Armando Galarraga is screwed over by Jim Joyce, worst ever.

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.

52 responses to “Armando Galarraga is screwed over by Jim Joyce, worst ever.

  1. Just…wow. No words for that. And I wasn’t even watching. I’ve just seen the reports trickling out on Facebook, including yours. I watched the replay. What can you say? They get that call right ALL THE TIME. It’s EASY! So unexplainable.

    And what a weird thing. Can you imagine? THREE perfect games in basically a month? Two of them by complete unknowns, essentially? It HAPPENED! Except this one guy says it didn’t.

    Incredible. Weird game. Weird life. Armando knows that. I guess that’s all you can say.

  2. Samara, I daresay more people will remember this game 20 years from now than Dallas Braden’s perfect game.

    • Tigers fans certainly will remember it. But Armando is not a marquee name, the Tigers are not the Red Sox or Yankees, and it’s not in the record books as anything particularly notable. The majority of general baseball/non-Tigers fans probably won’t remember it a few years from now.

      Dallas Braden may be reduced to a trivia answer if he doesn’t do much else with his career, but he gets that perfect game next to his name. There have only been 20 (21), people will remember him for that if they remember him for absolutely nothing else.

  3. …oh, and that’s a terrific quick illustration job, by the way. Says it all. You’re still the best, kid.

  4. …and I said this on FB already, but Milt Wilcox just shed a silent tear. (Though at least he gave up a SOLID CATDAMNED SINGLE.)

  5. MLB needs to redeem itself and reverse the call. I’m >< this close to giving up on baseball as a whole.

  6. I almost felt bad for Joyce after I heard him on the postgame show admitting he blew it. He sounded pretty broken up.

    OTOH if the Governor’s twitter is to believed, he still hit a perfect game, at least here in Michigan.

    @GovGranholm: As governor, I’m issuing a proclamation declaring Galarraga pitched a perfect game!

  7. It was a perfect game. It was a horses**t call and we all know it, hell Joyce probably knows it too. I’m amazed there isn’t a riot yet, it doesn’t take much to get Detroit people going.

    MLB better reverse the call.

    I know we won but I’ve never been so sad after a win.


  8. “Reversing the call” would be weird and pretty much impossible, I think. But somehow, based on the really blatant robbery here, they should find a way to give AG some kind of special recognition. I don’t know what that would be. A fruit basket? A CLOSET in the Hall of Fame? I dunno.

  9. And I had to sleep through it

  10. I am so upset right now, I can’t even deal. I’m torn between tears of anger and rage, and beating somebody in the face.

  11. im crying for armando! if he wont cry for himself, i’ll do it, in bucketfuls.

    I will make it my personal crusade to make this remembered in 20 years.

  12. I’m just so … sad and angry and really, really sad again. I’m not so much angry at Joyce as I am at just the situation we have. He was perfect and there’s nothing you can do to force history to reflect that now. I mean, even if the MLB does something huge and reverses the call … it’ll always be a No Hitter* with that big glaring asterisk.

  13. I hate Jim Joyce is already to 1159 likes

  14. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!! Feeling so angry now.

  15. Sad mad = smad.
    Armando = Zen.

  16. Random thought/question:

    Should there be an age limit on umpires?

    • Joyce is only 54 or 55, though. I mean, he’s not that much older than Jamie Moyer…

    • Jim Joyce is one of the best and one of the most respected umpires in baseball. Ask any player in the big leagues.

      It takes a lot of guts to make the call he did — he really thought he was safe, and he called him safe even though history was on the line. But what if Donald was safe, and Joyce called him out for the benefit of history? You then have a false perfect record recorded, which is a huge disrespect to baseball.

      I don’t blame him for making the call he did; Galarraga’s catch was not that great. It bobbled in his glove until right before Donald hit the base.

      But now we’re so uptight about Joyce that you think /age/ has to do with the mistake of such a great veteran of the game?

      As an example, if Sully Sullenberger can save 155 people at the age of 58, I think umpires (Joyce in particular) are capable of making right calls at 54 years old. Give me a break. All of this blaming Joyce makes me want to puke.

      • Rich, I was more or less with you until the end. Defend the guy’s previous record all you want, but he DID miss the call here, and it was a huge, unambiguous missed call with huge consequences. He deserves the blame for that. Armando does not carry the blame for it, Miguel does not carry the blame for it… Jason Donald does not carry the blame for it. Joyce does. That’s undeniable.

        Also, lol @ comparing an umpire’s ability to make a good call to Captain Sully’s ability to land a plane on a river. Dude. No. Not even a little bit. You may as well say that… I dunno, ~if JP Stevens can competently serve on the Supreme Court at age 90, Jim Joyce can umpire a game at age 54~. Do you see how insane that is?

        • I agree the mistake was his, and I do blame him for the mistake no doubt. What I left out (and I shouldn’t have) was I would’ve liked to have seen this call corrected with instant replay, and I feel baseball is behind in that respect.

          When I say he shouldn’t be blamed, I mean the ultimate blame should be on the MLB; they need instant replay expansion (/if/ it’s done right). Unfortunately, history will make Joyce’s career defined by this one play rather than his excellent work over the years. If we had instant replay tonight, Joyce’s career would not be marked like this, and Galarraga would have a perfect game. I feel real bad for everyone involved.

          • Given the focus on game speed this season (thanks, Joe West et al), I don’t think we’re going to see replay expansion anytime too soon. This WAS a prime example of a non-home-run-related spot where it was sorely needed, though.

          • HawkeyeEdward

            Joyce didn’t say anything about the bobble. He thought that the runner had legimitately beaten the throw. He explicitly said that in his postgame comments.


            Even the official scorer was trying to find a way to assign an error to somebody (per an interview on MLB Network last night) to at least give Galarraga a no-hitter. But every part of the play was performed correctly – clean pickup and throw by Miggy, not enough of a bobble by Armando, and he got to the bag first. There was no room for re-interpretation to change a scoring call.

    • I didn’t realize this question would be such a conversation starter.

      Well answered actually. I’m still just in shock. I can not believe how its all over everything including talk shows.

  17. So. Depressed. :(

  18. This is the second blown call in a calendar year that has screwed the Tigers over (I’d say royally, but we’re not in Kansas City). At least it didn’t take Joyce all off-season to admit that he was wrong.

    I’ll tell you, I respect Armando a whole lot more as a human being after seeing his reaction to all this. His after game interview made me love him more than I already did.

    Forget Curtis Granderson, Armando Galarraga is perfect.

    • My point is this: With the way Armando has handled himself — both immediately after the call and in post-game, I think he just bought himself the next 1,000 close calls going his way from The Umpire Brotherhood. This guy is class all the way. LOL @ the Granderson comparison (and, by the way, but for the umpire, everybody and their brother is going on at length about the Austin Jackson catch as well). It’s a shame, but this game will be legendary. Braden’s might be remembered because it came on Mother’s Day, but I’d bet that, outside of the greater Philadelphia area, Halladay’s perfecto will fade into the distance rather quickly because of this.

      • See I think that Halladay’s will be remembered much more readily than Braden’s. Halladay is a spectacular pitcher in general, he’s going to rack up the accomplishments and that makes it easier to remember. The guy who throws a perfect game and then does nothing much else, that’s the guy you struggle to remember ten years down the line on trivia night at the bar.


        • cherub_daemon

          I think that’s pretty much right, but people also remember weirdness; I’m not sure where this falls on that scale though.

          I mean, Ernie Shore’s “relief perfect game” is probably more famous than any “real” perfect game other than Larsen. (The fact that Babe Ruth was tangentially involved probably helps.)

          To me the biggest shame is this; Armando is a pretty average pitcher, who had a chance to do something that links him to Cy Young, Sandy Koufax, and Randy Johnson. It’s not the same that “everyone will remember”. What they’re really remembering is Jim Joyce.

          Everyone will sure as hell remember this whole thing if it somehow gets instant replay expanded. Doesn’t matter. Armando is almost a footnote in his own achievement at that point.

          Armando is probably not going to win 300 games (PROVE ME WRONG, AG!), or get 3000K, or any kind of sustained dominance. His one chance at that link to some of the games legends lay in catching lightning in a bottle on one night. And it got screwed up for him.

  19. Martin K from Oz

    I am in Sydney, Australia and have a son playing pro ball in the US. He Skyped and told me that a Tigers pitcher “got totally robbed”. I saw the replay and could not believe my eyes.

    Respected or not, Jim Joyce made a terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE call. You would think that at such a critical point in the game an umpire would be totally focused. I don’t think he was. He apologized to the pitcher afterwards and should be commended for it.

    MLB (Mr Selig) can step in and change it., and so he should. He owes it to the pitcher, the team and THE GAME. I am not a Tigers fan, just a lover of the game. But somehow I don’t think Mr Selig will. Well done Mr Gallaraga, I will remember your wonderful PERFECT game.

  20. From a Mets fan living in Atlanta. What happened to you guyes was heartbreaking. If that had been my team, I guarantee you stuff would’ve been broken.

    But you can take some comfort in the fact that Galarraga handled that situation with total class and dignity and baseball fans everywhere are going to know what kind of man he is.

  21. I didn’t think anything today could be more heartbreaking than the bullpen wasting another shutout performance by Santana, but boy was I wrong.

    This one is going to lead to action by Selig, and the action will be the exact opposite of what should actually happen, because that is all that monkey-brained moron can do.

  22. This is a down right travisty. This kid has been screwed like no other in baseball. He just gets recalled from the minors and pitches a game of a life time. WOW.

  23. David O. (13194013)

    Armando, Venezuela, Detroit Tigers’ baseball, Tiger fans, baseball fans and baseball history have all had something taken from them thanks to one incredibly bad call.

    I am calm now, but still very sad.

  24. I have to say that I’m as impressed by Cabrera as much as I am by anyone in baseball, but I’ve been slow to warm to him in that fanish way that I have to guys like Inge and Granderson and Ordonez.

    But his reactions on the one play were priceless and forever change how I feel about him…from elated to sad (almost teary eyed I believe) to righteous, vocal anger–go Miggy!


    If the throw beats the runner to the bag, and the fielder bobbles it and the runner is safe, that is an error.

    There was sn outside chance the scorer could have made that ruling, leaving Armando at least with a no-hitter.

    Ironically, when Joyce aplogized and owned up to his mistake–and said there was no bobble involved in his call–he made a reversal impossible and screwed Armando a 2nd time.

    So with all due respect, Armando wasn’t screwed–he was double-screwed.

  25. Don’t cry for me, Venezuela…

    You have to love ‘Mando even more for his gracious response to an outrageous fate. The part of the @#*%#@ replay that will stick with me is his rueful, disbelieving smile when the call registered –no screaming, no histrionics, & quickly back to the business at hand. I daresay none of us watching reacted half as well.

    & I disagree that this game will soon fade from collective memory –nothing lasts as long in baseball as controversy. How else could a banjo like Fred Merkle still be remembered more than a century later? Perfection spectacularly denied, but also a kind of immortality. You were perfect, dude, & everyone will always know it.

    Onward & Upward, kitties!

  26. Carlos Zambrano, born in Venezuela, had a no-hitter against the Astros in 2008.

  27. HawkeyeEdward

    Lost in all of the aftermath is something interesting…

    Did anyone notice the time for the game last night?

    1:44. One hour and forty-four minutes.

    Both pitchers threw complete games and neither hit 100 pitches.

    This would have been a time-capsule game even if Cleveland had gotten a hit in the 7th to make it a true one-hitter.

  28. >>”Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game”

    No, I’m afraid he didn’t, because

    >>”this fact will never be reflected in the record books”

  29. HawkeyeEdward

    Galarraga got a 2010 Corvette today from GM for his perfect* game last night.

  30. The bit about showing his son a CD (DVD?) of the perfect game, because it won’t be ‘in the books’, just killed me. Armando has been nothing but classy throughout, but goddamn, that’s a heart-wrencher.

    And he did throw a perfect game. Anyone who says otherwise is a semantics-riding dickweed (sorry Sam, but I can’t say it any nicer than that).

  31. This is the small world scenario at work.

    Last night, I went to the Conan O’Brien show in NYC. I got the tickets from a guy I used to work with who couldn’t use them because he was going to visit his parents in Michigan and couldn’t get an early enough flight to NY to use the tickets. Because he was just coming back for the show that he couldn’t go to, he decided to come back Friday instead of yesterday, so he went to last night’s Tiger game on a whim.

    So I’ve got a Bacon number of 1 to the game last night.


    No go on the correction. Bud Selig is an ass, and this may be my last post on this website, as I am pretty much over-and-done with baseball. I cannot, in good conscience, support a sport that can’t own up to its mistakes. Even if I love it more than any other. I can deal with the steroids, I can deal with the pine tar, I can deal with spitting in umpires’ faces… but this has definitely crossed my moral line. :(

    Good news is that the Tigers whooped some ass today; bad news is that they committed 4 errors. Ugh.

  33. Okay. We’ve said a lot about this. But is it just me, or is it already starting to feel different? Last night, this was a punch in the gut, an outrage that could never be fixed. But it’s already transcended that, in one news cycle. The whole world knows about this, even people who would never have cared about a “clean” perfect game. It’s a Legend. A Greek Tragedy. Those few seconds, by all accounts, reduced your typical tough-guy big league umpire to a freaked-out wreck of his former self. And he’s the VILLAIN of this story! It’s an amazing thing.

    And Armando is, like, an ICON, now. A martyr. He will never have to pay for a drink again, in Michigan or in Venezuela. And WE were into him before it was cool! Remember? Our Author was spelling his name with absurdly prolonged trilled “R’s,” like, two years ago. It was enjoyable. But he belongs to the ages, now.

    (Having said all of that, if I’d actually watched the game, I’d still be in mourning. If I’d BEEN there, I’d be dead. That is all.)

  34. See? I did some research. This is where it all began, people! And might I point out that I had the first comment? :) I called him “Durbin ’08.” (Remember when Chad Durbin was a pimp? Sigh.)

  35. If any good can come out of this, I hope it’s that Armando gets some product endorsements or maybe a late night talkshow appearance. Armando as the new Old Spice man?

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