A Different Kind of Perfect

“The signee accepts that the moments of the event may never be repeated or replayed.”

Those words are not in baseball’s rule books or part of any ballplayer’s contract. The sentence above can be found on the recent contract I signed with my wedding photographer. We have gotten so used to the amount of perfect games thrown in baseball lately, that we truly do not treasure how rare it really is. Out no. 27 should have been called right at that moment – the Tigers, and this city, will never have their moment.

Jim Joyce will never live down the call that replay showed he missed. With each apology that he will make in the future, or each call to overturn the replay, the fact is that the moment now belongs to the umpire. History will never give Armando Galarraga the appropriate due for his moment, instead, a veteran umpire with a cheesy handlebar mustache will be known more for what happened that evening. 

2010 has not been the year of the perfect game, it has been the year of the umpire. An official’s job must be first and foremost, to be never mentioned as part of the story. This year we know the names of Bill Hohn, Joe West, and now – Jim Joyce, because they decided to extend their authority in an excessive manner. The umpire’s only role is to stay quiet and make the calls that happen in front of them. What didn’t happened to Jim Joyce is something that did happen during the Stanley Cup Finals where two goals were called correctly.

On Wednesday night, Armando Galarraga threw 28 straight outs, but his best play of the day was clearly how he reacted toward the final play. He could have thrown a total tantrum and really gotten the crowd in a frenzy (see Moises Alou vs. Marlins). Instead, Galarraga acted the same way he did following each one of his 88 pitches, with class and dignity. The pain may remain through the moments that took place on the field, but there is no denying that one pitcher should have been bestowed the honor of joining other immortals with his own moment.