Saturday, June 5, 2010


You saw it probably 20 times by now. If you saw it live, it was even more incredible. We all looked at every angle to see what umpire Jim Joyce could have seen. Did Galaragas miss the bag? No, no, and no. Did he bobble the ball? Yeah, a little but each closeup on replay showed he had control before the runner got to the bag.

No doubt Jim Joyce erred on the call and only he will ever know what really went through his mind in that split second in eternity...or perhaps he will never know.

So what did you see? It is probably a better question to ask what you did not see. You did not see a George Brett-like tantrum. Instead you saw a young man who was truly cheated of a perfect game and all of the fame that goes with it. In a moment he realized what he had lost. You could see it in his face for the second or two that he stared in amazement at the "safe" call. But immediately he gently smiled as he truly maintained his composure and went back to the job of finishing the game.

The word "Class" has been used and overused in describing what happened. The true definition of Armando Galaragas is "Sportsman."

So now what? One faction is screaming for replays and the purists are defending the "human" aspect of the game.

Where do you stand?

We could go completely high tech and wire everything from the strike zone to the bases, to the foul poles to the balls and bats.

Before a batter stands in, electrodes in his uniform defining his specific strike zone would be synchronized with an electric 3-D strike zone that calls balls and strikes for those pitches not swung at.

The same type of electrode could decide if a bat or a body part made contact with the ball. The foul lines could call fair or foul. An electrode in spikes and first base could make the call at the bag. Umpires would be obsolete.

Well, that would end the game as we know it and put it into the hands of this techy society that does not get the beauty of this timeless game between cell phone calls and text messages. They have no patience to take the time to understand the mental battle that each pitch presents.

Probably the best suggestion I have heard was on the Cleveland Indians' telecast this evening. Matt Underwood suggested that the scorer become a 5th umpire that would decide when a play should be under review and when a replay would be necessary. That scorer/umpire would then review the replay and decide is there was conclusive evidence to change a call.

This way the human aspect of the game stays in tact until it is evident that a serious error could have been committed.

It will be very interesting to see what develops.