Correcting an Injustice in the MLB


40 years ago, John MacEnroe yelled that iconic line at a referee over a perceived bad call. Last night I said the same thing at my TV.  The Dodgers won their NCLS series against the Giants after Wilmer Flores checked his swing but was called out. I’m a Dodgers fan but yes he clearly checked his swing. The Dodgers appealed to first base umpire Gabe Morales. Morales signaled “swing” and the game was over. It was inarguably a terrible call. It’s also not reviewable because it’s a subjective call


That prompted Sports Illustrated to tweet out the absurd question: Is it time for robot umpires?  That question begged for clicks and angry responses, not actual answers. There is only one correct answer. No

There is a place for mechanical helpers in baseball and last night’s blown call isn’t one of them. MLB uses video review for certain things;  Safe or Out, In or Out. For instance, did a runner reach first base before the fielder caught the ball? That question is now reviewable in the MLB. Video review wasn’t available 11 years ago when umpire Jim Joyce robbed Armando Galarraga of a perfect game.

On June 2, 2010 Detriot Tiger hosted the Cleveland Indians. Gallarraga was one out away from throwing a perfect game. Jason Donald hit a groundball that Gallarraga covered and took the throw. Although Donald’s foot was at least foot away from the bag, and everyone with a pair of eyeballs could see that Donald was out, Joyce called “safe”. Even Donald knew he was out, but because there was no video review 11 years ago there was no appeal. Donald was officially safe and inarguably, out.

The game ended with the next batter grounding out.

Baseball has been correcting some obvious injustices. It’s recognized the Negro Leagues as major leagues and some of the greats of the Negro Leagues are in the Hall of Fame, now.


The MLB could, again, do the right thing. It could correct the obvious blown call by Jim Joyce and award Gallarraga an official “Perfect Game”.  Yes, Baseball purists’ heads would explode, but it would evidence that the MLB isn’t run by robots. Doing so wouldn’t affect the game results other than take an undeserved hit away from Donald and award Gallarraga his deserved Perfect Game.

All the MLB would need to do, is admit and obvious error. But it won’t. If it did that admission would open the floodgates for admission of other errors, like why is Pete Rose still a pariah and excluded from the Hall of Fame?



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