Is time really the only thing keeping MLB from expanding instant replay?

If time is the only reason why baseball won’t use instant replay for close calls like the one Jim Joyce regrettably got wrong on Wednesday night, then Bud Selig should be embarrassed. (He should be embarrassed for a lot of things actually, but let’s just stick with this instant replay topic.)

Think about it: the biggest argument against expanding instant replay to calls around the base paths is that the game would be slower than it already is. But that can’t be a genuine argument, can it? If Joyce and the rest of the umpire crew had another 30 seconds to check a video monitor underneath Comerica Park, then Armando Galarraga would have a perfect game on his resume.

Thirty seconds. One minute – whatever. It doesn’t take long for umpires to use instant replay to figure out if a home run was actually a home run and it wouldn’t take long for them to determine whether or not a runner was safe on one of the base paths. The league (and some fans for that matter) is so concerned that a game would take too much time to complete that it’s willing to live with a wrong call like the one Joyce made.

That’s almost laughable when you think about it. If it takes three hours and forty-five minutes to finish a game with instant replay and three hours and thirty minutes without it, does the extra 15 minutes matter? Would an extra 30 minutes matter? If it does, then whom would it matter to? The fans? It’s not like they’re being strapped to an electric chair and held at gunpoint to stay for an entire game. If they want to leave, they can leave. If they want to turn to another channel, they can turn to another channel. It shouldn’t really affect them in the end.

Getting the calls right should be the only thing that Selig and baseball should care about. And if time is the one thing that is holding MLB back from expanding instant replay, then the league is in luck because time just happens to be endless.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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Joyce, Galarraga and Leyland display class during hostile situation

Tiger fans have a right to be angry with umpire Jim Joyce, the man who ruined Armando Galarraga’s perfect game with a blown call during the top of the ninth inning on Wednesday night. But when the dust settles on this historic moment, hopefully even they can admit that Joyce has displayed class following the biggest mistake of his professional career.

On Thursday, Joyce was set to call balls and strikes behind the dish at Comerica Park for the third and final game of the Tigers-Indians series. When the Tigers were ready to turn in their lineup card, Detroit skipper Jim Leyland sent out none other than Galarraga to meet Joyce at home plate.

As Dave Hogg of the New York Daily News writes, Leyland planned the gesture in hopes of possibly defusing an angry Detroit crowd.

“Major League Baseball gave Jim a chance to take himself off this game, but he said he wanted to do the game and take whatever he got,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “That shows you what kind of man he is.”

“This is a chance for the city of Detroit to shine,” Leyland added. “I hope everyone remembers that this was a man who made a mistake, and who feels worse about it than anyone.”

Even though he has the right to be the most upset, Galarraga has perhaps shown the most class through all of this.

“I’m sad, because everyone knows I pitched a perfect game, but he is just a human being,” Galarraga said before the game. “He came over and apologized. I forgave him, and I gave him a hug. He made a mistake. That is all.”

There’s no doubt that Joyce made the wrong call and there are several replays that prove it. Personally, I don’t know how in that moment, when it’s a play that could have been called either way and would determine whether or not a pitcher could complete a perfect game, how Joyce could call the runner safe. But let’s keep things in perspective here.

Everyone needs to realize that it’s only a game. I love baseball and respect the sacredness of a perfect game. I’m also well aware that this could have been the only time that Galarraga will ever taste a moment like this. But again – this isn’t life or death. The fact that Joyce’s family is being attacked because of this shows how far we have to come as a society. It’s unfortunate that even through people’s anger, they can’t see that a man made a mistake.

I have nothing but respect for Galarraga, Leyland and yes, even Joyce. They’ve handled themselves with grace and poise.

Don’t count on Selig reversing Joyce’s call

Much of the talk today is how baseball commissioner Bud Selig should reverse Jim Joyce’s blown call that cost Tigers’ starter Armando Galarraga a perfect game. Jon Heyman of writes that Selig will make a statement on Thursday regarding the incident and many hope that he’ll do the right thing and “fix” what transpired in the top of ninth inning at Comerica Park.

But they shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for Selig to actually do it.

While he has the power to reverse the decision, it doesn’t mean he will. Don Denkinger’s blown call in 1985 cost the Cardinals a World Series against the Royals and it was never reversed. For as special and as sacred as a perfect game is, Denkinger’s foul-up was in the pivotal moment of a World Series. And in the record books, it still says 1985 World Series Champions: Kansas City Royals.

For as much as most of us would love to see Selig step in, we all know as sports fans that it’s up to umpires to make judgment calls. And unless it’s a home run that can be reviewed by instant replay, those calls stand. For as big a moment as this was, Selig knows that if he reverses this call, then he may have to reverse future calls and then what’s from stopping people from demanding that all the records during the steroid era be fitted with an asterisk next to them? We would all love to see that happen, but that’s a can of worms that everyone knows Selig doesn’t want to open.

Would it be the right thing for Selig to do to overturn Joyce’s call? Yes. But I’d be shocked if he actually went through with it. It’s not in his nature to make sound decisions when pressed into a corner, so chances are the call will stand. If anything, maybe this incident will always be remembered as the moment that changed how instant replay is used in baseball forever.

Update: Selig released this statement via

“As Jim Joyce said in his postgame comments, there is no dispute that last night’s game should have ended differently. While the human element has always been an integral part of baseball, it is vital that mistakes on the field be addressed. Given last night’s call and other recent events, I will examine our umpiring system, the expanded use of instant replay and all other related features. Before I announce any decisions, I will consult with all appropriate parties, including our two unions and the Special Committee for On-Field Matters, which consists of field managers, general managers, club owners and presidents.”

He says a lot in his statement, but it’s clear that Galarraga’s near-perfect game will remain just that: near perfect.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Morning After Reaction: Galarraga loses perfect game on blow call

Here’s what local and national media are saying following the debacle in Detroit last night, in which umpire Jim Joyce ruined Armando Galarraga’s perfect game by blowing a call at first base.

– Mike Lupica writes that Galarraga’s perfect game can be saved if Bud Selig overturns Jim Joyce’s call. (New York Daily News)

– Jeff Passan writes that this is the perfect time to expand instant replay in baseball. (Yahoo! Sports)

– Bob Klapisch took the opportunity to write about Don Denkinger, who will always be remembered for his blown call that cost the Cardinals the 1985 World Series against the Royals. (FOX

– A website called “Fire Jim Joyce” has already been established.

– Writing for, Curt Schilling says that his heart broke because not only was Galarraga’s perfect game ruined by a bad call, but Joyce also doesn’t deserve all the hurtful things that will and have been said about him.

– Even though it won’t go down in the books as such, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has “declared” it a perfect game. I’m sure Galarraga will now sleep better at night. (Detroit Free Press)

– John Lowe compiles a list of things to consider on Galarraga’s near-perfect night, including how if centerfielder Austin Jackson had not made a spectacular catch two plays before the incident at first base, Joyce would still be a nobody today. (Detroit Free Press)

– Bob Wojnowski writes that Joyce made history by halting perfection. (Detroit News)

– The Detroit News reports that the Tigers may actually contact the league in efforts to get the call reversed.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

First base umpire Jim Joyce absolutely hoses Armando Galarraga in perfect game attempt

I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a bigger hosing in sports than the one first base umpire Jim Joyce pulled on Tigers’ starter Armando Galarraga on Wednesday night.

Galarraga took a perfect game into the top of the ninth inning against the Indians at Comercia Park and quickly retired the first two batters he faced. Cleveland’s Jason Donald then hit a ball to the right side of the infield as Miguel Cabrera fielded it cleanly and threw a strike to Galarraga, who raced off the mound to cover first base.

As Donald ran hard through the base, Joyce started to cock his fist to signal the final out but then abruptly called Donald safe, killing Galarraga’s perfect game. The play was close live, but replays showed that Donald was out by almost two full steps, meaning Joyce blew the call.

Umpires have it tough – especially on bang-bang calls like that one. It was a judgment call and umpires don’t have the luxury of instant replay, so they have to make a quick decision in the heat of the moment.

That said, Donald was out by nearly two feet. More importantly, Galarraga had a perfect game and it was the last freaking out of the game. If the call could go either way (which it could have), call the runner out and let Galarraga have his moment. There was simply no excuse for Joyce to call Donald safe in that situation and what made it worse was the fact that he started to call him out before throwing up the safe sign. (Not to mention that two plays before that, Austin Jackson made the play of the year in centerfield, taking away a sure-fire base hit with a Willie Mays-like catch at the warning track.)

The only positive thing I’ll say about Joyce is that he stood there like a man at the end of the game and took a vicious verbal beating from Tiger players and manager Jim Leyland. He didn’t run into the umpire’s room and hide – he faced the music. He also manned-up after the game and admitted his mistake.


“I just cost that kid a perfect game,” Joyce said. “I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay.”

“I don’t blame them a bit or anything that was said,” Joyce said. “I would’ve said it myself if I had been Galarraga. I would’ve been the first person in my face, and he never said a word to me.”

Galarraga deserves a lot of credit for keeping his composure. He didn’t hop up and down after the call or scream at Joyce. He just gave the umpire a, “Are you sh*tting me?” grin and went on to record the final out. If Galarraga does eventually rip into Joyce, nobody will blame him. Joyce blew it and he knows it, but the call can’t be reversed and therefore there’s nothing Galarraga or the Tigers can do. Joyce will forever be remembered for this play.

Maybe it’s time for baseball to institute instant replay for more than just home run calls.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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