June 03, 2010
• As a sports fan, the phantom gut-punch I felt after seeing Jim Joyce's call reminded me of watching Tom Watson falter down the stretch at last year's British Open. The situations were obviously different in that one collapse (Watson's) was self-inflicted while the other wasn't, but the immediate regrets on missing out on watching history felt the same.
Also similar were the eventual warm fuzzies I felt once the shock wore off. Galarraga was nothing but classy in both his onfield response and postgame behavior and, as Joe Posnanski writes, it's the biggest lesson we should take from the whole episode. Our reward comes in seeing someone perform at the highest level and then having enough presence of mind to maintain a proper perspective when something goes against them.
• It's kind of strange that there would have been plenty of plaudits thrown Galarraga's way had Jim Joyce made the correct call, but that we also wouldn't have really seen the true measure of the man if there hadn't been a bang-bang play on the would-be the 27th out.
• It's being reported that Galarraga will walk the lineup out to home plate before today's game. Joyce will be there calling balls and strikes. Perfect.
• After listening to the full audio from Joyce's postgame press conference, I think it's impossible not to feel any compassion for the man. He handled the fire in an upfront, apologetic and human way and I think that's all we sports fans really need to see. Our sports officials hide behind indifferent visages and terse statements to pool reporters all too often, which is probably why Joyce's mea culpa resonated rather well.
"On June 23, 1994, Oakland's Bobby Witt was pitching a perfect game against Kansas City in the sixth inning. The perfect game was broken up by an obvious blown call on a bunt play where the replays clearly showed Greg Gagne was out, but umpire Gary Cederstrom called him safe. Witt went back to work and got the next 11 outs in a row, with the blown call as the only hit of the game. He struck out 14."
Craig also mentions that Witt pitched two complete-game shutouts as a follow up to that contest, allowing only eight hits over 27 innings. Hopefully Galarraga can parlay this performance into a similar strong stretch over the next few weeks.
• I've seen a few people mention that the official scorer has the power to change the ruling on the play from a "hit" to an "error," which would give Galarraga the consolation prize of a no-hitter. I just don't see that line of thinking. There was no error on the play, so how could the official scorer go back and manufacture one? And is a corrected no-hitter really going to make anyone feel better that it wasn't a perfect game? Not a chance. Thankfully the scorer went on record this morning as saying he wants no part of such a switch.
• Finally, you know it's a big sports controversy when the Today Show does a segment on it.