After he missed a call that effectively cost Armando Galarraga of the Tigers a perfect game yesterday, MLB umpire Jim Joyce gave his candid reaction to the situation to reporters immediately after the game.
Below is a transcription of his full comments along with an audio link.
“No, I did not get the call correct. I kicked the sh– out of it.
“I had a great angle on it I had great positioning on it. I just missed the damn call.
“I did not tell him (Armando Galarraga) at that particular time (of the missed call) that I missed it because I really thought I got the call right. I really thought I got the call right.
“Naturally every Tiger was telling me I kicked the call because they’d seen the replay so the first thing I did when I got in this locker room was I told Tim our clubhouse guy to queue it up and (long pause) I missed it, I missed it.
“This isn’t a big call, this is a history call. And I kicked the sh– out of it. There’s nobody that feels worse than I do. I take pride in this job and I kicked the sh– out of that call and I took a perfect game away from that kid over their who worked his a– off all night.
“I’m sure I’m going to get a call (from the MLB office) that asks me ‘what happened’ and I mean, what do I say? I missed it. I missed it. It’s probably the most important call of my career and I missed it.
“I’ve never been through this. I’ve never had something like this happen to me.
“I don’t blame any of those guys over there for saying anything they said to me. It was all a blur anyway. I don’t blame one person over there. I would’ve done the same thing. And I was fully aware of what was going on (the perfect game) since the fifth inning.”
On Detroit manager Jim Leyland arguing the call:
“I had to give Jim Leyland his say. I’m a man, I can take it. I’ve been doing this job a long time. Jim Leyland needed to say something and he did. And I have nothing against Jim Leyland at all. If I would’ve been Galarraga I would’ve been the first one standing there (arguing). I would’ve said something immediately. He didn’t say a word. Not a word.”
When asked if he was nervous at the end of the game: “I was very aware of what was going on.”
Joyce also noted that he worked with an umpire, Don Denkinger, who was also responsible for a notorious call at first base - in the 1985 World Series: “I worked with Don Denkinger, I know what he went through.”
I myself worked in baseball for nine years and know several umpires who know Joyce. I’d tell you that he’s a class act, but from his comments, you already know that.