Video replay gets goal call right in Philly as lack of replay robs Tigers pitcher

Wednesday night the Philadelphia Flyers pulled off a 4-3 win in overtime, taking their first game of their series with the Chicago Blackhawks after dropping the first two in Chicago. There are several factors that lead to Philly’s victory…not the least of which was that their second goal was made possible by the league’s ability to utililize video replay to get calls right.

With the score tied 1-1 in the first period, Chris Pronger’s shot on goal deflected off of Scott Harnell’s stick and slithered through Blackhawk’s goalie Antti Niemi. Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson swept the puck away and, even though the red light was flashing, play continued for another 1:42. The boys in Toronto then took another look at the play and correctly awarded the goal to Philly… although initially they gave it Pronger before changing it to Hartnell.

The rest, as the old saying goes, is history.

This was a prime example of why the NHL…and NFL for that matter… implemented video replay to help in getting calls right…but not all professional sports have such ability. And if you’ll allow me to divert away from hockey for a moment, I’d like to share with you way having such rules in place are a very, very good thing for sports.

While game-three of the Stanley Cup Finals was playing out, 450 miles west-northwest of Philadelphia another major sporting even was taking place in Detroit’s Comercia Park. The Tigers were hosting the Cleveland Indians in a MBL American League Central Division matchup and a little bit of history was a-brewin’. Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga was in the process of pitching a perfect game…no opposing batters reaching base either by base hit, walk, error or hit batsman. It’s something that has only been accomplished 18 times prior to this season. Oddly enough however, two perfect games were pulled off just last months.

But never has a Detroit Tigers pitcher tossed a perfect game.

There were two outs in the top of the ninth…Detroit leading 3-0…and the assembled crowd was on their feet in anticipation of that last, historic out. Jason Donlald was Cleveland’s last hope. He hit a bouncer to the right side of the infield…first baseman Miguel Cabrera moved to his right to field it…turned and flipped to Galarraga who was covering first…the ball was squeezed in the pitcher’s glove, right foot made contact with the bag…OUT!

Joy…rapture…pandemonium…time to celebrate the first perfect game in Tigers history…

Ummm, wait…not so fast.

First base umpire Jim Joyce called Donald safe…and the perfecto was lost.

Now, upon further review of the play, it was clear that the runner was indeed out. However, MLB has no rule which allows for the play to be reviewed and…if deemed necessary…overturned.

The play and the call…not to mention the historical context… were errily similar to the one that still haunts St. Louis Cardinal fans from game-six of the 1985 World Series against the Kansas City Royals…one that allowed the Royals to sneak out of the park with a 2-1 win. KC then came back the next night to pound the Cards 11-0 in game-seven, taking…some in St. Louis would argue, stealing…the championship.

The play that will forever stay in the memory of Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga...as well as umpire Jim Joyce's (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The play that will forever stay in the memory of Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga...as well as umpire Jim Joyce's (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

To Joyce’s credit, the 23-year umpiring veteran openly admitted he blew the call after he saw the replay for himself. “It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the #$%@ out of it”, he said afterwards. “I just cost that kid a perfect game”.

“I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay”.

Also not to be overlooked here is the way the pitcher who was robbed of his spot in the MBL history book reacted to the play. “I would have been the first person in may face”, Joyce continued. “But he never said a word to me”.

Galarraga retired the very next batter after the controversial play…completing the “28-out perfect game”.

After the game, Joyce asked to speak to Galarraga to offer up his apologies.

“You don’t see an umpire after the game come out and say ‘Hey, let me tell you I’m sorry’”, Galarraga said of the meeting. “He felt really bad”.

Now, moving back to hockey…when I was watching the Blackhawks-Flyers game last night and the reviewed play gave the Flyers the deserved goal, my first thought was about the fans back in Chicago who were coming to the realization that their team was going to be on the wrong end of this deal. It reminded me of a play three years ago that went against the Thrashers in game four of the playoffs.

I apologize in advance for re-opening this old wound…

As you’ll no-doubt recall, the Rangers were up 3 games to none and the Thrashers were clinging to their slim hopes to remain alive in the playoffs. The score was 2-2 in the third period and a shot zipped by Johan Hedberg, deflected off the bottom of the crossbar, landed on the line and then kicked out.

It looked like we had dodged a bullet…but upon further review, the puck hit the ice right on it’s side allowing for just a sliver of white ice to be seen between the red line and the black puck. Clearly, it was a goal and a 3-2 Rangers lead.

I remember cursing that damned video replay rule that night!

But in the end, the correct call was made…as was the case last night in Philadelphia…and that’s what is best for integrity of the game.

Unfortunately for Armando Galarraga and Tigers fans…this is not the case in MLB.

112 comments Add your comment

Swede

June 3rd, 2010
10:12 am

thebighairybeast

June 3rd, 2010
10:30 am

Rawhide,

Lately you have just loved bringing up painful memories from Thrashers past. To quote Billy Crystal in The Princess Bride, “While you are at it, why dont you give me a nice paper cut and rub lemon juice in it!”

R. Stroz

June 3rd, 2010
10:39 am

He threw a perfect game, he earned a perfect game, the ump recognized the error and admitted his mistake…

Award the perfect game…and BTW, the young man handled the situation with great restraint and class.

Rawhide

June 3rd, 2010
10:41 am

thebighairybeast - HA!! :lol: I love that movie!

“Have fun storming the castle”!!

But if that little trip down Memory Lane makes ya wince…I’m gonna warn you up front that I’m putting together a story about a dark day in Thrashers history that is sure to make you cry out loud. I won’t give away the subject…but rest assured when you read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

thebigharybeast

June 3rd, 2010
11:03 am

I agree Stroz, Armondo has been a class act all the way through. Amazing and very commendable to see how he has handled everything.

And Rawhide if you must go all Count Ruegen on us then I guess you must. “You seem a decet fellow, I hate to kill you.” (but I look forward to the story!)

Dwayne

June 3rd, 2010
11:16 am

Rawhide….A dark day in Thrasher history??? How did you choose one day from 9 and 1/2 years of Don????

Lee

June 3rd, 2010
11:16 am

Awww….Chicago lost. Good game though! Bill, who you rootin’ for?

Feel so bad for Galarraga. He got it by far….

Lee

June 3rd, 2010
11:18 am

He was pretty cool bout it though.I woulda been PO’ed!

Rawhide

June 3rd, 2010
11:45 am

Per Ben Wright, Rick Dudley and Dale Tallon will be Gary Bettman’s guest on XM later today…6-7 pm.

Awww….Chicago lost. Good game though! Bill, who you rootin’ for?

Lee – I really have no dog in the fight, but I picked Chicago in six.

Smoothie

June 3rd, 2010
12:05 pm

Per Kevin Allen via twitter machine: “Could see Craig Ramsay emerging as frontrunner for Atlanta coaching job. But it’s early. Formal interviewing process just beginning.”

Well that answers our question about that now doesn’t it WBF??

We may end up being right afterall. I think I would still prefer Ramsay over Torch simply because he has more HC experience and he’s won a Cup as an Asst. Then again, Torch may be about to win a SC as an Asst.

World Be Free

June 3rd, 2010
12:08 pm

I think baseball should adapt the same rule that the NFL has-2 challenges per game. This would allow the team in question to challenge a ruling on the field in specific situations. Just a thought, since it is better than letting what happened last night happen again. Joyce has always been a good ump, so I am not surprised he admitted his error.

With replay in hockey, we are spending the morning after talking about a great game last night instead of a game that may or may not have been disallowed. Philly deserved to win and Chicago now knows they are in a series. Let the refs blow penalities, if anything at all.

Smoothie-I would avoid trading with Burke; he’s under too much pressure to win right now. I.D.W.T.

steve

June 3rd, 2010
12:21 pm

Inconceivable!!!!!

World Be Free

June 3rd, 2010
12:30 pm

Here’s a good one-as reported

Russian newspaper Sport-Express is reporting that Dominik Hasek, 45, is close to signing with Spartak Moscow of the KHL.

GaVaHokie

June 3rd, 2010
12:31 pm

Could see Craig Ramsay emerging as frontrunner for Atlanta coaching job. But it’s early. Formal interviewing process just beginning.

Was just coming to post that myself. :)

I guess Dudley really is on a slower schedule than we fans.

World Be Free

June 3rd, 2010
12:39 pm

Ramsay has been part of the conversation for some time, but some had cooled to the idea since there’s been no formal contact between the Thrashers and Rammer since the end of Boston’s season. I’d bet happy with Torchetti or Ramsay.

Funny how Curt Fraser has never had another NHL head coaching job (or interview) since his departure from the Thrashers.

DWTOO

June 3rd, 2010
1:03 pm

Both the ump and pitcher acted with class last night. The ump by admitting his mistake and the pitcher by not getting in the umps face and accepting his apology. As long as there are people involved in split second actions there will be mistakes. My opinion is to take replay out of all sports and live with the ref’s decision. It’s part of the game – and that’s all it is – a game.

glovesave29

June 3rd, 2010
1:34 pm

Rumor has it that MLB is considering overruling the umpire and restoring the perfect game. Kinda opens up a can of worms, doesn’t it? Does that mean we can protest the 1991 World Series when Kent Hrbek lifted Ron Gant off of first base to tag him out?

Ref blew the call. Sucks, but it happens. Going back and making a correction – well, not so sure that’s the right thing to do.

Steve – You say that word a lot…I am not so sure you know what that word means.

Rawhide

June 3rd, 2010
1:42 pm

Does that mean we can protest the 1991 World Series when Kent Hrbek lifted Ron Gant off of first base to tag him out?

GS29 – HELL YEAH!!!!!! I hate Hrbie The Shove Bug!!

Sorry…still bitter over that one. I need to just let it go.

Red Light

June 3rd, 2010
2:00 pm

19th!

The “Dark Ball” era, instead of the “Dead Ball” era is upon us. Can you imagine 3 perfect games in the span of 60 days of a Major League Baseball season? Two in one season hasn’t happened since 1880 and now if they add a third it will become a record like Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak – NEVER BROKEN!

As long as we are looking for reversal of fortunes, can I suggest that Tom Niedenfuer pitch to Ozzie Smith over again from the 1985 NLCS? I call it a corked-bat homer when Smith hit his first left-handed home run in 3,009 at-bats!

The greatest feat of all would occur if another Thrashers second-round pick ever plays more than 25 games for the team. Pavelec is still shouldering the load!

DWTOO

June 3rd, 2010
2:02 pm

GS29 – You’re right – reverse this call and everytime something unpopular happens and you don’t like the outcome just reverse it. Sorry, but, life just doesn’t work that way. You live with the hand you’re dealt and move on.

Refereeing by humans will always result in some errors, but, they get it right more than we care to admit. And every time play is stopped it takes away from the flow of the game.

Back on point – CR would make a great head coach.

jack

June 3rd, 2010
2:42 pm

I want Chicago to when, but more importantly I want a Game 7. So Philly you must win Fri. I have been out of the loop due to being out of country. What is the latest on the coaching search, and more candidates other than the hawks asst coach. Lastly and legs to the rumor that boucher may come join thrashers?

Somaatl95

June 3rd, 2010
2:46 pm

NP Rawhide,plenty of us are still bitter about that out and about the “wonderful” pitch that Charlie Liebrandt sauntered to Kirby Puckett. Its been almost 20 years and I’m still bitter about that series. The Braves should have been the rightful champs that year! Oh well…

jack

June 3rd, 2010
2:56 pm

Charlie is like Kovalchuk in the The official choke artists in Atlanta playoff history. On a side note we have yet to have a playoff game that went more than 1 overtime this year. When was the last time that happend?

Rawhide

June 3rd, 2010
3:13 pm

jack – The only candidates that I know have been interviewed by Rick Dudley are Chicago Wolves head coach Don Lever as well as Scott Arniel who currently is the bench boss for the Manitoba Moose. But I do think that Torchetti is gonna get the closest look once the SCF are over.

Somaatl95 – ya know…many people remember Charlie Leibrandt’s pitch that Pucket put over the left-center field wall to end game 6. But the fact of the matter is that the move was a sound one by Bobby Cox. he was the only lefty pitcher with previous WS experience available in the bullpen and the 3 batters that were due up in that inning went 0-6 against him when he started game 1. Unfortunately, it blew up in our face…shrugs…whatchagonnado?

But don’t even get me started about Lonnie Smith’s game-seven base running gaff in the top of the eighth that should have given the Braves a 1-0 lead.

glovesave29

June 3rd, 2010
3:37 pm

MLB announced that they will not overturn call. Looks like we will not be able to protest the 1991 World Series after all. That’s OK, I can live with the memory of the unabashed joy that started at Bleachers (a sports bar in Buckhead a million years ago) and spilled out into Peachtree Street for hours after Sid slid beneath Spanky’s tag. Yeah, I know this is a hockey blog, but I am a fan of all Atlanta teams (except the Hawks).

jack

June 3rd, 2010
3:37 pm

Thanks for the update, you’d the best. At least if we get Torchelli, we will have a coach that has experience of winning. Asst coach experience but still experience with hopefully a stanley cup championship in his back pocket. :)

J.B.

June 3rd, 2010
3:57 pm

i believe it’s ‘Torchetti’ with a pair of ‘t’s instead of ‘l’s. Just noticed it incorrectly in a few comments so i thought i’d throw it out there.

Rawhide

June 3rd, 2010
4:05 pm

Well…this should ease the pain a bit for Galarraga.

jack

June 3rd, 2010
5:00 pm

Thats very cool for Galarraga

Red Light

June 3rd, 2010
5:06 pm

Every now and then, you see a story like the above on Galarraga and the umpire, etc., and it makes you glad you played the game or became a fan when it was meaningful and filled with this kind of spirit. Someone up there likes this kind of behavior. Me too! Thanks for sharing Bill!

lola

June 3rd, 2010
5:26 pm

GO BLUE CREW!!! Auditions begin tonight @ 6:30 pm!

Somaatl95

June 3rd, 2010
5:55 pm

As I have opined many times we are cursed in Atlanta with our sports teams. That doesn’t make us love them any less though :) I had just started High School when the Braves went to the 91 WS and even though I was raised to watch all sports (except and ironically Hockey, Dad saw a few flames games but considered hockey to be BS when the flames skipped town) and to never root for the teams that are winning which meant, ahem, always to root for Atlanta. No matter what. Its amazing that I don’t have more gray hair than I do at my 33 years of age. The ones that are there have ATLANTA SPORTS written all over them.

Alan R.

June 3rd, 2010
11:00 pm

So, there was word that Dudley and Tallon were to be interviewed today. Anyone know what they said? Specifically looking for Dudley comments re: Thrashers.

Yung JB from MTL

June 3rd, 2010
11:07 pm

GO FLYERS! Hartnell is a beast and Pronger is the best defenseman of the playoffs and maybe in the world. I hate how Chicago think they’re the sh!t and i love underdogs. I guess thats why Im a Thrashers fan ha.

jack

June 3rd, 2010
11:16 pm

Chicago is the @#$, Flyers are the evil empire of the NHL :)

Tony C.

June 4th, 2010
7:18 am

I don’t think baseball should ever have replay-hockey however NEEDS it to help figure out exactly what happened during a goal-mouth scramble.

World Be Free

June 4th, 2010
7:59 am

An accepted tradition in all sports should be the desire to get it right all the time. The NFL fought with the idea of instant reply for a long time because the “purists” didn’t want to remove the human element from the game. Flash forward-can we consider watching an NFL (or major college) football game today that does not have instant reply? What happened to Gallaraga should never have happened in this day and age.

I am glad hockey uses reply to get it right.

kracker

June 4th, 2010
8:06 am

Agree – no baseball replays. Having the manager go nose-to-nose w/ the ump is much more entertaining. Besides, bb is slow and boring enough w/o building in more lenghty delays.

I do get very irritated when you have a home plate ump that has a 3-foot wide strike zone, ala the late Eric Gregg. Gregg gave Livan Hernandez sooo many wide strikes in a late 90’s NLCS game I was going nuts. MArlins beat the Braves and Maddux 2-1 largely due to the 15 strike out calls Gregg gave to Hernandez.

(For the record, I never thought Glavine was all that good when he didn’t get strike calls that were 8″ to10″ off the plate. Same for Maddux but to a lesser extent.)

GaVaHokie

June 4th, 2010
8:57 am

Agree – no baseball replays. Having the manager go nose-to-nose w/ the ump is much more entertaining. Besides, bb is slow and boring enough w/o building in more lenghty delays.

Couldn’t have said it better myself… for me, baseball is unwatchable as it is.

GaVaHokie

June 4th, 2010
8:58 am

re: Coaching… Would love to have Torchetti or Ramsay as Head Coach with either Arniel or Lever as Assistant.

kracker

June 4th, 2010
9:25 am

Good point Hokie, I forgot that Dudley could be interviewing Arniel or Lever for the assistant coach(s) spot.

AtlFlamesFan

June 4th, 2010
10:02 am

James Joyce is not to blame for this injustice. Yeah, he made a horribly bad call (how did he miss that; the runner was 4 feet from the bag!), but he is human, and humans make mistakes. The real culprit is Selig, who for years has stood in the way of instant replay. If it wasn’t for his stubbornness, the call would have been immediately overruled and this travesty would have been avoided.

Alan R.

June 4th, 2010
10:15 am

So …nobody knows what was said in the XM interview?

glovesave29

June 4th, 2010
10:16 am

Personally, I love baseball. I like the slow pace and strategy of the game. For me, it’s basketball that sucks. Bunch of genetic mutants who can only play their game thanks to a berserk pituitary gland.

Yes the ump made a mistake. He is human. The fault lies not in the lack of instant replay – but that the umps did not huddle and discuss this. I am sure the 2B ump and home plate ump saw he was out.

Nice story here about HNIC host Ron Maclean helping out…

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=5248861

Anyone up for TJ’s tonight?

kracker

June 4th, 2010
10:26 am

I can do TJs.

I don’t have XM and I too would like to know what Dudley said.

World Be Free

June 4th, 2010
10:30 am

I am for replay in MLB, used for the following purposes only-
1. Confirm homeruns
2. Confirm catches in the outfield
3. Confirm safe/out on infield plays

2 challenges per game for each manager

We have the technology to remove human error, just like in football. Why not use it?

GaVaHokie

June 4th, 2010
10:31 am

kracker, Alan… I don’t have XM either. I’m waiting for the Podcast to be available, but probably won’t be until next week.

Alan R.

June 4th, 2010
11:31 am

I also don’t have XM. Well, damn.

GaVaHokie

June 4th, 2010
11:55 am

Should be available on podcast next week if you have iPhone or Vcast.

GaVaHokie

June 4th, 2010
11:57 am

Actually, I just checked… it’s available NOW on podcast. They must have just added it.

…listening now.