Replay will Ruin Baseball – UPDATED

Humility & Grace turn a heavy moment to light. Sancya/AP

Last night, Umpire James Joyce made a horrifically bad call and robbed Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga of a perfect game:

Yeah, a horrible call. Yes, Galarraga was robbed, and Joyce will live with his mistake. That’s the nature of the game.

Now comes the debate: What should Baseball do? Should MLB Commissioner Bud Selig reverse the call? and award the perfect game to Galarraga? That question is being debated, right now.

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has issued a proclamation that Galarraga threw a perfect game.

Last night, on twitter, a passionate debate raged. A seeming majority demanded that replay be introduced to regular-season Baseball. “Limit it to three challenges a game,” someone wrote. There was a lot of talk about “justice” and “fairness.” People wanted to feel better about what had just happened. They wanted those in authority to “fix it,” so that no one would feel badly; not Galarraga, not Joyce, not the fans.

I and a few other hardy voices were raised in disagreement, arguing that introducing replay to Baseball will ruin the game; it will steal its soul.

To submit the human mistakes (and the opportunity to rise above them) that make baseball so magnificent to the cut-and-dry legalism of replay is a misguided notion; it demonstrates how comfortable our society has become with recourse to the courts, with the idea that life–which is not fair–can somehow be made fair, by dint of authority.

After last night’s game, Joyce admitted his mistake. He sought out Galarraga and his manager, Jim Leyland, and owned it.

That’s manly, and graceful.

Galarraga, in turn, showed enormous class and grace in return, forgiving the umpire.

Character on display. You don’t get to see it when replays are enforced. Ruling by replay sends everyone to the tape and there is no human interplay between the wrong, who admit it, and the wronged, who accept the admission and then let it go.

Just moments ago, as today’s game began, Leyland had Galarraga bring the line-up card to the umpires, at home plate.

The ump behind the plate? Jim Joyce, who accepted the card with tears streaming from his eyes. Galarraga stood there, beautifully attuned to the moment and the man, while most of the crowd–understanding what baseball is, and that they now had the opportunity to be part of something bigger than a mere game–stood in the stands, and heartened both men with their applause.

You can watch it from a different angle here. The picture may become iconic. What a moment!

Writes Drew:

People always say if you pitch a perfect game you are a part of baseball history. Well how many of those 21 players can you really name? Off the top of my head I can think of 5 (I honestly don’t remember the guy who did it on Mother’s Day of this year for Oakland).

Now, how soon are you likely to forget Galarraga and the example he is setting with his reaction?

On ESPN, a commentator watched and said, in an awestruck voice; “a terrible story just keeps getting better and better.”

Yeah. That’s baseball.

The home-plate encounter between Galarraga and Joyce was one of those transcendent moments which happen more often in baseball than in any other sport, because baseball is much more than a game.

Baseball is the teacher of lessons in courage, perseverance and grace. It pits one man, batter or pitcher, against an entire team and says “show us your heart.” Then, as Bart Giamatti wrote, “it breaks your heart,” because it is designed to do so.

But baseball then mends the heart it has broken, and in the most magnificent ways, in ways that uplift players and fans, alike.

Because baseball has no replay, the “bad calls” are part of the game, and because they are, so is the paradoxical transcendent lightness that comes from a heavy moment being shrugged off and allowed to pass.

Watching the game with your kids,
you can point to a player who has been robbed of a hit, or a homerun, or an out, or a stolen base, or a perfect game, and you can say to them, “that was tough. Life is not fair, but see how this player is handling it. He’s not letting it take him down or own him; he is going forward with the rest of the game, because he knows that this is just one moment. He’s not getting stuck in it, because he knows that maybe another time, another game, a bad call will actually go his way. Things even out, in the end.”

Such moments are good for baseball, and it is good for the nation. Humility in error (or in the face of unfairness) and manly good-will are things we no longer see in a world full of puffed-up egos. They are examples we need to see lived out before our eyes, more often.

Imagine last night’s game, with replay. The “moment” is lost and cannot be manufactured. Galaragga gets a historic perfect game and walks off the mound, vindicated, but it’s an anti-climatic thing. Joyce gets corrected and overturned. It’s all “fair” but cold. There is no need for human interface; no need for apologies, or for forgiveness, because “it’s just a game.” Humanity is taken out of the equation. Athletes who no longer have to consider sportsmanlike behavior will be free to puff up the chest, and despise the umpire. Umpires, feeling emasculated and underappreciated, will begin to despise the players and grow more bitter with each overturn.

And none of that is anything like baseball. The lesson our kids learn? You don’t have to work anything out with someone who has wronged you, or own up to anything you’ve done wrong. Just take it to court.

What an unhelpfully bleak lesson.

If we have lost sight of how important it is to have visible examples of perseverance and forgiveness, of “letting go” and even surrender (the players, after all, go into the game understanding that all of their dreams will not come true, but willing to take the chances offered), then we are on a very unhealthy path, one that says only, “fix it, make life fair.”

Falling prey to the illusion that life can be “made” fair, when it demonstrably is not, we will lose our fortitude, and our ability to go on in difficult times.

Are we ready to give up the magnificent humanity in this game, and its insistent, optimistic lessons that life is a bit of a crap-shoot, but that you play it faithfully, rolling with the bad, giving thanks for the good, and looking forward to the next inning? I am not. And I bet most of the players are not, either.

Perhaps it is only wishful thinking on my part, but I believe it will be the players, themselves, who stop replay from becoming the arbiter of regular-season baseball. They’re the ones who sign on to play a game so fraught with humanity and drama. They understand all that will be lost, by going to the videotape.

I’m pretty sure I will always be in the minority, but let’s take a couple polls, anyway:

Should MLB reverse the Ump in this case?
no free polls
Should Replay Command Regular Season Baseball?
no free polls

UPDATE: Selig says MLB will not reverse the call, but note this further down:

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.

That’s Courage

Galarraga bitterly sipped a beer minutes after the blown call negated his place in baseball history. An apology and hug changed his attitude. Joyce, in tears, asked for a chance to apologize after the Tigers beat the Indians 3-0.

“You don’t see an umpire after the game come out and say, `Hey, let me tell you I’m sorry,”‘ Galarraga said “He felt really bad. He didn’t even shower.”

That’s grace

Over at Inside Catholic
, Joseph Susanka has a terrific collections of links featuring some good writing on this game and the aftermath.

Ross Douthat is also against the replay
Kim Priestap: Vehemently disagrees
Newsweek: The Greatness and Perfection of Missing the Call
Daily Beast: Ten Worst Calls in Sports
The Sad Similarities between Geeks and Sports Fans Via
A reasonable argument for replay, via Jimmie Bise

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • archangel

    I must whole heartedly DISAGREE. Being in the business, I think what happened last night was a travesty. What happened several years back between the Mariners and Yankees was a travesty. The key is to get the call right. A botched call that had no real effect on the game is one thing. In fact, if last night’s call just meant they played one more batter it would not had mattered. But in this case it was PERFECT GAME.

    Selig needs to overturn the call and award the kid his perfect game.

    Do I want every call deemed approptiate for replay? No. But in this case, you bet.

  • AMDG

    I feel badly things happened the way they did and it is obvious that Joyce feels terribly about it. That said, the class that Galaragga has shown is remarkable. This is what a sports role model looks like and I hope parents point to this when teaching their kids about sportsmanship.

  • Bender

    The only “cut-and-dried legalism” is the advocacy for slavish and arbitrary application of rules rather than applying the rules with reason, with a paramount concern for getting the call right, so that the game is decided by the players on the field and not by some god-like figure in black.

    Such an appeal to reason over arbitrary application of rules does not require destruction of the game by having every call subject to review, but it does mean some allowances be made in extreme cases.

    And just how many of these extreme cases have there been in the last 100 years of the game?? Two or three at most. The spirit of the game, the purity of sport, and respect for the accuracy of the record books requires that review be allowed in this case.

    As it is, Galarraga is the first pitcher in history to have pitched a more than perfect game. More than 27 up and 27 down, everyone of the 28 batters he faced were out, including the four outs he got in the 9th inning.

    [And that "28 outs" is one of those wonderful asterisks that make the game what it is. Galarraga, I think, understands it. But we baseball fans will be duking it out about it for a long time! :-) admin]

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  • Bill Sr.

    “After last night’s game, Joyce admitted his mistake. He sought out Galarraga and his manager, Jim Leyland, and owned it.”

    Then why didn’t he “Instantly Replay” his decision on the field at the scene of the crime instead of waiting until the world became outraged at his “horrific” call? He knew instantly he was wrong and his concern for his own indisputable judgment overcame his respect for the integrity of the game which provides his livelihood.
    The only thing we need to “allow” in baseball or any other “professional” sport is room for officials to somehow review their decisions in a reasonable manner either with current and known technology or through consultation with the other officials on the field or in attendance.
    Is it too much to ask if officials were given permission or had the guts of some of our golfers who after an “unseen” error or infraction of rules willingly disqualify or penalize themselves?

  • Dan

    “…understanding what baseball is, and that they now had the opportunity to be part of something bigger than a mere game…”

    Certainly all sports offer the opportunity to be part of something bigger than a game…and Galarraga’s reaction to the situation show’s that he is much more than just a baseball player. Hooray for him. Who will remember the other two pitchers who pitched perfect games this year? I have already forgotten one of them…but I will never forget Galarraga and the class he showed in this situation.

    I say “no” to the replays…they will ruin the game. They might as well get rid of the umpires and get a K-zone machine to call balls and strikes. Maybe someday they can have robots to play the game instead of humans…but if you remove the human drama, you might as well not play the game.

    I also say “no” to declaring a perfect game. Anyone who saw the game knows that Galarraga faced 28 batters…not the minimum of 27. To declare a perfect game is a denial of the truth and rings hollow…as if the commish can turn over historic results at his leisure.

    The one thing I would support is giving Galarraga an error on the play instead of giving the batter a hit. After all, he did not catch the ball cleanly and could have been bobbling it as the runner crossed first. It’s not a perfect game, but it is a no-hitter. It’s still a great achievement and actually fits what happened on the field. There is precedent for reviewing and changing how plays are scored…

  • Eric Williams

    “To submit the human mistakes (and the opportunity to rise above them) that make baseball so magnificent to the cut-and-dry legalism of replay is a misguided notion; it demonstrates how comfortable our society has become with recourse to the courts, with the idea that life–which is not fair–can somehow be made fair, by dint of authority.”

    Part of the “human element” of the game, as Selig called it, should be admitting and correcting mistakes, not mindlessly following rules like automatons. Not reversing the call, and not permitting limited replay would be “cut-and-dry legalism”, IMHO. It also smacks of childish “No takebacksies!”.

    [But everyone IS admitting the mistake. :-) they're also saying, "life goes on." -admin]

  • Tom Wilson

    Keep “duking” it out. You are a writer of such talent and insight. I read so much, but never have I brought my son to the computer screen to read something that meant so much to me – the father of a baseball player.

    The grace and decency of both men have brought a hint of perfection beyond baseball and to the most important game of all.

  • Bender

    Selig says MLB will not reverse the call

    “Hey, you got screwed. Isn’t that what’s great about baseball??”

    Seriously though for a moment. Let’s not further engage in this FARCE of saying that we need to maintain the integrity of the game so long as we have that FRAUD of a “commissioner” that is Bud Selig.

  • Crowe

    Do the advocates of instant replay think the machines will make decisions on their own based on the data? Whom do they think will be evaluating the video evidence to determine the call? Do they pay attention to the success of instant replay in football?

    Instant replay will not take the human element out of judging the outcome, it will just kick the human element along a few minutes and there’s still no guarantee that they will get the call right.

    The rules are not applied arbitrarily and without reason. The umpires, Joyce included, apply the rules according to how they observe the action before them from their given vantage point. Joyce even said after the game, during his apology, that he called the play as he really thought it happened during the moment.

    The umpires calling the plays are as much a part of the game as the players hitting, pitching, and fielding. The players, even the most sure-handed, can bobble a ball and allow a run to score that decides a World Series; an umpire an blow a call that costs a perfect game; a .400 hitter can whiff on a ball he normally hammers; a Cy Young pitcher can hang a splitter. Errors for all involved happen every game. This is one of the more awful examples, but it’s just part of the game.

    If we go with instant replay rather than just the educated, trained, attentive, human umpires’ calls, why not go the full way and put sensors in the bags and gloves and cameras everywhere so there will be no doubt about any calls, then have the players play it out, but at every half inning review each call (balls and strikes included) just to be sure each call was correct….. That would be fun!

    Or, we can let the human element be part of the game for the players and the officiating crew, rather than trying to create the kingdom of God on the ball field.

  • Bender

    How many strawmen does it take to field a baseball team?

  • DKH

    I appreciate the sentiment expressed here in opposition to the use of instant replay, but I think I would still support some incremental expansion in the use of replay to assist in calls.

    That said, I’m not convinced that “incontrovertible visual evidence” or some standard could have been met by replay in this case. The pitcher appeared to bobble the ball rather than catch it cleanly. Should we all sit for 5 or 10 minutes or more while the umpire tries to break it down frame-by-frame? On that point, I think the author is exactly correct.


    As to the commenter above who discussed facing 27 batters as opposed to 28, Baseball Crank pointed to a box score in which the Pirates pitcher carries a perfect game through the 12th inning and finishes with a loss. (link)

  • Francesca

    Yes, the call was blown and the result was to deprive the pitcher of a perfect game, but look at what we have seen here. Two strong men able to seek and grant forgiveness showing what character really is. We have seen a clear demonstration of honor, a word and a quality that is rare today. An unforgettable story.

  • Denise

    Loved this post. You convinced me! And I read it to my girls!

  • Myssi

    Two things:
    1) If it happens in the 4th inning and Galarraga throws a no-hitter, no one complains this much.

    2) My dear daughter plays soccer. Girls play hard and sometimes the ref blows the call. She’s learned something important about life – sometimes, you have to beat the ref and fair – well that’s the place you go to ride the rides.

  • EJHill

    The only thing that should be reviewable is a ball that results in out-of-play situation, i.e. any ball that leaves the field of play. Otherwise you can not start reviewing ball or strike, safe or out, fair or foul.

    Rule 4.19 of the MLB book: “No protest shall ever be permitted on judgment decisions by the umpire.”

    While last night’s call looks easy to fix, here’s a couple of scenarios that results from opening a can of replay worms:

    1. Albert Pujols at bat vs Cincinnati with a runner on 1st and 2 out. Pujols hits a ball down the right field line and the umpire calls “foul ball.” Both Pujols and the runner stop running and Jay Bruce slows to a trot to get the ball and throw it into the stands. Replays show the ball was actually fair. OK, replay guys, where do you place the runners? And who is to say that Bruce, who has a cannon for an arm, wouldn’t throw out Pujols at second or the runner trying to score?

    2. Full count on the batter and the runner at second base is moving with the pitch. Ball hit deep to short and the batter is thrown out at first. Only the replay was shows he was actually safe. Thinking he got the 3rd out, the first baseman heads to the dugout and doesn’t attempt to get the runner at the plate. Do you allow the run to score? In this scenario, no matter what call you make, one team is going to get screwed.

    There are dozens of these kinds of situations that the casual fan and the sportswriter who are caught up in the emotion of the moment fail to see. And emotion is no way to run a baseball game.

  • Joe

    Yes there was courage and grace (and that is appreciated). Yes I agree replay in regular season play is probably not a good idea.

    But I would give him the perfect game. He did earn it.

  • Ellen

    I wish George W. Bush could be Baseball Commissioner. He loves the game and it needs a commissioner who loves it and cherishes it.

  • LarryD

    MLB already uses replay – to determine home runs when a ball bounces back into play, after hitting the fence or just beyond it. I hope it’s not ever going to be used for anything else.

    As a Detroit-area resident, and who watched the game last night from the 3rd inning on, I can tell you that watching the ninth inning and the missed call was very very disappointing. It was the only time I was upset after a Tigers’ win.

    That being said, it gave me the opportunity to explain to my sons that people make mistakes, and they can’t all be undone. The thing to do is just move on.

    I’m proud of Joyce’s and Galarraga’s actions and attitudes. It’s refreshing to see grown men act like real men rather than jilted teenagers.

  • Diane

    totally off topic, but I can’t find a way to contact anyone about this issue…I’d love to share the link for some of your articles (the one about Nancy Pelosi, in particular) but clicking on the title of the piece brings up the article with the comments….and also my name (not bad) AND email address (not good!). Any way I can fix this so it doesn’t automatically appear? There seems to be no “log out” option on the site! Thank you!!

    [Your email address is not supposed to be showing. I will forward your comment to the IT fellow! -admin]

  • Elaine S.

    “Baseball Crank pointed to a box score in which the Pirates pitcher carries a perfect game through the 12th inning and finishes with a loss. (link)”

    Yes, that was Harvey Haddix, who pitched 12 perfect innings in a 1959 game against the Milwaukee Braves, gave up a hit in the 13th, and lost!

    Haddix, who died in 1994, showed the same kind of class as Gallaraga in the following instance (from Wikipedia):

    “In 1991, Major League Baseball changed the definition of a no-hitter to “a game in which a pitcher or pitchers complete a game of nine innings or more without allowing a hit.” Despite having thrown more perfect innings than anyone in a single game, Haddix’s game was taken off the list of perfect games. Haddix’s response was “It’s O.K. I know what I did.”

  • Oxmyx

    What a lovely post! And I agree with you. It’s the good sportsmanship of the moment that impressed me even more than the idea of a perfect game. I’ve been disillusioned with baseball for years, since the player strikes, but this incident has helped restored my faith.

  • bt

    The Anchoress said: “To submit the human mistakes (and the opportunity to rise above them) that make baseball so magnificent to the cut-and-dry legalism of replay is a misguided notion; it demonstrates how comfortable our society has become with recourse to the courts, with the idea that life–which is not fair–can somehow be made fair, by dint of authority.”

    I think that says it all very well.

  • Trump

    Sigh…..well, what else can we expect a Yankee fan to say? It’s nice that they have it easy, it’s those other teams that need to have character building moments ;)

    Yes, the two men showed extreme class, but the fact is baseball is not served in the least by awful embarassing calls such as that. In the meantime I think you read too much into this, culturally. At the end of the day, baseball is both tribal – WE want OUR team to win and do as well as possible – and also a business, where indeed enforceable rules and standards are needed.

    Or lets do it another way. Had this umpire been at the Dallas Braden perfect game, we’d have never gotten the heartwarming sight of him hugging his grandmother – the woman who raised him- on mother’s day.

    Why shouldn’t Galarraga get a similar chance?

    [Baseball may not "be served" by what happened, although I don't know if I agree with that. But society was served, and our kids were served, by the way these men handled themselves. It's sort of like life. Sometimes you say "why did this happen to me," and then you look back and say, "oh...okay, now I understand, and I wouldn't change a thing." -admin]

  • Mimsy

    Elizabeth, you called this one just right. And that’s why baseball is America’s game!

  • Shannon

    I feel horribly for both Galarraga and the ump in this situation. It is indeed tempting to want to see this wrong righted. And yet, there are few times in sports when we see moments like this, when an ump admits a bad call and a player is able to just let it go. I’m on the fence as to whether I would like to see the call overturned. You make a great argument against it. However, I am right with you when it comes to the amazing example both Galarraga and the ump have set in this situation.

  • Bender

    Re: character building moments

    Let me tell you — Detroit has had more than its share of disappointment and bad things happening. It doesn’t need any more “character building moments.”

    The city is practically a corpse as it is. Its sports teams are the only thing that most of them have left to bring them just a glimmer of happiness. And for the people of that region to get yet another kick to the groin — and then have folks say how wonderful and inspiring it is — it really is all too much.

  • Erica

    I had tears in my eyes reading your post. Loved it! I, too, will have my son read this in the morning. His Little League team went undefeated winning the championship last night. :)

    Elizabeth, have you seen ‘Champions of Faith’, a great movie/documentary about a few Catholic baseball players? We all enjoyed it here.

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  • SeanF

    I just want to say that this was a beautiful post. I loved it.

    Bender commented: “As it is, Galarraga is the first pitcher in history to have pitched a more than perfect game.”

    I wish people would quit saying this. There have been lots of games where only one batter reached base, and we have no way of knowing how many of them reached on an umpire’s mistake. For that matter, there may have been a game where two runners reached, both on umpire’s mistakes.

    Taking it even farther, has anybody checked the video for the first 26 outs of this game, to make sure none of them were missed calls? How many of those batters ended up being out in part because they took a pitch for a called strike that, on video replay, was clearly out of the strike zone?

    Once you make the decision that the video replay counts more than the call on the field, you’ve opened up a pretty big can of worms.

  • Eric Williams

    The way Joyce and Galarraga handled themselves is admirable and they serve as excellent examples to children and society in general. Selig would have joined them in class and excellence if he had corrected the mistake.

  • Manny

    I think the call should stand. That’s baseball and life. Mistakes happen and you don’t get do overs, otherwise we would all do over traffic accidents. If I were Galaraga I would prefer to be known as the guy who got 28 batters out in a row, a special perfect game. Let the call stand and let’s put it into baseball history and the hall of fame.

  • Baseball guy

    The ump and (especially) the pitcher gave great lessons in sportsmanship. Agree that the commissioner should not have overturned the call the next day – huge Pandora’s box.

    Beyond that, I think, Anchoress, (and anyone else that keeps insisting on using “the human element” of umpires/officials without replay) you are off-base so far that it borders on insanity. Human error in sports is about PLAYERS making mistakes, not officials, who should NEVER have an adverse impact on the outcome of a contest if it can be avoided. If we can ever replace them with robots or computers — so long as those changes would improve accuracy – then we should. There’s a distinction between “accuracy” and “fairness” that I think the anti-replay people are clearly missing. When I watch a game, I want the offiicals to get it right, instead of sometimes getting it wrong so that I might be able to teach my kids a lesson.

    The Kansas City Royals literally lost the World Series in 1985 when an umpire made an incorrect call. Why would anyone ever want to set up a system of arbitrating accuracy that guarantees error? If a better way isn’t available – which was the case 100 years ago – then that’s fine. In this case, there is a better way that happens to be available in every ballpark right now.

    I also have to say that the “take everything to court” analogy is awful. If a legal entity ruled against you in a manner that was clearly, demonstrably incorrect, you’d absolutely pursue remedy in court. If you got wrongly convicted of a crime, would you try to get that decision overturned, or would you shrug your shoulders and say, “I guess life isn’t fair?”

    While it’s true that good can come out of bad, let’s not let the bad continue to happen (when we can prevent it!) so we can reap the good.

  • Mimsy

    I think that SeanF summarizes the issue perfectly. In fact, who really knows how many “perfect” games were really imperfect or how many near-perfect actually were perfect? Instead of being one on a list of perfect-game pitchers, Armando Galarraga is on an iconic list (perhaps shorter list?) of perfect sportsmanship.

  • Tim

    Ridiculous. What is the point of having rules, or a competition at all, if you are going to DELIBERATELY toss the agreed-upon standards aside in favor of whatever “character building” injustice strikes your fancy? Bizarre. Talk about being unhelpfully bleak.

    I don’t care about baseball, but I know it’s WRONG not to correct an injustice when you can.

  • Bender

    Isn’t baseball great? Isn’t it so character building? And, apparently one of the things that is so great about it is how we so proudly uphold A LIE, how we proudly say how great it is to embrace falsehood, knowing it to be false, and insisting that we absolutely must continue to lie to history or else it will hurt the game.

    Everyone knows what the truth is. And this whole controversy is not about changing the outcome of any games, it is not about changing a loss to a win or keeping some team out of the playoffs or denying them a championship.

    The ONLY thing that this is about is the sacred need to write a LIE into the record books, to say “officially” that is was not a perfect game when everyone in this world and the next knows the truth is that it was a perfect game.

    That is hardly something to pat yourselves on the back for. If the game really is based on lies like this, we should destroy it.

  • SeanF

    TIM: “What is the point of having rules, or a competition at all, if you are going to DELIBERATELY toss the agreed-upon standards aside in favor of whatever ‘character building’ injustice strikes your fancy?”

    Bizarre, indeed, given that it is the pro-replay people who want to “DELIBERATELY toss the agreed-upon standards aside.”

    BENDER: “If the game really is based on lies like this, we should destroy it.”

    I’ve got to ask – if the situation were reversed (umpire called the batter out, subsequent video review showed he was actually safe) would you be demanding that they take the improperly-awarded perfect game away from the pitcher, with the same vim and vigor?

  • JBalconi

    Love the post, Elizabeth, since you realize that baseball isn’t just a metaphor. It’s also a GAME. When I read references to “some god-like figure in black” and “injustice”, I was waiting for someone to write, “Comerica Park is now just a house built of lies. Burn it!” (And no doubt some would bring marshmallows.)

    I got choked up about Joyce and Galarraga because in May we just lost Ernie Harwell, longtime voice of the Tigers. Or as he said it, “Tie-guhs”. He knew a thing or two about baseball, graciousness, and divine mercy. He used to say that baseball survived because it didn’t change to suit the times. He seemed to think that it was a good thing. And being a fan of old-fashioned “base ball” teams, I have to agree. :)

    I don’t want to see electronic “callers” being used anymore than I want to see a glowing puck when I watch hockey. Bad calls and dealing with them are part of the grand tradition of baseball, just like uncooperative weather, overwrought fans, and the stretches where no one seems to be playing very well.

  • Tim

    SeanF: You assume too much, in my case. I do not argue that the call should be reversed. I argue that the Anchoress’ reasoning is stupid. Creating an opportunity for warm-huggy-touchy-feely forgiveness and sportsmanship is an absurd reason for maintaining a rule that leads to harmful errors. It exults in and glorifies unfairness, when the whole aim of sports and other organized competition is to create a fair, consistent, equal opportunity to compare performance. If the post had merely said that we should adhere to the policies in place and let the call stand (rather than retroactively trying to ‘fix it), I wouldn’t even have replied.

  • SeanF

    Fair enough, Tim – but, still, although the Anchoress is indeed pointing out the benefits of the “‘character building’ injustice,” she is not proposing any kind of tossing of standards to get it. So, your comment doesn’t really apply.

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  • pete

    One of the few things about the Tigers (sorry, it is an inter-divisional thing) is Jim Leyland. Other managers would of handled this call and aftermath as well, but a few would of interjected themselves by getting tossed and giving sports writers all sorts of hot head quotes.