Going on the record

Posted: Thursday, June 03, 2010 by Travis Cody in

I support MLB umpire Jim Joyce.  

Mr Joyce stood up and took responsibility for the missed call on what could have been the last out of a perfect game by Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga, and I respect that.  He saw what he saw and he made his call.

I do not support the hue and cry to reverse the call and award the perfect game to Mr Galarraga, but I do support him and Mr Joyce in the way both men have dealt with the incident and its aftermath.

Sometimes a person makes a mistake.  Mr Joyce made a mistake.  He took responsibility for it.  Mr Galarraga accepted the result of the play, and the apology that Mr Joyce was really under no mandate to offer.  Rather, his integrity compelled him to speak with the pitcher and express his dismay at what happened.

I respect that, too.

I do not think Mr Joyce should be sanctioned or disciplined in any way.  

Jim Joyce made a mistake and he owned it.  Armando Galarrago shrugged his shoulders, smiled, and accepted that sometimes mistakes happen.  I happen to think that's worth more than the loss of the 21st perfectly pitched game in MLB history.


  1. It’s a shame Galarraga lost his bid for a perfect game on Jim Joyce’s blown call. It would have been the third such game thrown in the majors this year, and the season is only approximately one-third over! This is amazing when you consider that this is the first year in baseball’s modern era that saw not one but TWO perfect games thrown.

    Major League Baseball definitely needs to take a look at expanding the use of instant replay because of this incident. I am always amazed at the fact that serious events seem to always bring about changes. This applies to many areas, not just sports.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Trav, from what you describe, I'm sad he lost his bid, but glad that the umpire owned up to his blown call mistake. That's called personal responsibility and we don't see enough of that these days.


  1. I only vaguely heard of this issue. Sounds like both men conducted themselves well, which is unusual in major league sports these days. It's not going to be a perfect system.

  1. Jeff B says:

    I caught this story on the evening news. The reactions of both men were a breath of fresh air.

  1. Linda says:

    I agree with you completely on this one, Travis. I think it's admirable that Jim Joyce owned up to his mistake and just as admirable that Galarraga didn't throw a hissy fit like some many athletes seem to do these days when they don't agree with an official's decision. He didn't kick anything, he didn't throw anything, he didn't let out with a string of expletives that would have made a sailor blush - instead he handled it in a manner that more would do well to emulate and said that he knew in his heart that he had thrown a perfect game and didn't need it to be in the record books for him to know that.

    I applaud both Mr. Galarraga and Mr. Joyce in this instance and thank them for being mature adults. It was totally refreshing to see!

  1. Both men are to be admired for their actions in this. This is the way we are supposed to act when such mistakes are made. :)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Trav: What a great post. I admire the character of both men in the aftermath of an innocent mistake. The reality is that umpires have to look at balls and plays in real time and make a decision. Sometimes they are right, and sometimes they are not. But personal character doesn't play out at the breakneck speed of fast pitches or sliding runners, and we can learn a lesson from how both men acted.

    It reminded me of the speed skater at the Vancouver Olympics who changed lanes in error after his coach signaled him to do so. That mistake cost the skater the gold. His behavior wasn't as forgiving.

  1. Jeni says:

    The key here really is that the umpire apologized for his error. Yes, it's a shame when things like that happen in any sporting event, but gee whiz, umpires are like all the rest of us and that means they too make mistakes at times. Plus, from his vision point -which isn't going to be the same as others would have perhaps, I guess it looked like the guy was safe. Sometimes, just as umpires make calls that seem bad, or unfair, life also hands us a "bad call" or deals us an unfair hand too and we have to pick up and go on from there. That he did recognize his error and apologize -okay, it doesn't cure but it does go a heck of a long way provided folks are willing to also recognize the worth in that. Really good post, Trav!

  1. Eshow: I've been thinking about the use of replay, but I haven't fully developed an opinion. On the one hand, I think it would help get some calls right. But on the other, I think many of those questionable calls can be gotten right if the umpire crews get together and compare angles more often.

    Lois: I think a lot more of these guys do behave in a professional manner. But like anything else, the guys who fuss and carry on seem to make for better TV.

    Charles: As I said to a friend of mine about Dwight Howard during the NBA playoffs...the complaints about calls would be more credible if athletes wouldn't do so much of it. I watched Howard put both hands in the back of a guy and shove him hard out of bounds so he could get a rebound. The foul was called, and Howard about had kittens in protest. Let's not bitch about the obvious, and maybe your defense will be more compelling when you finally have a legitimate gripe.

    Jeff: Indeed.

    Linda: I've seen 11-13 year old little leaguers have better field etiquette than most major leaguers when something doesn't go their way.

    Mary: Let's hope the behavior catches on.

    GGG: I remember that issue from the Olympics. I understood the athlete's frustration, but I thought at the time that his public criticism of the coach was over the top.

    Jeni: You mentioned the angle. There was no camera behind Joyce on the play, so we have no way to know what he saw. From his perspective, the play maybe wasn't as clear cut as when you look at the side view. That side view is what he saw after the game, where it is clear that the runner was safe by a step.

  1. jennifer says:

    I was just talking about this tonight when our Ump missed a few calls! I joked that each of our girls should get a Corvette.

    It was an interesting story to say the least. Galaragga was such a role model in the way he responded and his class behavior.

    People make mistakes. Mr. Joyce just happened to make a VERY public mistake. I respect him for owning up to it in such a sincere way.