Galarraga: Just Replay the Game

Q.  What would happen if they replayed the game?

A.  The commissioner of baseball would overrule Jim Joyce's decision, declare Donald out at first, and the game would resume from that point.

This would mean that all plays subsequent to the original umpire's decision would be cancelled.

Resuming from the point of the overrule, in this case, would be resuming just after the 27th out had occurred.  This would mean that Crowe would not come to the plate for the fourth time.  The players would (in theory) take their positions, the umpire would call an out at first base, and the players would leave the field since it happened to be the 27th out.


Q.  Could they replay the game?

A.  This is what in fact occurred on July 24, 1983.

With the Royals down by two runs in the top of the 9th, with two out and a runner on first, George Brett hit a game-LOSING home run :- ) to put the Royals ahead 5-4.

Billy Martin protested the illegality of Brett's bat; Tim McClelland called Brett out on the play, and the Yankees won.


The commissioner of baseball overruled the umpire's call, ruled that Brett was not out, but safe, and the game resumed from that point.  Dan Quisenberry knocked down the Yankees 1-2-3 and the Royals won.


The commissioner could overrule Jim Joyce's call at 1B, resulting in Donald being not safe but out, and Galarraga would have his perfect game back.  Throughout history, it would be referred to as the 21st (IIRC) perfect game, and nobody would choke on that.

We're sure that Jim Joyce would be immensely relieved to see that occur.


Q.  Is Joyce's call of a fundamentally different nature than McClelland's was?

A.  I don't know, don't care, and nobody else should care either.

In the 1983 game, MacPhail appealed to "the spirit of" the rulebook in overruling a decision that only a home plate umpire can make.  There is a higher law than the letter of the law, that higher law being "Justice." 

Specific laws exist to enforce Justice in the generic application, but you'll never see 100% of specific applications match the basic template.  Human judges participate, because generic law cannot automatically (without human intervention) produce justice in all specific applications.


Q.  What about Joyce stepping up and apologizing?

A.  It defuses the tension over Joyce and funnels it onto instant replay.  If Joyce were defending himself, then right now we'd be focused on prosecuting him.  Fortunately, we're not.  Good on him.


Q.  How long until instant replay?

A.  That's the great thing about the Galarraga play.  It won't be long now.  It always takes something like this for stupid laws to get changed.

Let the players on the field decide who wins.


Q.  Where is SSI on the play at 2B on Wednesday?

A.  I'd much rather that the system corrected all such plays.  I'd be happier if instant replay had existed all year, and if in the scheme of that system, the Twins had gotten an overrule on Wednesday.

But the M's suffering more than their share of problems from "the human element," this one just comes out of their stockpile of bad breaks.  I don't apologize for Wednesday night for one second.

The other day we had a runner score from 1B on a single, and today we have a runner score from 2B on an infield hit, without an error.  Whale of a play by Langerhans, wasn't it? 



Dr D



Jim Joyce is one of the 5 or 6 MLB umpires for whom I have nothing but pure respect and admiration. Check out his Home Plate Umpire Factor, as found by the Fiato/Souders run-attribution matrix:
1989: 97
1990: 99
1991: 101
1992: 100
1993: 105
1994: 102
1995: 99
1996: 98
1997: 97
1998: 100
1999: 100
2000: 100
2001: 103
2002: 101
2003: 101
2004: 95
2005: 97
2006: 100
2007: 100
Now *THAT* a professional caliber CONSISTENT strikezone. No bias in that man's eyesight. This is what an umpire is supposed to look like.
It helps that he admitted IMMEDIATELY that he got the call wrong...that he really did feel horrible about it...and that he wants all of the anger and frustration directed at him. His own words...."I'm a big boy - I can handle this...I'll take whatever you've got...however long you've got it. I just don't want any of this directed at my family. They don't deserve that."
Good for you,'re one of the few umpires I can point to as being truly objective and having a strong enough character to not let emotion creep into your judgment. If th Mariners are playing the Yankees, I EXPECT the umps to stiff us in at least a dozen unique and equally painful and costly ways...but if you're one of the umps, I don't expect it to come from you. There is no higher praise I can give.


Synchs the OBP data with the philosophical SLG to arrive at the Franklin-esque OPS.  :- )
I was a bit annoyed about a couple of things about the night, but not after your post.

moe's picture

Joyce blew the call....But it was a tough call as you had runner, fielder AND ball all converging at basically the same time.  Were this a 3rd inning mistake we would all admit it was a tough call and move on.
Selig had an easy call.  The precidence has been set about reversing a call and resuming games from that point.  He had 2 days to think about it...and review, not only the play, but also the historical implications of the play.  But he blew it.  In effect, he would have used a variation of a Presidential Signing Statement and said that by reversing the call he was not setting a new precident in changing calls, nor was he opining on the quality of umpiring (or removing the human element from the game), and he WAS NOT signalling that he would do it again....and that this was not the equivalent of a modern asterisk.  He was simply recognizing that a historic achievement had been taken away by a admitted "oops" by a classy umpire.  Joyce would have been the first one to support him.
Change the call and use it to say that next season an experimental "challenge rule" would be per game per manager (not including balls and strikes).
And if anyone thinks that would damage the sacrosanct traditions of baseball...then they've never heard of the DH.
Selig's was the bigger blunder......and worse yet, it was the easier call.
Hey Blue, get a pair of glasses!


MacPhail made a call, everybody knew it was a special case, and that was that.
You don't think people would have bought in to the same thing this time?
Gotta wonder if it wasn't just an unwillingness to go through the hassle.  Galarraga's problem, right?

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