Wednesday, June 2, 2010
It was history.
When Armando Galarraga stepped on first with the final out in his glove, it marked a tremendous personal comeback for a man who three weeks ago was pitching in the minors.
And then umpire James Joyce stepped in.
In what would likely be a top two or three "awful call of the year" regardless of the situation, Joyce called Cleveland Indian batter Jason Donald safe at first, although it was perfectly clear that Galarraga had beaten Donald to the bag by at WORST a half-step.
Galarraga's accomplishment would have been the third perfect game of the MLB season, a feat that has never been done. Now, it becomes a tragedy. A struggling pitcher who pitched the game of his life, and still couldn't catch a break. With one emphatic gesture, Jim Joyce put all celebrations aside, leaving Tiger Stadium in a state of incredulity. Even Jason Donald put his hands on his head in shock.
It is an utterly shameful night in baseball. An ignominious shadow has been cast over what should have been a beautiful moment. Even if Major League Baseball would overturn the umpires ruling (unlikely), it would still never be the same.
Galarraga deserved his moment. Jim Joyce made it his own.