Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Don't Rejoice Re: Joyce

Armando Galarraga's odyssey tonight was ruined on its final leg by none other than James Joyce. I head about the ElPer when it was in the 7th, and switched over to MLBNet to watch between pitches of the Red Sox game. The dude got through the eighth, and the ninth inning started with a deep fly to left center. Austin Jackson made a Willie Mays catch, and he was two outs away. An out later, a grounder between first and second. Dangerous, because who goes for the ball, and is the pitcher covering? Of course he was, as the first baseman makes the play, sets, and throws....out...perfect ga---no. Ump starts to make out call, then says safe. One freakin' out away, and the guy takes it away from the pitcher. Replay shows he was out. Meanwhile Kim had just come downstairs from watching one of those human-reunites-with-wild-animal videos and was all teary-eyed, and there I am welling up over the Tiger on my screen! I was really thinking there was gonna be a fist fight, and there almost was. Don't you love it--umps will call a strike on any 3-0 pitch, rulebook be more damned than usual, but close play as final out of perfect game that's in favor of the defense anyway?? Sorry, safe. The only thing I can think of is that Joyce was watching foot, listening for ball, heard ball before foot, looked up--and saw that move the pitcher made when he opened the glove, letting the ball come out for a split second before clenching it again. This came after the guy was already OUT. This kills me. Especially as someone who has wanted robot umps for years. You know how much this affected me? Look, I put it above the Red Sox in this post!

Here's what I think should happen. You can't get the perfect game back. But the official scorer can do whatever the hell he wants. Change that last play to an error on either guy--neither would mind--and at least get the guy a no-hitter. I saw Jeremy Hermida look a ball right into his glove tonight, only to have it doink off of it, and that wasn't called an error. So that last play of the Detroit game can be called an error.

Dice again with "one bad inning." Great job by us to come out swingin' after that bad top 1. And by Dice for keeping us in it after the 1st. The Papi blast on the 3-2 pitch with two outs was huge. The 'pen is kicking ass again and we win 6-4. Back in third place, still 5 out of first.

Eck just now describing a dong into the Monster Seats: "He puts this ball in the net." Love it! I think of it that way myself sometimes, too.

Two more notes on the shoulda-been-perfecto:

After Galarraga got through the eighth, TC on NESN said they were "headed to the ninth" in Detroit at 1-0. He was wrong, the bottom of the eighth wasn't over. At that point, I was like, Please, Detroit, score more runs. They did, making it a TJ by TC. I don't hate TC or anything, I just think it's funny when people are sure of stuff and tell it to the world, only to be proven the opposite of right. Also, the guy on MLBNet, as they went to the ninth for real, said that the pitcher would be facing the 7-8-9 hitters for Cleveland. Well, guy, if he wasn't, it wouldn't be a perfect game....

Changing play to an error (who gets the error, Cabrera?) is no good -- why try to fix a wrong call by making another totally incorrect one? It's gotta be perfecto or one-hit shutout.

And re Hermida: It's Exhibit 45,902,831 in the case of Why Fielding Percentage Is Totally Fucking Useless".

And every single day we hear Remy say "Team is xth in the league in fielding", based solely on how many errors they have. It's embarrassing.
An absolutely disastrous call by an umpire in an era where the umps' general level of accuracy seems to be on a contant downhill slide.

You mentioned the 3-0 fastball, no matter where it is, getting called a strike. I can't stand that one, but it's not the one that makes me cringe the most. My hangup is the "neighbourhood play" at second base, usually by a shortstop on an attempted 4-6-3 DP, where the SS's foot is four feet off the bag when he actually catches the ball from the second baseman, but the runner is out anyway. And it's not just on a double play grounder - there's also the heroic out! when a pitcher fields a bunt and goes for the force at second. I love, love, love it when an umpire actually gets it right and calls the runner safe if the shortstop's foot is off the bag, or if the throw was late.

Dale Scott, umpiring second base last night in Seattle, actually called it right on Ichiro's game-winning infield single. Ron "I've aged 50 years since 1985" Gardenhire was understandably upset and came out to argue, as he - along with most everyone else - isn't used to 2B umpires calling anyone safe on an attempted force-out.

Last night, I was thinking that this blown call in Detroit was just an unfortunate part of the game (calling for reform, to be sure), but today, I'm thinking Bud Selig should overturn the call and declare Jason Donald out, 3 to 1. Give Armando the credit for something he actually did. And give the city of Detroit something to cheer about - goodness knows they need it.
Changing the call to an error wouldn't be an "incorrect" call. Cabrera fielded the ball cleanly and tossed it to first in time to get the runner. The pitcher was there covering, and no "extraordinary" effort was required for him to make the play. But, (apparently) no out was recorded. The only way to explain that series of events is that the pitcher must have made an error. So, while not exactly the "correct" call, it's the only call that makes sense with the set of facts Jim Joyce left us with.
I agree. You can call an error on that play, it would be just as subjective as the ump's call--and everyone involved would be happy.

Oh and another call umps make--"the ball beat him." Occasionally they'll let a Barrett or a Pedroia get by with the trick slide, but most times if the ball beats you, you're out, regardless of whether a tag is even made.

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