Major League Baseball umpire Jim Joyce is a nice guy.
He’s also been voted the game’s best umpire.
But after what happened Saturday night in St. Louis in Game 3 of the World Series, he’s now the only umpire in MLB history to erase a perfect game with a blown call and to end a World Series game on an obstruction call.
Joyce’s call in the bottom of the ninth Saturday sealed the 5-4 win for the Cardinals. St. Louis was threatening, with men on second and third with one out, when Jon Jay poked a grounder toward second. Dustin Pedroia made a great play at second, going to the grass to snare the ball and fire home, getting the second out of the inning and saving the game.
But Jarrod Saltalamacchia got a little greedy after erasing Yadier Molina at home and — forgetting the woes of Game 2 for Boston — fired the ball toward third, where Allen Craig was trying to move up a bag. The ball skipped past Will Middlebrooks and into the outfield.
The Red Sox appeared to have a stroke of luck as Craig had trouble getting up and running home on the overthrow, but the reason Craig was slow down the line was because he got tangled in Middlebrooks’ legs. That’s a no-no in baseball, and Joyce made the obstruction call, negating the play at the plate where Saltalamacchia appeared to tag Craig out.
It was the right call — it was obstruction whether Middlebrooks tried to take Craig out or not — but it’s pretty unlucky of Joyce to get stuck in the middle of it. That’s no way to end a World Series game, and this is the same guy whose legitimately blown call (not any little difference of opinion) lost Armando Galarraga’s perfect game for him in 2010.
Joyce may have hid his face in Detroit after that one. He can now add Boston to the list.