I had the ESPN game between the Cardinals and the Reds on in the background, so I was able to catch the last six outs of Armando Galaragga’s should-have-been perfect game. I didn’t see any of Dallas Braden’s or Roy Halladay’s until after the fact, so I thought I might have lucked out. As it turned out, I did. I saw one of the most entertaining and frustrating half-innings that doesn’t involve my favorite team.
First, the could-have-beens. This would have been the third perfect game in less than a month. There have been 20 in the history of major league baseball. I don’t think it is anymore than random chance that there have been so many recently, but it is a remarkable stretch, even without Galarraga’s.
Now, the should-have-beens. Jim Joyce missed that call. There have been a lot of terrible calls in the first two months of the 2010 season, but that was easily the biggest of the bunch. It was probably not the worst. In Joyce’s defense, there was some strange footwork on the base, and the play was not as clear at full speed as it seemed in the slow motion replay (the worst thing that can come from this is a louder cry for instant replay). Galarraga, the Tigers, and baseball should be celebrating another perfect game. As it stands, it was one of the most fascinating one-hitters I can remember.
What should be remembered about that game – Austin Jackson’s back-to-the plate catch in (very) deep left-center field. That is what an outfielder with range looks like. He went and got the ball, and the sheepish grin on Galaragga’s face immediately following the play told the story: he got away with one there. That was a ball that drops most of the time (it might even be a home run in some ball parks). I suppose, then, in the end it evened out.
Though it wasn’t a perfect game, what actually happened is probably going to be more memorable.