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Ump’s Call Blows Perfect Game: Proof We Need Instant Replay

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There was a moment last night when Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga was one out away from immortality. Previously, centerfielder Austin Jackson (he of the trade for Curtis Granderson now on the Yankees) made a Willie Mays type catch to keep the perfect game alive. Galarraga gets a ground ball to first, goes to cover the bag, and makes the play. But wait a minute-umpire Jim Joyce calls Indians' shortstop Jason Donald safe. Immortality will have to wait a while, but should it be that way?

Watching the video replay of the game, it is clear that Donald was out. Even Joyce admitted as much after the game when he said, "I cost the kid a perfect game." Well, gee, that's big of you, Jimbo, but that does not put Galarraga into the elite class that he should be in this morning.

For his part, Galarraga just smiled and proceeded to get the next out, giving him a one-hit shutout and a 3-0 victory. His manager Jim Leyland and teammate Miguel Cabrera were more outraged than he was, but maybe he was still in a fog, not believing what was going on. Whatever the case, the Tigers and their fans should be outraged and screaming like the old Brooklyn Dodgers' fans used to yell, "We was robbed!"

I think more than ever we have a clear case of baseball needing to go to the video replay in games for big moments, not just homerun calls. This is a good example of how a manager could invoke use of the replay. Major League Baseball should not wait to institute some kind of edict that will allow umpires to review a big play such as this. Each manager should have one opportunity per game to do this (separate from the homerun call rule).

As for Galarraga, he just missed being in the exclusive club that no one ever forgets. My father was there in 1956 when Don Larsen threw his perfect game in the World Series against the Dodgers. He has never forgotten that moment and neither has baseball or its fans. There have only been 20 perfect games in baseball history; oddly enough, two of those have been thrown this year. This would have been number 21, but it will never be and that's a damn shame because an ump blew a call.

Now, it's baseball's turn to make things equitable on the field. Let's get it right from now on. Bud Selig should be able to do more than study the length of baseball games. Here's something that can improve the game right now. Come on, Mr. Selig, it's your turn to make the right call.

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About Victor Lana

Victor Lana has published numerous stories, articles, and poems in literary magazines and online. His books In a Dark Time (1994), A Death in Prague (2002), Move (2003), The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories (2005) and Like a Passing Shadow (2009) are available online and as e-books. He has won the National Arts Club Award for Poetry, but has concentrated mostly on fiction and non-fiction prose in recent years. He has worked as faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with Blogcritics since July 2005, has edited many articles, was co-head sports editor with Charley Doherty, and now is a Culture and Society editor. He views Blogcritics as one of most exciting, fresh, and meaningful opportunities in his writing life.
  • Christine

    Wow, this was all over the news today!

  • Victor Lana

    Yes, well it is a pretty big thing. Also, if this happened during a playoff game or the World Series…

    They should definitely consider instant replay ASAP!

  • Jack Goodstein

    What do you make of all the perfect games alll of a sudden?

  • Victor Lana

    I don’t know, Jack. Maybe there’s something in the water. Oops. Wrong story.

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