Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Jim Joyce is a hero, not a villain

You make the call.

I did. I thought Jim Joyce got it right today.

I thought the umpire made the right call with two outs in the ninth inning in Detroit. I thought the runner, Jason Donald, beat the ground ball he hit that was thrown to pitcher Armando Galarraga at first base in time.

In real time. I thought he was safe, too.

But this is a YouTube world filled with second guessers who have the benefit of slow-motion replay and too much free time on their hands and no balls who simply revel in criticizing and hating somebody.

OK. I get it. An umpire blew a call. It happens. It was a game nobody outside of Detroit or Cleveland gave a damn about until this mistake cost Galarraga a perfect game.

Yet Jim Joyce is perceived as a villain. Aren’t all umpires who blow calls?

Pardon me for saying this but I think Jim Joyce is a hero. It is perceived that umpires are never wrong. Well, they’re human like you and me. Joyce saw the slow-motion replay – like you and me – and came to the same conclusion like you and me. Donald was out. It was easy to see. In slow-motion. Over and over and over again. And over and over some more.

It was a bang-bang play in real time. Joyce was put in a position to make a split-second call as the ball beat the runner to the bag by a split second. It’s a 50/50 call. OK, maybe 55-45, but certainly no worse than 60-40.

But the second-guessers act like it was 100 percent an out and Joyce, a 23-year veteran umpire in the big leagues, is 100 percent an idiot.

C’mon. Watch it like I did for the very first time, without knowledge that a perfect game was on the line, and make the call.

The shame of all this is the focus is all wrong. On the day one of the greatest players in the history of the game retires – Ken Griffey Jr. – people are lining up to rip an umpire. That’s more wrong than the call itself.

Instead, Joyce is bound to become a national punchline in a running joke. I’m just waiting to read that Jim Joyce was on steroids and therefore Galarraga should get credit for a perfect game in the record books … with an asterisk.

What I’m going to remember about Galarraga’s near perfect game is not that Jim Joyce made a bad call to rob the Tigers pitcher of a perfect game but the way Joyce handled it. Honestly. He realized that he made an honest mistake when he saw the replay like the rest of us then apologized to Galarraga and Tigers manager Jim Leyland.

Jim Joyce is more than an umpire. He’s a man who admits mistakes and that’s not easy.

He’s a hero in real time.


Anonymous MyTribe said...

The pitcher bobbled the ball. Too bad the Detroit feed
never showed the right angle without stopping the action halfway through to give the illusion the ball was caught, when it was still being bobbled.

June 2, 2010 at 11:22 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I noticed the bobble too. I also notice that a number of videos show the play from every angle except that one.

June 3, 2010 at 6:03 AM  

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