Startribune.com digital sports editor Howard Sinker used to cover the Twins and now shares season tickets with friends in Section 219 of Target Field. He blogs about baseball from the perspective of a long-time fan who loves the game, doesn’t always believe the hype and likes hearing what others think. Howard sometimes talks about sports with Cathy Wurzer on MPR's Morning Edition.
First, Jim Joyce absolutely bollixed his call at first base and cost Detroit's Armando Gallaraga a perfect game.
Then, a few hours later, at the end of a wonderfully pitched game by both sides, the Twins lost 2-1 to Seattle when second-base umpire Dale Scott appeared to blow a third-out call that would have sent the game into the 11th inning.
Wednesday was one of those games where I got to feeling that it didn't much matter who won because it was such a great game to watch -- one of those nights that reinforced the excellence of Cliff Lee and gave you hope that Kevin Slowey can evolve into an elite pitcher. (Anyone noticed that the Mariners need a catcher? Wilson Ramos, maybe. Could/should the Twins create a Ramoscentric trade-deadline package for Seattle?)
But watching the game end as it did, that was deflating.
"The replay showed he was out," Ron Gardenhire said afterward. "Bottom line. We don't need to talk about that anymore. What else you got?"
Then, Gardenhire tried his hand at passing judgment on a follow-up question about whether there was anything Matt Tolbert could have done differently at second base on Ichiro's game-ender.
"You're in another area code, really," Gardy replied. "That's not a good question."
So what, if anything, should be done? Is it time for more replay? How do you expand replay without messing with the rhythm of the game? Does MLB need to hold umpires more accountable in some way? Is our HD/replay/Foxbox culture simply highlighting mistakes that have always been made?
Or create and answer your own question, regardless of area code. (Unless it's a 900 number, of course.)
As you ponder this, keep in mind that umpire Joyce has a reputation for excellence. This is from a story today on mlb.com:
Jim Joyce has a reputation for being a good umpire. And for some, he's better than good.
Yankees catcher Jorge Posada calls him "one of the best in the league." Cleveland's Russell Branyan said Joyce "has eyes like a hawk" and "ice water in his veins."
"To me, there is no more conscientious umpire in the Major Leagues than Jim Joyce," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He gives you a hellacious effort every time."
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