>> Thursday, June 03, 2010
As commenters have pointed out, fairness demands that it be noted that Jim Joyce may have screwed up what would have been a profitable future career as a Republican elected official or BP executive by admitting his egregious error. And given this it would probably better to emulate Galarraga's remarkable class and grace under pressure.
But since I'm not as good a person as Galarraga, I should explain why I don't buy the argument that since it didn't cost the Tigers the game it wasn't that big a deal. I think this actually stands the truth on its head. While I'm free about criticizing inept umpiring, I try to never claim that umps cost the team a game, because it's almost always more complicated than that. Cuzzi's foul call in the ALDS last year was at least as bad as Joyce's, but it was a pretty minor factor in the Twins loss; Cuzzi didn't tell Joe Nathan to throw a cookie to Slappy Rodriguez, he wasn't hitting when the Twins went on to parlay the bases loaded with none out into zero runs, and given the same sequence of events the Twins would have been huge underdogs, tied against a better team on the road. Same thing with Denkinger; it was a bad call, if not quite was bad as Joyce/Cuzzi, but the Cardinals still had every chance to win after it, and Denkinger wasn't hitting or pitching when the Cardinals went on to be outscored 13-0. The endless whining by the Cardinals and their fans is not merely problematic but unseemly, excuse making by a team that lost and deserved to lose. And as much as it pains me to admit it, the same goes for the Seahawks' Super Bowl loss. If Holmgren spent less time complaining about the officiating and more time on his two minute drill they might have won.
What was unusual about the Joyce call was that it really was an if-not-then call in which the athletes in question were blameless. Which, combined with the fact that it wasn't close but was a call a major league umpire should never get wrong, makes it hard to forgive. And while a perfect game might be an "arbitrary" accomplishment, well, Dennis Martinez in 1991 and Pedro's 27 outs-with-no-support in San Diego in 1995 are two of my most ten most vividly remembered regular season games as a fan, and I don't think I'm unusual.