In the past 24 hours, the name Jim Joyce has become a household name for fans of Major League Baseball.
I thought it fitting to give a bit of an introspective of the umpire with a bit of a dark cloud over his head today as having delivered what is being called one of the worst mistakes of the last 25 years.
James “Jim” Joyce has worked in the American League from 1987 to 1999 and throughout both leagues since 2000. He wears the number 66 and is known for his extremely loud and enthusiastic strike calls.
Joyce has umpired in many big games; the All-Star Game (1994 and 2001), the Division Series (1995, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, and 2003), the League Championship Series (1997, 2004, 2006), and yes, the Word Series in 1999 and 2001.
With all that experience what happened last night ?
Joyce made a controversial call at first base, ruling baserunner Jason Donald of the Cleveland Indians safe. Had the call gone the other way, pitcher Armando Galarrago of the Detroit Tigers would have made history and completed a perfect game, having retired the previous 26 Indians batters without allowing a single baserunner.
Replays show that yes in fact, Joyce made a mistake in his call. He openly admitted to the mistake after the game as well. While speakign to the media, Joyce said, “I just cost the kid a perfect game. I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw until I saw the replay. It was the biggest call of my career.”
Joyce also apologized directly to Galarraga following the game after he saw the replay. Below is audio of an interesting post-game interview:
Do you think the League should overturn this ruling? According to news reports today, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is NOT planning to overturn the call. Selig did however state that this incident will prompt renewed examination of the expanded use of instant replay.[Jim Joyce background courtesy of Wikipedia]