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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

June 2, 2010: A day that will live in (baseball) infamy

Friday, June 4, 2010

Former baseball announcer Ron Fairly had a response to those "Tie goes to the runner" advocates of playground umpiring.

"Not so," Captain Fairly Obvious used to say. "There are no ties. The runner is either out or safe."

The now-infamous play at first base of Wednesday night's Tigers-Indians game wasn't even a tie. Detroit's Armando Galarraga clearly beat Cleveland's Jason Donald to the bag in what should have been the final out of a perfect game for Galarraga. Instead, first base umpire Jim Joyce inexplicably called Donald safe before later acknowledging his error and offering a tearful (and profane) apology.

The incident has many clamoring for instant replay to be used in baseball for more than disputed home run calls.

Come on people, that's not the answer. You really want baseball games to go on longer? Look how long NFL games are delayed by constant challenges and booth reviews. Major League Baseball is constantly under attack for taking too long as it is. Even the most ardent baseball fans would have their patience stretched thin by instant replay.

I have to commend Joyce for owning up to his mistake. He appears to feel fully remorseful, and the scene of him tearing up before Thursday's game and forgiveness extended him by the Detroit organization is touching.

But Joyce is the true culprit here. He is not a victim of what some feel is baseball's archaic notion that the human element is what makes the game better. It is not Major League Baseball's fault that Joyce blew the call.

I'm certain I am breaching some form of umpire code here, but in my opinion, you never, ever make a call that takes the outcome out of the hands of the players. Ever noticed that a basketball referee doesn't call a foul in the waning seconds of a close game unless someone is nearly bludgeoned to death? Or why an umpire doesn't choose the World Series to enforce what is always a phantom tag of second on a game-ending double play?

Galarraga earned the benefit of the doubt. If there is any conceivable chance Donald is out, then the human element needs to err in favor of Galarraga.

Then on Thursday, MLB commissioner Bud Selig followed his traditional pattern by managing to screw up what should be a simple decision: to override Joyce and award Galarraga the 21st perfect game in baseball history.

And all the hullabaloo ruined the night for the one person to which it should have belonged: Ken Griffey Jr.

It is actually somewhat fitting that the retirement of "The Kid" took a backseat on this day. Junior never really craved the spotlight. He played virtually his entire career for smaller market teams while spurning the bigger money that would have come at the expense of his integrity.

It's a shame that Galarraga, Griffey and Joyce will be forever linked on this most bizarre of days.

How much ado can we make about nothing?

The MSSM (that's Mainstream Sports Media - like Shakespeare, I too invent words) could not get enough mileage out of the fact that the NFL owners voted to hold the Super Bowl in a cold-weather outdoor stadium for the first time.

No one batted an eye when the Giants went to Green Bay and WON the NFC title in Favre's first final game when the temperature was -1, yet it is suddenly week-long, front-page news when the Super Bowl - the game for which the conference title games are contested - could potentially be played in cold weather.

This is not Kenny Washington and Woody Strode breaking the color barrier, people. This is a non-story.

Home field advantage is of paramount importance in football. If you are going to insist that the Super Bowl's location be inside or warm lest one team have an advantage, you really need to insist that the conference title games follow the same requirements. If it's about corporate big wigs not being able to party outside, well, I guess that says a lot about where we are as a society.

Do you ever yearn?

That's all I've got, folks. You deserve better than one of these multi-themed columns, but I'm out and I need your help.

Do you ever yearn?

Kramer's infamous question to George in Seinfeld's Season 3 finale rings true to me 18 years later.

I yearn.

I yearn for you to open your hearts and homes to me and allow me to tell your stories.

I know Midwesterners aren't this private. Anyone who has driven down Fourth Avenue on a sunny afternoon or attended a GPAC football game knows that.

You certainly don't need me. But I need you. I need your thoughts, feelings, premonitions and intuitions.

I need to give them a voice.

If you have feedback or ideas, please do not hesitate to contact me at jgeleynse@lemarssentinel.com.


Comments
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I don't know why people are crying about baseball games taking so long. They are the same people who sit through a 3 hour football game and most baseball games don't go three hours. I have seen multiple uses of instant replay in baseball for disputed homerun calls and they have yet to take the amount of time a ref takes when he has to go review a play. People cry about calls being missed but now that we can correct them they don't want to correct them cuz it takes a nother 2 seconds. Cry me a river. Two blown calls were made in the same night, a blown perfect game in Detroit and then a ump in Seattle gave Seattle a win in the 10th inning cuz he called a guy safe at second with two outs that scored a run. So don't tell me we don't need instant replay cuz there have been multiple instances in the past few years that prove we need instant replay. Instant replay could be the difference in making or missing the playoffs cuz the last two year the AL Central has come down to a one game playoff. So MLB we want instant replay cuz all we want is for the correct call to be made.

-- Posted by sports man on Fri, Jun 4, 2010, at 6:07 PM

Sorry Galarraga but life isn't fair. Umps blow calls all the time. This time it sucked but the umpire didn't decide the outcome of the game. Yeah it wasn't perfect but they got the win. He still threw 8 2/3 innings of perfect ball, which he can say is better than everyone but 20 others.

Selig was also right to not change it. If you're going to change it, change it when it happened, not a day or two after. If he has to change one blown call so someone can have a stat, then he has to go back and change every blown call.

As for the Superbowl it is big news. This is the first time that the Superbowl has been in a cold weather venue. Why is this important? Because people plan their vacations around the Superbowl. Business fork over a ton of my money for this. Nobody wants a cold vacation. No one wants to pay top dollar for a ticket to sit outside in -1 degree weather. I love that they did it this time, but it could cost them money, and this may be the only time it happens.

-- Posted by Unanimous on Fri, Jun 4, 2010, at 6:41 PM

In the CFL, all the stadiums take turns hosting the Grey Cup game. I would love to see Super Bowl LI in Lambeau Field.

-- Posted by westerner88 on Sat, Jun 5, 2010, at 10:19 AM

To be fair to Joyce, Galarraga snow coned the play and picked the wrong time to shift the ball back to the center of the glove. It could be construed as bobbling the ball and not yet having control.

-- Posted by westerner88 on Sat, Jun 5, 2010, at 10:22 AM

Now that's a great column.

-- Posted by pswapp on Sat, Jun 5, 2010, at 11:37 PM


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By Jesse Geleynse
In the Shadow of the Water Tower