Major League Commissioner Bud Selig Should Recognize Tiger Pitcher Armando Galarraga’s Perfect Game

WHEREAS, on June 2, 2010, at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan, Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga masterfully pitched a game against the Cleveland Indians in which he indisputably retired each of the first 26 batters he faced in succession with exactly 80 pitches thrown (62 strikes, 18 balls); and

WHEREAS, Tigers centerfielder Austin Jackson made a tremendous, over-the-shoulder running catch off Indians second baseman Mark Grudzielanek for the first out of the ninth inning; and

WHEREAS, with two outs in the top of the 9th inning, the 27th batter, Cleveland Indians shortstop Jason Donald, grounded the ball to Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who in turn flipped the ball to Galarraga, who clearly touched the bag with his foot before Donald did; and

WHEREAS, veteran first base umpire Jim Joyce incorrectly ruled the runner safe at first; and

WHEREAS, thousands of the paying customers at Comerica Park could see immediately that the umpire blew the call at first; and

WHEREAS, even Donald himself appeared shocked and surprised that he had been called safe; and

WHEREAS, Galarraga demonstrated the utmost class and sportsmanship in both his immediate and post-game responses to the tremendous disappointment that would have rattled almost anyone, professional athlete or not; and

WHEREAS, Galarraga routinely retired the next and 28th batter, Indians centerfielder Trevor Crowe, on a weak groundball to Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge to preserve a 3-0 complete game shutout victory for Detroit; and

WHEREAS, umpire Jim Joyce acknowledged immediately after watching the replay that “I just cost that kid a perfect game”; and

WHEREAS, ESPN analyst Tim Kurkjian correctly noted that professional umpires like Joyce get the first base call on Donald correct 100,000 out of 100,001 times; and

WHEREAS, both sides of the political spectrum of mainstream journalism concur in their analysis — with New York Times sportswriter Tyler Kepner observing that “Joyce’s decision is easily the most egregious blown call in baseball over the last 25 years” and Fox News sportswriter Bob Klapisch noting that “Millions of fans were able to see that Galarraga, covering first base, took Miguel Cabrera’s toss and beat Jason Donald by a step”; and

WHEREAS, only 20 perfect games have been thrown in more than 130 years of Major League Baseball, amazingly including two others in the past month (Dallas Braden, Oakland As, and Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies); and

WHEREAS, no Detroit Tigers pitcher before June 2, 2010, in more than 100 years of franchise history had ever thrown a perfect game; and

WHEREAS, Armando Galarraga was robbed of his special moment and ended up walking off the field to a parade of boos directed at the umpire rather than the resounding cheers that should welcome such a rare and difficult pitching feat; and

WHEREAS, the result as it stands is a stain on the credibility of baseball and on the respectable career of umpire Jim Joyce; and

WHEREAS, a public outcry for justice has begun in the form of the Facebook group “Petition for MLB to score Armando Galarraga’s game as a perfect game,” which has attracted more than 8,000 fans (including me) within 6 hours of the game’s conclusion; and

WHEREAS, correcting the result and officially recognizing Armando Galarraga’s performance as the 21st perfect game in Major League history — a game in early June in which the outcome for the respective teams does not change in the least — does not set a dangerous precedent, open up a Pandora’s Box of random protests or threaten the integrity of the game in any real way;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan Huber “Bud” Selig should fulfill his duty to the game, its umpires, players and fans by overruling Jim Joyce’s blown call at first base and officially recognizing Armando Galarraga’s June 2, 2010, perfect game; and

BE IT RESOLVED, that baseball fans should express their strong displeasure with the outcome of the play as it stands by writing letters to the Commissioner’s office (The Office of The Commissioner Of Baseball, Allan H. Selig, 245 Park Ave, 31st Floor New York,New York 10167) until Major League Baseball’s official recognition of Galarraga’s perfect game occurs; and

FURTHERMORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Commissioner Selig and Major League Baseball officials at least should give formal consideration to the proposal brought forward by ESPN columnist Jayson Stark that managers should be given one formal umpire replay challenge per game on all plays except balls and strikes.

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