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Joyce's blown call just more proof MLB needs replay

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Jim Joyce can apologize to everybody he wants, but his safe call on Wednesday, which robbed Detroit right-hander Armando Galarraga of a perfect game, will go down as the worst call in the history of baseball.

I know a lot of people will still point to Don Denkinger's blown World Series call in 1985 as the worst ever, but given the circumstances and the world that we live in, Joyce's error trumps that one. And it really isn't even close.

Think about it. Within seconds of the Joyce call people from all over the world were voicing their opinions on Twitter, pages on Facebook were created, not to mention the millions upon millions of replays that were shown over the next couple of hours.

More importantly, though, the events that transpired on Wednesday will lead to a more expanded use of instant replay in Major League Baseball. Mark my words, when all is said and done Joyce's mistake will have changed the game forever.

Apparently, Major League Baseball is conferring on Thursday about the call. I hope it is not to overturn it and give Galarraga the perfecto. While that may be the right thing to do, it would just open a can of worms. Does anyone really think Bud Selig would get himself that involved? Keep in mind this is the same guy who did nothing when it was clear hundreds of players in his league were cheating in the early 2000s.


Replay would protect umpires in the event they do miss a call.
My hope is that this Thursday summit is just to figure out a way to implement a more expanded version of instant replay and put it in place by the end of the week, the way they did at the end of the 2008 campaign for home runs and boundary calls.

The union would have to be consulted, of course, but they would be all for it. You think they like seeing their players lose perfect games?

I know the purists out there will cry that human error is part of the game, but this is the year 2010. We have 3-D televisions for crying out loud, there is no need for this sort of thing to happen anymore.

There was such an outcry for more instant replay during last year's postseason that there already has to have been a plan in place. If there is not, then Selig's crew is more asleep at the wheel than most people think.

I don't have the answer concerning the best plan of action is for replay. I would suggest a similar situation to the NFL, I guess, where each team has one or two challenges. In the NFL, though, you are penalized if you are wrong, I am not exactly sure how to translate that for MLB.

I don't want to hear about the length of games either. They take forever already. Nobody will mind if a few extra minutes prevents what happened on Wednesday in Detroit. If MLB is so concerned about time of games, why don't they take the advice of Tampa manager Joe Maddon, who suggested the other day that they cut down on the commercial breaks between innings to speed the game up. Fat chance of that happening.

Replay would not only get the play right, but it would also protect the umpires in the event they do miss one because like we said, they are human. I have heard all morning that nobody feels worse than this than Joyce. Galarraga may disagree with that.

I am having a hard time letting Joyce off the hook here. Forget the awful call for a second, how in the world is his first instinct on that play to call Jason Donald safe? How many times have we seen a pitcher or player in that situation get the benefit of the doubt, just because of the moment?

Joyce, though, did not even hesitate and quickly called him safe when even before looking at replays, I could tell that Donald was out. You were almost hoping that the replay would show that Galarraga bobbled the ball or something, because it was just so clear that he was out.

The moment lost in all this mess is the terrific play of center fielder Austin Jackson, who made as good of a play to start that ninth inning as you will ever see. Had Galarraga gotten the perfecto, Jackson's play would have gone down as one of the best plays of all-time.

Galarraga may not go down in history as one of the select few to throw a perfect game, but when it is all said and done, he could be remembered as the guy who changed the course of baseball.

Oh and by the way, Ken Griffey Jr. announced his retirement on Wednesday.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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