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June 2, 2010 8:34 PM   Subscribe

Blown call costs pitcher a perfect game. It should have been the third perfect game this season, and only the 21st in major league history. Armando Galarraga was one out away from a perfect game, only to have it spoiled by what will likely be remembered as one of the worst calls in baseball history. "I just cost that kid a perfect game," said umpire Jim Joyce, a 22-year veteran. Can we go to the replay? Nope!

For comparison, more humans have orbited the moon than have thrown a perfect game, but Nos. 19 and 20 happened in the past few weeks.

Worst calls ever?

Bill Simmons tweets about silver linings.
posted by Cool Papa Bell (219 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
It was one of the most unbelievable, heartbreaking moments I've witnessed in many many years of watching baseball. The pitcher, the team, and the fans were all cheated out of a triply history making moment by one man's fuckup. Joyce should just retire now -- he'll never get away from this moment for the rest of his career.
posted by hippybear at 8:40 PM on June 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


heh... more like the flubliners.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:43 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Galarraga was on fire. He ended up having a 28-out "perfect" game. I think he could have gone 2-3 more innings of perfect ball.
posted by starman at 8:44 PM on June 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


this sucked.... The tigers, Leyland, Galarraga all were as classy as was possible in this situation.

There needs to be a way to correct this error.
posted by HuronBob at 8:45 PM on June 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Oh, and Austin Jackson's catch for the 26th out was amazing.
posted by starman at 8:47 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The other silver lining is that people will talk about this for years, probably more than the "ordinary" perfect games.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:50 PM on June 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well at least we'll get a good Baseball Project song out of it.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:50 PM on June 2, 2010


I am a Tigers fan and I fall squarely on the "this is an outrage and needs to be corrected somehow" side of things here.

But watching the video not in slow motion, it doesn't look all that clear to me. Yes, in slow motion he was clearly out. But at full speed? Maybe at field level it was more obvious, but I'm just not seeing it as all being as clear as commentators are making it out to be.
posted by The World Famous at 8:51 PM on June 2, 2010


The tigers, Leyland, Galarraga all were as classy as was possible in this situation.

I'd add Joyce to that list as well. He owned up to his mistake and the fact that some fans are calling for him to be drummed out of baseball is utterly ridiculous. Calls are blown fairly regularly and for better or for worse, it's part of the game. Shit happens. It's just that tonight it happened at the worst possible moment.
posted by dhammond at 8:52 PM on June 2, 2010 [21 favorites]


Fuuuuuuuck. I don't follow baseball at all, but this is so, so sad. Especially when you think about the situation Galarraga was in:

"Galarraga ... was recalled from Triple-A Toledo on May 16 after pitching poorly during spring training, losing out in a competition for the final spot in the rotation to Dontrelle Willis, who was traded Tuesday, and Nate Robertson, who was dealt to Florida toward before the team broke camp.
It was Galarraga's first complete game and first shutout."

I mean, Christ. The phrase "Cinderella Story" is cliche, but this was one, and this guy got cheated out of one of the best night's of his life.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:53 PM on June 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm just not seeing it as all being as clear as commentators are making it out to be.

/calls The World Famous a cocksucker and kicks dirt on his shoes
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:55 PM on June 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


FWIW, the immediate heartfelt teary-eyed apology from the ump, and the ensuing hug were very nice, but I think the ultimate classy act would've been for the baserunner to protest it - "Dude, no. I was out by a mile. I'll be in the dugout, you do your thing."
posted by hypersloth at 8:57 PM on June 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


I kind of wanted to punch Jim Joyce in the face for awhile but, Jesus, he's sounding vaguely suicidal and I can't get that upset at a guy who already feels that much guilt. I like my villains more...villainy.

I just hope they can somehow fix the motherfucker.
posted by kbanas at 8:57 PM on June 2, 2010


I'm just not seeing it as all being as clear as commentators are making it out to be.

/calls The World Famous a cocksucker and kicks dirt on his shoes


ye gods!, 10 comments in and we're already at Deadwood levels of insulting
posted by mannequito at 8:58 PM on June 2, 2010


Sucks for everyone involved, including the ump. This is why baseball (most sports) need more replay- it should be about getting the call right. Clearly you can make some requirements so this doesn't get abused, but I'd rather it gets abused in the "just making sure" direction than in the "oh whoops human error blew it for you" one.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:58 PM on June 2, 2010


I notice the Jay's should-have-been triple play in the world series didn't make ESPN's list.
posted by Chuckles at 9:00 PM on June 2, 2010


I've been explaining this incident to my non-baseball fan friends in this manner:

Imagine that you spent four hours making the most delicious cake ever conceived by man, measuring out every ingredient to the last detail, monitoring the baking process with a keen eye, then carefully pulling it out of the oven and waiting for it to cool to just the right temperature to allow for proper frosting. With great care, you apply an even layer of frosting so that each millimeter of spongy deliciousness is covered equally. You open your mouth, ready to taste the fruits of your labor, and just as you are about to take a bite somebody kicks you in the face.
posted by HostBryan at 9:01 PM on June 2, 2010 [27 favorites]


(Yes I am a Tigers fan.)
posted by HostBryan at 9:02 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


kbanas: "I like my villains more...villainy."

I believe the correct word you are looking for is villainous.
posted by MrLint at 9:02 PM on June 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ouch. That hurt to watch.
posted by Cyrano at 9:06 PM on June 2, 2010


Joyce should file a dispute himself, asking that the call be overturned. It would be a first, to be certain, but it will otherwise go down as the biggest blown call in MLB history.
posted by bjork24 at 9:08 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


"/calls The World Famous a cocksucker and kicks dirt on his shoes"

You're so romantic.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 9:11 PM on June 2, 2010


Just a tad harsh there, hippybear. You've never made a mistake before?

He's sorry for the error, and acted with class. I feel bad for Galarraga, and I'm a baseball fan too, but it's also not like Joyce's error caused nuclear war or something.

I'm in favor of using replay if they integrate it such that it's pretty seamless, and limited use by each side so as not to kill the game pace. Make it like tennis, where each side has a set number of times to call for replay and use similar tech.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:11 PM on June 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


But watching the video not in slow motion, it doesn't look all that clear to me. Yes, in slow motion he was clearly out. But at full speed? Maybe at field level it was more obvious, but I'm just not seeing it as all being as clear as commentators are making it out to be.

One of the ESPN commentators of the game I was watching that they cut away to for that 9th inning of the Detroit game said something illuminating about exactly that point. He said that umpires are trained not only to work with their eyes, but also their ears, and to listen for things like when feet hit bases and when balls hit gloves to help them make clear what may be confusing to the eye.

Now, I'm not a trained umpire, I have terrible eyes and would never even want that responsibility. But I know, watching it live in real time on the television with the trained eye of a few decades of baseball watching both live and on television, he was clearly out. Both my partner and I were in utter shock at the call, even before there was any kind of frame-by-frame replay shown.

If it was that clear to us on a long camera shot on television, it had to be even more clear to someone with 22 years of experience standing 10-15' from the action where he could actually hear what was happening.
posted by hippybear at 9:11 PM on June 2, 2010


I saw that live. (on TV). I've never seen a no-hitter. I was gassed for a couple innings, there. Totally fucked. Even if they never implement instant replay during games, you'd think there'd be some kind of ability to petition bullshit like that, at least after the fact. He was robbed of a place in history.

Oh, and Austin Jackson's catch for the 26th out was amazing.

Yes, it was. I loved Galarraga's sheepish smile after that one -- he knew he'd saved his ass.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:13 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


In other words, calls get blown as the game stands right now. This is just on another level in terms of importance. So, replay.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:14 PM on June 2, 2010


Man, this is just heartbreaking.

Plus, I want to know what's in the water they're giving pitchers. Is there something in the special mud? (Almost) three in a month, compared to, what, nineteen in the HISTORY OF BASEBALL?

If this is the future, I'm all for it.
posted by sugarfish at 9:16 PM on June 2, 2010


Can we talk about the imaginary strike zone now?
posted by Danf at 9:22 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


you'd think there'd be some kind of ability to petition bullshit like that

Yes, especially when things like this seem to be allowed.
posted by hippybear at 9:22 PM on June 2, 2010


Unbelievable.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:24 PM on June 2, 2010


but it's also not like Joyce's error caused nuclear war or something.

Yet. The night is young.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:27 PM on June 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't think adding replay would kill the pace of baseball. Only the heat death of the universe would have a measurable effect.
posted by jewzilla at 9:31 PM on June 2, 2010 [11 favorites]


But watching the video not in slow motion, it doesn't look all that clear to me. Yes, in slow motion he was clearly out. But at full speed? Maybe at field level it was more obvious, but I'm just not seeing it as all being as clear as commentators are making it out to be.

I watch a lot of baseball on TV, and calls at first base are the easiest to see in real time because you can tell approximately when the ball will hit the glove and when the runner's foot will hit the bag, and there are no subtleties like whether a tag missed or a slide was blocked by the fielder. He was out by a full stride, which by calls at first base standards is a pretty huge margin. He was even out by a bigger margin than the infamous Don Denkinger call in the 1985 World Series.

I usually only get it wrong if the play is much closer (where the ball is caught with the runner more around a foot away from touching the base), and moreover the umpires hardly ever get it wrong in general, even though they show replays constantly on close ones. Usually the replay proves the ump right, and most of the rest of the time it's too close to tell even when they show it frame by frame from a good angle. I don't remember seeing a call at first base blown this badly in any situation in a long time, let alone to spoil a perfect game on the last batter.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:33 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Damn. I feel for the guy. I don't, however, feel for the ump. He fucked up, and while he apologized, not fucking up would have been a classier move. Yes, I freely admit, I make mistakes, and I'm still throwing stones, simply because (as far as I've noticed) my mistakes rarely impact things of historical (even baseball) import. Getting your name on the list of perfect game pitchers is, in a way, immortality, and while the infamy is there, it still won't go down as a perfect game.

In other words, when the stakes are that high, you should try to rise up, to be at your peak. I mean, it was potentially the last out. Focus, man.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:36 PM on June 2, 2010


I know that the 'human element' is a big touchstone with baseball traditionalists, who argue tooth and nail against technology intruding into the beloved National Pastime, that taking the decisions out of the hands of the imperfect humans who oversee it will diminish The Game somehow....

More than this?

Things were done this way in the dim dark past because it was the best way available. Hey, fraud, steroids, racism and cheating were once beloved baseball traditions and we don't seem to have any trouble trying to dispense with those. I have always despised the notion that the strike zone isn't the strike zone, it's what some grumpy, possibly grudge-holding official decides it is. That day. That batter. That pitch. It's not 'charming' or 'dignified' or imbued with superior human decision-making. It's stupid. Or the fact that they aren't even allowed to peek at the screen to see what really happened --like that would be a bad thing, to know what actually happened-- and that their egos are such that they dare not overrule each other for fear of starting some hellish irk match with someone you're tied to for half the year.

Also this week, the sad state of affairs in the Nats/Astros series: an umpire getting huffy and tossing the Astros ace pitcher for being angry with himself and having the temerity to point that out to the official --after all, in baseball reality is not what happened, it's what the umpire SAYS happened. Then the next night the same umpire --after being reprimanded by the league-- felt forced to blow another call, this time in favor of the Astros, because getting the call correct would have cost the Astros the game and he owed them.... Nice ethical tradition. Why not steroids?

Tradition is the same lousy argument used to uphold every crappy thing in the world that has passed it's shelf life. I am a season-ticket-holding, game-going, love-the-sport fan, and I'd trade a potload of useless, stupid, rusty tradition for a tiny slice of modern competence. It's the 21st century: surely we can come up with something better than a pack of beefy louts with bad attitudes.
posted by umberto at 9:41 PM on June 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


burnmp3s, give me a break... That 1985 call was just about the same as the one today. There is no way he was "out by a full stride". Note that in the freeze frame of the video in the link above, the ball hasn't quite been caught yet, and the foot is already on the way down toward the bag.
posted by Chuckles at 9:42 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


It was a horrible call that cost him the perfect game. The way the people involved handled was very classy and for Jim Joyce to admit he made a mistake was a big step, unlike some other umps in the league, cough joe west cough. Also watching the replay you could tell that the Indians runner felt horrible that he was safe and he couldn't belive the call. He must be over thinking how he ran down the baseline all night. I mean I know your supposed to go out there and run hard every play, but nobody wants to be "that guy" with two outs in the ninth inning to break it up.
posted by lilkeith07 at 9:47 PM on June 2, 2010


I don't think adding replay would kill the pace of baseball. Only the heat death of the universe would have a measurable effect.

Yeah, maybe a bit less-snarkily but this.

Baseball isn't even my third favorite sport, but I know enough Uber Fans to have picked a few things up and I do love going to games (Yeah! Eight dollar hot dogs! With chili! [$2 extra]) and have seen enough to appreciate things like working a pitch count to slow down the game and allow a relief guy more time to warm up.

Replay won't kill baseball. At worst, Bob Costas covers himself in asterisks tattoos like a Buckeye helmet.
posted by Cyrano at 9:47 PM on June 2, 2010


we're already at Deadwood levels of insulting
You take that back you jackbooted whoreson!
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 9:49 PM on June 2, 2010


Big baseball fan here. This is so heartbreaking. But, this is exactly why I love the sport and why instant reply should NOT be implemented. This adds to the lore of baseball and will be talked about argued about and cursed about for generations.

The kid got robbed, the umpire Joyce blew the biggest call of his career but that is the beauty of baseball, the human element.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:49 PM on June 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm glad we don't appreciate the beauty of the human element in our airplane architecture, or financial lives, or basically any other human endeavor.

"No, the surgeon, when he left the knife in the chest....that's the BEAUTY, don't you see? Yes, the patient died...but...but....people will talk about it for years."

Always loved baseball. Never understood this baloney.
posted by umberto at 9:58 PM on June 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


This is so heartbreaking. But, this is exactly why I love the sport and why instant reply should NOT be implemented. This adds to the lore of baseball and will be talked about argued about and cursed about for generations.

This.

I'm far from a luddite when it comes to sports -- I love the integration of replay into American football, I couldn't be happier with all the electronic hash-mark highlighting, hockey-puck-circling doodadery we're getting. But, to me, something about baseball is different.

Baseball is the only remotely notable American sport in which the *defence* controls the pace of the game. Baseball is the only remotely notable American sport which has no specified clock time. I'm fine with baseball being the only remotely notable American sport that *doesn't* rely upon instant replay for scientific accuracy.

Maybe it's because baseball to me is lazy summer evenings, a community park with a hundred people or so watching, and the hum of the lights fighting with only the hum of the bees. Maybe it's because I love seeing games at Wrigley, and hate going to super-modern shopping mall domes. Maybe it's because I grew up with Casey at the Bat and the legend of the Black Sox and the wonder of ancient, dog-eared baseball cards. Maybe it's because baseball has a legend, a history to it that other sports don't seem to.

Maybe it's just because this makes a better, much more memorable and heart-tugging story to add to our national heritage than "ump blows call, gets over-ruled by the all-seeing camera, whaddaya know it's a perfect game" would have been. I don't know.

But, as wrong as this seems, it seems right, it seems perfect, it seems BASEBALL in a way that instant replay doesn't.
posted by jammer at 10:00 PM on June 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints: /calls The World Famous a cocksucker and kicks dirt on his shoes

mannequito: ye gods!, 10 comments in and we're already at Deadwood levels of insulting.

That wasn't an insult. Calling the ump bad names and kicking dirt on his shoes is just the usual way of demonstrating disagreement with a bad call. If you're Billy Martin you do both.
posted by three blind mice at 10:02 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


burnmp3s, give me a break... That 1985 call was just about the same as the one today. There is no way he was "out by a full stride". Note that in the freeze frame of the video in the link above, the ball hasn't quite been caught yet, and the foot is already on the way down toward the bag.

Not exactly the same angle, but here's an image of both calls side by side. The 1985 play seems to be around twice as close as tonight's play, and that call is widely known as a historically bad call. Full stride might have been overstating the case, but the batter is clearly several feet from the base when Galarraga touches it. It may not seem like much of a difference, but like I said a lot of questionable calls at first base are so close that you can't tell even when they step through frame by frame.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:02 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


MLB.com, Sports Illustrated, and The New York Times all weigh in on the issue (with some good freeze frame shots of the moment in question).
posted by hippybear at 10:07 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think casual fans of the game can miss how big of a deal a perfect game is. There has been an average of one every six years (two last month, I know) since the last 1800s. A perfect game is the greatest achievement a pitcher can achieve and one of the greatest individual achievements in sports.

Joyce sounds apologetic and it appears to be an honest mistake, but sometimes mistakes have consequences. I'd like to see instant reply implemented (with an additional umpire in the press box with video) and Joyce given a lifetime ban from baseball (or forced retirement).
posted by null terminated at 10:13 PM on June 2, 2010


*late 1800s.

Also, I agree with the above poster that it would've been great had the Indians refused to finish the game.
posted by null terminated at 10:15 PM on June 2, 2010


but it's also not like Joyce's error caused nuclear war or something.

Yet. The night is young.


And it is Detroit, after all.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:18 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I work with a Tigers fan. I will offer him my condolences tomorrow.
posted by rtha at 10:25 PM on June 2, 2010


I am a huge baseball fan and while this is heartbreaking, I'm wondering why none of the other umps overruled him. They get together and confab all the time about fair/fall calls and homerun/ground rule doubles, and I understand that much of the time the crew chief lets his crew make their calls and he stands by them, but this? This called for a conversation, considering every other person in the stadium, whether on the field or not, saw that the runner was out.
posted by buzzkillington at 10:26 PM on June 2, 2010


kbanas: "I like my villains more...villainy."

I believe the correct word you are looking for is villainous.
posted by MrLint at 9:02 PM on June 2


That's the problem with MetaFilter, it's just wham one split-second decision to comment, and that decision goes down in the record forever.

WE NEED INSTANT REPOST
posted by Bokononist at 10:28 PM on June 2, 2010 [13 favorites]


It's hard to stay mad at Jim Joyce after listening to his post-game interview where he beats himself up over the missed call.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:36 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


A lifetime ban from baseball? Are you kidding me? Joyce has been nothing but classy and he is a total professional. He feels terrible about this and I'm sure it will eat at him for years. Yes, in most people's opinions he should have asked for help on the call, but for whatever reason he didn't.

For reference, here are the rules that apply (edited for concision):
9.02(a): Any umpire's decision which involves judgment, such as, but not limited to, whether a batted ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a runner is safe or out, is final. No player, manager, coach or substitute shall object to any such judgment decisions.

9.02(c): If a decision is appealed, the umpire making the decision may ask another umpire for information before making a final decision. No umpire shall criticize, seek to reverse or interfere with another umpire's decision unless asked to do so by the umpire making it.

9.04(b): A field umpire may take any position on the playing field he thinks best suited to make impending decisions on the bases. His duties shall be to:
(1) Make all decisions on the bases except those specifically reserved to the umpire in chief

9.04(c)If different decisions should be made on one play by different umpires, the Crew Chief shall call all the umpires into consultation, with no manager or player present. After consultation, the Crew Chief shall determine which decision shall prevail, based on which umpire was in best position and which decision was most likely correct. Play shall proceed as if only the final decision had been made.
posted by kyleg at 10:46 PM on June 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Forgot to add: Because he was right there at the base, no ump would have been in a better visual position to make the call, so his ruling would have been tough to overturn. The current use of replay for home runs took a long time time to find acceptance, it's unlikely to see it spread into other areas of the game. If the NFL is any indication, replay would move baseball's pace from glacial to tectonic.
posted by kyleg at 11:01 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]



Imagine that you spent four hours making the most delicious cake ever conceived by man, measuring out every ingredient to the last detail, monitoring the baking process with a keen eye, then carefully pulling it out of the oven and waiting for it to cool to just the right temperature to allow for proper frosting. With great care, you apply an even layer of frosting so that each millimeter of spongy deliciousness is covered equally.


Now imagine you'll never have that recipe again. Oh, no!
posted by Kirk Grim at 11:03 PM on June 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


But, as wrong as this seems, it seems right, it seems perfect, it seems BASEBALL in a way that instant replay doesn't.

like multimillion dollar stars having to piss in a cup to prove they're not using steroids to beef up their home run totals?

no, BASEBALL isn't what it used to be
posted by pyramid termite at 11:08 PM on June 2, 2010


In cricket teams are now allowed to appeal to the replay if they feel the decision was clearly wrong. I think they can only do it a limited amount though, so as to stop any shenanigans. The system works well IMO and baseball wouldn't lose anything by having it.
posted by awfurby at 11:31 PM on June 2, 2010


The kid got robbed, the umpire Joyce blew the biggest call of his career but that is the beauty of baseball, the human element.

This is so weirdly sadistic. To me, the beauty of baseball is some nameless pitcher just called back from AAA doing something that only 20 other people have ever done. But to you, the beauty is two people whose lives are forever changed for the worse so you can spend a few forgettable moments appreciating a mistake masquerading as some weird notion of humanity.

Selig should overturn it but he's too much of a coward to do so.
posted by one_bean at 11:32 PM on June 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm glad we don't appreciate the beauty of the human element in our airplane architecture, or financial lives, or basically any other human endeavor.

"No, the surgeon, when he left the knife in the chest....that's the BEAUTY, don't you see? Yes, the patient died...but...but....people will talk about it for years."

Always loved baseball. Never understood this baloney.


Nah, this isn't the same as that at all. Airplanes are mechanical systems, ball games are not. Financial systems are complex, ball games are simple.

Baseball is more art than science, more philosophy than recipe. It is a game designed for human inches, instead of the sterile ones on your ruler. Precision has as much to do with the flavour of the moment than it does with the actual real objective strike zone. It is an antidote to the American way that everything has to be measured to be valid. It is art.

I'm glad not to have the human element in airplane operation either, but I would be sad if Picasso's work came down to 17 colours and Beethoven's string quartets were simply composed of notes.

Baseball has mastered the art of judgement in sport, unlike the myriad of Olympic games like taekwondo and ice dancing and synchronized swimming. It just works, for good and for ill.
posted by salishsea at 11:50 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thing is, stuff like this happens every day. The Mariners won on a blown call tonight. All instant replay does is really drive home the point this is a business now, not a game.

Not that it's been anything but a business since 1869, but at least until the 1970s most players had offseason training programs that consisted of smoking, drinking, working at the hometown gas station, and fishing. That was mainly because the reserve clause was keeping them from being paid what they were worth, but back then most guys were just making enough to get by and not six digit salaries just for being the 25th guy on the roster.

I wouldn't have a problem with Selig overturning the call, but honestly, this is now the most memorable perfect game since Don Larsen's. Like Schubert's Eighth, maybe it's best left unfinished and imperfect.
posted by dw at 11:57 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


And speaking of the endless complaints of how long a baseball game takes -- the time of the Tigers-Indians game? A speedy 1 hour, 44 minutes.
posted by dw at 12:04 AM on June 3, 2010


ball games are simple

Michael Lewis disagrees.

Baseball is more art


Picasso disagrees.

It just works, for good and for ill


Detroit disagrees.

But seriously, all these mopey-eyed Tigers fans should look at what the Irish went through and STFU.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 12:26 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Galarraga was on fire. He ended up having a 28-out "perfect" game. I think he could have gone 2-3 more innings of perfect ball.

Of all the posts, this one stood out the most. How do you solve this problem? Put him in the books as having pitched a perfect game with an asterisk. What does the asterisk mean? He was the only pitcher to pitch 28 outs in a perfect game.

As an aside, the strike decades ago was what killed the game for me. So let the fans decide if they want replays or not.
posted by chemoboy at 12:27 AM on June 3, 2010


As a soccer fan, this is an interesting debate to me, because a lot of the same arguments come up in soccer with regard to the lack of instant replay, goal-line technology, etc. In that sport, "the human element" is also considered to be part of the mystique and a trump reason over things like getting the call right. Somewhat ironically, the day that international soccer officials permanently rejected the use of technology to aid officials, an FA cup match was won in part thanks to a legitimate goal for the other side being disallowed.

In soccer, though, part of the reason that technology is disfavored by officials is because using it would slow down the pace of the game. I can't really imagine that being a primary factor in baseball, which is already as slow as American sports get. But with the amount of money, prestige, reputation at stake in the modern game, it seems ludicrous to pretend that we're playing the same game as we did in 1890 and therefore we shouldn't do anything they didn't do.
posted by Errant at 12:32 AM on June 3, 2010


Alright, I think you are right, crazy bad call.. In the last replay of this clip, it is obvious that the catch was an ice cream cone. The clip I was looking at earlier ended in a freeze frame of the ball sitting on the end of the glove, looking like it was still in flight. In reality, it was long since caught at that point.
posted by Chuckles at 1:01 AM on June 3, 2010


Nah, I changed my mind again... That freeze frame in the final replay is the producers best guess at when Galarraga touches the bag, and the runner's foot is very close at that point.
posted by Chuckles at 1:07 AM on June 3, 2010


The kid got robbed, the umpire Joyce blew the biggest call of his career but that is the beauty of baseball, the human element.

I'm sure Galarraga, who I imagine truly appreciates the beauty of baseball, agrees with you.
posted by tzikeh at 1:30 AM on June 3, 2010


Chuckles: Nah, I changed my mind again... That freeze frame in the final replay is the producers best guess at when Galarraga touches the bag, and the runner's foot is very close at that point.

Look at this picture and say that again with a straight face.
posted by tzikeh at 1:53 AM on June 3, 2010


This didn't take long at all.
posted by pjern at 2:26 AM on June 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


jammer paints the black for the k. Game over, jammer wins, jammer wins!
posted by sfts2 at 2:54 AM on June 3, 2010


>The kid got robbed, the umpire Joyce blew the biggest call of his career but that is the beauty of baseball, the human element.

>>This is so weirdly sadistic. To me, the beauty of baseball is some nameless pitcher just called back from AAA doing something that only 20 other people have ever done. But to you, the beauty is two people whose lives are forever changed for the worse so you can spend a few forgettable moments appreciating a mistake masquerading as some weird notion of humanity
.


Damn right. Sport is for me.
posted by doublehappy at 3:57 AM on June 3, 2010


No question the ump blew the call and Galarraga was robbed of a history-making moment. But, that's baseball. Played by humans, and officiated by humans. And mistakes will happen. That's part of the appeal. And that's what infuriates so many people who can't stand to have anything left to chance in their sports (or lives.)

If you want to watch something programmed, reviewed, and run to machine-like efficiency, watch football.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:43 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


But, that's baseball. Played by humans, and officiated by humans.

Even grade-schoolers playing kickball understand the difference between what's in the rules and what's right. This is what humans do that is exactly what you're saying - not run to machine-like efficiency. They make a call, decide that, upon review, it was wrong, and fix it.

And that's what infuriates so many people who can't stand to have anything left to chance in their sports (or lives.)

...yeah, that's exactly why so many people are infuriated right now. You nailed it. (What is this I don't even)
posted by tzikeh at 5:07 AM on June 3, 2010


I like the human element in baseball. I think the fact that pitchers have to figure out each umpire's strike zone adds something to the game. I like to watch umps and players interact, and I like, well, the humanity of it. This time, the humanity of the ump ended up with an awful, awful, call. But it can go both ways, so I say leave it the way it is.

At any rate, the way I saw this play was this: if the play is very close, a bang-bang play, the ump should, in this case, give it to the fielder. It's a perfect game. I guarantee you that everybody in that stadium, no matter who they came in to cheer for, were rooting for the perfect game by the time the 27th batter came up. Joyce had absolutely nothing to lose by calling the guy out as long as the play was a close one. That was his mistake. (My guess is that he was listening for the ball to hit Galarraga's glove, and he didn't—the ball was caught in the fingertips of the glove and probably didn't make an audible sound, especially with the crowd being as loud as it was. Because he didn't hear it before he saw the foot hit the bag, he made the safe call).

But it is just as plausible for it to go the other way, for it to be bang-bang play, and the ump to make the wrong call by calling the baserunner out even if he's safe. If that happens, we go to replay, and sit around and wait to find out that a video camera robbed this kid of a perfect game. It's a much better story without replay. That's my two cents, anyway.

And if nothing else, this has made me a big fan of Galarraga, not for his pitching ability, but as a human being. As soon as the call was made, a grin spread over his face. He just took it in stride, and after the game, didn't call anybody out. He just admitted it was a close call. That's sportsmanship.
posted by synecdoche at 5:15 AM on June 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


Why doesn't MLB just overrule the call? It's perfectly simple to uphold the Tigers' protest and declare the game over at the point of the call. They would just have to cast out the paltry few stats generated by the following AB (just like they do already with rainouts) and could accomplish a number of goals at the same time. First they'd do the right thing, as tzikeh mentions, but they'd also gain a little much-needed good PR as being responsive and fair. They'd also defuse some of the clamor for instant replay, which I don't think is a good thing for baseball, in general.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:17 AM on June 3, 2010


If you were a pitcher, which would you rather have: A "perfect" game that ain't perfect because of a blown call, or a perfect game that you ended up losing?
posted by JanetLand at 5:27 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


game n.

1. An activity providing entertainment or amusement; a pastime.
posted by larry_darrell at 5:49 AM on June 3, 2010


Posnanski on the game.
posted by synecdoche at 5:56 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, Joyce should be on a 72-hour suicide watch. Rarely have I heard someone more ready to throw themselves on a sword for their mistake. Which I completely understand. He almost sounds drunk in the post-game interview. Which I would also completely understand.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:57 AM on June 3, 2010


One of the ESPN commentators of the game I was watching that they cut away to for that 9th inning of the Detroit game said something illuminating about exactly that point. He said that umpires are trained not only to work with their eyes, but also their ears, and to listen for things like when feet hit bases and when balls hit gloves to help them make clear what may be confusing to the eye.

I ump kids' baseball (Little League), maybe I can shed some light to that.

Typically, for a call at first, the first baseman is stretching for the ball with the runner bearing down on the bag. You do use your ears--you look at the bag, to see the runners foot, and if the first baseman retains contact with the base, and you listen for the "pop" of the glove, as has been described, while also trying to see the ball go in the glove.

With the pitcher covering and a shorter throw from the firstbaseman, two things happen: 1) you lose a lot of that pop 2) the pitcher isn't holding the base waiting for the throw, so you have to pick up his foot in motion, make sure it's in contact with the base, as opposed to him stepping over it, and make sure he actually has the ball before he steps off. You still need to pick up the ball arriving visually...but for whatever reason, Joyce kicked that part of the call to kingdom come.

I'm a Tigers fan and somewhat pissed off about it, but it happens to the best of 'em. But think about it--who do you remember more, Len Barker or Harvey Haddix? Gallaraga goes in the memory banks with Haddix. The perfect game would have been cooler, but the notoriety is going to be something else.
posted by stevis23 at 6:02 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Further the last link, it would be trivially simple to do massive RFID/mocap/video analysis in baseball to basically get rid of umpires all together. It would cost a little bit of money the first year or so to get it going, but it would ultimately be cheaper than having umpires and botched calls.

The same goes for tennis. There is no real reason to have line judges in tennis at all, except as legacy artifact. There needs to be a judge for technical rules (i.e. timeouts, etc.), but line judging should never, ever be left to faulty human perception.

article 1

article 2
posted by imneuromancer at 6:06 AM on June 3, 2010


That was a terrible call, and I wouldn't be completely shocked for old man Selig to overturn it. It was that egregious.

But. Count me firmly in the 'human element' camp. The thing that makes baseball so good is there is a tension between, on one hand, flawed and/or transcendent humanity, and on the other hand, the emotionless brutality of statistics. Baseball, at its finest, is the human stories inside it quantified by some anomalous statistic.

David Ortiz hits a buck and a quarter in April, the world writes him off, but then he blows up in May - 10 home runs, something like .360, AL player of the month: is it a regression (progression?) to the mean, or is it simply Big Flo getting his brain straight? Or both? Either way the story is great, both because of how those numbers are climbing and falling, and because there is a person in the middle of it who, and even when he is May's Mr. Hyde he still fails nearly 2 out of 3 times.

Baseball is in some ways an interpretive sport. The very foundation of baseball, balls and strikes, are not based on verifiable fact. They are a fleeting impression. The calling of balls and strikes can not be automated. Sure, you can automate inside/outside, but the strikezone is based on the batter's stance - and each batter is different, and some guys have different stances, and many guys move around during their stance. Rickey Henderson would change his stance intentionally to shrink the strikezone - to force the umpire to call a strike a ball. I guess you could change the strikezone to be a standard holographic milk crate hovering 18 inches over the plate, but I don't think that would be Good For Baseball.

But anyway, yeah: Gallaraga got robbed. Totally. Unquestionably. They guy, Joyce, did his best but 'kicked the shit out of it'. I wish he had got that call right. But I honestly think baseball is a richer sport for the blown call.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:24 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


The umpire's name? Damon Lindelof (or was it Carlton Cuse...)
posted by ericbop at 6:36 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I mean, Christ. The phrase "Cinderella Story" is cliche, but this was one, and this guy got cheated out of one of the best night's of his life.

Not sure cheated is the right word here.
posted by notreally at 6:36 AM on June 3, 2010


> Big baseball fan here. This is so heartbreaking. But, this is exactly why I love the sport and why instant reply should NOT be implemented.

Wow, that's a bizarre attitude. I've been a baseball fan for over half a century and I love the human element too, but screwing a guy out of a perfect game is a pretty high price to pay for your refined enjoyment of human fallibility. There should damn well be a way to redress this injustice (and get Joyce off his suicide watch).
posted by languagehat at 6:46 AM on June 3, 2010


Jesus, are people actually arguing that "the human element" is acceptable in its unfettered state?

We don't trust humans 100% when it comes to truly important things (which is why we photograph, videotape, etc, and provide evidence), so why not, in defense of any rule or enforcement of such rule, add an objective perspective to the proceedings?

Christ, I'm a huge baseball fan, but I support the use of instant replay for everything except strikes/balls (just because there's so many disputes with that, the game would never end).

the runner was out. The pitcher threw a perfect game. Selig needs to step in and rule that.
posted by grubi at 6:46 AM on June 3, 2010


I feel bad for the pitcher and the ump, but everyone else gets a great story out this!

It is interesting to see how all the improbabilities compound:
  1. potential perfect game being pitched;
  2. that game would be the third perfect game of the season;
  3. one universally accepted bad call indisputably robs the pitcher of said perfect game;
  4. I'm thinking, commenting, and caring about baseball (!)*
---
* You cannot know just how really improbable that is.
posted by mazola at 6:49 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


the runner was out. The pitcher threw a perfect game. Selig needs to step in and rule that.

Judgement calls are NOT protestable. Right or wrong, in the absence of a defined replay scheme, you live and die with the crappy call.

I like this part of the human element of baseball because it's a good metaphor for life--sometimes, you're absolutely on your game, doing everything right, and some other moron screws it up for you, and there's nothing you can do about it. It's a good lesson in rolling with the punches.
posted by stevis23 at 6:52 AM on June 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Why doesn't MLB just overrule the call?

You have to ask yourself "would they overrule it at another time in any other game?" The answer is no. There are blown calls all the time; the only thing different about this one is the notoriety of it. They don't overrule very much.

It would be overruling for the sake of vanity; it doesn't affect the win/loss total and all it would do is set a precedent that some blown calls are more important than others for PR reasons and I think that any rule change that is affected by PR is a bad one.
posted by Hiker at 6:53 AM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


It wouldn't be overruling something that was close and simply a matter of judgment. Look at those photos -- this was anything but close. It's like a batter getting hit by a pitch and the umpire calls it a strike.

Selig needs to step in.
posted by grubi at 6:56 AM on June 3, 2010


> all it would do is set a precedent that some blown calls are more important than others

Some blown calls are more important than others. This is one of them. I would have thought that was completely obvious.
posted by languagehat at 6:58 AM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


It wouldn't be overruling something that was close and simply a matter of judgment.

I watched it live and yeah, it was obviously blown. That said, if the score was 10-2 and there was no achievement on the line, there'd be no calls for Selig to step in. If you start inconsistently overruling calls based not on their affect on the overall game and on something else, your rules aren't really about the game anymore.
posted by Hiker at 7:00 AM on June 3, 2010


It wouldn't be overruling something that was close and simply a matter of judgment. Look at those photos -- this was anything but close. It's like a batter getting hit by a pitch and the umpire calls it a strike.

It's tangential to your point, of course, but I am compelled to point out that if a batter is hit by a pitch when that pitch is in the strike zone, or offers at a pitch and is subsequently hit by it, it is a strike.

And the Tigers did get screwed in the one-game playoff last year by an obvious HBP that went uncalled--a far more consequential play, given the implications, but again--no system to overturn judgment calls, save the ump who made them asking his crew (and in this case, no one would have a better look.)
posted by stevis23 at 7:01 AM on June 3, 2010


I would have thought that was completely obvious.

By cutting PR out of my statement, you completely misinterpret it. Nice work.

A blown call that affects the actual game result is one thing; a blown call that affects someone's ability to hit the record books is another. I mean, if Ichiro hits .399 this year (as an example), should we go back and see if any non-hits were hits to give him that achievement too?
posted by Hiker at 7:03 AM on June 3, 2010


Some blown calls are more important than others.

If that play was on batter number 1, and Gallaraga went on to retire the next 27, would you say it should be reversed?
posted by dirtdirt at 7:05 AM on June 3, 2010


Count me firmly in the 'human element' camp. The thing that makes baseball so good is there is a tension between, on one hand, flawed and/or transcendent humanity, and on the other hand, the emotionless brutality of statistics. Baseball, at its finest, is the human stories inside it quantified by some anomalous statistic. David Ortiz hits a buck and a quarter in April, the world writes him off, but then he blows up in May - 10 home runs, something like .360, AL player of the month: is it a regression (progression?) to the mean, or is it simply Big Flo getting his brain straight? Or both? Either way the story is great, both because of how those numbers are climbing and falling, and because there is a person in the middle of it who, and even when he is May's Mr. Hyde he still fails nearly 2 out of 3 times.

Great job, that example totally convinced me why there shouldn't be instant replay. (butt smack)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:09 AM on June 3, 2010


I like the human element in baseball.

We're not talking about robots reviewing the replay cameras.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:12 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


If that play was on batter number 1, and Gallaraga went on to retire the next 27, would you say it should be reversed?

Overturning a ruling dealing with batter #1 changes the entire makeup of the game - changing a call on batter #27 does nothing but resolve the game.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:12 AM on June 3, 2010


Jim Joyce and Armando Galarraga both showed a lot of class in how they handled this, and Galarraga showed a lot of composure in finishing the game.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:13 AM on June 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


This over-romanticizing of the "human element" of baseball is somewhat baffling to me. It's not as if the decision to not have instant replay in the 1800s was based around a philosophical point. We are romanticizing an aspect of the game that is in place only because the technology didn't exist at the time for it to be otherwise.

To me, those who argue vociferously against bringing any sort of modern technology into the game are being just as silly as if they were complaining about Hollywood movies being in color and having talking in them.
posted by The Gooch at 7:41 AM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Overturning a ruling dealing with batter #1 changes the entire makeup of the game - changing a call on batter #27 does nothing but resolve the game.

The game resolves itself, changing the call on batter #27 changes the story.

Once you let the narrative effect the call you've entered Wrestling territory.
posted by mazola at 7:43 AM on June 3, 2010


Great job, that example totally convinced me why there shouldn't be instant replay. (butt smack)

Great reading, I didn't say anything about instant replay. (high fives and fist pounds)
posted by dirtdirt at 7:46 AM on June 3, 2010


Now imagine you'll never have that recipe again. Oh, no!

And all of this happened during a contest to become one of the twenty-one greatest bakers of the modern era.
posted by Adam_S at 7:47 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Once you let the narrative effect the call you've entered Wrestling territory.

Everybody involved, including the ump who made the call, admit that Gallaraga got the 27th out and that the game should have been over at that point.

So you're arguing that denying the thing that actually happened, 27 up and 27 down, should be denied in favor of the thing that everyone on the field admits was incorrect. Yeah, that's EXACTLY like wrestling.

Man, you guys got to improve your analogies up in this joint.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:48 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


dirtdirt, your point (in a thread and discussion about instant replay) was that baseball was awesome because of the human element. You then use the example of Ortiz hitting poorly one month and great the next to prove your point. This was a great example to demonstrate the airtight logic of your argument, because football, which uses a lot of instant replay and which is the punching bag of baseball purists, is devoid of players who play poorly one month and great the next. I love hamburgers.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:50 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Now imagine you'll never have that recipe again. Oh, no!
posted by Kirk Grim


... and Kirk Grim knocks this one out of Macarthur Park FTW!
posted by mazola at 7:51 AM on June 3, 2010


Well, it was really more about how baseball was awesome because it's human stories crossed with statistical minutia, and how the occasional rat-fucking at the hands of fate makes both of those things, the stories and the numbers, more interesting, but I didn't make my point well. Sorry!
posted by dirtdirt at 7:56 AM on June 3, 2010


I just don't see how "human stories crossed with statistical minutia, and how the occasional rat-fucking at the hands of fate makes both of those things, the stories and the numbers, more interesting" is unique to baseball. I see it in basketball, football, tennis, golf, horseshoes, and every other sport.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:58 AM on June 3, 2010


This is why I'm not an umpire: I would have called that play out to give him the perfect game even if he was the safiest safe who ever safed.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:05 AM on June 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Baseball has mastered the art of judgement in sport

I'm afraid I could not disagree more. And this situation drives the point home.

baseball to me is lazy summer evenings, a community park with a hundred people or so watching, and the hum of the lights fighting with only the hum of the bees. Maybe it's because I love seeing games at Wrigley, and hate going to super-modern shopping mall domes. Maybe it's because I grew up with Casey at the Bat and the legend of the Black Sox and the wonder of ancient, dog-eared baseball cards. Maybe it's because baseball has a legend, a history to it that other sports don't seem to.

Yeah, I'm a geezer, too, and remember that kind of thing. Which is why older people like baseball more than younger people. But a large percentage of the country didn't grow up with any of those wonderful nostalgic things you're talking about. And love malls. And have never heard of Casey at the bat. You just keep avoiding progress of any kind to preserve your deteriorating memories while football, basketball (ech!) and even freaking hockey become preeminent. Because they are involved in playing the game at hand, not preserving a bunch of grayhairs warm fuzzies. I'm a baseball fan, but I have to say I admire that football actually meets annually to try and decide if there are things that would make the game better and more enjoyable for its fans. I don't know if they succeed, but at least they are not slaves to the ridiculous chains of tradition that baseball hampers itself with.
posted by umberto at 8:06 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Plus it's nice to see that, in the mind of baseball purists, at any rate, "The Human Element" = fucking up.
posted by umberto at 8:10 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Which is why older people like baseball more than younger people. But a large percentage of the country didn't grow up with any of those wonderful nostalgic things you're talking about.

I dunno about that. I'm 28 and I and many, MANY of my cohorts am I pretty diehard baseball fan. Of course, this seems to be rather unique to New England and the birthright of Red Sox Nation... outside of this area, more of my friends (except for a few Yankees fans - who are dead to me) are basketball or football fans.

Anyhow, I think that it is something you have to grow up with. I grew up with sports at home. Subverting the gender binary - I'm a girl and it was my mom with whom I watched (and still watch when we're in the same state) sports games and learned how to call a pitch and what's a ground-rule double and all that. My father is less than useless when it comes to sports info and would rather watch a documentary about ants than a baseball game. I've coincidentally had relationships with two Europeans who are pretty big soccer fans and I can definitely get into the sport (I really like watching just about any sport as a social event - but for me, it's like drinking in that I won't do it alone), but the same isn't true for them and baseball. It just seems silly if you weren't introduced to it at the same time you learned your native language.

(This is your invitation to prove me wrong, oh non-American/non-Cuban/non-Dominican/non-Japanese baseball fans!)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:14 AM on June 3, 2010


Thing is, stuff like this happens every day. The Mariners won on a blown call tonight. All instant replay does is really drive home the point this is a business now, not a game.

[snip]

I wouldn't have a problem with Selig overturning the call, but honestly, this is now the most memorable perfect game since Don Larsen's. Like Schubert's Eighth, maybe it's best left unfinished and imperfect.


Quoted for being right on and exceedingly well-said.
posted by desuetude at 8:19 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


MLB should revise the rules so that calls can be reviewed after the game, and changed, with the understanding that the outcome of the game cannot be affected (ie, whatever happened on the field and whatever the score at the end of the game stands). They already do this with errors, right? - so why not with everything else? In this case, MLB reviews the game and notices that batter #27 was officially out. Donaldson's hit goes away, and Gallaraga becomes (as others have said) the first ever pitcher to have thrown a 28-out perfect game.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:23 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm about as baseball purist as you can be without turning religious. But I will say, introducing technology and reason into baseball doesn't ruin it -- it improves it. Anyone who fights the instant replay for any reason beyond game delays is a doofus who needs a smack in the head.

Are those same folks arguing that we should keep the "human element" when judging violations of the law ("The officer said he ticketed the driver as having driven 160MPH in a 40MPH zone, but he wasn't using a radar gun or any other device to determine the speed, but just that 'it seemed pretty fast'.)
posted by grubi at 8:23 AM on June 3, 2010


Put me in the 'shit happens, that's just baseball' camp - but I think the window between the call being made and the next batter coming to the plate could leave room for overturning a call if it's warranted.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:29 AM on June 3, 2010


From a lore and cultural perspective, I enjoy that fans can be nostalgic about the subjective, dramatic stories of baseball. However, I can't fully back up this argument. Umpires, similar to referees in other sports, should never be the focus of the game.

If a runner is out, the runner should be called out. If there are safeguards that can be put into place (a limited and sane replay rule) which can confirm or deny close calls, then this seems like a win-win because it puts the focus of the game back to the players and fair calls.
posted by seppyk at 8:32 AM on June 3, 2010


Are those same folks arguing that we should keep the "human element" when judging violations of the law

No, they're arguing that baseball is special and different than other things and that, unlike most things, poor judgment, unfairness, and institutional infallibility are what makes it special and great.

Ok, now that I think about it, baseball shares that with the Pope. And you see how well that's working out for him in the modern world.
posted by umberto at 8:37 AM on June 3, 2010


a lot of, "I'm a X, but Y and people who think differently are Z" going on here.
posted by edgeways at 8:52 AM on June 3, 2010


Are those same folks arguing that we should keep the "human element" when judging violations of the law ("The officer said he ticketed the driver as having driven 160MPH in a 40MPH zone, but he wasn't using a radar gun or any other device to determine the speed, but just that 'it seemed pretty fast'.)

I love baseball but getting baseball calls right is not remotely in the same ballpark (no pun intended) as engineering or medicine or police work.
posted by kmz at 9:01 AM on June 3, 2010


Wow, that's a bizarre attitude. I've been a baseball fan for over half a century and I love the human element too, but screwing a guy out of a perfect game is a pretty high price to pay for your refined enjoyment of human fallibility.

Speaking as a hockey fan, I'd have to say instant replay doesn't necessarily remove the human fallibility element. Sometimes things aren't clear even after being reviewed, and in some cases what appears to be the wrong call is made despite review. Plus it can slow down what in baseball's case is already a pretty slow game (don't hurt me baseball fans)--in hockey, the video reviews don't always add any sort of suspense either, it's more of a "OK let's have it already, Toronto". I can definitely see a case for not using replay.
posted by Kirk Grim at 9:14 AM on June 3, 2010


I'm a baseball fan, but I have to say I admire that football actually meets annually to try and decide if there are things that would make the game better and more enjoyable for its fans.

Baseball does the same thing. In the last 40 years they've lowered the mound, added the DH, introduced interleague play, expanded the playoffs, reduced the number of times a manager can visit the mound, shortened commercial breaks (both this and the manage visit limitations to shorten games), streamlined umpire hiring and firing based on performance (albeit with unionbusting), altered the strike zone, changed the ball composition (from horsehide to cowhide), instituted the save rule (and changed it twice), standardized equipment multiple times (including rules on bat composition and pine tar), and a few other bits of minutiae (including the stupid home field advantage rule with the All-Star Game).

The difference is that while player strength and training, team tactics, and specialization have altered baseball, it's still essentially the same game it was 40 years ago. The NFL, OTOH, isn't anything like it was 40 years ago. The rules for receivers and QBs have pretty well destroyed the need for a running game (other than to keep the defense from blitzing and stunting every down). Every play now is about the battle between a receiver and a safety or corner. Some of the rule changes have been atrocious, e.g. the "in the grasp" rule that still isn't all the way fixed after 25+ years. At least baseball screwed up the balk rule in '87 they had the sense to stop enforcing it.

So don't get off talking about how baseball doesn't make the game "better and more enjoyable for its fans." It's done plenty. The NFL, honestly, has barely made any changes to make its game "better." Almost all of them have been about making the game "safer" with zero regard for "better."
posted by dw at 9:26 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why is the standard of 40 years ago some shining example to follow? The good old days, generally, aren't good until they're old.
posted by umberto at 9:35 AM on June 3, 2010


It's hard to stay mad at Jim Joyce after listening to his post-game interview where he beats himself up over the missed call.

This is how you respond after you really fuck up. It's just kind of weird to hear someone say over and over 'I fucked up. I blew it.' without making excuses or blaming external factors or pointing to how something else makes what they did not so bad.

It's really strange to listen to. I kept waiting for some effort to mitigate the fuck up to kick in, but no, he took full responsibility over and over.

I kind of lost touch with reality for a second.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 9:45 AM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: rat-fucking at the hands of fate.
posted by slogger at 9:50 AM on June 3, 2010


Plus it's nice to see that, in the mind of baseball purists, at any rate, "The Human Element" = fucking up.

Without that human element, a perfect game wouldn't be notable. It's not a question of what constitutes "the human element." It's a question of whether the human element has a place in the officiating of the game or whether all possible steps should be taken to ensure that calls are as perfect as possible with available technology. Since the point of baseball is not the same as the point of, say, brain surgery or aerospace engineering, that question depends heavily on the overall philosophy and history of the game and the culture and consensus of players and fans.

Baseball holds a very significant place in American culture and society. The fallibility of upires is, in my opinion, a very prominent part of baseball's culture. Adding instant replay wouldn't eliminate that fallibility. But it would certainly change baseball in ways that would affect both the way the game is played and, more significantly, the way that fans participate in the game. And baseball, unlike Football or Basketball or Hockey, is special in its imperfection.

It was a bit annoying to see people misinterpret my comment above and try to turn it into an argument about who has more baseball-watching history and who, from the comfort of their television, could make a better armchair call than me. Of course, I didn't say that it wasn't discernible from the video or that it wasn't clearly an out or any of that. I said that, in full speed (and on a small computer monitor and compressed video), while it was apparent that the call was bad, it wasn't as outrageously obvious as commentators were making it out to be. My comment was meant more to address the breathless, shouty outrage of the commentators than anything else. Linking to still photo after still photo in order to rebut my assertion that the full-speed, compressed video wasn't as obvious as the slow-motion replay is quite ridiculous, actually.

But that sort of argument is, I would posit, the whole point of baseball. Baseball isn't a sport that is merely played on the field by the men on the two teams. Baseball is irrelevant without the participation that happens everywhere from the expensive seats to the cheap seats to the living rooms and bars across the country. Baseball is irrelevant without fathers-in-law and sons-in-law finally bonding for the first time because they're arguing about a play from a game ten years ago. Baseball is irrelevant without the galvanizing effect that it has on American society. It creates a bond that transcends economic class, race, language, and the many varieties of culture across our country.

And baseball is irrelevant without spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints calling me a cocksucker and kicking dirt on my shoes. Because that's part of the game and, frankly, it's a more important part of baseball than a lot of what actually happens on the field.

Would I, as a Tigers fan, be happier if this particular bad call had not been made? Definitely.

But proposing changes to baseball that might diminish the way that people participate in the game by scrutinizing it, picking it apart, and arguing about, yes, the human element, sort of misses the point of baseball, in my opinion. If the point of baseball was to develop the best possible competition to measure human acheivement, it wouldn't be baseball. A perfect game is special because perfection and baseball so rarely show up in the same place and time.

And Galarraga's game wasn't a perfect game. It was better than perfect, because he pitched more batters out than any other perfect game pitcher. It's better than a Cinderella story, because Galarraga surpassed perfection, even when the flaws of the game turned against him. And that's pretty awesome.
posted by The World Famous at 9:55 AM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


For those of you arguing that baseball's beauty is about its fallibility, its inability to follow the rules precisely: what, then, is the problem with having Bud Selig overturn this? Isn't that the ultimate in the human element? When justice is required for a once-in-a-century event, when there is literally no downside to overturning an obviously blown call, when everybody involved benefits? If you love baseball for its humanity, then why not call for the most humane thing possible and let the commissioner step in and reward the pitcher for his achievement? There is no precedent to be set - there is no counterfactual required. It's not the first out of the ninth. It's the last out of the ninth. We all know what happened: Galarraga pitched a perfect game. Why isn't your sense of justice over-ruling your sense of "that's life! them's the breaks!" If you want a crazy story, isn't Selig over-turning the call about as memorable as you can get? What are you looking for in baseball? Punishment at the hands of an unjust and godless universe, or sweet human compassion?
posted by one_bean at 9:57 AM on June 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


And if nothing else, this has made me a big fan of Galarraga, not just for his pitching ability, but as a human being.

Edited to reflect my own sentiments, if not yours.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:22 AM on June 3, 2010


(...) what, then, is the problem with having Bud Selig overturn this?

I'd have no problem with that at all. I don't recall anyone in here saying they would have a problem with that. But, since it's fun to characterize anyone who says anything that isn't simply "HE WAS ROBBED. COMPUTERIZE BASEBALL NOW." as pro-injustice, out-of-touch graybeards, you go on dropping gotcha's on arguments that nobody is making.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:23 AM on June 3, 2010


I must be missing something in the argument that equates "human element" of making bad calls something good and fine about the game.

Personally, I think sport is best when it is objective; when the excellence of the players are pitted against one another and one manages to win fairly. To paraphrase Mr. Lombardi, it is one's finest hour when you have played an honest game and through sheer force of will become the victor.

Randomness, arbitrary calls, and craven mistakes do not add to the victory and can only sour it.

Let's do a thought experiment. Let's say that all calls in baseball were decided upon the flip of a coin. Would that be fair? Would that be a fun game?
Chaos, after all, is fair.

OK, now let's imagine that a Cartesian god-- all-powerful, omniscient, completely good, totally objective-- came down and called a game. Would that be fair? Would people complain that the game was horrible because all of the calls were objective but that it wasn't--dear gods-- HUMAN?

There is enough human element of the game in the struggle between the players without adding the detrimental effects of poor officiating.
posted by imneuromancer at 10:26 AM on June 3, 2010


And while we credit the pitcher with a perfect game, it is really a team accomplishment, as evidenced by the 26th out. Only if the perfect game consisted of 27 straight strikeouts would it be solely a pitcher's accomplishment, and even then the battery is really responsible. In this game, Galarraga struck out only 3.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:27 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


what, then, is the problem with having Bud Selig overturn this?

The only problem I can think of off the top of my head is the precedent that it would set for future bad calls.

When justice is required for a once-in-a-century event

Bad calls that affect the outcome of a game are not a once-in-a-century event. And this particular bad call didn't affect the outcome of the game.

There is no precedent to be set - there is no counterfactual required.

How is there no precedent to be set? If the commissioner steps in and overturns the call, it sets a precedent that the commissioner can be called upon to step in a overturn a call that people are really mad about for, primarily, emotional reasons. I'm not saying it would be a travesty if Selig did overturn it. But there is most certainly a precedent to be set.

Why isn't your sense of justice over-ruling your sense of "that's life! them's the breaks!"

Because there is no justice in baseball and there never has been. Baseball isn't about justice.

What are you looking for in baseball? Punishment at the hands of an unjust and godless universe, or sweet human compassion?

First, that's a false dichotomy. Second, I don't think anyone is a baseball fan because they're looking for sweet human compassion.
posted by The World Famous at 10:30 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Randomness, arbitrary calls, and craven mistakes do not add to the victory and can only sour it.

Randomness is a HUGE factor in all sports, to the extent that it is often hard to distinguish the effects of random fluctuations from differences in skill level. Think for a second about the error in the ability of a player to make contact with a 98-mile-an-hour fastball due to minuscule inherent variability in physiology from moment to moment, something the player cannot control. Now amplify that error with the trajectory of the struck ball and match it to variability in the running and catching ability of the fielder and you can quickly see that those two couple to create even more variability, making each pitch, each struck ball, each catch, each throw to a base, and each race to touch the base a stochastic event, governed by a difficult-to-discern probability specific to that combination of players during that particular play. Unless the advantage is huge (viz., Yankee's enormous payroll) it is difficult to turn one into reliable victory.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:38 AM on June 3, 2010


Bad calls that affect the outcome of a game are not a once-in-a-century event. And this particular bad call didn't affect the outcome of the game.

... and that's why it's a once-a-century event. There has never been a call at such an important (and, at the same time, irrelevant to the other team) moment that ended the game. All other huge, blown calls altered the rest of the game, but there have always been more outs to get. All other blown calls, if over-turned, would punish the other team. This is a win-win-win-win. And it's not setting a precedent because this particular situation will never happen again in our lifetime.

Because there is no justice in baseball and there never has been. Baseball isn't about justice.

Of course that's not true. Baseball's about a lot of things, and I can come up with plenty of story lines that are all about justice.
posted by one_bean at 10:39 AM on June 3, 2010


"HE WAS ROBBED. COMPUTERIZE BASEBALL NOW."

Once again, replay video is shot by -- and reviewed by -- human beings.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:43 AM on June 3, 2010


Why is the standard of 40 years ago some shining example to follow?

It's not. It's been 41 years since MLB lowered the mound (after the year Bob Gibson had a 1.12 ERA), and the lowering of the mound was the last major transformative change in the game (one that affected batters and pitchers in both leagues), so it's a good demarcation line for baseball rule changes.

The point I'm making is baseball in 1970 isn't that radically different from baseball in 2010, especially compared to the NFL or NBA in 1970 vs now, and it doesn't suffer much because of it.
posted by dw at 10:49 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Let me just say this in support of Jim Joyce. It must have been VERY HARD to make that safe call -- which he clearly thought was the right call -- at such a moment. Surely his baseball- loving instincts would bias him to call the batter out (who doesn't want to be a part of history?), but he did his job. Sure, he made a huge mistake, but you've got to give him credit for his objectivity in the face of so much emotion.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:49 AM on June 3, 2010


Of course, I speak as a graduate of the University of Colorado, so my feelings on bad calls are just a little biased.
posted by dw at 10:53 AM on June 3, 2010


When justice is required for a once-in-a-century event, when there is literally no downside to overturning an obviously blown call, when everybody involved benefits?

There is a downside; this wasn't the only blown call last night.

In the Seattle-Minnesota game, the third out in the eleventh inning was a force out at second base. In the highlights, he is out. He was called safe and, as a result, Langerhans scored the winning run on a play that should've been the end of the inning.

If you start overturning calls that are wrong in this instance, why wouldn't you overturn another bad call? Why wouldn't all bad calls be treated the same?

There are several bad calls every day; they change the tone, and sometimes, the result of the game. If you want the commissioner to start overturning calls, you can't expect him to be arbitrary about it. If he's overturning bad calls from last night, he's got to send the Mariners and Twins back out on the field because that game isn't over.

On-field instant replay is the answer (so that the game can continue, or in the Tigers' case, end it), but my God, for a sport I already drift in/out of (and I've played baseball my entire life, competitive until a collegiate level) it would make it almost impossible to sit through a game.
posted by Hiker at 10:53 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why would instant replay make baseball any longer? I really don't get it. Last night, the replay showed that the batter was out long before Gallaraga got to the mound to pitch to the next batter. And guess what? Pitching to 27 batters takes less time than pitching to 28 batters? Instant replay wouldn't slow down a baseball game at all precisely BECAUSE baseball is already played very slowly.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:02 AM on June 3, 2010


Instant replay wouldn't slow down a baseball game at all precisely BECAUSE baseball is already played very slowly.

I always find it funny that people complain about how long baseball games are when NFL games are, on average, 15 minutes longer.

And people complain about the delays on NFL instant replay.
posted by dw at 11:12 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the Seattle-Minnesota game, the third out in the eleventh inning was a force out at second base. In the highlights, he is out. He was called safe and, as a result, Langerhans scored the winning run on a play that should've been the end of the inning.

If you start overturning calls that are wrong in this instance, why wouldn't you overturn another bad call? Why wouldn't all bad calls be treated the same?

There are several bad calls every day; they change the tone, and sometimes, the result of the game.


First of all, it was the tenth, not the eleventh. Second, overturning that call would mean the teams have to go back and continue playing. They can use pitchers that might not have been available. Everything changes. We don't know who would have won that game if the ump hadn't blown the call, and further, overturning the call harms the Mariners.

What I'm saying is that the perfect game is such a bizarre, unique situation that the call should be overturned with an explicit statement that it's setting no precedent. It's precisely because the outcome is known and because it has no importance to the other team that Selig should do it.
posted by one_bean at 11:13 AM on June 3, 2010


Why would instant replay make baseball any longer? ... Last night, the replay showed that the batter was out long before Gallaraga got to the mound to pitch to the next batter.

But if instant replay were added to the game, it wouldn't be done as quickly as it's shown to folks watching on tv; it'd probably add another two minute commercial break while the umpires review the tapes. And how would you implement it? The post links to a column that argues that each manager should get one challenge per game, but then I could see it becoming something that a manager might use strategically to slow down the game or give his bullpen more time to warm up, and that sounds pretty unappealing to me.
posted by Vibrissa at 11:15 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Last night, the replay showed that the batter was out long before Gallaraga got to the mound to pitch to the next batter.

A several minute stoppage for an instant review is pretty common across other sports; the officials see it from several angles and often get an officiator who is off the field to walk them through it as well to make sure the call is the right one.

In hockey last night, there were two goals which were reviewed, each taking 2-3 minutes to review properly. Goal reviews are different than, say; base out reviews, home run reviews, foul/fair reviews, catch/no catch reviews, tag/no tag reviews, etc. There are a ton of things which could be reviewed in baseball that affect outs, innings and game results.
posted by Hiker at 11:16 AM on June 3, 2010


Why would instant replay make baseball any longer?

Because each time a call was questioned and then scrutinized using instant replay, it would require the officials to spend time doing that in addition to the time they are currently spending doing everything they currently do. Rather than accepting a lot of bad calls and moving on, players and teams would challenge calls more often, which would add time to the game.

Last night, the replay showed that the batter was out long before Gallaraga got to the mound to pitch to the next batter.

It's not a question of how quickly the TV networks can get an instant replay on the screen. It's a question of how much time it would take for a call to be disputed, for the instant replay rule to be invoked, and for the officials to follow the official procedure (whatever it may be) for reviewing the official version of the instant replay for however long they deem necessary and then make a final call based on that review.

What I'm saying is that the perfect game is such a bizarre, unique situation that the call should be overturned with an explicit statement that it's setting no precedent. It's precisely because the outcome is known and because it has no importance to the other team that Selig should do it.

It would still be a historic precedent. And everybody knows what happened, Galarraga is just as noteworthy now as he would be if it were overturned. So why overturn it?
posted by The World Famous at 11:18 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Errors End Perfect Games, Even Ones by Umpires
The tough part for Galarraga is he does not even have a no-hitter to fall back on. Donald’s hit was ruled a single, and while an official scorer could retroactively change it to an error, as a reader suggested, the play was clean. Nobody messed up except Joyce, and umpires cannot be awarded errors.

Maybe they should, though: E-Umpire. That would be a new one. It would give Galarraga a no-hitter, anyway. But there’s just no way to pretend Jason Donald never reached base. He did.
posted by mazola at 11:18 AM on June 3, 2010


There is a downside; this wasn't the only blown call last night.

As I said in one of the first few comments, I am opposed to instant replay and think that events like this are part of the game and actually help build its lore. But, if there was ever a play that could be overturned post fact, this is it for the simple fact that the next batter got out. Overturning it would have no affect on the outcome or anything else other than the stats of the two final batters and the pitcher. I much would have preferred the batter and opposing manager simply refuse the safe call or take the team off the field. That would have been amazing and part of baseball lore forever and ever. The Tigers handled this with class. Joyce too.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:22 AM on June 3, 2010


Re: long time to do instant replay --

That's why any instant replay rule should have a booth umpire who makes/overrules erroneous on-field calls. It really doesn't take that long. Really. Umpires already gather on-field to discuss (most) contentious calls. In the new scenario, booth umpire is added to the mix, he radios down to the on-field umpire what the correct call should be, the correct call is made.

It's really, really not that hard. And it wouldn't slow the game down.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:23 AM on June 3, 2010


So I guess the argument other people are making is: baseball games are insufferably long. An extra 2 minutes to review a call that may decide the outcome of a game will simply be TOO MUCH!! A four hour game, I can handle! But nobody can be expected to sit through a four hour and two minute game, that's ridiculous!!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:30 AM on June 3, 2010


The problem with replay is, some calls can't easily be undone.

Here's a hypothetical example. Runner on second, two outs. Batter hits a slow tapper towards third. Thirdbaseman charges, makes a late throw for a bang bang play. During this, the runner has neared third and is rounding it, expecting the batter to be safe, and trying to score before the firstbaseman can get the ball to the catcher.

Ump rules the batter out. Firstbaseman does nothing, since three are out and the run doesn't score.

Replay overturns the call and calls the batter safe. Now what do you do with the runner? Firstbaseman might have gunned him down had play continued. But he might have scored, too. Who do you deny their good play (scoring or getting the out) because the ump didn't get the call right at first base initially?

This comes up on fair/foul calls now. If, as am ump, I erroneously call a ball fair, but realize after consulting with my partner it's a hideous mistake, I can correct that to the ball being foul, and send everyone back. No harm is made in resetting to the right call. If I erroneously all a ball foul....everyone stops running. I can't, by rule and custom, declare it fair and "play God" to place the runners.

Going by and sticking to the original call at least has the advantage of allowing all parties to react to the same information, even if practice proves it is an imperfect system.
posted by stevis23 at 11:37 AM on June 3, 2010


An extra 2 minutes to review a call that may decide the outcome of a game will simply be TOO MUCH!!

There are, currently, 17 2-3 minute commercial breaks in between innings, in addition to any pitching change commercial breaks (several per game) and any other breaks that might find their way into a game. I am not saying that two minutes in any direction is really the end of the world, I'm saying that for a game that barely holds people's interests due to the amount of non-action, adding more non-action is going to shoot them in the foot.
posted by Hiker at 11:37 AM on June 3, 2010


The problem with replay is, some calls can't easily be undone.

Isn't the solution then to only allow review of undoable plays?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:41 AM on June 3, 2010


In the Seattle-Minnesota game, the third out in the eleventh inning was a force out at second base. In the highlights, he is out. He was called safe and, as a result, Langerhans scored the winning run on a play that should've been the end of the inning.

*&)@#%$%!!!1!1!! I recorded that game! Thanks for the spoiler...
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:43 AM on June 3, 2010


Let me ask those of you arguing that Selig should overturn the call and rule the game over at the 27th batter this: if you favor Selig overturning the call because the kid "deserves" his perfect game, and by God we should give it to him... would you have felt the same way if the 27th batter stopped halfway to 1st base, because the kid deserved his perfect game, and the other side needed to stop playing in order to give it to him? Would you have felt the same way if the 27th batter clearly *was* safe, but Joyce called him out because, well... look how close the Galarraga came, he clearly deserves the game?

If you've have liked either of those outcomes, we just need to stop speaking about this now, because you and I disagree about some very fundamental things about sport. If you would have opposed those, but are still in favor of having Selig change the outcome because the kid "deserves" it, I want you to explain to me how it's nothing aside from an argument from pure emotion, or one based on ignorance of the number of blown calls in baseball.

If you think Selig should overturn this call only because it was so clearly blown (even though, watching it in real-time on my HDTV several times, I don't think, at full speed, it was as bad as people want to think it was*), you must be unaware of the blown calls that have actually *changed* the outcome of games recently. Ignorance is not a position one should argue from.

If you *acknowledge* that this call is not mechanically unique, but should get special treatment anyway, you are asking for a ruling that was not material to the game to be overturned just because it would make you happier. Excuse me of I find this a bit upsetting. That's the start of a slippery slope I don't want to go down.

Everyone last night did his job: Galarraga pitched a great game with the help of his batterymate and the solid effort of the 7 men behind him. Jason Donald made a genuine offensive effort, and ran out his hit to his maximum ability, well knowing that he could be breaking a perfect game. Joyce made the call he thought was right at the time.

(* And, as noted above, looking at numerous times in replay, I feel it was a lot closer than many people think. Normally, on close plays at first, the ump watches for the feet on the bag, and *listens* for the ball. The catch Galarraga made was a low speed, fingertip catch in a loud stadium. It is entirely credible that Joyce hadn't heard the ball smack the glove by the time Donald's foot hit the base.)

This wasn't a case where someone clearly cheated, or some bizarre external event affected the game. This wasn't a matter of some force beyond the internal aspects of baseball altering play. Everyone did their best at the time, within the rules and framework of the game as it exists now, and as unfortunate as the outcome was, it's the one we have. That's one of the basic understandings of sport: everyone tries their best, and we live with the outcome. Barring outside influences, there are no backsies, no do-overs.

If you want to argue that replay should be implemented so this doesn't happen again, feel free. I'll vehemently argue the other side against you, but it would be an honest debate, at least. If you're just advocating for a special ruling in this special case -- please stop. I can't see how that would do anything but harm.

(Additionally, I have nothing but admiration for the way to two main parties involved have carried themselves. Joyce, as soon as he realized he was wrong, stood up in front of the world, admitted it and didn't try to shirk or redirect blame. "I screwed up royally, in a way that will forever overshadow everything good and bad I've done to date in my 21 year career, and I denied a young man one of the greatest achievements of his career, and it's no one's fault but mine" is not something I'd ever want to have to say, but I'd like to think I've have the grace to do it as he did.

Galarraga, for his part, has shown no ill will, no resentment. His honest grin at the moment the call was denied to him spoke volumes. A lesser man, probably including myself, would have raised a holy fit then and there. He just grinned a "you've got to be kidding me... what can you do?" grin, put his shit back together, and got on with his job: getting the 28th out, and winning the game for his team.

I must say, I think the two men at the center of this have carried themselves with much more composure and grace than all of the "OH MY GOD HE WAS ROBBED REPLAY NOW REPLAY NOW" internet ragers.)
posted by jammer at 11:47 AM on June 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


Isn't the solution then to only allow review of undoable plays?

Then you haven't solved the "get every call correct" problem. So why institute the convoluted, controversial system that won't get the job done anyway?

Really, any out call could lead to a lot different sequence if that runner had been allowed to keep running--although most of the time, in practice, it wouldn't.
posted by stevis23 at 11:56 AM on June 3, 2010


Tony LaRussa, on the other hand, who has called for the overturning of the call, has been a real asshat. Yeah, LaRussa! Internet guy thinks you're a JERK!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:56 AM on June 3, 2010


Tony LaRussa, on the other hand, who has called for the overturning of the call, has been a real asshat.

That's kinda his permanent setting, sadly.
posted by Hiker at 11:57 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Galarraga presented the Tigers lineup card to Joyce this afternoon.
posted by dw at 12:00 PM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Regardless, I don't think anyone would claim he's somehow divorced from the game of baseball or doesn't care about tradition.

Point: the debate isn't between angry internet people and pure, holy baseball fans. There are a lot of baseball purists who want the call overturned. Personally, as I've said before, I would like to see them not overturn the call, just change the books to reflect the reality of the game - it wasn't a hit. This gives Gallaraga the first ever 28-out perfect game, a great anomaly in the record books, and the outcome of the game is not changed one iota.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:01 PM on June 3, 2010


I also like the idea of scoring an umpire's error. That's clever, it lets the game (and future games) play out without interference, but it doesn't muck up records and stats, which is for some reason what most baseball nerds (not baseball-nerdist) care about most anyway.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:04 PM on June 3, 2010


Then you haven't solved the "get every call correct" problem. So why institute the convoluted, controversial system that won't get the job done anyway?

Straw man.

Really, any out call could lead to a lot different sequence if that runner had been allowed to keep running--although most of the time, in practice, it wouldn't.

The call currently being discussed is undoable.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:04 PM on June 3, 2010


Then you haven't solved the "get every call correct" problem. So why institute the convoluted, controversial system that won't get the job done anyway?

They do it in football and it's worked out pretty well.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:05 PM on June 3, 2010


Also, this idea of a "convoluted, controversial" system is so hand-wavy it's ridiculous. You're essentially adding one umpire to the game - an umpire who sits in the booth and looks at a TV screen. Wow, that was hard.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:07 PM on June 3, 2010


I wasn't annoyed at Jones calling him "that kid" in his original statement, but it's a little weird that this usage keeps getting repeated for a 28-year-old man.
posted by desuetude at 12:09 PM on June 3, 2010


A fourth out arbitrarily inserted into the inning wouldn't muck up records and stats? (I will chuck a rulebook at the head of anyone who proceeds to bring up the "advantageous fourth out appeal.") Look, to hell with the "record book." We all know what happened, it will be written about in memoirs and on Wikipedia and in the future 230,000 people will claim to have seen it in person. It doesn't need a complete trampling of the rulebook to be great.

And I would disagree that IR has worked well in football....they hold up the game, making it even slower than it already is (does it need MORE huddles?), to parse a catch frame-by-frame like it was the Zapruder film until no football fan knows what possession is and isn't anymore. [I would like to see any replay--football, hockey goals, any baseball implementation--follow this standard: if it isn't bleeping obvious in 30 seconds, go with the call on the field. You want to fix the Testaverde 'touchdown', not have the CSI team blow up the frame to see if the point of the football might have hit the ground.]
posted by stevis23 at 12:11 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tony LaRussa, on the other hand, who has called for the overturning of the call, has been a real asshat. Yeah, LaRussa! Internet guy thinks you're a JERK!

Unrelated trivia note of interest possibly only to me - I once got my hair cut next to Tony LaRussa. Despite being a lifelong baseball fan, I didn't recognize him until my hairdresser, shocked at how unimpressed I appeared despite sitting within a few feet of a major Bay Area celebrity (this is when he was coaching the A's), pointed it out to me since I wasn't used to seeing him without a hat on.
posted by The Gooch at 12:12 PM on June 3, 2010


Selig won't reverse the call, but will review the usage of instant replay, and consult with relevant parties. Seems fair to me.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:20 PM on June 3, 2010


I must say, I think the two men at the center of this have carried themselves with much more composure and grace than all of the "OH MY GOD HE WAS ROBBED REPLAY NOW REPLAY NOW" internet ragers.

And, if I may add to my own post, I think that may define the difference in mindset between myself and those who feel the need to measure and perfect everything. I like sports that feel like they can teach us lessons about life. One of the reasons I love baseball is because it is so bizarre, and such unusual things can happen in it, that it feels like it has many lessons to teach us.

There is a unique tension between the number of distinct offensive opportunites that happen in a game (usually between 100 and 150 pitches per side), the incredible precision required on both sides of them (hurling a small round ball at 90+ mph through a target area 60' 6" away of only approximately 3 square feet, and on the other end... trying to hit it with a tiny wooden stick), the remarkable difficulty of the offense actually reacting to those opportunities (in an average game, say, 1 in 20 of those opportunities will end up with a base hit), and the disproportionate ability of a single offensive success to undo everything that has been worked for so far, that makes baseball one of the cruelest of sports.

There is no justice in baseball. A win, never mind a perfect game, and the accompanying hours of work that go into it can frequently be completely destroyed by a single mis-step in any of the scores of pitches that need to be thrown. You can hit 4 hard-hit balls to the outfield in a single game and never reach base on any of them, while your teammate drops in a series of weakly tapped bloop singles right after you. A ball rolling through the infield can hit a rock and end up skipping past the fielder waiting for it, turning a sure out into a hit. You can get your first man on base only to have the next batter knock the ball hard and fast to the shortstop for a picture perfect double play. Umpires can be fallible, and make bad calls that change the complexion of the game. (Or... don't, but that upset a lot of people because of what it took away from them).

No justice in baseball, but we accept it. Because it's like life. We go out and do our best every day, inspite of the inherent uncertainty of it all. Sometimes it all comes together, and you have the best day of your life. Other times, through no fault of your own, you're injured, robbed, beaten... but there's no one you can complain to. Shit just happens. You run back out there the next day, and try again. At times, other peoples failures will hurt you in ways that you certainly don't deserve, and you may want to cry and raise a fuss, and on retrospect, in replay, you may be entirely in the right, the other other guy entirely in the wrong. But by that point it's too late -- the moment has passed, the damage is done, and you accept it and play on, because we're all poor schlubs just trying to do our best. And we all fuck up, and it sometimes hurts other people. That's life.

You grin your "you've got to be fucking kidding me... well, what can you do" grin, you finish the job you started, and you go out the next day and shake the hand of the man who hurt you through no ill will, only human fallibility. Because life doesn't have instant replay. You have to learn to deal with the uncertainty and occasional unfairness of it all, or we all live in perpetual mistrust and dismay.

I *like* that baseball without replay teaches us these lessons. I like that it mirrors life in so many ways, some good, some seemingly cruel, harsh, and unnecessary. Am I a nostalgic romantic for thinking so? Perhaps. But I can't help but think that baseball without replay has taught Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce a few life lessons that they've demonstrated they've learned well in the past 24 hours, and which other people not involved have demonstrated they haven't.

But don't worry, instant replay will resolve it all, and then we won't have to learn these hard life lessons.


Ok, yeah, I guess I am a foolish romantic. Oh well.
posted by jammer at 12:20 PM on June 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


bummer!!!
posted by armheadarmlegleg at 12:24 PM on June 3, 2010


Well jammer has taken the wind out of my idea for a 'super death match ultra appeal' where the ump and the player are locked in a cage with a single bat. The last man standing wins the 'appeal'.
posted by mazola at 12:27 PM on June 3, 2010


I think that may define the difference in mindset between myself and those who feel the need to measure and perfect everything.

Adding limited replay to correct the most egregious errors is no "feeling the need to measure and perfect everything." Geez.

But I can't help but think that baseball without replay has taught Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce a few life lessons that they've demonstrated they've learned well in the past 24 hours, and which other people not involved have demonstrated they haven't.

Ugh.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:31 PM on June 3, 2010


jammer, you're setting up a false equivalence where romantic notion = letting human error dictate a game. others are saying romantic notion = players decide the game with no outside error. both are romantic notions because neither can be fully realized; others aren't going to take away your beautiful lessons of life, death, god, love, fraternity, etc., and no game will be completely free of outside influence, conditions, errors. we just have different ideas of what the ideal is. mine has to do with the best team winning and letting nothing get in the way of the play on the field.

and while you may see a lot of people going OMG HE WAS ROBBED INSTANT REPLAY NOW!!, i see a lot of people on radio, tv, internet, everywhere else saying "i've been advocating instant replay for a long time and this is just another example where the outcome of the game was influenced by a poor officiating error rather than the play of the men on the field, and that's a shame."
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:37 PM on June 3, 2010


I'm saying that for a game that barely holds people's interests due to the amount of non-action, adding more non-action is going to shoot them in the foot.

Oh, pardon me, but your bias is showing.
posted by hippybear at 12:41 PM on June 3, 2010


or, to sum: you may think baseball is about teaching people life lessons (sorry, eyeroll, HARD), but it seems to me that professional baseball games are actually about trying to determine which of two baseball teams is better on a certain day.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:42 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


it seems to me that professional baseball games are actually about trying to determine which of two baseball teams is better on a certain day.

Professional baseball games are about two things: 1) Making lots of money; and 2) Getting people together to enjoy all of the trappings of baseball, including arguments about technicalities and bad calls.
posted by The World Famous at 12:44 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


You sound like a Cubs owner.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:45 PM on June 3, 2010


In my experience professional baseball games are about 2 hours and 54 minutes long.
posted by mazola at 12:48 PM on June 3, 2010


Ugh

(sorry, eyeroll, HARD)

Yeah, I know, I know. I kinda feel that way myself. Sorry.

I know it's not remotely cool to let anything in life affect you to the point where you're anything but a cynical, jaded, negative creep about everything in the world around you, but there it is. I hate most things in life, but can glurge endlessly about baseball.

Rational? No. But I don't pretend that it is.

Sorry if that makes me insufferably uncool, smug, naiive, or... however you may feel about it.
posted by jammer at 12:48 PM on June 3, 2010


Wow, you've got me. I'm trying to ridicule you because your love of baseball is just TOO STRONG. What persecution!

All I'm saying is that your romantic vision of baseball is not my romantic vision of baseball, and it's not a lot of people's romantic vision of baseball. Sorry if not everyone sees it as a battle of flawed but perfect vs. robotic and soulless.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:53 PM on June 3, 2010


Can we at least agree that the Yankees suck and have a beer?


THAT'S what baseball's about.
posted by jammer at 12:56 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, that much we can agree on. (knuckles, buttsmack, bash bros.)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:58 PM on June 3, 2010


It's true that adding replay to the game won't eliminate officiating error. Nothing will; people get things wrong, will continue to get things wrong, there's your human element for you. The question shouldn't be "will we get nothing wrong?", but "will we get more things right?" It's obvious that sport can never achieve a pinnacle of justice, but we have referees, umpires, other impartial observers and a rulebook in order to try for that zenith anyway. You may say that "the human element" is composed of blown calls and the occasional mistake, I say that "the human element" is our attempt to grow closer to an ideal, always falling short, always pressing forward.

I'm saying that for a game that barely holds people's interests due to the amount of non-action, adding more non-action is going to shoot them in the foot.

Oh, pardon me, but your bias is showing.


I too think that baseball is close to unwatchable, but then I'm a Mets fan, so nonaction seems like the norm to me. Certainly, whatever they're doing on gameday, you couldn't really call it baseball.
posted by Errant at 1:05 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I too think that baseball is close to unwatchable, but then I'm a Mets fan

I think we can all agree that the Mets are close to unwatchable.
posted by The World Famous at 1:07 PM on June 3, 2010


Another heartbroken Tiger fan seconding the idea that Joyce has been nothing short of a mensch in the aftermath. Talk about a teaching opportunity re: grace, dignity, and all of those uncool virtues that have been on display in the wake of what everyone now concedes, one way or another, was a perfect game.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:11 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


The pitcher, the team, and the fans were all cheated out of a triply history making moment by one man's fuckup. Joyce should just retire now -- he'll never get away from this moment for the rest of his career.

Wrong. More people will remember this event than any perfect game.

If you cannot grasp that when umpires or refs miss calls that it's part of the game, you are contributing to the dumbing-down of sports.

The NFL is a trainwreck now because of instant replay. Who in his right mind thinks that dog and pony show has anything to do with sports or sportsmanship now?

Bad calls have been part of baseball forever. Why are we going to make such a big deal about this call? Case closed. Umpires are going to make mistakes.


i see a lot of people on radio, tv, internet, everywhere else saying "i've been advocating instant replay for a long time and this is just another example where the outcome of the game was influenced by a poor officiating error rather than the play of the men on the field, and that's a shame."

Then you're not listening to the right people (which is very easy to do, when it comes to sports commentary).
posted by L'OM at 1:33 PM on June 3, 2010


The NFL is a trainwreck now because of instant replay. Who in his right mind thinks that dog and pony show has anything to do with sports or sportsmanship now?

Most Americans?

Magnitudes more than believe it about baseball?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:40 PM on June 3, 2010


Why have all of the major American sports been dumbed-down to enhance scoring?

So is it that surprising that the implementation of something as ridiculous and unnecessary as instant replay would be greeted with open arms by the same rabble?
posted by L'OM at 1:51 PM on June 3, 2010


Explain to me how instant replay is a dumbing down of sports. Slowing down of sports, yes. Dumbing down - huh? Please type slowly - I am very stupid and enjoy factual calls. Tanx.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:54 PM on June 3, 2010


The NFL is a trainwreck now because of instant replay. Who in his right mind thinks that dog and pony show has anything to do with sports or sportsmanship now?

Most Americans?


You think most Americans are in their right minds?
posted by The World Famous at 1:57 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I too come down on the side of the "Human Element" in baseball. Last summer I had a chance to watch a game of baseball played at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI. This was a recreation of a how the game was played circa 1880. One of the things that struck me was that in this game, the umpire did not call balls and strikes unless he thought either the pitcher or the batter was not making a good faith effort. If not enough pitches were hittable, the ump would warn the pitcher he'd start calling balls. Likewise if a hitter did not offer at obviously good pitches, he'd start calling strikes.

The umpire was able to use his interpretation of the context to keep the game moving along, and made sure that play was in the spirit of the rules. In some sense, both teams and the umpire were working together to ensure the integrity of the game.

BTW, it was a fantastic game. The fielders did not wear gloves, and the batters used bats that were massive pieces of lumber compared to the bat used today. All the players were very good and had probably all previously competed at levels of high school or above. Still the same basic game though.
posted by mach at 1:58 PM on June 3, 2010


The NFL is a trainwreck now because of instant replay.

I dunno. It's still far and away the most popular of the four major sports and shows no signs of slowing.

The biggest news for fans is the league's reaction to Cowboys Stadium. Everybody wants a stadium with a giant, high-def video screen now, on which instant replays can be shown ad infinitum when you're at the game.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:02 PM on June 3, 2010


From the other J. Joyce: "the man of centuries, was bowled out by judge, jury and umpire at
batman's biff like a witchbefooled legate."
posted by chavenet at 2:12 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Everybody wants a stadium with a giant, high-def video screen now, on which instant replays can be shown ad infinitum when you're at the game.

More to the point, for about half the people in the stands, the central focal point in their view isn't the game, it's the giant screen straight in front of them.
posted by dw at 2:34 PM on June 3, 2010


As an born-American, I suppose I should probably be ashamed of my ignorance...I thought a perfect game was where the pitcher pitched all strike-outs. It seems odd that they give all the glory to the pitcher, when it looks like most of these 'perfect' games had more to do with perfect fielding, than pitching. I guess there is an I in team. =p
posted by nomisxid at 2:47 PM on June 3, 2010


The terms "perfect game" and "no-hitter" are just two of the many charming things about baseball that make absolutely no sense. Though "perfect game" makes more sense than "no-hitter," since the game is perfect even though the pitcher didn't strike everyone out.
posted by The World Famous at 2:54 PM on June 3, 2010


the idea is the pitcher made the hits fieldable - didn't give the batter anything he could really get under, but made him swing. You couldn't have 27 strike-outs without a really mismatched team.

But usually there's a play or two in a perfect game that's not a given - some good hits that get caught by some really jazzed up fielders.
posted by mdn at 2:58 PM on June 3, 2010


Also: credit is just generally given to the pitcher. When I've been to games, the scorecard has had Team vs. Team and under it, Starting Pitcher vs. Starting Pitcher.

Also also: to make it 27 outs with the same pitcher is pretty rare.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:03 PM on June 3, 2010


The word overturn appears about 100 times in this thread.
Occurences of bets, gambling, Vegas : none
Guys, WTF?!
posted by CitoyenK at 3:36 PM on June 3, 2010


Why have all of the major American sports been dumbed-down to enhance scoring?

Look, I don't know if you've ever looked at the baseball rulebook, but while you can accuse it of being many things, "dumbed-down" is not one of them. You need a degree in case law just to keep it all straight.

Still, I shouldn't respond to anyone who uses the word "rabble" unironically, so I guess you got me good this time.
posted by Errant at 3:45 PM on June 3, 2010


Oh, god, save us from the politicians:
Michigan lawmakers got into the act on Thursday, lobbying Selig to reverse the call and recognize Galarraga as having thrown a perfect game. Gov. Jennifer Granholm issued a proclamation declaring that Galarraga had indeed pitched a perfect game, while U.S. Rep. John D. Dingell said he'd introduce a congressional resolution asking Major League Baseball to overturn the blown call.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:53 PM on June 3, 2010


In Michigan baseball, lawmakers lobby you.
posted by The World Famous at 3:55 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


since the game is perfect even though the pitcher didn't strike everyone out.

In this case, perfect is defined as "No one reached base; every batter was retired in order; the team made only 27 plate appearances, which is the minimum possible."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:07 PM on June 3, 2010


Galarraga presented the Tigers lineup card to Joyce this afternoon.

Now THAT is the human element I am talking about. It's not fallibility or error. It's grace and sportsmanship, forgiveness and respect.

That's all. It doesn't matter to me if baseball institutes replays or Selig overturns the call or the Michigan politicians raise funds on the back of Galarraga's effort.

What matters is that these values are alive. I like that. I think THAT is important.
posted by salishsea at 5:36 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


As we have seen with the NFL, when you use instant replay you open up a whole new can of worms. You are now relying on more chances of human error: from the cameraman, from the fact that all of the angles cannot be covered, different angles because the stadiums are not all the same, errors from the director calling the worng shot, errors from the TD cutting to the wrong camera, video breakdown, someone standing on the sideline blocking a critical view of a foot going out of bounds... and so on and so on..

You are going to see more shitstorms BECAUSE of replay as the years go by.

It's a joke. And the game grinds to a halt because of all of the stoppages for review.

I understand this is now happening in the NBA (talk about a once-great sport that has been dumbed-down).

Let the refs or the umps make the calls. Mistakes are part of the game. Sometimes the calls go against you, sometimes they don't. That's life.


while you can accuse it of being many things, "dumbed-down" is not one of them.

Go to the archives and watch a game back when the players didn't do a conga line around the bases almost every inning.

You cannot tell me they have not altered the game to enhance scoring. The ball has been altered, the parks are smaller, the pitching has been watered down because there are too many teams, the strike zone is miniscule now. And for a decade or so they looked the other way re steroids.

And sorry I cannot sugar-coat this: yes, this is what the rabble want to see- scoring.
posted by L'OM at 5:59 PM on June 3, 2010


The NFL is a trainwreck now because of instant replay.

I dunno. It's still far and away the most popular of the four major sports and shows no signs of slowing.


Wild popularity has very little to do with the quality of the product anymore-- especially in sports and entertainment. Soccer is the only exception-- because they really have not fucked with the basic rules of the game. What have they done to it in the past 100 years? do? Made the backpass illegal to speed up the play a little... that's it really.
posted by L'OM at 6:08 PM on June 3, 2010


What I'm saying is that the perfect game is such a bizarre, unique situation that the call should be overturned with an explicit statement that it's setting no precedent.

Like Bush v. Gore!
posted by kirkaracha at 6:08 PM on June 3, 2010


Oh, god, save us from the politicians:

Jesus. Here's hoping the Tigers start sending likewise sending proclamations and memos to the governor and Congress to fix any aspects of government that they don't think are working right.
posted by desuetude at 6:57 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wasn't annoyed at Jones calling him "that kid" in his original statement, but it's a little weird that this usage keeps getting repeated for a 28-year-old man.
posted by desuetude at 3:09 PM on June 3 [+] [!]


He's a "kid" because this is only his second season in the major leagues. He came up for Dontrelle Willis (injured) in 2008 and started the 2009 season but was sent down because they were hitting the hell out of him. He was just called up from AAA Toledo like 3 weeks ago and everyone is still hoping "the kid" can stay up this time.
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:43 PM on June 3, 2010


Wild popularity has very little to do with the quality of the product anymore-- especially in sports and entertainment. Soccer is the only exception-- because they really have not fucked with the basic rules of the game.

First, the notion that soccer is somehow exempt and purer due to a lack of rules changes is ridiculous; you need only see the effect of massive money on the game to realize that the quality of the product is hardly tied to a consistency of ruling.

Second, what? I grant you that the Laws of the Game have not changed much in the intervening hundred years, but the game surely has done so. From 2 points a win to 3 points in league play; the away-goals rule in two-legged ties; offsides changed from any attacking player behind a defender to 3 defenders to 2 defenders, and benefit of the doubt assigned to the attacking side; the transformation of the tackle from behind into a red-card offense; the back-pass rule you mentioned; new official balls every year or so that knuckle and bend beyond most goalkeepers' ability to anticipate -- what exactly do you think the purpose of all these changes was and are, if not to enhance and reward goal-scoring?

Look, I don't want to derail the conversation completely away from baseball, so we should take this tangent to MeMail or drop it, but there's no sport in the world that hasn't, over time, evolved to promote more scoring or otherwise gaining points. Pretending that soccer is some sophisticate breed apart is ludicrous and simply not in evidence.
posted by Errant at 8:59 PM on June 3, 2010


"Can we go to the replay? Nope."

and that is why baseball is dumb
posted by tehloki at 9:26 PM on June 3, 2010


Then you have not watched American sporta in the past couple of decades.

You cannot compare soccer to what the American sports have done to dumb things down for mass American appeal.

And I don't even need a list to prove my point:

- Defenders cannot touch receivers in American football anymore.

Right there you have one rule that dwarfs anything soccer has done in 100 years. And that's just one rule from only one of the major American sports.

I could go on but it's just so obvious. And it's obvious you are not really familiar with how it was when Ameriocan sports were more sport and less entertainment.
posted by L'OM at 6:56 AM on June 4, 2010


"Can we go to the replay? Nope."

and that is why baseball is dumb


This is another example of someone not really grasping the charm of baseball.

As we have seen in the NFL, replay makes the sport dumber.
posted by L'OM at 6:58 AM on June 4, 2010


Enough. There is nothing charming about this situation. This comes from the same worthless, thoughtless, slavish mindset that brings us No Tolerance policies.

It's ugly there, and it's ugly here.
posted by effugas at 10:59 AM on June 4, 2010


I'm curious, since I didn't see the entire game, only the clips of the penultimate and last play. Were there any other blown calls during the game, e.g., balls called strikes, missed tags called outs? I ask, because in every game there are usually at least a couple of obvious errors by the umpires, and it would be unusual if this were the only one. We are focusing on this one because of its placement. If this had been the first batter of the game, or the 18th, we wouldn't be having this conversation, obviously. My question is whether any other blown calls happened on the ith play for the opponents at-bat, where i < 27?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:40 AM on June 4, 2010


Defenders cannot touch receivers in American football anymore.

Bullshit. The NFL allows contact within the first five yards.
posted by dw at 2:31 PM on June 4, 2010


And honestly, forcing the secondary to defend the ball rather than clutch and grab the receiver makes for a better game. I've been watching college and pro football all my life, and the evolution of the pass interference rules make perfect sense to me. If you're "touching" the receiver, you are doing it wrong. Play the damn ball, not the man.
posted by dw at 2:34 PM on June 4, 2010


The NFL allows contact within the first five yards.

The first five yards is meaningless.

They have also protected the QB with all kinds of rules so he doesn't have to worry about getting flattened when he stands up in the pocket to throw a ball.

They have made it much easier to throw and catch a pass in the NFL for good reason- the prols want to see "more action" and more scoring.
posted by L'OM at 8:54 AM on June 5, 2010


Anything the people like is bad and wrong! They are proles and rabble and deserve not to watch our sacred sport!
posted by klangklangston at 4:25 PM on June 5, 2010


They have also protected the QB with all kinds of rules so he doesn't have to worry about getting flattened when he stands up in the pocket to throw a ball.


Unless, of course, it's Brett Favre in a game against the Saints. Then all bets are off.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:40 PM on June 6, 2010


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