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MLB bans Jim Joyce from umpiring games involving Armando Galarraga’s team

Jun 2, 2011, 11:19 AM EDT

Joyce Galarraga shaking hands

It’s a moot point for now after the Diamondbacks demoted Armando Galarraga to Triple-A, but Amy K. Nelson of ESPN.com reports that MLB has banned Jim Joyce from umpiring “any series in which Galarraga’s team plays.”

Joyce’s botched call ruining Galarraga’s perfect game last season forever linked them in history and they’ve since become business partners by co-authoring a book, so MLB’s ruling certainly makes sense.

Nelson reports that Joyce was replaced by another umpire when his crew worked a Diamondbacks series in early May, noting the similar arrangement with umpire Jim Wolf and his brother, Brewers pitcher Randy Wolf. Wolf is allowed to umpire games involving his brother’s team, but is not allowed to call balls and strikes when his brother is pitching.

Today is the one-year anniversary of the “imperfect game” and Galarraga will spend it at Triple-A after posting a 5.91 ERA in eight starts for the Diamondbacks. Overall since the game he’s 5-12 with a 5.10 ERA in 29 starts.

  1. uyf1950 - Jun 2, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    Instead of banning the Umpire since he apologized and recognized his mistake. Why doesn’t Bud Selig just do the right thing and overrule the decision? If he does it now Selig can correct 2 wrongs. Banning an apologetic umpire and giving the pitcher the perfect game he deserved.

    • Alex K - Jun 2, 2011 at 11:39 AM

      The don’t want fans to think Joyce is giving Galarraga special treatment. It is a very good move by MLB.

      Also, while it stinks that he doesn’t get to say he officially threw a perfect game there is no reason to change it. Joyce said he is sorry and that is about the best that could be done. I don’t feel comfortable with MLB going back and overruling things on the field after the fact. If there was replay and it was overturned – awesome, but since that is not the rule then things must stay as they were ruled on the field.

      • metalhead65 - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:31 PM

        give me a break! replay may not be part of the rules but anybody who has seen the play knows it was a blown call and correcting it is the only right thing to do. it was a perfect game and should be noted as such.

      • Alex K - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:46 PM

        The only right thing to do is nothing.

    • Steve A - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:12 PM

      He’s banned because he and Galarraga are business partners due to the book. In fact, I’m pretty certain Joyce umpired a few Tigers games last year after the incident. Heck, he was behind the plate the next day.

      • Utley's Hair - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:22 PM

        But Galarraga wasn’t pitching the next day.

    • pisano - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:13 PM

      uyf1950.. that makes too much sense, that should have been overturned the day it happened. The whole world saw that mistake and it should have been corrected immediately.

      • Alex K - Jun 2, 2011 at 2:28 PM

        It actually doesn’t make any sense. When has MLB ever changed a call after the fact?

      • jimbo1949 - Jun 2, 2011 at 4:05 PM

        Correct me if I’m wrong but what about the “Pine Tar Incident”.

      • Alex K - Jun 2, 2011 at 8:29 PM

        You’re not totally wrong, but you’re not right either. There was a protest filed, so there was ground to replay part of the game. There was no protest filed for this game, so there were no grounds to go back. If there was a protest filed and MLB decided ruled in favor of the protesting team then they most likely would have had Donald bat again and who knows what would have happened.

        There is no precedent for going back and just changing something.

    • Glenn - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:16 PM

      Joyce can’t umpire the games because of the business arrangement, not because of the blown call.

    • deathmonkey41 - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:18 PM

      I still can’t watch that play and not think there was something personal against the pitcher or the Tigers with that call. It was right there in front of him. There wasn’t a single legitimate reason in the world for him to have missed that call- everyone saw it when it happened- they didn’t even need the replay.

      • Tim's Neighbor - Jun 2, 2011 at 2:03 PM

        I am now 100% certain that it was a personal grudge against the pitcher that was worth Joyce risking his career by taking it out on Galarraga in such a devastating factor. I think I read a Bleacher Report that said that Joyce hated Galarraga because of Galarraga’s continued support of former Venezuelan President Carlos “El Gocho” Perez. It definitely couldn’t be that Joyce simply blew a call in a high pressure situation. If that’s what you’re selling, I ain’t buying.

      • deathmonkey41 - Jun 2, 2011 at 2:15 PM

        He was looking straight at it. It wasn’t like a player got in the way or he had a bad angle. He was looking straight at it and it was plain as day to everyone else watching without the benefit of replay. In that situation, you have to be absolutely certain the player is safe before you call him that way with a no-hitter in the balance. He was clearly out- I don’t even think the play was that close. I’m not alleging conspiracy, I said I can’t watch it without thinking there was something behind it because I can’t come up with a reasonable explanation for him to call that runner safe otherwise….I just can’t.

      • Alex K - Jun 2, 2011 at 2:27 PM

        Joyce isn’t the first ump to blow a seemingly easy call, he aslo won’t be the last. You seem to be making more out of the situation than is there.

      • garlicfriesandbaseball - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:29 PM

        It happens all the time. Last night in the Cardinal-Giants game it happened twice, by two different umpires. They replayed both plays several times from all different angles and they were both blatantly bad calls. But there was no argument ….. we’re starting to get used to it.

        Jim Joyce made a mistake. There was no grudge. It wasn’t intentional. Just like last night’s game. Get over it fellas!

      • deathmonkey41 - Jun 2, 2011 at 8:12 PM

        The fact that a no-hitter was on the line made this blown call so much bigger. It wasn’t a half-step or a bang/bang play. It was a full step- maybe more- with nothing blocking his clear view to the bag- WITH A NO HITTER on the line. It wasn’t the second out in the first inning of some meaningless game. This was the final out of a no-hitter. If he really blew this call because he saw something else then he should be fired for being the most incompetent umpire of all time.

  2. nps6724 - Jun 2, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    Has any player thrown a perfect game (screw ‘em, I’m counting it) and had such a lackluster career otherwise?

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jun 2, 2011 at 11:41 AM

      That’s what’s crazy. Gallaraga was never very good, but people kept telling me he had “good stuff” and “potential”. I never saw it. He was not good up to that game and was about as bad or a bit worse since that game. I think that might make Joyce feel even worse b/c Gallaraga probably isn’t even going to pitch a complete game ever again, let alone a perfect one. Hell, I’d be surprised if he comes back and gets consecutive quality starts. Somehow the stars aligned that day for a below-average pitcher and that shall not happen again.

    • Utley's Hair - Jun 2, 2011 at 11:54 AM

      Is Braden lighting things up? (And yes, I know he’s been on the DL.)

      That’s the thing about perfect games—they’re freakish accomplishments that also require perfection from the entire team. I hold no-hitters as better indicators for pitching prowess, but they still require a higher quality defensive performance from the rest of the team.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:30 PM

        I would tend to agree, but we’ve seen two “crappy” no-nos in the last year. Eddy Jax & Liriano. Lots o walks, low on K’s.

      • AK47 - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:50 PM

        I think maybe what separates luck from greatness is the ability to throw more than one no-no in a career. Take Halladay or even Verlander for that matter. Both have thrown more than one no-hitter and both are truly great pitchers. I think a pitcher can get lucky and throw a no-hitter or even a perfect game…or maybe for that one start they just had great stuff as was perhaps the case for Dallas Branden last year. I think the truly great pitchers can accomplish the feat more than once though (Nolan Ryan’s another good example of that).

      • Utley's Hair - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:53 PM

        I didn’t say it was THE indicator. I just say it’s a better one than un perfecto is.

      • jwbiii - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:00 PM

        Or Johnny Vandermeer or Steve Busby.

    • rebarratige - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:09 PM

      Charlie Robertson.

      Career ERA: 4.44
      Career WHIP: 1.518
      Career K/9: 2.8

      Pitched a perfecto in 1922 for the White Sox.

      I don’t think it’s that uncommon for perfect-game pitchers to be otherwise unremarkable. Don Larsen was nothing to write home about.

    • addictedzone - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:44 PM

      Len Barker can’t be too far behind. On the night of his perfecto it was so cold in Cleveland the umps called everything a strike just so everyone could get home. Nine innings and only 19 balls called…and with the wildness of Lumbering Len (he led the league in wild pitches in 1980), some of those 19 may have hit Chief Wahoo.

  3. unsatisfiedmind - Jun 2, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    Kudos to Selig & Co. for expending energy and effort to remove the possible appearance of impropriety.

    I’d hate for the fans to be left wondering whether the umpires of this great game are actually competent and impartial.

    • Utley's Hair - Jun 2, 2011 at 11:55 AM

      I detect a smattering of sarcasm there….

  4. Andrew - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    However, there is no confirmation that MLB is discussing banning Joe West and Angel Hernandez from umpiring any team’s games for the rest of their respective careers.

    • deathmonkey41 - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:15 PM

      You beat me to it! I can’t stand watching that wobbly neck pouch of West’s anymore and that’s not even touching on the fact that he’s a complete D-Bag who thinks the fans came to see him. He looks like an old pelican that has completely let himself go.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:31 PM

        Now there’s something we can agree on. Also, good use of wobbly.

    • rebarratige - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:18 PM

      I watched a contested call the other day during a game that West was umping. Not only did he not make the contested call, but he actually declined the opportunity to insert himself obnoxiously into the situation.

      I was floored.

    • jwbiii - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:04 PM

      Easy. Have every owner, GM, and manager in the game co-author a book and have West and Hernandez each write a chapter on the nuances of umpiring, country music, dieting, whatever.

  5. Elwood Larf - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    They should give Galaraaga the perfect game, especially since the next batter got out anyway, so it made no difference. Since scoring changes are made all the time, changing a fielder’s choice to a hit, or an error to a hit, etc. I see no difference. As far as I’m concerned, that WAS a perfect game. Book it as one.

    • Alex K - Jun 2, 2011 at 2:32 PM

      It wasn’t a scoring decision. So that example doesn’t play. Hell, Galarraga is more famous because he isn’t (and should be) credited with a perfect game.

  6. rowbear - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    Call it a perfect game. I still recognize Hank Aaron as the Home Run King and Maris owns the single season record.

  7. florida727 - Jun 2, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    I don’t understand the rationale behind MLB making this public information. Why not keep this behind closed doors? If Jim Joyce simply never worked a game involving Galaraaga’s teams, I’m guessing no one would even notice. Except now EVERYONE will notice. What’s the point? Embarrass Joyce? Don’t you think he feels bad enough as it is? This is very “Bud Selig-like”… which by default means it’s idiotic and serves no purpose.

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