Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Most Dramatic Day in Baseball History

Okay, maybe we exaggerate. But still, if you're a fan of baseball dramatics, yesterday was a banner day.

First, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks went 13 1/2 scoreless innings until Garret Anderson, of all people, hit the game-winning single — ruled a trap by a diving Chris Young — in the bottom of the 14th inning. The Dodgers were a half game out of first place...for the time being.

Then Ken Griffey Jr. retired. Not a huge shock, but when was the last time you can remember such a significant player calling it quits in the middle of a season? John Kruk, maybe?

But we were just getting started. Of course, the big baseball news of the day was umpire Jim Joyce's missed call costing the Tigers' Armando Galarraga a perfect game, which would have been the third of the season. Think the Steroid Era is over? (But weren't pitchers juicing too?)

Immediate reactions to this debacle included sympathy for Galarraga — and for Joyce as well. Both men reacted with class, and we got these transcendent words from Joe Posnanski:

Galarraga pitched a perfect game on Wednesday night in Detroit. I’ll always believe that. I think most baseball fans will always believe that. But, more than anything it seems that Galarraga will always believe it. The way he handled himself after the game, well, that was something better than perfection. Dallas Braden’s perfect game was thrilling. Roy Halladay’s perfect game was art. But Armando’s Galarraga’s perfect game was a lesson in grace.

Of course, none of this will prevent the instant replay debate from firing up for the rest of this season. Already there's talk of Bud Selig overturning the missed call, and for some, it's time to get back to work:

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said MLB gave Joyce the option to not work Thursday's game between Detroit and Cleveland, but Joyce chose to stick with his job behind the plate. Leyland added that Galarraga would present the lineup card and shake hands with Joyce at home plate before the afternoon game.

Photo op!

The first-place Padres, never willing to make things easy for the Dodgers, shook off a strong performance by Johan Santana and took the Mets into extra innings when David "MSB" Eckstein drove in the tying run off Francisco Rodriguez. And, just to top Anderson's walk-off single, Adrian Gonzalez hit a walk-off grand slam to win it in the 11th. The Dodgers' reclamation of first place must wait for at least another day.

Oh, and as the cherry on top of The Most Dramatic Day in Baseball History, the Twins-Mariners game ended with a bit of a brouhaha as well. These types of things may drive Selig crazy, but there wouldn't be controversy if people didn't care. And there was a lot to care about yesterday.

photo by Paul Sancya/AP


Kyle Baker said...

"Galarraga would present the lineup card and shake hands with Joyce at home plate before the afternoon game."

That is awesome. Love it. Sheer class all around! There are so many poor role models in sports, so situations like these should be brought to the forefront.

Josh S. said...

Yeah, I've calmed down about this. Galarraga knows what he accomplished. Even if the record books don't show a perfecto, it's still one of the most significant events in modern baseball history.

Kyle Baker said...

"MLB Network Radio XM Radio and MLB Network Radio bring you the rebroadcast of the entire almost-perfect game thrown by Armando Galarraga on June 2nd versus the Indians. Re-live all the drama of the final moments and blown-call at first that cost Galarraga the 21st perfect game in MLB history and 3rd this season! XM188 at 8pm Eastern TODAY!"

Kyle Baker said...

MLB Network just did a live look-in at the exchanging of the lineup card in this morning's Detroit game. AMAZING.

Crowd gave umpiring crew a standing O is it came out. Joyce was crying his eyes out. Galarraga shook Joyce's hand like a man and they patted each other on the back.

What a great moment!

Kyle Baker said...

And just to show that life is infinitely strange, the first CLE batter nubbed one down the middle and there was a play at first. The runner was out but the play was close. Joyce had to run down to back up the first base ump and it just reminded everyone watching of the play at first yesterday.

Alex Cora said...

Will the Tigers sell tickets to this "almost perfect" game?!?

MR.F said...


Pedro Guerrero said...

I'd have to say the most significant player to retire mid season was Elgin Baylor in the 1971-72 season. Later that year the Lakers would go on to win their 1st LA title. Finally, isn't it time that MLB join the 21st century and use instant replay?

MR.F said...

Good for Detroit for their response.

Fred's Brim said...

For those who missed it, the MLB site has the clip of Joyce meeting Gallaraga up now

karen said...

What dignity and grace Galarraga and Joyce have both shown. I feel lucky to have witnessed such sportsmanship in the MLB today.

Josh S. said...

Peter Gammons took a shot at our balk-off win in an article about how classy the Tigers and Joyce were:

Joyce's call isn't related to the attitudinal issues of other umpires raised in the past month. This isn't Bill Hahn overreacting and wrongly ejecting Roy Oswalt. This isn't a walk-off balk called by a second base umpire because, as the cameras showed, third base umpire Bob Davidson had his back turned to the play. This isn't Angel Hernandez and Joe West and their repeated problems with the White Sox, Rays, Red Sox and other teams.

Josh S. said...

It was called by the first base umpire, btw.