Dear Detroit Tiger Fans: Don't Blame Jim Joyce

Kevin BerthaCorrespondent IJune 3, 2010

Many Detroit Tiger fans are blaming Jim Joyce for Armando Galarraga's loss of a perfect game.

Seriously, Tiger fans, don't blame Joyce.

Galarraga came oh so close to getting a perfect game. In fact, he had one in most people's minds. He retired the first 26 batters he faced, and the 27th batter he faced reached base on a blown call.

Joyce even admitted that he blew the call. 99.9 percent of officials in any league you can think of won't ever admit that they made a mistake. The reason is that officials look like they cannot do their jobs if they admit to a mistake.

You have a job (hopefully). You make mistakes. Do you admit it? Sure, you probably would if you had a few ounces of integrity.

Unfortunately, officials are forced to give up some integrity in order to keep their jobs.

Joyce has the most integrity I have ever seen by a sports official.

Let this sink in: I currently play baseball. I would like to say that I'm a good hitter. Our league has the worst umpire in the world, Jay. (Note: I changed his first name in case the umpire in question happens to see this. I still want some calls to continue to go my way.) Jay has the largest strike zone in the world.

When the count is 0-2 on me (or any batter in our league for that matter), I have to take a radical approach. I must move up very close to the plate, almost on the plate, in order to be able to foul off pitches four inches outside the strike zone.

Why? Because I don't want Jay to call me out on strikes on a bad pitch.

As you can see, most hitters in our league must develop bad habits for an umpire. (Note: I sure as heck don't complain about it when I'm pitching. I live on the outside corner; the farther away I can throw strikes, the better.)

Jay doesn't only make mistakes behind the plate, he also makes mistakes calling out players on the base paths.

Case in point: My travel team was playing our hometown tournament, and a runner was on first base. A passed ball occurs, and the backstop causes the ball to bounce back to our catcher with ease. Our catcher makes an OK throw down to second, but our shortstop can't get the tag right on the base runner. The ball beats the runner and our shortstop gives him a phantom tag.

Jay calls him out.

I was playing left field at the time, and I clearly saw that our shortstop, Ryan, did not tag the base runner whatsoever. I wasn't going to complain though, nor would our coaches, catcher, or shortstop.

The opposing team knew that Ryan didn't get the tag down, and their first base coach nearly was thrown out of the game.

Of course, Jay never admits his mistakes. He simply owns up to his call, doesn't back away from it, and will toss you if you dare argue with him.

You can see why I give Jay the title of "Worst Umpire in the World".

Now, Joyce owned up to his mistake. He deeply regretted that he cost Galarraga a perfecto. Jay never owns up to his mistakes; he sticks by his calls and tosses people.

Joyce was just doing his job. I've heard from some people today that he should have called the runner out even if the runner beat the throw.

You know, a hit's a hit. I don't care if the pitcher has retired the first 26 batters, if the 27th guy manages to beat out a ground ball, it's a hit. It's the pitcher's fault that he let the batter make contact when he could have struck him out.

Joyce made a mistake. He's human—aren't we all? We all make mistakes.

Galarraga handled the situation graciously. He didn't get mad. In fact, he just simply shrugged it off and got the next batter out. The Tigers were madder than Galarraga. Some confronted Joyce angrily.

Apparently, Galarraga needs to teach the Tigers something called class . He handled the situation admirably. Galarraga didn't get angry and understood that Joyce made a mistake. The Tigers charged Joyce angrily and began to argue the call. While Joyce clearly made a bad call, the Tigers fell off their saddles.

Joyce was incredibly saddened that he cost Galarraga a perfect game. In fact, he was crying when he came over to talk to Galarraga after the game.

But it's nothing to fret over. Sure, Galarraga may have lost his only chance at a perfect game in his life to a blown decision, but he didn't get angry. He knows that he'll always have an "unofficial" perfect game in the books. And is that really that bad of a deal?

I don't think so. (The Corvette that Galarraga received today definitely sweetened the deal, though.)

And quit calling Joyce a horrible umpire. He's one of the best. Plus, you could always have somebody worse like Jay.


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