The 21st Perfect Game

“I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I’ve worshiped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball… I’ve tried ’em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.” – Annie Savoy” Bull Durham

The game of baseball is a game of half a step, half an inch, half a second. The difference between making the most amazing play and becoming part of history or falling short.

Tonight was a historical night. Armando Galaragga made history by being the 21st pitcher to pitch a perfect game. But you won’t see his name in the books. His accomplishment won’t be written as a rare feat. In fact, what you will see on record is that he made it through 8.2 innings when he gave up a hit to Jason Donald. Don’t let the books fool you, it wasn’t a controversial call by first base umpire Jim Joyce, it was a flat out wrong call. There shouldn’t have been any question in any one’s mind on whether or not Jason Donald was safe. He wasn’t.
Armando Galaragga.jpg
In my baseball life, which I’ll confess, has been short lived thus far, I have never been more upset about a call than I was tonight. Not that final called strike which was clearly a ball on one of my Rockies, not the safe call that was clearly out on one of my Red Sox. No. This call tonight, this blown call by Jim Joyce, THIS was unbelievable.

All those other calls? I’ll get over them. I got over them. It was an isntant that was me yelling at my TV and telling the umpire that I, as a squinty eyed asian, had better vision than he did.

Tonight’s blown call is one that I can’t stop being mad over. Tonight’s blown call should’ve made history. Armando Galaragga’s magic number should have been 21. See, baseball? It’s magical. The passion, the sounds, the smells, the respect, the love, everything that goes into the game is magical. A perfect game, a no hitter? They’re beyond magical. They’re a breathtaking feat that are so rare to see, it’s been miraculous that I’ve gotten to see three, technically four, in my baseball life.

Tonight that magic was stolen when Jim Joyce called Jason Donald safe. Jim Joyce’sArmando Galaragga 02.jpg apology? I respect the fact that he manned up and said, “yes, I made a mistake,” but that’s not going to change the record books. That’s not going to give Galaragga a perfect game. His apology doesn’t call Jason Donald out. The fact is, one of the most amazing and rare feats in baseball, a feat accomplished by only twenty before him, was within reach tonight. On one single mistake, one blind person’s error, his name won’t be found under “perfect games.”

So, what do you plan to do about this, Emily? That’s a good question. I don’t exactly know. I wouldn’t have any ideas. I’ll tell you right now that I’m not one who is on board for instant replays in baeball. In fact, I think if that were the case, too many things would be argued and it could become just a ridiculous circus. But it shows, aftera ll the umpiring mistakes this season, that they’re costing more than just games, they’re cositng us history.

Armando Galaragga 03.jpgThrough all this, nothing made me more proud tonight than to see Armando Galaragga give a simple smile and go right back to work. He’s an incredible representation for his country and a class act. Even when Jim Joyce said, “I cost him that perfect game,” he went on his way and forgave him. You didn’t see Armando Galaragga acting like Carlos Zambrano, you saw him acting like an upstanding player.

So yes, I still believe in the church of baseball, and yes, I still think this is a magical game, and yes, my heart is still broken for the history that was lost tonight. But in my book, Armando Galaragga will ALWAYS be the 21st pitcher to pitch a perfect game, regardless of any asterisk inserted into any books, who will go on record as the 21st pitcher to throw a perfect game, or what any blind umpire says. I witnessed history tonight, I got to witness an amazing and rare accomplishment, and I am so proud of Armando Galaragga, and damn proud to have witnessed his perfect game.



  1. ohy22xd

    Excellent post Emily. You really nailed it. Right on! When I first saw the call, I was furious at Jim Joyce for shattering Armando Galrraga’s perfect game. When Joyce sincerely apologized and burst into tears, I kind of understood his point of view and what he had to go through to fight off the chorus of boos from the Tigers fans. Armando Galarraga showed a true definition of high class. He deserves a standing O when he smiled off to hide his pain after a horrible call. Not even arguing a tiny bit. Like you said, although his name will not be in the book, he is the 21st pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game. Nice work!

  2. Jonah

    Galarraga and Joyce deserve all the kudos for putting the mistake behind them. However, I’ve heard reports of death threats against Joyce for the blown call – which is so richly undeserving and so not cool. Baseball is a great escape, and ultimately, just a great game. It was a bad call, but Joyce is human, and props to Galarraga for taking the mistake in stride. He’s definetly a person of great character. He may not officially have thrown a perfect game, but we all know better.


  3. mytribe

    Donald was safe. The ball was not firmly held by the glove in the first frame that you are are using. It was not until the glove was firmly held against the leg that Galarraga had control of the ball, and at that point Donald was well past the base.

    Joyce was manipulated after the game into watching the wrong replay. The freeze play used during the actual broadcast simply was a television engineer’s decision to freeze that particular frame, making it look like the ball was firmly in the mitt.

    It is so sad how everybody rushed to judge the play when the play was never even properly reviewed during the game.

    There was only one angle that showed the play in any sort of way that could be properly judged, and that was the angle that was tampered with by the detroit tigers engineering crew.

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