Was It A Perfect Game?

June 7, 2010

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Last week Armando Galarraga, pitcher Detroit Tigers, almost threw a perfect game against the Cleveland Indians.  Perfect; no walks, no errors, no man on base for the entire game.  Almost; there was a bad call at first base on the supposed 27th out.  Now Kosmo is officially the baseball analyst on The Soap Boxers, but there has been so much discussion on this topic that I want to get my two cents in.

On most of the radio talk shows and sports programs, there is an overwhelming push to have the commissioner of baseball overturn that final call and put the game down as perfect in the record books (even the President of the United States has supported such an action).  I strongly disagree.  The umpires’ calls are part of the game.  If we look at just that one call, sure we can say it was wrong, but that was not the only play of the game.  Up until that point, there had been 82 pitches, 22 were called strike, how many of those were bad calls?  Armando only had 1 called strike out, the other two recorded were at least on swings.  Also up to that point, there had been 13 ground outs, how many of those were close calls?  I did not actually watch the game so I cannot answer these questions.

The game is at it was called at the time.  Are we going to go back and review any other “almost perfect” games to see if another pitcher was wronged?  Are we going to give equal study to every other play in the game in question?  For that matter are we going to review the other perfect games on record to make sure they really were perfect?  In this day of instant and repetitive media, it is hard not to form an opinion and feel that you have to defend it till death.  We have to remember that this is just a game.  Sure it is a profession for Armando, and he is very good at it, but this perfect (or not) game will not make or break his career, will not hurt anyone, and in the long run will probably be more memorable for those who played in and saw it than any other game.

This hullabaloo reminds me of a single play in Super Bowl XIII.  Jackie Smith, tight end Dallas Cowboys, dropped a sure touchdown pass in the end zone.  Dallas had to settle for a field goal and went on to lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers by 4 points.  Most of pundits, even today, blame the loss on Jackie.  I disagree.  There was a lot more that happened in that game.  The drop occurred in the 3rd quarter.  A lot of football had been played up to that point, and a lot more followed.

Although in the current discussion, not much happened after the blown call.  Armando kept his cool and finished off the last (unfortunately the 28th) batter.  I think that Armando should be praised and held up as a true sportsman to our country and especially our children.  When the call did not go his way, he played on.  He did not whine and complain.  The umpire’s apology was fine, but we must move on.  If this drives instant replay for Base Ball, so be it, at least any overturned calls will be while the game is played, not by talking heads in the days following the event.

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