Thoughts on Near-Perfection


Let’s get my opinion out of the way right now:

Armando Galarraga was robbed of a perfect game last night. Jason Donald was clearly out, and umpire Jim Joyce clearly blew the call. It’s pretty cut and dry.

Unfortunately, that’s where things stop being cut and dry. On the play, Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera went to his right, fielded the ball cleanly, and threw to Galarraga who was covering the bag. Replays showed that Galarraga beat Jason Donald by about half a step. It should have been the 21st perfect game in MLB history, and the third this season. Instead, it will go in the record books as just a really good one-hitter.

MLB is still deciding whether or not to review the umpire’s call. My feelings? What good will it do? The damage has been done, it’s time to move on. Reversing the call doesn’t fix things; rather it creates a slippery slope for baseball, as to where they stop reviewing things, and if MLB is allowed to make changes after a game is over. This was a close game; the Tigers only won 3-0 and scored two of those runs in the 8th. If the Indians were good, they could have won thanks to that blown call. What would MLB have done then? Rescinded the win? Take back everything after two outs in the 9th? No, trying to fix the situation simply makes it more murkier.

John Parent over at Fansided’s Motor City Bengals Detroit Tigers site disagrees, and that’s OK. I can understand his frustration. If the roles were reversed, and Fausto Carmona was robbed of a perfect game, I would be livid. (Of course, all this controversy masks that Carmona made a damn fine start himself). But you simply cannot overreact to this. If you want to use this as a springboard to get instant replay in baseball, be my guest. I’m for anything that improves the accuracy of the game. Instant replay definitely would have fixed this mess. But actually altering the outcome of the game after the fact should only be done in the most important of situations. And I’m sorry, an early June game between the Indians and the Tigers doesn’t count as important.

Furthermore, all these perfect games (or near perfect games) isn’t helping the argument that players are off HGH. I am NOT (repeat: NOT!) accusing Dallas Braden, Roy Halladay, Armando Galarraga or any player of using PEDs. But when there was 18 perfect games in the history of the game prior to this season, and now we’ve almost had three in 24 days, that’s a little ridiculous. I will admit the thought crossed my head, because baseball still hasn’t done enough to convince me the sport is entirely clean. I am not accusing anyone. Just stating a statistic.

But back to the important matter at hand. Galarraga was robbed. But trying to fix it just opens up a whole new can of worms that frankly, Bud Selig isn’t strong enough of a commissioner to handle. Here’s my plea to you Bud: don’t fix the situation; fix the problem. Use this as a springboard to get instant replay in baseball for calls. Just reversing one bad call isn’t going to do anyone any good. Take this opportunity, and seize it. Don’t be as short-sighted as you usually are. Make the right call here.