I first noticed that Armando Galarraga had such a wickedly good game Wednesday as I perused the daily totals of my LABR team, for whom Mr. Gallaraga and his stunning, if not unexpected performance, were active.
But, I did not really see any of the related controversy surrounding Jim Joyce's now admitted bad safe call of Jason Donald, the would be 27th batter and 27th out that would have made an amazing third Perfect Game in less than a month.
I actually worked Dallas Braden's perfecto on Mother's Day, so I can pretty much imagine how intense it was. Because, trust me, from the
seventh inning on, the air was thick with tension, even though at the time, I doubt many of us would acknowledge anything unusual was afoot. And, that does mean the folks in the booth were in denial, rather we all tried to do our work and still be mindful of baseball's glorious history of superstition and jinx.
Furthermore, I have seen my share of bad calls, some of which, like Ed Armbrister not being called for obstruction by Larry Barnett in 1975, when I was rooting so hard for the Red Sox, while some, like Don Denkinger's call in the '85 series went the way of the Royals, of whom I was a huge fan at the time (they were my Strat-O-Matic team in those days).
And, it seems there is very little in the world that Bud Selig and I would ever agree upon, but his decision not to overturn Joyce's call,
despite the fact that everyone in the universe knows it was wrong, is the correct move to make. I more than understand those who say, "but we want to get it right." For surely, I want the umps to get it right, I trust, as emphatically as they want to get it right.
But to me, baseball is the last vestige of the beauty of our human frailties. Baseball is the sport where the split second rendering of "justice" must be meted out by well trained humans who are doing the absolute best they can in a completely imperfect setting. The reality is it is amazing how often these guys actually get the calls correctly, when you think of 162-plus games times 30 teams, times a minimum of 54 outs, and hundreds of pitches per game.
But, aside from having to determine which of these calls can be challenged, I think we essentially make umps decisions, which are currently final save questionable home run/foul/doubles calls where the ball leaves the playing field, impotent.
And, that is contrary to the spirit of baseball. Because, embracing a bad call as part of the game is, "just baseball." That is the way it goes, along with the folklore of "we wuz robbed."
The best definition of existentialism I have ever heard relates to baseball, where the subjective umpire says "I call them as I see them," the objective umpire says, "I call them as they are," and the existential ump says, "until I call them, they ain't."
For better or worse, for richer or poorer, I think we have to leave the Heidigger-esque in the hands of the Joyces and Barnetts and Denkingers because that is the way was conceived, and because that is the way it has always been played.
By humans, against humans, with humans adjudicating and watching. If baseball is a perfect game, then that is part of why.
I can deal with the DH, and astroturf. But, I cannot deal without the umps being that final say.