Friday, June 04, 2010

My take on Armando Galarraga's perfect game

Quite a few of you have asked my take on the Armando Galarraga perfect game. In case you’re not a baseball fan (i.e. most of my readers) – on Wednesday night Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga was pitching a perfect game. That means he retiring in order every batter he faced. No hits, no walks, nothing. 27 up and 27 down. How rare is this feat? There have been only 20 perfect games in the 100+ year history of major league baseball. (Amazingly, we’ve had two in a month). So yeah, pretty damn special.

Galarraga was one out away. The batter hit a ground ball to the right side of the infield. The first baseman tossed the ball to Galarraga who was covering and on a bang-bang play the runner was out. But the umpire, Jim Joyce ruled that he was safe. Instant replay show indisputably that the runner was out. Galarraga was robbed of the greatest moment of his life by a bad call.

After the game the umpire saw the replay and was horrified to learn that indeed he had blown it. To his credit, Joyce was shaken, tearful, and incredibly apologetic.

The next batter grounded out and that was that.

Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball, was asked to reverse the call. He has that authority. He chose to let the call the stand, even though he acknowledged it was the wrong call.

This has sparked a huge debate. So I’ve been asked – do I think the commissioner should have reversed the call?

YES.

Most of my media compadres disagree with me. They claim that a commissioner stepping in and changing a call would open a Pandora’s Box. If he changes one call, why not another? Would this set a precedent and suddenly every other week he’s being asked to change one bad call or another? At the end of the day the Tigers won the game despite the blown call and that’s all that’s really important.

That is a valid position. Except for two things:

There HAS been a precedent set. In 1983 American League president Lee MacPhail overturned an umpire's call in the 1983 George Brett "pine tar" incident. The world didn't end.

And secondly, baseball fans – the folks that follow the game, go out to the Park, buy the hot dogs – they don’t give a shit about precedents being set. They just want the wrong made right. You’re not “giving” anything to Galarraga. He “earned” the perfect game. To deny him on ceremony is merely compounding the offense.

Jim Joyce (who is a lovely guy and normally an excellent umpire) and his family are being mercilessly harassed. No matter what he does the rest of his life this will follow him. People remember. Ask any baseball fan who Don Denkinger is and see what they say. Reversing the call will take the heat off him… and more importantly, his family.

The jury is out on whether Bud Selig is a good commissioner or a disaster. The game has prospered under his watch. Innovations like wild card teams and interleague play have been big successes. But the steroid era has been during his reign. He canceled the 1994 World Series during a labor dispute (how ‘bout that for setting a precedent?) and decided to let the 2002 All-Star game end in a tie. Rightly or wrongly, fans believe he is tool of the owners and not a guardian of the game’s best interests.

Reversing the call would go a long way towards satisfying the fans he claims to represent.

Baseball is never proactive. It only changes once its shamed into changing. It took senate hearings and the threat of losing their Anti-Trust exemption to get baseball to really attack the steroid problem. A coach has to lose his life before protective helmets became mandatory. It took embarrassing replays of bad calls to get them to employ even limited instant replay. And now, especially if this horrible call stands, good luck preventing more instant replay situations from going into effect.

The call will probably never be overturned, which I think is a shame. But it’s not like there hasn’t been a precedent for that either. Didn’t Al Gore actually win the 2000 presidential race?

45 comments:

JimBriggs said...

I'm in complete agreement with you on this.

I forgot about the pine tar incident -- it's a perfect example of what the commissioner can do if he wants to correct a mistake.

The clip of George Brett going beserk when the initial call was made is priceless.

Greg said...

It was not a perfect game. Joyce made an error.

If Cabrera made an error, would we ask to make the change?

Life is unfair. Your point about Gore is correct. Like Galarraga, he was gracious in the face of adversity.

Galarraga is more of a hero because of his classy behavior. Like he said, he can show his kids the game, and they (like the rest of real baseball fans) will know.

I do pick a bone with you on the Pine Tar reversal. That was a reversal of a rule interpretation, pursuant to a protest, not a reversal of an umpire's judgment call.

DukieSinat said...

I disagree about Bud. Inaction on steroids, canceling the W.S. and the All Star game fiasco were all moves that hurt the fans more than not ruling to overturn that call.

I'm not sure if he should overturn the call or not, though it would certainly give Jim Joyce a break.

However, I think this episode will ultimately go down as something that makes baseball great. There might not be mention of Galarraga throwing a perfect game in almanacs and official box scores, but there will be parents telling their kids about it for decades. It might go down as one of the top most talked about perfect games in history.

Sherri said...

The pine tar call was overturned because the umpires had applied the wrong penalty for the infraction. It was a question of the interpretation of the rulebook, not a mistake of judgment. A judgment call such as Joyce made can not be protested, and has never been overturned.

In any event, as sorry as I feel for both Joyce and Galarraga, before Selig overturns an umpires blown call to give a pitcher a perfect game, I want him to restore the perfect game his Committee for Statistical Accuracy took away from Harvey Haddix a few years back. If you're not familiar with Haddix, in 1959 he pitched 12 perfect innings, but his teammates couldn't score either, and he lost the perfect game in the 13th on an error, an intentional walk, and a hit. In 1991, MLB redefined no-hitters to exclude Haddix's gem, and Haddix was removed from the list of pitchers who pitched perfect games.

That's a bigger injustice in my mind.

CB said...

Ken - I get where you are coming from on this, but the Pine Tar call was reversed because of an improper interpretation of a rule - not because an umpire made a bad call on the bases. This game can't be used as an example of precedent.

I felt so damn bad for Galarraga, but the way he conducted himself immediately after (he smiled!) and in the post-game and all the way through to when he presented the lineup card the next day was pure class. Joyce too, has been a standup guy throughout. At the very least they can hit the winter banquet circuit together, eat some chicken and make a few bucks.

By the way, in 1984, the Royals shipped Louisville Slugger T85s caked with pine tar to season ticket holders as a memento of sorts. Wouldn't you know it, that sucker had exactly 18" of pine tar on the handle. Still have it in my office.

Michael said...

@CB - if the bat does have 18" of pine tar on the handle, then it's illegal. Home plate is 17" wide and is generally used to measure that infraction (although I didn't tear up my rule book -- and, yes, I have one sent each year by the Commissioner, because I'm an official scorer).

I've seen and heard more about this than I really need to, but I have to weigh in on two aspects:

1) It's a sport. Sports are officiated by real, live humans (I know, I worked my way through high school and college as a basketball referee, and have umpired also). Sports don't build character, they reveal it.

Two spectacular characters were revealed here - Armando Galarraga's, and Jim Joyce's. Both get the highest accolades for how they handled this. Galarraga scored a perfect 10 from all the judges on sportsmanship, with the highest degree of difficulty possible.

This wasn't even the FIRST perfect game spoiled by an umpire. One was lost on a 3-2 pitch on the black called ball four with 2 outs in the ninth. It's part of the sport. You sign up for this when you begin to play as a kid. Galarraga will be remembered longer for having thrown this perfect game that he lost (like Haddix, and like Mark Gardner's no-hitter), than if he'd become #21. He also would have been the 4th to do it in the span of a 365-day year, since Mark Buehrle got one last year.

2. I've heard enough blaming of the wrong people. Go back and look at the play, and tell me if there would have been even a possibility of a problem if Miguel Cabrera had not gone 40 feet off the foul line to poach the second baseman's play, having then to spin and throw to a moving target? If he simply does his job and stays home, it is the most routine of 4-3 groundouts and everyone is blissfully unaware of this.

2a) Ken -- Joyce is quoted today as saying he's gotten tremendous support from fans, particularly from fans identifying themselves as from Detroit, or as Tigers fans.

So, what the hell? Let's celebrate spectacular sportsmanship (rarely seen), let's celebrate someone actually taking responsibility for their actions (without reading a lawyer-prepared statement that "I am sorry if my actions offended anybody"), and let's acknowledge that, even in baseball, "feces occur"....

Tom said...

The call has to stand:

* Perfect games don't count for any more than regular games, and the commissioner can't (or shouldn't...) go overruling judgment calls that don't even affect the outcome of the game, "perfect" or not. It's not like Detroit lost the game.

* The ump's call is as much a part of the play as all that came before -- the pitch, the swing, Gallaraga catching the ball and stepping on first base. Donald isn't out or safe until the umpire makes the call, and Joyce made the call.

Yes, Joyce was wrong, but no more "wrong" for the purposes of the game than if Gallaraga had walked Donald and got the next guy out. Perfect game goes out the window, but the final result is the same.

Sebastian said...

I've had Pay TV from 2000-2006 and now have it again. Within the first three weeks, I got to witness two perfect games, a broken leg celebrating, a double Balk call on a WS game and now this. I missed Baseball a lot but the main thing I did not miss: Bud Selig. He was a tool back then and he still is. I was SO pissed at the draw at the All Star Game in Houston. That was so ridicilous...

Not allowing replays is the same in Baseball as it is in Soccer (sorry for the example, I'm german, national sport and everything and Word Cup starting next friday, US Aussie, New Zealand and UK Teams participating by the way). They won't allow replays for "pace" reasons and for "tradition". I really nearly chocked to death tonight when I saw the Marlins - Brewers replay from yesterday night where an umpire was in the announcers box saying that replays "delay the game". Are you FREAKING kidding me? Baseball is a game of instances. It has built-in pauses. It is nowhere NEAR Soccer where you only have a pause in play when the ball is out of the play area and even these pauses got shortened with more money in the game and balls everyhwere around the field so in case a ball is shot to the stand they have new ones (they didn't have that until the 90s over here).

So are you REALLY telling me that in a game where there are five to eight coaches on each team, who come out to the field to argue with umpires and where that is absolutely commonplace that it is IMPOSSIBLE to implement replays? There are more HD camereas on every given baseballfield than there were in the whole of soccer at the 1990 worldcup in all games combined. Technology has improved and it is time to add it as part of the game. There's tradition and then there's stupidity. It's one thing to say a ruling stands as long as it is debatable because the audience can't say for sure because back 10 years ago we had super-slow-motion only with a single camera from a certain angle. Today, everything is digital and at 60 frames a second, you can slow it down from EVERY single frigging angle. They should've overturned that call right there on the field because they could. This is a 20 in 100 year occasion and if THIS doesn't warrant instant replay then what does? And are you telling me that the discussion right after the call didn't take longer than a short look at the replay?

Same as those silly balk calls.

Simon H. said...

I'm in complete agreement with everything you said. I would also like to reiterate what could have been a very ugly situation was defused by the class and sportsmanship of the two parties, and should hopefully serve as a great lesson of sportsmanship for years to come.

But come on Bud Selig, you gotta fix this, Pandora's Box be damned. I watched the last inning live on mlb.tv, and couldn't believe what an absolute (though not malicious) travesty that was, and how incredibly easy it would be to fix. Baseball took away 50 no-hitters several years ago, surely they can give a perfect game back.

J.J. said...

Don't care about Pandora's box. But I say let the call stand. It's baseball, it's supposed to be imperfect. I like it that way.

As for Gore "winning" the 2000 presidential race: He didn't. He might've won the "popular" vote, but he lost the electoral vote (which is how the president is elected) and he lost the state by state count: 30 (Bush) to 21 (Gore) -- count includes DC. So, no, Gore didn't win.

Back to baseball: Even though I think the call should stand, it wouldn't piss me off if Selig had reversed it. But I knew he wouldn't, he's that kind of guy.

Tom Quigley said...

I was one of those people who originally thought that the call, sad and tragic as it was should stand, but after reading your blog and the comments of others, am more inclined now to believe that there is no good reason not to overrule the call on the field and give Galaragga a perfect game.

What is confusing me about the whole sitiuation, (and maybe I don't understand enough about the officiating crew working as a team) is that my first thought was, why doesn't the chief umpire on the crew take charge and see if any of the other umps had a look at the play, then see what the consensus is? Is he required to blindly stand behind the call of his crew member, no matter how bad it seemed to be? Does the call of the ump who made it stand simply because he was the closest one to the play? I know in football, officials' calls can be overruruled by either the referee or by consensus if there's a question on a call. With or without the benefit of instant replay, there is something flawed in the system if an obvious bad call cannot be put up for discussion on the field to begin with.

My own opinion of Selig, in blowing this call himself is that this is just another in a long string of non-decisions by a commissioner who in the face of controversy has usually displayed very little, if any backbone.

Will Teullive said...

Baseball has no clocks, it's timeless, and it will be an eternity before they change this call.


WV: mullypedia- A failed website dedicated to questionable career achievements of Martin Mull

Jeff said...

I do believe the call should be overturned, but only because of the extraordinary situation we've got here.

If it had been any of batters one through 26 that had reached because of a bad umpiring call, I'd be saying, "Sorry, those are the breaks." But since it was batter 27, the call should definitely be reversed.

If it had been an earlier batter, the ripple effect of the missed call would have affected everything that followed. Instead of facing hitters 1-2-3, 4-5-6, and 7-8-9 as he went through the batting order, Galarraga would have been facing 2-3-4, 5-6-7, and 8-9-1.

A small difference? Maybe -- but a difference that could have affected the way the batters were pitched, because baseball is a situational game.

But batter 27 in a perfect game? If he's out, there is no batter 28. So by reversing the call and declaring batter 27 out, that would not have changed the game situation or outcome at all. There is no ripple effect. There are none of the "what ifs" that could have sprung up had it been an earlier batter. The game would be over, pure and simple.

Since Joyce himself acknowledged he blew the call, reversing the call wouldn't be a slap in the face to him or the rest of the umpiring crew. Justice would be served. And wouldn't it be a great example if the kind of accountability Joyce graciously displayed led to the right thing being done?

Buttermilk Sky said...

We all owe Jim Joyce our thanks. Three perfect games in two weeks is a sign of the apocalypse. He has saved mankind.

OK, not really. But it's only a game, and I can't believe bonehead fans are giving him grief. I wish Tony Hayward of BP had the class to admit his responsibility for a far worse catastrophe.

Joe Dungan said...

Can't it be listed with an asterisk, like Ernie Shore's "perfect" game or Harvey Haddix's "perfect" game? You list those with explanations, and people think, "Okay, I see how that wasn't TECHNICALLY a perfect game, but they deserve credit for one."

(Google Ernie Shore & Harvey Haddix to read about their near-perfect games. I won't hog up the space here.)

P.S. As for people thinking Selig is a tool of the owners, that's how the owners like it. The order-takers have lasted and the mavericks haven't. It's been that way since Kenesaw Landis died. Why do you think the owners gave up the ceremony of looking for an outsider to be commissioner and finally hired one of their own to do it?

amyp3 said...

"Joyce is quoted today as saying he's gotten tremendous support from fans, particularly from fans identifying themselves as from Detroit, or as Tigers fans."

I don't really follow base-a-ball that much these days, but as someone from this poor, beleagured area, I am proud that the fans at the stadium the next night behaved so well.

We see so much that is negative in big-time athletes. And although, frankly, a lot of them often come across as d-bags to me (most NFL and NBA players in particular) I'm not surprised when people see exemplary behavior and are so inspired by it.

In an odd way, it reminds me of another famous, recent example from a sport (and an athlete) I do follow closely, even though it was very different circumstances - the admiration Joannie Rochette garnered for her gutsy but dignified actions at the Winter Olympics under the most terrible, surreal circumstances.

chalmers said...

Part of what makes a perfect game so special is that it can be spoiled by events outside of the pitcher's control.

Unlike in other sports, "perfection" is not enough. A perfect Michael Jordan shot goes in. A perfect John Elway pass is caught unless the receiver makes a big mistake.

Baseball constantly provides perfectly thrown pitches that result in lousy swings but end up as "swinging bunt" singles. Then, the next batter smashes a line drive that's caught.

Look at the ball that got crushed two hitters earlier, resulting in an out after Austin Jackson's amazing catch.

A bad call, an error (a la Bill Russell in Jerry Reuss' no-hitter), a crazy gust of wind, etc. can ruin a perfect game or a season, even if the pitch is perfect.

That's part of what makes baseball great. So is the fact that when something amazing (or amazingly awful) happens, it's happened, and you know it. You don't spend the next few seconds looking for flags or listening for whistles.

Elizabeth said...

I agree. But I have to say, Joyce was interviewed on the TODAY show and he was so gracious and humble. It has really up set him and he spoke very highly of the support from both the Tiger and Indian organizations, as well as fans and other umps. As for Mr. Carera -- what a class act!! Going out to the mound before the next game to speak with Joyce!! Brought the ump to tears. Again, class act!!

Scott said...

Oh, where to begin?

For one thing, Ken, I agree with what you're saying here, especially regarding the "precedence setting" argument. Baseball needed 110 years to find itself in this situation once, and I have enough faith in humanity that regardless of what Selig did (or didn't do), baseball will do the right thing when this happens again in 2120 (if humanity is still around, of course). It'd be one thing if it was any other out, but the game was already over, by every possible measure. The only one who gets hurt with a reversal would be Jason Donald (who didn't get the hit anyway).

Second, it's funny that you mentioned George Brett and the 2000 election. Those are two examples that came to my mind initially, because they showed a lawyerly application, by both sides, in both incidents (ie. the Yankees, Royals, Democrats, and Republicans) in trying to apply the law to their advantage. You're telling me Bud or one of baseball's lawyers couldn't find a loophole to help the kid out?!

Third, Selig never seems to have a problem with loopholes and law if it serves HIS purposes. Witness what he did with game 5 in the 2008 World Series- ie. letting it go on too long so the Rays tied, then suspending the game, and rewriting the rule on the spot that all post-season games must be 9 innings law.

Fourth, I KNEW when baseball acted like home run calls were the only thing worth reviewing (after, surprise, surprise, it only got the commissioner's attention when it happened during a Sunday night Met-Yankee game) that this "logic" would falter eventually.

Fifth, it seems a lot of good came out of this, as Jim Joyce and most involved really handled the aftermath the right way. I wonder if some people, especially politicians and other umpires, will use this as an example of how publicly owning up to a mistake that you OBVIOUSLY made will actually HELP your reputation.

Last and least, Cabrera really should have just stayed on first, and let the second baseman get the ball. But maybe the fact that he didn't wasn't such a bad thing, as a lot of good has come out of this.

Wow, that's a lot- and it wasn't even everything! Hopefully, I'll get a chance to call in on the Sunday Sports Final about this. Obviously, I'll have to cut this down, so I'll think about what to leave in.

-Scott from Marina Del Rey

Sally creeping down the alley said...

Maybe someone should start a Facebook campaign Like getting Betty White on SNL) to have the Galarraga "perfect game" reversed.

Gary said...

Somebody or bodies obviously thought it was important enough to give the commish the power to make such a change, and I doubt it came with the caveat, "don't use it." Making the change will not open any box or alter the outcome of the game, it will simply right a wrong. Isn't that why the commish was given that tool?

Dimension Skipper said...

Well, don't the rules of the game also state somewhere somehow something to the effect that if a ground ball is fielded and thrown to a player covering first who then steps on the bag prior to the running batter getting there, the batter shall be out?

Yes, the umpire has to make the call and try to get it right, but regardless isn't that also sort of a rules interpretation when you get right down to it?

It seems to me like the reason for having umpires is to decide the truly bang-bang plays in an impartial manner. I can understand missing those calls as often I see a play and think, "I need to see the replay to tell how that one went." And sometimes even then I still can't tell. But when the batter is well and truly out by a clear stride (even when seen at full real-time speed), well, that's just not right and we have the technology to do something about it (and I believe it's well within the rights of the commissioner to step in as well if necessary).

Would it set a precedent? Darn right it would... the precedent of caring about actually getting a greater percentage of calls right eventually, especially in instances where there can not really be any obvious or reasonable objection or consequence to reversing the call.

Heck, I've even on rare occasions seen umpring crews voluntarily huddle up and then reverse a call right then and there based on their collective opinions. They should have done that here, but since they didn't, the commish needs to step in and right an obvious injustice.

I remember the 1980 NLCS Phillies-Astros series with a truly bang-bang one hopper back to the mound that the Astros pitcher fielded and then might have gotten a triple play. Or might not have. Replay showed it was a one-hopper, but without the replay there was no way of knowing. So the umpires huddled up and eventually somehow declared a "compromise" double play. I forget how they positioned the runners subsequently, but as I recall the play should have resulted in either a single out or a triple play, but no way should it have been double play. (If somebody else remembers better, feel free to correct me.) In any case my point isn't realy that they screwed up the call, but that they at least TRIED their best to get it right by discussing it among themselves even without benefit of replay. I also seem to recall it was something like a 20 minute to half hour delay by the time both teams' managers argued/discussed the situation. Utilizing replay would have resolved it much quicker, I believe.

mikeinseattle said...

Selig is a joke and has been since the Seattle Pilots left town for Milwaukee in the dead of night. Zero credibility.

Interleague play is a marketing scam. So the Dodgers can play the Angels and the Giants can play the A's a bunch of times during the regular season, the schedule gets unbalanced, so this year the Giants get more games against the Astros but the Dodgers get more games against the Cardinals. If they finish the season a game behind, what is fair about that?

I thought it was fine when the Dodgers just played the Angels the last weekend of spring training, and that made it special.

scottmc said...

I would also add my name to the number of people who share your take on the game and the proper resolution. Moreover, had I been undecided; the arguments and comments by the 'don't reverse' crowd would have caused me to support giving it to him. (That group probably would have objected to movies adding sound.) Your take focuses on the human element and forgiveness. And it breaks my heart that that side failed to prevail.

dodzky said...

i really love this game, this one of my favorite past time habbit.

satcomdude said...

Isn't this commissioner who made the stupid decision to make the outcome of the all-star game determine home field advantage in the World Series? I haven't been a baseball fan since then. Because a sport that belives its players need incentive to play hard has lost its way. But I do believe he should overturn the result and award the perfect. They band Pete Rose for life after the fact,they could do the right thing after the fact.

Allen L. said...

Chuck Klosterman makes a really great point in his book "Eating the Dinosaur" that Baseball is the more conservative sport and Football, with it's ability to move forward with technological advances, et al, is actually a progressive sport.
With this call, I'm inclined to agree. Give us the instant replay in baseball, for god's sake. This was ridiculous.

goodman.dl said...

I agree. There are certain parts of the game that replay can never cover. Bang-bang plays like this, isn't one of those.

Whenever a video can instantly, and conclusively, demonstrate a ruling is incorrect - we ought to be able to use it. I know that 'human error' a part of the game - but if we say changing this call sets a bad precedent...

not revisiting the call tells everyone that getting calls right isn't really important. Expediency is.

Glen said...

I'm glad Selig let the call stand. I'm not a Selig fan and think he should have nothing to do with this game's stats as a 3rd party removed from the guys - and umpires - on the field that WERE there and are a part of this.

Imagine if the runner HAD been safe and was called out. Would you want Gallaraga in the record books with a "tainted" no hitter he didn't earn? This way - he's now a sympathy pitcher forever. EVERYBODY, including umpire Joyce knows it was a perfect game. Of the 20 you mention, I can only name Halliday - because it happened a week ago - Koufax and Bunning. I don't remember the other 17 but I'll not now forget Gallaraga. His is special and one-time unique.

Let this be the incident that gets MLB to finally seriously evaluate with proper guiudelines the use of Instant Replay going forward in a way like it has helped the NFL.

Anonymous said...

It is asinine to admit the call was bad and not reverse it. There is no speculation on how the call would have changed the game. It would have ended the game.

But Karma has taken over. Galarraga will be far more famous and get far more kudos for his almost than the Oakland pitcher, whose name I have already forgotten, will get for his was.

DwWashburn said...

"The jury is out on whether Bud Selig is a good commissioner or a disaster."

This is about the only thing I disagree with in your column. I can't see how anyone who knows anything about baseball can see Selig and think that he is anything other than a disaster. His failures here are too numerous to mention, but you would be hard pressed to mention anything he has done right.

blogward said...

The words 'internet' and quarterback' circle aimlessly round what's left of my mind.

Bill said...

Seems like the blown call in the '85 world series was a much, much bigger deal than this one, and no one's overturned that.

Anonymous said...

I like to base my opinions on facts, so yes: overturn the bad call because it was not only admitted but objectively proven by video evidence that it was a bad call. Leaving it on the books would be more than an injustice, it would be enshrining a falsehood into history.

Also, speaking of falsehoods enshrined into history: No, Al Gore did not win the 2000 election. The election was not based on the popular vote; it was based on the electoral college vote. A week or so before the election, when polls showed Gore might win the EC vote but lose the popular vote, he even attempted to preempt GOP protests by reminding Americans that "this election is NOT a popularity contest." When the results came in the other way around, suddenly it WAS a popularity contest. But you can't rewrite election rules after the election. Both sides scheduled their campaign time and allocated their ad resources years in advance to win the state electoral votes, not the popular vote. When Gore lost Florida's electoral votes, he lost the presidency. And yes, Gore did lose in Florida. Even ballot recounts under his own preferred conditions by friendly media outlets bore that out. There was only one set of conditions under which he narrowly pulled ahead, and his own lawyers had specifically ruled that method out. So can we PLEEEEEEEEEASE quit repeating this urban legend that Al Gore really won the 2000 election?

BTW, before all the flaming starts, no, I'm not a Bush fan or a Republican flack. I just work in the news business and had to cover all that Florida stuff, day after endless day.

Joe Peach said...

You intellectually handicapped baseball nerds can't see the big picture, can you?
The WHOLE world knows just how WRONG this is being handled. For a sport that "thinks" it's just fine answer me this, How many more times can you screw the fans before the fans screw you?

gih said...

You know man, this is my favorite game. I always watching it through satellite just to be enjoyed. I love baseball.

The Milner Coupe said...

I have to respectfully disagree with you. The call should stand.

The umpires are part of the game. Just as the players do, they make errors. But more often than not they do a great job. Replay? What's next? Questioning the strike zone on called third strikes? After all, it affects a players lifetime average, batter and pitcher.

I am not yet ready to hand over the game of baseball to technology. I would like to believe that if the lights ever go out we can still get on the field and play.

Play. It's a game.

tb said...

Tom Quigley made a good point - why didn't the ump refer to a different ump? I mean, how many times does a catcher point to the first base ump when he feels a batter has swung? Happens all the time, let the ump with the better view call it. This wouldn't involve replays or anything. Oh well: "Don't worry kid, there'll be plenty more perfect games"(!!!)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this take on Selig's indecision, especially the other times he broke precedent.
At the very least a big old nasty asterisk on that game and an explanation for the Cabrera grandchildren.

romel said...

nice column... it very informative of the past..

Dave said...

As much as it pains me to say it, I think the call should stand.

For all we know, there were several "bad" strike calls earlier which only HELPED the possibility of a perfect game. I know this seems like black and white to a lot of people, but if you can bring that one call into question, then you have to bring 'em ALL into question, IMO.

It's just circumstance, in this case, making it potentially the LAST out call that gets people emotional about it, I think.

But, Man... I wish he'd called it differently.

mike said...

The call should stand. It's a shame the kid got screwed out of his perfect game, but this is a precedent that should not be set. Question: what would be the reaction if a bad call gave someone a perfect game he didn't deserve? Would there be a movement to take it away? We can expect Milt Pappas to bang on Selig's door and want Bruce Froemming's ball four call changed to strike three so Pappas can have a perfect game too. And Herzog and the '85 Cards will want to be retroactively awarded the Series because of Denkinger's bad call.
Selig is certainly a tool of the owners, since used to be one and since he was hired by and eventually will be fired by the owners! And, no, the wild card and interleague play, to say nothing of that loathsome ploy, the designated hitter, are not good things. But the point is, if we start questioning and replaying judgment calls, then we'll never stop, and the game will become something very different, indeed.

mike said...

*since HE used to be one* oops.
It was Red Smith that called the dh a 'loathsome ploy' and he was absolutely right.

mike said...

And one more thing: Al Gore did indeed win the 200 election. His mistake was in cherry-picking the Florida counties he wanted recounted. A fair count would have revealed that he won the state of Florida handily, which is why the conservative-dominated Supreme Court, with the most twisted logic imaginable, ruled that there would be no recount, because a recount would leave the wrong impression, or something. Indeed, what rigged the election to be as close as it ended up, was Governor Jeb and K. Harris paying a private firm $4 million to illegally and improperly remove approximately 90,000 voters from the rolls. When the candidate's brother and the co-chair of the candidate's campaign cheat like this, what does that tell you?

Anonymous said...

Nope, Al Gore did not win the 2000 election. It's common to purge people who have not registered from the rolls. And you have NO guarantee that had those people voted, that it would have been for Gore. Nice try, but your argument does not hold up. The above poster put it best, so I'll just repost:

"And yes, Gore did lose in Florida. Even ballot recounts under his own preferred conditions by friendly media outlets bore that out. There was only one set of conditions under which he narrowly pulled ahead, and his own lawyers had specifically ruled that method out."