the Scream, by Samara Pearlstein
Armando Galarraga was throwing a perfect game. ARMANDO. GALARRAGA. WAS THROWING. A PERFECT GAME. Austin Jackson had made a spectacular catch for the first out of the inning, a catch that reduced Rod Allen to squeals. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Jason Donald hit a grounder between first and second base.
Miguel Cabrera went over to field it. Armando had to hustle to cover first base. He caught the ball and hit the bag with his foot. A step or two later, Donald hit the bag. Jim Joyce, the first base umpire, called him safe.
So not only did Armando lose the perfect game, he also lost the no-hitter. He got the next batter out, and the Tigers had scored 3 runs off of Fausto Carmona, so it was a one-hit shut-out win, but, as Mario Impemba said, “I have never felt this bad after a Tigers game.” Sure, the Tigers badly needed a win tonight, but losing a perfect game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth on a close play that replays show went the Tigers’ way is just… just… I can’t even.
It was an awkward play (Miguel probably should have stayed at first and let Carlos Guillen take the ball– but let’s remember that Guillen is still pretty new to second, and Miggy may have felt that he had a better shot at fielding it cleanly), and it was close. But Donald was legitimately out. I say this not as a homer, and not based on my initial impression of the play. I say this after having seen several replays that clearly and obviously show Donald being beaten to first base by Armando. Pretty much everyone who has seen the replay agrees.
The most frustrating thing here is not the fact that Armando lost the perfect game. HE THREW A PERFECT GAME. And he was robbed by an unarguably bad call. That is BEYOND frustrating. That is TERRIBLE. If a baseball action can be called criminal (baseball-criminal?), that call was it.
Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game and this fact will never be reflected in the record books, it will not go down in history, it will probably not be remembered by the majority of baseball fans in a few years, because of this one plainly wrong call.
There are a lot of words I could use here, but I try to refrain from swearing on RotT, so I will just let you chew that statement over.
Miggy spent the last at-bat of the game yelling at Joyce, and immediately after the game ended the Tigers coaches ran out and started screaming at him. I actually thought there was going to be a brawl, they were that angry and riled-up. I can’t say I would have blamed them. That was an inexcusably bad call. A historically bad call! I can’t get over it.
Some things that Armando said immediately after the game:
“I don’t know, I feel real nervous [during the game], I feel good though, that was probably my best game so far and I hope I keep going like that. I dunno what to say… I have to see the replays, but I feel really good.”
“When he [Austin Jackson] got that catch, I mean like come on, you got it…. I was thinking, attack the guys, not too much about the no-hitter. When I see that play I think you got it now, you got it.”
On the postgame show they show the entire team in the clubhouse, standing around half-dressed, watching the replay on a big TV. Everyone is just standing there silently, most of them with their arms folded across their chests. Let’s be honest, this is pretty much completely horrible. Of all the bad calls for an umpire to make… Jim Joyce, how could you. HOW COULD YOU?
Well it was just an unbelievable performance and that’s the nature of the business, I don’t think there’s much sense really talking about it… his performance was absolutely perfect and it still is perfect.
That’s the nature of the business, the players are human, the umpires are human… TV celebrities like Trevor [Thompson] are human.
You have to remember one thing, with the naked eye I couldn’t tell, neither could any of the guys on the bench… it wasn’t until after a lot of guys had the luxury of looking at the replay that they could see he was out, so I think emotions start to run a little bit higher after that… it was a brilliant performance…
After being asked if he thought it was destiny after Jackson’s catch: I don’t really believe stuff like that… that’s a brilliant catch, just absolutely as good as it gets… that’s just the game of baseball, and that’s probably why it’s a great game.
I mean, you know, I was obviously nervous, you know to be honest with you… you’re pulling so hard for the kid, that’s just something that isn’t done very often, there’s been a couple this year… after Jackson made the catch you start thinking maybe… that’s the way it goes, there’s nothing you can do about it, it’s in the history book as a great performance and that’s pretty much how you look at it…
You could see the faces on the guys in the dugout obviously, everybody aware of what was going on, obviously I was aware of what was going on. The thing we’re losing sight of is we needed to win a game and we won a game… I’m sure Armando is happy about that… this is one of those where it was great for the team, probably even better for him because of the performance. Hopefully we can come out tomorrow and get after it and get another win, we need another one bad….
It’s a crying shame. After looking at the play, and Jim’s a class guy, this is gonna sound crazy, but after looking at the play, he’s gonna look at the play, and nobody’s gonna feel worse than he does. I yelled a little after the game, emotions were running high… you want it so bad for the kid, I don’t think you’re so mad at the umpire as you are mad that the kid didn’t get it, and did deserve it, and I think that’s the big thing.
He also says the team gave Armando a beer shower in the clubhouse after anyways, and were saying that he got 28 outs.
In our mind, you know, that was a perfect game… we’ll take it as that, in our mind it was a perfect game. It ranks right up there with the best [I've ever seen].
I saw it pretty much instantly because obviously your first reaction is to look and see what the call is… I just saw that it was called safe and that’s when I had the reaction I had, I just went straight to the ground.
Let’s not take anything away from Galarraga, that was a tremendous game, I don’t care what it says on paper, that’s one of the best games I ever had the privilege of playing behind…. sad that it comes to this and we have these emotions after.
[In the clubhouse afterwards] it was a lot of tempers, it’s to be expected, when you have a family of guys so close-knit as these guys, you know it’s going to be some tempers flaring, we’re pretty upset. But we pulled it together and made sure it was about Armando when he got in here.
At first I was absolutely shocked but right after the call was made, all I was thinking about was the next guy. Finish the game, and we’ll deal with it, deal with the emotions and the rest of it after.
Obviously everyone knows he was out. It’s not easy umpiring, playing this game, that’s just the way it happens. It definitely kind of took the wind a little bit out of the win, but that’s just the way the game is. Umpires are human, and you know you’re going to have missed calls here and there, it just works both ways.
I just told him [Galarraga] that I was very proud of him. One thing that me and Gerald [Laird] try to do is really have a personal relationship with our pitchers so they can feel as comfortable as possible with us. And I’m so proud of him. I can’t… you know, I probably won’t sleep tonight.
I had no hand in anything, he did a great job today… he was tellin’ me that, I guess after the call, he was so nervous the last few outs of the game, he didn’t know how to react. He had a tremendous amount of poise today, a tremendous amount of presence. He pitched with a tenacity that I hadn’t seen in a long time. And he knows that he’s got the stuff to dominate a team now.
ARMANDO some more
I mean, a lot of respect because he [Joyce] feels so bad. He really feels bad, he probably feels more bad than me… everybody’s human… I understand, and I give the guy a lot of credit for saying, hey I really need to talk to you, to say I’m sorry. And that’s not happen really, the umpire apologize.
Gonna be a couple more, I hope so. [said with a grin]
I’m not the kind of person [to get mad or argue]… nobody is perfect, what’re you gonna do? I was smiling that moment [of the play], that situation, I was nervous, I didn’t know what to do, I was celebrating, then looking here, I was like, okay.
He [Joyce] didn’t say anything, his body language say more than a lot of words. His eyes water, he don’t have to say much, his body language say enough.
No, no [I didn't argue], I was in shock. I was in shock. I tell you before, you don’t know to feel nervous, angry, happy, you don’t know, I don’t know how to react.
We celebrate like we get it, I get it… and I say it before… maybe it’s not in the book, but I can show my son, one time I got a perfect game. I show the CD, it’s not in the book, but I show him the CD.
[I feel] Fantastic. I know myself I throw it, you know. I know you know. I don’t think they’re gonna change it.
That was definitely one of the best I’ve seen. I was fortunate enough to see Rogers Clemens pitch against me and strike out 19 guys, but tonight was something special. Not just for our team, but for the guys from Venezuela. There’s been one no-hitter with Wilson Alvarez…
We’re in this together, and Armando went out and stuck with his game plan, got us a victory which we definitely needed. We wish we could be celebrating a bit more. We know what he accomplished. Hopefully now he can build off of this. Hopefully he’ll have another opportunity to get a perfect game, it’s been amazing what’s happened in Major League Baseball this year. I think the pitchers are making a comeback. This could have been number 3 for MLB this year, number one for Venezuela.
Nobody can go and get the ball like Austin. To me he’s the best right now, and he’s just a rookie.
I hate to do it, but I have to give Damon a TON of credit for bringing up the Venezuelan history angle (he’s the first one tonight, including all the broadcasters, to even mention it). He’s not quite right, though: I believe there have been two Venezuelan no-hitters, Alvarez and Anibal Sanchez. But I don’t think there’s been a perfect game yet.
I just cost that kid a perfect game.