A Ballad for Armando Galarraga

by on June 6, 2010

Baseball Fan Jim Babwe’s email submission to Baseballisms.com reprinted with permission. Jim honors the Perfect Game that got away, in his own words …. We are honored that he chose to share them with the Baseballisms community.

A Ballad for Armando Galarraga

Pitching for the Tigers,
Armando Galarraga and Detroit
were leading Cleveland three to zip–
inning number nine.

He needed one more out
in this last frame.
One more out
would mean
a perfect game.

What happened next?
You won’t believe it.
An umpire blew the call.
The runner he’d allowed on base
became a source of shame.

Change the ruling.
Right the wrong.
Charge the umpire with an error.
Fix the book. Make it right.
Mistakes like this one
don’t belong.

The next day Galarraga
brought the line-up to home plate.
Classy, sad–understanding what he’d wrecked–
the ump shook hands with Galarraga.
Fix the scorebook. Make it correct.

Forget the glamor and the glitter.
Fix the book. Make it right.
At least give Galarraga credit
for throwing a no-hitter.

Change the ruling.
Right the wrong.
Charge the umpire with an error.
Fix the book. Make it right.
Mistakes like this one
don’t belong.

Jim D. Babwe
June 4, 2010

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  • CoolpapaC

    I couldn't agree more. There are instances when a mistake can't be corrected… But this one could. History is full of outcomes dictated by human error and it is part of the game. Instances where the call was in question or one made at a point in the game where play continued becomes part of the fabric of that game. These can't be undone.

    This game was different. Armando Galarraga clearly threw the 21st perfect game in history. Technology proved what the players on the field knew. The mistake was admitted. Only one uneventful play occurred after “the call” that needed to be erased from the books. No different than the plays in a rain out, before being an declared “official game”.

    Why this game and not others? Because it could be corrected, and in my opinion, should be. This is an injustice that could be made right.

  • Gobigblue1960

    It's been over a month since this happened, and it still bothers me. As a Tigers fan, I really believe that this would have NEVER happened in the Bronx, @ Yankee Stadium, or @ Fenway Park in Boston, and we know that the pressure from the Yankees and the BoSox would've made the Commish buckle, and fix the issue in favor of the Yankee or BoSox player, by, we are Detroit fans, and therefore, the infamous Mr. Selig chose to do nothing,

  • Chris Stiehl

    I dissagree. If you correct this one, what about all of the other umpire “mistakes?” Some you can protest, if it is a rule interpretation that is in error. The George Brett “pine tar” game wasn't even an error, the ump was correct, but it was reversed anyway. Should every “blown” call be corrected and then replay the game from that point? Galarraga and Leyland got it right. Move on. The ump did his best and he is part of the game, like it or not. Maybe each team should be allowed a protest or two, as in football, but what would the penalty be if they are incorrect in protesting? …an automatic walk to the next opposing batter? Why this particular “blown” call and not another? Because of its significance? Who will decide what is “significant?” “This game was different.” Isn't that why we all love baseball, because, at any moment, something “different” can happen, IN ANY GAME? What about Milt Pappas' “perfect” game, where replay showed he struck out Larry Stahl, only to have the pitch called a ball, should that be reversed now, 39 years later, because we now have the technology to see the ump was wrong? What about Johnny Sain being called out at first base in the 1952 World Series, when the photos show Sain already past the bag and Hodges still a split second from catching the ball? Should we have reversed that one? The umps will always make mistakes. It's part of the game. Put in a protest system and stop debating what is “significant.” If the World Series isn't “significant,” what is?

  • http://befluid.com joemagennis

    Hi Chris, I'd like to see some added responsibility given to the official scorer on site. They could have the authority to indicate to the umpires on the field that a corrective action should be reviewed. And I'm only thinking about things such as fair & foul calls and plays at a base. We don't need to attempt to correct previous mistakes (they are great to talk about – part of the game I agree) just look at it for future implementation. The technology that I saw at SABR40 this year convinces me that the camera coverage at an MLB park would be sufficient to help give a better chance to get the calls right.

    I love your historical examples .. great baseball references! We'll be talking about Armando Galarraga for just as many years.

  • Jim Babwe

    After tonight’s playoff game, a documentary film featuring both pitcher Armando Galarraga and umpire Jim Joyce aired on the same channel here in San Diego. Considering the circumstances and relative to both of these individuals, my love of baseball remains strong. After the fact–Galarraga’s stolen perfect game and Joyce’s blown call–the behavior of both of these men remains stellar. We are all imperfect. How we deal with, how we admit our imperfections–these are matters of character. I challenge anyone to find more exemplary illustrations of character–the strength of character–that Galarraga and Joyce showed in the aftermath of this incident. Simply put–it’s the stuff of legend. However . . . now that we’re firmly in the midst of the replay era . . . Galarraga still needs to be credited with a perfect game.

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