Trivial Opinions

My weekly trivial opinions on life, sports, movies and more!

Armando Galarraga’s Perfect? Game

Posted by Jack Deus on June 3, 2010

June 2nd, 2010 was a memorable baseball day. It was the day the retirement announcement of one of the game’s greatest players (Ken Griffey Junior) got overshadowed by a blown call. The fact that a call was blown in a baseball game should come as no surprise. There is a huge human element to the game, and that is one of the things that makes the game what it is. Most blown calls are taken as part of the game, and not even second guessed, let alone talked about on every news outlet, radio show, and corner of the blogosphere, and not just the sports ones.

So what makes this blown call different from all the rest? Had the call been made correctly it would have been the last out of a perfect game. A perfect game is where no player reaches base. Not by hit, walk, bean ball, or error. This game would have been only the 21st perfect game in Major League Baseball history. There has been a lot of clamoring for the commissioner of MLB to overturn the bad call and give the pitcher, Armando Galarraga, his perfect game. Here are the reasons why that would be a good and bad idea.

Good Idea

-Perfect games are rare. Despite the fact that this should have been the 3rd perfect game in 4 weeks, this would have only been the 21st perfect game in the last 130-odd years.

-The next batter, Trevor Crowe, is batting .240 and grounded out to end the game, so overturning the call won’t really affect anything.

Bad Idea

-Changing the call after the fact sets a bad precedent. There have been many bad calls throughout the years that have affected games, playoff series, and even World Series (as a Cardinal fan, the 1985 World Series comes to mind). None of these calls have been overturned, so why should this one?

-What if the 1st batter of the game was where the mistake was made and the rest of the game was perfect? Or what if the bad call came in the 4th inning? Would people be clamoring to overturn the call then? Doubtful anyone would have even paid attention to this game if that had happened. Also, would the Tigers have even let Galarraga continue pitching, or would they have brought in their closer to earn the save?

-What if the Tigers hadn’t scored any runs and the game went into extra innings? Would all of the plays made in that/those inning(s) be nullified when the call was overturned because they happened out of order?

-What if the Tigers had only scored 1 run, and Trevor Crowe hit a home run when he came up for the fourth time that game? Would the outcome of the game and the standings of the AL Central division been switched too?

-What if the call is reversed, taking away the out Trevor Crowe made, then he goes on the greatest hitting streak ever seen and wins the AL batting title by one point, and with the out he wouldn’t have won the title?

-What if the last call had been the opposite way? What if the runner should have been called safe and instead had been called out to give the pitcher the perfect game? Would we want that call overturned to protect the integrity of the game?

Summary

There is only one good reason to overturn the bad call made yesterday: Armando Galaraga deserves to have his name mentioned with the other 20 perfect game pitchers, and because of this age of supersaturation of media coverage and the obviousness and timing of the bad call, he may still be. But there is so much baseball history that would be trampled and spit on, so many cans of worms opened, and so much water muddied if the call was overturned after the fact that it simply cannot be. If instant replay had been a tool the umpires had at their disposal, then I would be the first proponent of using it to get the call right, at that time. Maybe as a silver lining to Galaraga, his name can be synonymous with ushering in a new era of baseball. An era where calls like this can be corrected instantaneously and the beauty, integrity, and history of the game can be left intact.

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