Friday, June 04, 2010


I was watching ESPN the other night when Armando Galarraga appeared to be headed for the record books. After a great catch to start the ninth by Austin Jackson -- the best play no one will ever remember - Galarraga got a second out and then appeared to get the third one on a bouncer to first.

Well, you know what happened next. Umpire Jim Joyce called the batter safe at first, even though replays showed him out by almost a half-step.

I let out a sigh, particularly when I saw the replay. You don't get many chances to see baseball history made, live when it happened.

The reaction, though, has been kind of interesting. Talk about your odd couples.

Here is the response of MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann on his blog. I'm surprised he didn't blame Glenn Beck, who gets blamed nightly for something or other, for the bad call.

And here's the response of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page. I'm surprised it didn't blame President Obama, who gets blamed for everything else on that page, for the bad call.

My first thought was that it's a little difficult to pick and choose which decisions can be reviewed in hindsight. If the call was messed up in the fifth inning, then no one might have noticed. It's a little tough to retroactively decide the outcome of a game, even if it has happened a few times in history.

Then I thought of something which crystalized my thinking.

What if the reverse had happened? What if the umpire had called the batter out on a play in which he was clearly safe? Would there be the outcry to change history and take away the perfect game? Well, probably not, since the teams would have to go back on the field and finish the game from that point.

If you want to argue that replay makes such blown calls avoidable in some way, I'll go along with you. Otherwise, changing history after the fact doesn't work. And if it does, I'm going to go see if Bucky Dent stepped out of the batter's box in October 1978.


John Fraissinet said...

Well, unlike Back To The Future, I don't believe changing the original outcome to address the facts will do any harm. It was the last out, and flipping a switch will make it right, nice and clean.

Suzie said...

I blame Gary Bettman.