A blown call by umpire Jim Joyce took away what should have been a perfect game by Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga. While most people applauded the way Joyce took the blame and the good sportsmanship by Galarraga, my agent, I.M. Slick, was thoroughly disgusted. Our discussion on this topic follows.
Joe: Why are you so unhappy that Joyce admitted his mistake? Nearly everyone is applauding him for how he apologized.
Slick: But not everyone! I am booing his apology!
Joe: Why? What did you want him to do or say? He saw the replay and knew he missed a call that cost Galarraga a perfect game.
Slick: True, but he didn’t have to be quite so blunt or honest. Instead of accepting guilt, he should have done what most politicians do—blame someone or something else.
Joe: Oh great, I can hardly wait to hear what you think Joyce should have said.
Slick: Thanks for asking. Watch and learn. Joyce had several options, really. One response could have been, “A fly flew into my eye just as the bang-bang play occurred, and I really thought he was safe.” Or, “From my angle, it sure looked like the runner beat the throw.” Or, “A camera flash caused me to blink and I did not get a clear look at the play.” Or, “It’s technology’s fault. Without super-slow motion replay, who would know if the call was right or not? Or….”
Joe: Would you stop it?
Slick: I will not. By saying he missed the call, Joyce has just made things terrible for umpires everywhere who won’t admit it when they’re wrong!
Joe: So you agree that umpires miss calls?
Slick: Sure, but as an agent for a few umpires, I don’t recommend admitting guilt. It’s not the American way. Don’t you know that when you’re in an accident, you’re advised not to take the blame? Instead, you wait for lawyers to get involved and make things as confusing as possible.
Joe: You scare me. For a brief moment there, you started making sense.
Slick: Stop taking the high road like that pitcher Galarraga. The only reason he was so forgiving is that he knows Joyce will undoubtedly be behind the plate when he’s pitching later this year, and he figured a few brownie points can’t hurt. You don’t really believe he forgave Joyce, do you? Besides, in America today, people aren’t known for taking the high road.
Joe: Well, he sure sounded sincere. And, for what it’s worth, Galarraga is from Venezuela.
Slick: No matter. Galarraga should have charged the ump like Brett did years ago when the ump ruled he had too much pine tar on his bat, taking away a home run. Brett’s bull rush has been shown on replays for years. It’s still a classic. By taking the high road, Galarraga gets nothing but a few pats on the back.
Joe: Say what you will, but it was a nice touch when Galarraga brought the Tigers lineup card to Joyce before the game the day after the blown call.
Slick: But here’s where Galarraga missed the perfect opportunity to show him up. Instead of being all warm and fuzzy and giving Joyce a pat on the back, he should have torn up the lineup card in front of Joyce. Then he could have pulled out an 11-by-17-inch piece of paper with the lineup card and said, “I know you have trouble seeing, so I thought this super-sized lineup card might help.”
The fans would have gone wild. Joyce would have had to eject the pitcher and there would have been a near riot.
Joe: And this is better how?
Slick: It fuels the animosity that is always below the surface between players, managers and umpires. Then for old times’ sake, the manager should have come out and kicked some dirt on the umpire. Tell me that wouldn’t have made managerial legends Billy Martin, Leo Durocher and Earl Weaver proud!
Joe: Is there ever a time to apologize?
Slick: The word isn’t even in my vocabulary. Besides, there’s no reason to apologize if you’re perfect in every way. (pause) Where are you going?”
Joe: “I need some space in case lightning strikes.”