Jim Joyce will always be remembered for his infamous blown call that took away a perfect game from the Detroit Tigers’ Armando Galarraga in June of 2010. Now, Joyce and James Hoye are both in on another blunder that had a direct impact on a game between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants and there’s no excuse for upholding the call after conferring with Joyce.
The Giants opened the bottom of the seventh inning with a lead off infield single by Emmanuel Buriss off of A’s starter Tyson Ross. Manager Bob Melvin elected to have Ross pitch to Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong and on the first pitch that is when the drama unfolded. Ross threw a 93 mile-per-hour fastball up and in to Vogelsong who was attempting to bunt and the fastball was heading directly towards his chest, so Vogelsong brought the bat back to his chest and the baseball instead wentfoul for what should have been strike one.
Yet, that was not the call on the field; Hoye ruled that Vogelsong had been hit by the pitch. Melvin immediately went out to argue the call and even got Hoye to discuss what happened with Joyce, who had the better view of the play. To the dismay of Melvin, the ruling on the field stood even though it was clearly a foul ball and it wasn’t a difficult one to make. If Vogelsong had been hit with a 93 mile-per-hour he would not have got up as quickly as he did and he definitely would have shown the effects of a pitch that hit him, a ball hitting the bat makes a much different sound than when it is a hit by pitch and lastly if the ball had hit him in the chest the baseball would not have rolled as far as it did.
It is now time for MLB to take action; it has already this week suspending Bob Davidson for how he acted towards Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel who was also suspended one game. Laz Diaz after the A’s finished their series with the Texas Rangers called Melvin after blowing a call, A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy was furious with the call as Diaz ruled that McCarthy on a squeeze play had trapped the baseball instead of catching it, which allowed the Rangers to score a run instead of the A’s having a double play with no run scoring.
McCarthy after his spat with Diaz created a blog about the situation and continues to show why he’s one of the more respected players in MLB and as a reminder here’s a story from what he had to say about kiss cams.
Yet, in the case of Joyce and Hoye missing the call, a big inning for the Giants resulted and no one knows what would have actually happened if called correctly. There’s a big difference between having runners on first and second with no outs to being an o-1 count with a runner on first. Hoye’s view was more difficult from being behind the plate, he still should have been able to figure out that the ball hit the bat by the sound and Joyce should have been able to make the correct call because he was looking directly in and easily determined the ball hit the bat.
With MLB refusing to put in the fix to an issue like this by implementing instant replay, MLB has to start holding umpires accountable for their blown calls that make an impact on the game. That means suspending umpires who get calls clearly wrong. In this case both Hoye and Joyce blew the call and each receiving a suspension for at least five plus games for both of them with Joyce getting a few extra games because he had the best view and could have easily overturned the call and made it right.
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