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Jim Joyce should never call another Armando Galarraga game

Feb 10, 2011, 12:51 AM EDT

Joyce Galarraga shaking hands

There is no denying that Jim Joyce and Armando Galarraga will forever be linked in baseball history.

But did they really need to have a book out already?

Yes, that’s right. The pitcher who nearly threw a perfect game last season, and the umpire who blew the call that would have clinched it, have co-authored a book titled “Nobody’s Perfect: Two Men, one Call, and a Game for Baseball History.” The book will be released on May 16 and can be pre-ordered now.

Because the two are now business partners, Ed Price of AOL doesn’t think Joyce should ever call a game behind the plate in which Galarraga – now with the Arizona Diamondbacks – might take the mound.

Nonetheless, baseball must consider the appearance of impropriety. The first time Galarraga got a favorable call from Joyce, right or not, the other team could point to the book deal. Major League Baseball needs to make sure that doesn’t become an issue.

This is no different than if an active player and active umpire decided to start a sports bar together, or opened a car dealership. They both profit from the same business.

There is no questioning the ethics of Joyce and Galarraga. Both men proved their character – and then some – last year. But Price is correct on this. It’s about appearances, and you can’t have an umpire calling games in which the pitcher on the mound is his business partner. As Price points out, MLB has already dealt with a similar situation, as umpire Jim Wolf is not allowed to work behind the plate when brother Randy Wolf is pitching. The same rule should now be applied to Joyce and Galarraga. And if the D-backs put Galarraga in the bullpen, then Joyce should not be allowed behind the plate in any Arizona games.

The commissioner’s office is reportedly looking into the issue, which probably means Bud Selig will send up a weather balloon soliciting opinions on the matter in a couple weeks. We shall see, but it’s pretty clear what needs to be done.

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  1. cur68 - Feb 10, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    This is so cool! I saw the play & man I saw it the same as Joyce. Then I saw the replay. Oh lord was I glad wasn’t Jim Joyce. Then Galarraga gave that incredible post game interview. What class. What a heart on that guy. I can’t wait for this book, I was so taken with what happened. Should Joyce officiate, in any capacity at all at another game that Galarraga pitches? I can see both sides of this one and I do NOT know where to come down on it. Frankly they both have such class that I think it’ll be cool but the shadow of doubt should probably never creep into it so I guess not. Frankly I could be talked into either side of this one. Can you see the movie about this? The Natural is my favorite sports movie but I’d be prepared to change for this story if it was done with as much class and talent as that was.

  2. Jonny 5 - Feb 10, 2011 at 8:38 AM

    I read the title and said to myself “what kind of BS is this?” But now that the two are buisness partners?

    Bob, you’re right, they should never have Joyce behind the plate.

  3. easports82 - Feb 10, 2011 at 8:39 AM

    So what’s going to be done over the two years that Selig mulls it over? What are the odds of the Oakland/San Jose issue being resolved before this one?

  4. rollinghighwayblues - Feb 10, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    I sure hope if I ever mess up royally at my job on television for the entire world to see, someone can write a book about the experience and give me a tux so I can go on stage to the ESPYS.

  5. jh0088 - Feb 10, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    I completely agree with you Craig. Last year after Joe West complained publically about the length of Yankee-Red Sox games with some disparaging remarks about both clubs I was calling for the league to ban West from umping any Yankee or Red Sox games for the rest of the year since. Umpires, like judges, need to be seen as impartial and fair so in West’s case you could never trust his strikezone against these clubs after he came out with those statements.

    I don’t think for a second I have any influence, but I did notice that West wasn’t behind the plate anymore for Yankee/Red Sox games so maybe the league felt the same way.

    It’s the same thing here, and I will go you one further. That ever since that day with Gallaraga, I don’t think Jim Joyce should EVER be behind the plate when he pitches because ANY call he makes that is questionable in Gallaraga’s favor could be seen as a make up call by the other team.

    • Bob Harkins - Feb 10, 2011 at 6:04 PM

      I’m honored that you agree with me, and that you think I’m Craig.

  6. The Baseball Idiot - Feb 10, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    Bill Kunkel umpired Jeff Kunkels’s game. In fact, Bill called Jeff out at third on a close play. Jeff wanted to object, but didn’t. He just told his father he would have to explain it to his mother.

    Bill Haller called games behind the plate when his brother Tom caught and no one seemed to care.

    You’re not really big on the integrity of umpires, are you?

    • Bob Harkins - Feb 10, 2011 at 6:06 PM

      I believe Joyce is an honorable man. But I wouldn’t put umpires in a position where there is a potential conflict of interest. Maybe that’s just me.

  7. macjacmccoy - Feb 12, 2011 at 12:57 AM

    I agree he shouldnt be allowed to ump him anymore. My Grandpop was a district ref when I was in highschool and he had to be replace once a year bc I was gonna be in the game. If they do that for something like highschool sports they should deffently do it for the majors that has billions of dollars involved.

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