So, I thought that whole “Perfect Game” thing was supposed to be hard to do? First Dallas Braden throws one. Then just 20 days later, Roy Halladay does it too. Now we have Armando Galarraga. Almost.
As I am writing this, it is the bottom of the 8th inning, and Cabrera has just struck out, so that will give you a sense of time as you read. There is some unintentional comedy in there as a result, but I wanted to publish it in its original form.
Now, as a Cleveland Indians fan, I would like to interject a little something here. I would like to downgrade Armando Galarraga’s performance because it came against a Triple-A lineup. The Indians suck. Everyone knows it. It does not mean it is worth less, as it is an amazing achievement, but look at that lineup! Trevor Crowe has been the hottest hitter lately, followed by Austin Kearns, and Jason Donald. Sounds like a pretty good Triple-A team to me. Shin-Soo Choo is the best player, but is mired in a slump, so even he posed no problem for Mr. Galarraga. He threw 75 pitches through 8 innings (good patient hitting by the Indians haha), and 58 of those had been strikes. Do not worry, Tigers fans, I am completely joking, this guy is earning his place in history. He even got the amazing defensive play most guys need when Austin Jackson got a beat on a Mark Grudzielanek laser. Jackson did his best Willie Mays impression and all of Detroit was forced to “Say Hey” at the defensive gem. Perhaps funniest of all to me is that Grudzielanek is among the best hitters in the lineup right now. After he went down, it was all on Mike Redmond and Jason Donald. Translation: OVER.
And then something happened. Jason Donald rolled one over to the right side, Armando covered first, and SAFE! He missed the call. Flat out, Jim Joyce missed it. It sucks for Galarraga on a scale you cannot even begin to describe. That is baseball. Sometimes one bad call, bad hop, or just piece of bad luck can change a perfect game to just another game.
Your heart goes out to Armando, who handled himself with the utmost class throughout it all. He threw a beautiful game, and his reward was a spit in the face from the baseball gods. What makes you like him most is that he just sort of smiled when Jason Donald was called safe. He knew that baseball is funny like that, and that sometimes, it just is not your day. Maybe Miguel Cabrera should have not taken an extra couple steps after fielding it, but it is just a shame. Nothing else to say about it.
This of course raises the question of instant replay again, and we still have to talk about Ken Griffey’s sudden retirement, but today’s game should be forever known as Armando’s Almost.
For those of you who are just completely enraged by this, do me a favor first. Look up Harvey Haddix. Threw 12 2/3 perfect innings, and gave up the game winning home run in the 13th because his team couldn’t muster a run. That is baseball. More to come in this week’s This Week in Baseball, so stay tuned.