Where Do You Stand On Jim Joyce?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I'm not Mike Francesa. I'm not Michael Kay. I'm just a fan of the game; observing, watching... taking it all in.

So I don't know if there is what to harp on here, but I took a look at the 3 "perfect" games so far in 2009 and I did notice a difference between the first 2 games and yesterday's "28-out" Perfect Performance.

Something to take into account: Ironically, all 3 games ended (or should have ended) on plays to first base. (For the record, yesterday's Tigers game also ended on 1st base when Trevor Crowe grounded out to 3rd base and Brandon Inge threw over to first).

Here's a snapshot of the final play of the first 2 games:

Notice how each umpire, whether in the top shot during Halladay's game, or the bottom shot of Braden's, is standing 6-12 feet off the line.

Now, take a look at where Jim Joyce is standing:

Joyce is about 1 foot off the line.

I'm not an umpire and I don't know WHERE a first base umpire is supposed to stand, but wouldn't you think being in the best position to call the out would be the ideal spot for any umpire? If the case, how is it possible that these 3 umpires are all found to be in different positions at the most critical spot of the game? Which one has the best vantage point? Who has the worst?

It's hard to know whether or not Joyce's angle only allowed him to see one aspect (the fielder as opposed to the runner) of the play, but from the looks of this picture, check out where Joyce's eyes are as the ball comes into Galarraga's glove:

Clearly, they're on the glove and not exactly watching Donald's feet hit (or not hit) the bag.

Would have a better angle avoided all of this? Is there a set position first base umpires are supposed to be in such an instance? Who knows...

All I do know is... I've got questions.


mike said...

the more telling thing is not the angle, but where his eyes are looking. umps are supposed to be looking at the bag and listening for the ball hitting the glove. if he was looking at the bag, i guarantee you he would have been called out. granted, this is a much tougher play because the pitcher and batter are running to the bag at the same time, but he should definitely be looking to see whose foot touches the bag first, and based on that last screen grab, he never saw who got there first. no way his eyes could have gone from the glove to the bag that quick to see what happened.

nice observation.

Eli From Brooklyn said...

Thanks, Mike.

It does look like his eyes are glued to the glove, and that there's no way he was able to get his eyes back to the base in time.

Sports Radio, ESPN, blogs are all discussing instant-replay bla bla bla, but are failing to understand that this call would not be missed if he had been doing what he should have.

Forget instant-replay. Get competent umpires.

"Yeah, but he's been an ump for over 20 years!"

Maybe that's a few too many...

mike said...

it's hard to fire a man who has a mustache as awesome as that, though.

and if nothing else, we got a great story out of the whole thing. more than what a regular old perfect game would have been. those things are a dime a dozen these days.

Eli From Brooklyn said...

Isn't it funny how Jimenez's no-hitter this year is practically forgotten? ;)

andallthat said...

This is an excellent insight. I thought that Joyce might explain his positioning by the fact that the score of the game was only 3-0 and he could be "guarding the line" much as a first or third baseman would. However, as the Halladay game pic shows, that score was only 1-0.

Although I do think there is some room for expanding replay, as I have opined on my blog, your expose does make the case for encouraging greater uniformity in umpire positioning, and the need for better schooling and development of the Men in Blue.

Eli From Brooklyn said...


There should be a set position for them, if there is not one already.

mets said...

watch this http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=8652417

and read this