Finding the Upside of the Perfect Game That Wasn't

Why a bad call isn't always a bad thing

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Whether you're a baseball fan, a sports fan, or a fan of the New York Times' homepage, by now you've had the chance to see the most epic human fail in the history of America's pastime. Well, at least in the history of this season. Last night, during a game between the Detroit Tigers and the Cleveland Indians, Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga found himself in the very rare position of being one play away from throwing a perfect game. Only 20 had done it before. With the possibility of becoming the 21st on the line, the pitcher threw to batter Jason Donald, who hit a short ball to the infield. Galarraga made his way to first base to complete the play for the game's final out. Except that the runner, who clearly failed to reach the bag before the ball, was incorrectly called safe by first base umpire, Jim Joyce.

Anyone would have expected Galarraga to lash out against Joyce—worse player reactions have been recorded—and indeed, as if on cue, sports bloggers jumped on the chance to holler about the need for instant replay in baseball. But in a refreshing turn of events, both the pitcher's and the umpire's reactions were far from the negative reaction expected, casting a favorable light on baseball in the eyes of some bloggers.

  • Pitch(er) Perfect  Danny Knobler at CBS Sports compares the fan reaction to Galarragga's as an example of the classy composure the pitcher had post-call. He says, "While we were screaming, he was smiling. When we were demanding retribution, he was offering forgiveness."
  • Right On, Ref   Before delving into reasons why Galarraga could be considered as a fantasy league addition, Yahoo fantasy baseball blogger Scott Pianowski, runs through reasons why the umpire was also a class act. "Joyce was a stand-up guy after the fact, admitting he blew the call and offering a sincere and direct apology to Galarraga. "
  • Baseball Wins  Joe Lapointe at the Huffington Post looks beyond the events of last night and puts them into the context of the game as a whole. He says, "In sports, things happen so suddenly and on such a bright stage that their impact is magnified. Sometimes, it's just a game and sometimes it is more than just a game. One sudden moment with two outs in the ninth in Detroit on Wednesday will out-live its participants and remind us of how, even in adversity, sports can bring out tour best."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.