The Indians were hacking at nearly every pitch and could do nothing with them. Once Austin Jackson covered an insane amount of ground in center field to make a basket catch for the first out of the top of the ninth — giving Galarraga the requisite fielding gem that is a staple of every no-hitter and perfect game — the perfecto seemed to be destiny.
What isn't a staple of these games are blown calls — with two out in the ninth, no less.
Galarraga induced Cleveland hitter Jason Donald to hit a ground ball in between first and second base, and Miguel Cabrera ranged to grab the ball. He got set, threw to Galarraga and began celebrating.
Umpire Jim Joyce disagreed, calling Donald safe.
There is no "maybe" about this. Donald was out.
Joyce blew the call, and perhaps ushered in a new era in baseball history — one where instant replay is expanded to cover all plays in a game, not just home-run calls.
Despite umpires making some high-profile blown calls (C.B Bucknor in the Angels-Red Sox series, Jim Cuzzi calling a Joe Mauer double foul, which could have given Minnesota the win in Game 2 in the 2009 playoffs), expanding instant replay was not discussed in the offseason.
There may be some discussion going on now. Despite commissioner Bud Selig's stance against instant replay, there's no question that so far, having home runs called correctly has added another layer of legitimacy to the game.
Unfortunately for Galarraga, he won't get credit for a perfect game, but he may go down in history as the player that provided the impetus for complete instant replay. Baseball fans are up in arms — Jim Joyce instantly became the most trending topic in Twitter minutes after the conclusion of the game — about the play and it will be hard for baseball to beat back the tide of public opinion.
The sad thing is, umpires have been making the news for all the wrong reasons recently. Red Sox fans saw that on display against the Tampa Bay Rays when home plate umpire Bob Davidson went berserk against Carl Crawford and Joe Maddon. Bill Hohn followed that up with an improbable ejecting of Astros ace Roy Oswalt, prompting MLB to note that Hohn would be reprimanded sternly.
And "Cowboy" Joe West, who made waves earlier this season for complaining about the length of Red Sox-Yankees games, had a happy trigger finger of his own when he told White Sox pitcher Mark Buerhle and manager Ozzie Guillen to hit the showers.
To Joyce's credit, reports after the game had him distraught for blowing the call, and he apologized to Galarraga.
But Joyce should never have been in position to blow a call in the first place. He should have called him safe, then had manager Jim Leyland appeal. After reviewing the play, Donald would have been called out and Galarraga would have had his chance at history.
What do you think? Is it time for Major League Baseball to expand replay, or is this the cost that fans, players and umpires must pay to keep baseball "pure"?
Share your thoughts below. The best comments will be read on NESN's Red Sox GameDay Live or Red Sox Final.
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