Chances are that you’ve already seen what should have been the final out of last night’s matchup between the Detroit Tigers and the Cleveland Indians. It was a perfect game, though it could be argued that Miguel Cabrrera should have stayed home and let Carlos Guillen make the play. In that scenario, the umpire only has to watch for one thing: the catch. Joyce had to call both the catch and Galaragga’s foot. Joyce missed the call. Those are the vagaries of baseball.
But did you see Austin Jackson’s catch earlier in the inning? I think i’m most disappointed that the highlight reels aren’t focusing on that. On the run, a step into the warning track, in the deepest corner of one of the biggest parks in baseball: one of the best catches you’ll ever see on what would have been a home run in any other park. And it preserved Galaragga’s perfect game.
As a life long Tigers fan, i’m sorely disappointed. I’m also incredibly proud.
First, Armando Galaragga is not the staff ace. Two years ago he had a fine season; last year he struggled. He just got called up from AAA after not making the trip north with the Tigers. And last night he was there throwing a perfect game without dominating the Tribe. Check out Brandon Inge (3B) fielding a grounder up the middle that bounces off Galaragga’s foot. A perfect game is both an individual and collective accomplishment. He may not end up in the record books, but Armando knows what he did and what it took to do it.
Then there’s Jim Joyce (the ump) after the game admitting his mistake and asking to speak with Galaragga. You’d think that Galaragga would be spitting mad, but he spoke with Joyce and accepted the apology. Galaragga seems unfazed by the whole thing. He’s defended Joyce. Joyce was given the chance to opt out of umping today’s game behind the plate. He declined. He knew he’d be rightfully booed, but he responded to doing something wrong by doing the right thing.
So after a night and day of controversy, Armando Galaragga delivered today’s lineup card to Jim Joyce at home plate. Just like in real life, shit happens. The only thing you can do is get on with it. Baseball isn’t life and death, but wouldn’t it be something if a few more people acted like Galaragga and Joyce?
*the number is what baseball-reference lists as the total number of games played 1876 – present. (Don’t know if it includes this year’s games and it may need to be divided by two.)