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Perfect*

History was made in Detroit on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, the gem thrown by Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, as a blown call at first base robbed the 28 year-old righthander of the 21st perfect game in baseball history. Umpire Jim Joyce, who mistakenly called Indians SS Jason Donald safe at first, now finds himself among the most infamous umpires in baseball history. His gaffe will forever be in the discussion of the worst calls of all-time. (Grab a seat next to Don Denkinger, Jim.) In his defense, he admitted his mistake and apologized to Galarraga after the game. While watching these events unfold last night, I felt terrible for Galarraga. I thought he handled the situation in about the classiest way possible. My hat goes off to him for holding his emotions there.

If Joyce got that call right last night, we’d be looking at an unbelievably historic pitching run. We’re barely two months into the 2010 MLB season, yet we’ve already seen two perfect games, a no-hitter, and Galarraga’s should-have-been-a perfect game. There has only been one other season in the history of baseball with multiple perfect games, and none in the modern era, yet we almost had three occur in less than a month. Not even the wisest of baseball’s wise men could come up with an explanation for what we’ve seen thus far.

Joyce’s blown call could end up having quite a lasting impact on the game of baseball. Instant replay is a topic that has been gradually picking up steam for a few years now. Last night’s lack of replay availability virtually guarantees that it will be pushed to the forefront and become the hot-button issue among baseball executives. Personally, I’m on the fence concerning the use of replay in baseball. On one hand, I’m a baseball purist who doesn’t want to see instant replay violate the sanctity of the game. On the other hand, I’m a realist who sees that replay, when not overused, can help ensure the correct calls are made in the game’s crucial moments. Whether we like it or not though, I do believe instant replay is on the horizon for Major League Baseball. Wednesday night’s debacle may have sealed the deal on this issue.

In the end, I believe Galarraga’s near-perfect game will be more memorable than the actual perfect games thrown by Roy Halladay and Dallas Braden. Baseball has always been deeply rooted in the game’s historic past, and last night we witnessed a historic baseball moment that won’t soon be forgotten.

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