JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

The blown call

Perfect games come, perfect games go. Yes, they’re rare. But not always so memorable. Can you name every pitcher who has accomplished the feat? How about half the pitchers?

Neither can I.

Tonight, however, thanks to a horribly blown call, we will always remember the names Jim Joyce and Armando Galarraga. They will go down in baseball history. They might even become adjectives. Or verbs. Or both. “That guy threw a Galarraga.” “Man, he Joyced him.”

The media has already begun its pouting and moaning. We need instant replay! We must have instant replay! Where’s instant replay! I say, no. No way. Baseball is a game of human error. Of dropped fly balls and terrible swings and flubs and gaffes and … you get the idea. Part of that human error involved umpires, and the understanding that, every so often, they’ll completely screw up. Sometimes it backfires terribly (like tonight), but more often than not it merely adds to the debate—He missed that call! No, he didn’t! Yes, he did! I love that sort of arguing; it makes things fun and interesting and unpredictable. And human.

That said, there can be exceptions to all rules. Factually, a perfect game was thrown tonight. Factually. The final of 27-straight outs was recorded. The ball was caught. The base was stepped on. Some way or another, Bud Selig should hold a press conference and overturn the call. It’s one thing if there’s a debate. Some debate. Any debate. Tonight, however, there is none. So if we all can agree it was perfect, it’s perfect. Period.

But to change everything? To go instant replay on such calls?

No. No way.