Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Jim Joyce

For 22 years, Jim Joyce worked to establish himself as one of Major League Baseball's most credible umpires. But on June 2, he made a high-profile mistake — and quickly apologized for it. Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was inching toward history, one out away from throwing the 21st perfect game in baseball's 100-plus seasons. When Cleveland Indians infielder Jason Donald rolled a ground ball toward first base, Tigers infielder Miguel Cabrera ranged to his right and fired it to Galarraga, who was covering first on the play. The pitcher tasted perfection, corralling the ball into his glove a step before Donald reached the bag. Galarraga looked to Joyce for confirmation, but he received the opposite: an emphatic "safe" sign. As a chorus of boos emanated from the Detroit crowd, Joyce took the high road. "It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the [expletive] out of it," he told the Associated Press. "I just cost that kid a perfect game." He personally apologized to Galarraga and hugged him. The umpire turned out to be such a classy guy that the person who started the site announced within days of the incident that the site had become "officially a pro–Jim Joyce blog."