Crawford hit a grand slam as the Rays score six in the 9th.
Rangers 9, White Sox 5, Paul Konerko hits another two in a losing cause.
Angels 7, Royals 2, Angels beat Kansas City for the 11th time in 13 games over the last two seasons.
Tigers 3, Indians 0
Mariners 2, Twins 1 (10)
Cardinals 4, Reds 1, Chris Carpenter is now 7-1 and these two teams are tied for first.
Giants 4, Rockies 1, Ubaldo Jimenez earned NL Pitcher of the Month honors for May, his second monthly award this season.
Brewers 7, Marlins 4, Yovani Gallardo wins his sixth straight and hits his second homer of the season and sixth of his career.
Astros 5, Strasburgs 1, the Astros won consecutive games for the first time since they had a four-game streak May 9-13.
Padres 5, Mets 1
Dodgers 1, Diamondbacks 0 (14)
Braves 2, Phillies 1
Cubs at Pirates–PPD
In 1888, the poem “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer was first published, in the San Francisco Daily Examiner.
Indians (David Huff) at Tigers (Rick Porcello), 1:05
Orioles (Kevin Millwood) at Yankees (C.C. Sabathia), 1:05
A’s (Brett Anderson) at Red Sox (Tim Wakefield), 1:35
Angels (Jered Weaver) at Royals (Zack Greinke), 2:10
Rangers (Colby Lewis) at White Sox (Freddy Garcia), 8:10
Twins (Carl Pavano) at Mariners (Felix Hernandez), 10:10
Nationals (J.D. Martin) at Astros (Brian Moehler), 2:05
Brewers (Chris Capuano) at Marlins (Josh Johnson), 7:10
Braves (Kris Medlen) at Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda), 10:10
Steve Lyons, 50
Barry Lyons, 50
The Lyons are not related.
Izzy Molina, 39
Jose Molina, 35
The Molinas are not related.
I Love Walkoffs
Adrian Gonzalez hit an opposite-field walkoff grand slam with one out in the 11th to lift the Padres to a 5-1 win over the Mets. It was the third career grand slam and second career game-winning home run for A-Gone.
Johan Santana was brilliant once again throwing seven innings of shutout ball, allowing five hits and five walks, while striking out three. Santana has thrown 15 straight scoreless innings in his last two starts and has two no-decisions. Francisco Rodriguez blew his third save of the season when with two outs and two strikes, David Eckstein singled up the middle to bring in the tying run in the 9th.
It was the fourth extra-inning game in San Diego’s last 10 home games, with the Padres winning three of them. Overall, the Padres are 4-2 in extra-inning games this season at Petco Park.
Gonzalez had four hits in the game, all to left field.
I Love Walkoffs
Garrett Anderson went hitless in his first five at-bats before his RBI single with two outs in the 14th gave the Los Angeles Dodgers a 1-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Travis Schlichting (1-0) allowed four hits over four innings of relief to get his first major league victory. Edwin Jackson started for Arizona and pitched nine scoreless innings.
In the series opener the D-backs lost 5-4 on a game-ending balk, then lost the last two games 1-0 in extras. They have not scored in 31 innings. Arizona was 0-9 on their road trip to Colorado, San Francisco and Dodger Stadium. The Diamondbacks are now 1-8 vs. the Dodgers this season.
I Love Walkoffs
Ichiro reached on an infield single in the 10th to give the Mariners a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins. Before this, Seattle’s last walkoff hit came off the bat of Ken Griffey, pinch-hitting on May 20 against Toronto. The game-winning single that day was the last hit of Junior’s career.
Cliff Lee threw eight innings for Seattle only allowing a Michael Cuddyer homer in the 7th, the only homer allowed by Lee this season.
The Mariners first run came from Milton Bradley who singled, then stole second and third and scoring on a sac fly.