In Philadelphia on Wednesday night, a call reversed by instant replay helped determine a game in the Stanley Cup Finals.
But in Detroit, there was no help for Armando Galarraga. Umpire Jim Joyce’s call at first base with two outs in the ninth inning stood, and that human error stood between Galarraga and perfect-game immortality.
One call begat numerous calls for greater use of instant replay in baseball, as Galarraga’s misfortune torched a brushfire of indignation.
Armando Galarraga/Jim Joyce
Four-hundred fifty miles from Detroit’s Comerica Park, instant replay breathed new life into the Flyers in Philadelphia’s Wachovia Center.
The video evidence gave Scott Hartnell a goal and Philadelphia a 2-1 lead midway through the second period — replays showed that Chicago goalie Antti Niemi had swept out the puck only after it had crossed the line — and enabled overtime after the two teams ended regulation tied at 3.
Claude Giroux took it from there, his goal with 5:59 gone in the extra period slashing the Flyers’ Final deficit to 2-games-to-1.
In quite a different vein, with Joyce’s already-infamous spread of his arms as Jason Donald crossed behind Galarraga on the play at first fresh in their mind’s eye, national voices also took it from there.
• Jayson Stark, ESPN.com:
It’s time once again to say those four words Bud Selig doesn’t want to hear:
We need more replay.
Yeah, I know they’re easy words to blurt out when I’m here, blurting, a half-hour after a debacle of a blown call cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game in Detroit on Wednesday night. But just for the record, I’ve blurted this before. Many times.
I don’t want to expand the replay system to include every ball, every strike, every trap, every catch and, especially, every call at first base. I’m not that demented. In fact, I’m just like Bud in one respect:
I have no interest in going to a baseball game and not getting home ’til 3 a.m.
But I’m unlike Bud in another all-important respect:
I think it should be this sport’s No. 1 priority to get the Big Call right if at all possible. And this just in:
• Jon Paul Morosi, foxsports.com:
Now, it’s Selig’s turn.
The Commissioner must do the right thing: overturn Joyce’s call and credit Galarraga with the perfect game he deserves.
At a time when the credibility of umpires is nearing an all-time low — if it isn’t there already — Selig must intervene and prove to the fans that baseball games are, in fact, officiated in a credible manner.
Selig can’t stand to have Galarraga, the Tigers and 17,738 paying customers feel like they were cheated out of their place in history. If that isn’t worthy of Selig invoking the “best interest of the game” clause, I don’t know what is.
• Tim Kurkjian, ESPN:
That kid pitched a perfect game, and didn’t get credit for it. The umpire blew the call. So we’re going to hear calls for the next several weeks for instant replay. But this play wasn’t even that close. Jim Joyce is a veteran umpire of 22 years, and he missed a call umpires will make 100,000 out of 100,001 times.
The way our media and our country work, this will become a bigger story than had Galarraga gotten his perfect game. We’ll hear scream for instant replay again, screams for what will Bud Selig do about this?
You deprived a guy a chance at history. That’s what people will scream about.
• Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com:
It’s not an exaggeration to say that two themes have predominated in the first two months of the baseball season — perfect games and questionable umpiring. For one mind-blowing, Twilight Zone-esque sequence of events Wednesday night, those dual storylines coalesced in the Comerica Park infield.
Inevitably, the game’s sad ending is going to elicit an outcry for expanded use of instant replay. It’s a worthwhile debate, but consider this for a second: How gratifying would it have felt if Joyce’s botched call was followed by a trip to the replay booth, a five-minute conference, the umpiring crew emerging from the tunnel and Joyce throwing up his right arm with an “out” sign.
Yes, Galarraga would have had his perfect game, on paper, but that single transcendent moment of celebration is something that can never be retrieved. In baseball or any other sport, winners don’t get mulligans on euphoria.
• Bob Klapisch, Foxsports.com:
Is there any doubt baseball has reached the tipping point on instant replay? Is there any reason why the game shouldn’t finally defer to technology?
Jim Joyce’s appalling blown call on what should’ve been the 27th out of Armando Galarraga’s perfect game was the last straw. It destroyed the old-school argument that umpires’ imperfection — and in some cases, their incompetence — is part of baseball’s historic charm.
• Tom Verducci, sportsillustrated.com:
With the most heartbreaking missed call in baseball history, Jim Joyce gave official proclamation to the 2010 baseball season: welcome to The Year of the Umpire.
The life of Jim Joyce is changed forever, for having had the rotten luck of making the wrong call at the wrong time.
And maybe he changed baseball, too. This may well be the call that birthed expanded instant replay in baseball. Many people who might have been agnostic about expanding the use of replay to get calls right, will be asking this morning, “Tell me again, why don’t they use instant replay?” Great question.
Expanded instant replay in baseball always was a matter of when and not if. It was going to take a generation of people who grew up comfortable with technology moving into decision-making positions in Major League Baseball. Jim Joyce just put that timetable on fast forward.
• Danny Knobler, cbssports.com:
We won’t forget the perfect end to baseball’s latest perfect game — that wasn’t.
We won’t forget Galarraga.
And, unfortunately, we won’t forget Jim Joyce.
We stared at the screen, in living rooms and sports bars and press boxes and even in Major League clubhouses. We watched replay after replay, thinking exactly what Rod Allen was saying on the Tigers telecast:
“Why was he safe? Oh, my goodness! Jim Joyce! Why?”
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.