First, stop calling it an 'easy call'

June, 3, 2010
6/03/10
10:49
AM ET
I've been struggling, late into last night and now early this morning, to write something about Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce that you don't already know.

[+] EnlargeArmando Galarraga
AP Photo/Paul SancyaAn easy call? Not in real time and from where Jim Joyce was standing.
Maybe that's already impossible, but I was watching the game and I've now seen the replay many times, and there's one thing I think too many people are missing ... This was not an easy call. Sure, in slo-motion and from the perfect angle, it's obvious that Jason Donald's foot touched first base a split-second after Galarraga controlled the baseball with his foot on the base. But in real time, and from Jim Joyce's angle?

Not so much.

Miguel Cabrera's throw, while perfectly fine, was slightly behind Galarraga as he approached first base, necessitating a slightly backwards shift of Galarraga's glove. And Galarraga didn't catch the ball cleanly; after hitting the pocket of the glove, it squirted up toward the edge of the webbing.

Watch the play in real time, imagine that you're watching it from where Joyce was standing, and then tell me it was an "easy call."

I don't think you will. Which is all that matters. If Jim Joyce misses an easy call, maybe you go back and see if he's been missing other easy calls. If he has, then you start figuring out how to ease him out of his job. But if he simply missed a tough call ... Well, umpires miss tough calls every day of the week. I mean, literally every day. They miss tough calls behind the plate in just about every inning, and they miss calls on the bases every day. The human eyes, as amazing as they are, simply can't process everything that happens on a baseball field with unerring precision.

Yeah, Joyce missed one. Get over it already. He didn't cost the Tigers a World Championship, or an American League pennant, or a division title, or even a win. He did cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game ... but as a few of my more intelligent colleagues have pointed out, Galarraga will be more famous for not throwing this perfect game than he would have been for throwing one. So the only losers are probably the fans in Detroit. I'm sympathetic ... but only to a point. This was just one game in a long season of games, and anyway if you can't handle the occasional sharp pain you don't have any business following sports.

So, enough with the death threats and the Wikipedia vandalism and everything in between. If, in the clear light of the next day, you're actively demonizing Jim Joyce, you've got far bigger problems than being deprived of a perfect game. Find a free clinic. Get some help.

While you're doing that, I'm going to get a bit of sleep. Maybe later I'll try to figure out what this means, or should mean, for the future of video review ...

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