Before you read this article, here is the shortcut version. Armando Galarraga absolutely bobbled the ball at the very beginning of the play, and also after Jason Donald had crossed first base. The last piece of critical evidence is unfortunately too vague to know for sure. Was there a third bobble in between the first bobble and the final bobble? Anyone who won't acknowledge that there were for sure two bobbles hasn't bothered to even research the still images provided further down this page. If there was no third bobble, then Donald was probably out at first base. If there was a third bobble, then Donald was safe at first base. Directly below is the sequence surrounding whether or not there was a middle bobble in between the first and final bobble.
Probably only Major League Baseball can resolve whether or not there was a middle bobble in between the first and last bobble.
MLB could review the original camera footage and study the actual seams of the ball while it was in the webbing of Armando Galarraga's Glove just before, during, and right after Galarraga's elbow contacted his own thigh which caused a quick jolt to go through his forearm and glove that could have caused the ball to move differently from the surrounding webbing.
Either way, it is obvious this play was a lot more complicated and nuanced then has ever been reported, and that lack of acknowledgement regarding the complexity of the play has resulted in an unfair, condescending and judgmental assessment of Umpire Jim Joyce's call of safe on the play that would cause the Detroit vs. Cleveland game to be known as "The Imperfect Game". The accusation that the play was not even close at first is completely inaccurate and an unfair way to judge the Umpire making the call.
On June 02, 2010 Armando Galarraga's perfect game came to an end with batter number 27, the final batter needed for a Perfect Game. The entire media world basically believed that Umpire Jim Joyce got the safe call at first base, wrong, and that it wasn't even a close play at first.
Dashcam Detective (DD) challenges the long held belief the play at first base was even't close, it was a very close play. DD will also show evidence that Umpire Jim Joyce may have gotten the call correct because the ball may have been bobbled by Armando Galarraga as he attempted to get the final out of his Perfect Game at first base.
Criteria Number 1 missed by the Media.
From Umpire Jim Joyce's vantage point he would have seen the ball ricochet because the ball ended up snow coned in the webbing of Galarraga's glove. Below is a frame by frame recap of what happened.
Ball moves to the webbing of glove and is still blurry, signifying that the ball is still moving and has some momentum. Also watch Galarraga's elbow as it is close to hitting Galarraga's thigh. Notice the ball is blurry, but the glove is sharp.
It appears as if Galarraga has managed to snare the ball in his webbing in a snow cone fashion in the fifth frame, not the first frame as Instant Replay Implied. The image of the ball is nice and sharp, but for just one video frame. 1/30th of a second is not long enough to be considered a catch, or proper control.
Probably the most critical frame of the entire sequence and one that needs to be carefully analyzed by MLB were they to do an investigation on this play. The Ball is BLURRY AGAIN. Galarraga's elbow hits his thigh, most likely sending the equivalent of a shock wave through his forearm and to his glove, while also causing Galarraga's forearm and glove hand to continue to move in a sweeping / swiping motion. The acceleration of Galarraga's forearm appears to cause the ball to become blurry again and snow coned. The blur of the ball most likely means the ball is moving within Galarraga's glove at a different speed than the glove.
The ball is still snow coned in this next frame, and blurry, while the glove still looks sharp. Th ball also appears to have slightly extended outside of the webbing. If the ball was no longer moving around in the glove at a different speed or direction than the glove, both the ball and the glove would be equally sharp and Donald would be out. Unfortunately the next few frames appear to show the ball moving somewhat independently from the webbing around it.
Galarraga's glove is not in complete control of the ball as the sweeping motion of the glove and the bouncing of his elbow off of his own thigh has caused the webbing part of the glove to move much faster than the heel part of the glove. If the ball were truly contained, then why does it make what looks to be a right angle turn within the glove? Is the ball and glove moving as one, or as two independent pieces of the same puzzle?
If this had been the first baseman catching the ball, he would have had his feet set, glove outstretched, and simply squeezed the glove after the throw arrived. Unfortunately for Galarraga he had to run from the mound to first base and has many moving parts getting to first base while looking for the throw in one direction and first base bag below him.
First it was Galarraga's elbow hitting his thigh, now that same elbow bounces or pivots off of his thigh causing the outer part of the glove to continue to move faster than the inner part of the glove. Notice the position of the ball to the webbing appears to have changed from the prior frame. Also notice the OPTICAL ILLUSION that makes it look like Galarraga's glove is hitting his thigh up ABOVE, but BELOW, from a different angle, we can see that the glove is nowhere near the thigh at the same point in time.
The lack of clarity of the depth of perception also applies to the ballistics of the ball. We cannot know for sure from this angle if the ball is "tromboning" inside the glove, but other angles seem to show that the ball was tromboning inside the Glove. Joyce's angle would have been the best angle to see if the ball was tromboning inside Galarraga's glove, something that the announcers and all the analysts never even considered.
What caused the ball to Trombone inside the glove if indeed the ball did Trombone and was visible to Umpire Joyce from his vantage point in combination with the ball being snow coned at times? Dashcam Detective is going to theorize that it was Galarraga's elbow hitting his own flexing thigh that caused a "jolt" to transfer through the elbow and into the glove which helped create the tromboning effect of the ball moving within the glove.Umpire Joyce, standing about 13 to 20 feet away, could have seen the ball spin or rotate because of the seams, or trombone within the glove as he was staring right at the open glove and the snow coned ball. If the ball slightly moved as if detached from the glove even while within the glove, that would be the definition of a bobble and Jason Donald would be considered safe because he has now touched first base in the above picture.
From Umpire Jim Joyce's vantage point he can clearly see the ball snow coned in Armando Galarraga's glove at various times throughout the end of the play. In this image Jason Donald is just a couple of video frames from first base while the ball was apparently still moving around in Armando Galarraga's glove, the snow cone changes frame to frame from this angle.
A different camera angle or a closer camera angle might reveal if the ball was going forward and backwards (tromboning) in the Glove during the Glove's sweeping motion. Ideally a Camera Angle positioned where Jim Joyce was might have given the best visual information of all. One thing is certain, if you look at the GIF, the ball seems to make a strange 90 degree pivot just as Donald crosses first base.
Criteria Number 2 missed by the Media, how all the moving parts in the play created a virtually incomprehensible task of calling the play or quickly analyzing the play afterwards.
There was first baseman Miguel Cabrera ranging far to his right towards second base to grab the ground ball and then wait a moment and then throw the ball so it led Armando Galarraga as Galarraga reached first base.
Armando Galarraga probably had the toughest job of all. Galarraga had to race to first base as soon as the ball was hit to make sure he got to first base ahead of a very fast moving Jason Donald. Galarraga also had to look away from the first base bag for the throw from Miguel Cabrera while also looking down for the first base bag so he could touch it with his foot. In retrospect, if the ball had been thrown sooner it would have allowed Galarraga to catch the ball and have more time to focus on just tagging the bag.
Then there was Umpire Jim Joyce taking it all in in fair territory inside the right field foul line in the infield dirt portion about 13 to 20 feet from the first base bag.
Present day Instant Replay probably would not have had enough time to truly study this play to see what Umpire Joyce saw from his angle, that is how complicated this play really was.
It's important to note that in all the discussions that came right after Jim Joyce's safe call and later on that same day, not one broadcaster or sports authority considered the possibility that Galarraga might have been bobbling the ball after it entered his glove. Everyone focused on when the ball entered Galarraga's glove, or when Galarraga's foot touched first base while never considering he may have bobbled the ball.
The Media never also considered the possibility that Joyce's vantage point gave him a view that nobody else had and that his view might have allowed him to see the bobbling of the ball more easily than any other angle specifically because all the other angles are telephoto angles which compress the depth of the shot, and could mask certain types of ball movement as the ball moved around in Galarraga's Glove.
The Angle below is from the 3rd base dugout perspective. It too shows the ball moving towards the front of the webbing in Galarraga's glove.
Above, Ball hits inside pocket and heel of Glove and begins new trajectory forward towards the webbing of the Glove.
Above If you look closely you can see a small sliver of a white object inside Galarraga's glove, that is the ball moving forward towards the webbing of Galarraga's Glove.
The white ball is now more easily visible due to the ball tromboning in Galarraga's Glove, clearly the ball traveled inside of Galarraga's Glove as Galarraga's squeezes the webbing.
Galarraga squeezes glove and ball is temporarily contained in the webbing of his glove, each image represents 1/30th of a second so until we get to a quarter second of time, or 6 to 8 video frames, saying he has possession is a stretch, especially with his body still moving due to momentum.
Ball has completely disappeared inside Galarraga's Glove, One might want to say this is the first frame where the ball has finally settled and Galarraga had possession, Jason Donald's foot is clearly on the bag, as it was in the prior frame as well.
The last four frames, ending with the frame above, show the first two frames with no sliver of the ball outside the Glove, and the last two frames show the sliver of ball at the tip of the glove. Could it be that Galarraga's glove went as far as it could in one direct, and now has moved back, thus revealing the sliver?
At this point Donald has clearly crossed first base and is slowing down. However, what may have ultimately done Galarraga in is the final pop of the baseball in which he let it pop up and then drop into his glove. That happened a several frames after this point, had nothing really to do with the play, however, because the entire sequence was a mish mash of moving parts with the ball looking like it was contained then not contained at least twice, could the final pop of the ball up in the air and then settling back into the glove sealed the call as safe?
The ball may be contained at this point, clearly Galarraga was concerned about avoiding the baserunner.
Up above appears to be the moment when the ball has settled within the glove.
And unfortunately for Jim Joyce, Jim Joyce's vantage point was the BEST vantage point to see if the ball was slightly moving within the glove, aka a bobble. And unfortunately for the rest of us, the telephoto camera angles that show the ball in the webbing compress the depth of field so much that if the ball was moving, spinning or tromboning within the glove, it would be more obvious to Umpire Joyce than any of the cameras in Telephoto Mode that were used to record this particular play.
Galarraga ended up bracing his elbow against his thigh, then just a moment later, his glove makes a swiping / sweeping motion that seems to have caused the ball to move while it was still in the webbing. Galarraga's elbow suddenly contacting his side caused his arm to create a sweeping effect which caused his glove hand to speed up as it swept towards his body. That set up the moment that probably put doubt in Jim Joyce's mind. The ball and movement of the glove do not seem to be in lock step with each other.
Dashcam Detective's view is the play at first base in the Imperfect Game of June 02, 2010 was much closer than has ever been attributed to by the media, and that it is possible that Umpire Jim Joyce saw the ball being bobbled leading to his safe call because of his vantage point.
So why did Umpire Jim Joyce admit he got the call wrong after the game was over? Mr. Joyce most likely was shown video evidence after the game that included the freeze frame right when Galarraga first touched base and right when Galarraga first had the ball enter the glove, thus not revealing the bobbling that was probably going on.
Dashcam Detective believes no time was taken to explore the possibility that the ball was bobbled and no time was spent with Mr. Joyce exploring the possibility of a bobble.
For those who may agree that the ball was bobbled, but why make a big deal about it? The analogy DD can give involves when a runner steals second base. If the runner slides late in an effort to gain that little bit of extra speed, but as a result they lose contact with the base while the infielder has the ball in their glove and are applying the tag, Instant Replay will say the runner is out. There are trade offs for sliding late in an effort to successfully gain speed so a base can be stolen.
In the case of Armando Galarraga, Jason Donald's speed down the first base line caused Galarraga to have to run the race of his life to get to first base ahead of Donald, and that process caused Galarraga to have less room for error in the act of looking for the throw, catching, and then controlling the ball in his glove while also looking for the base on the ground.
If the runner to first had been one half second slower in a still respectable 4.25 seconds, Galarraga would have had the time to either fully contain the ball before the runner touched first base, or he could have slowed down a step sooner before reaching the bag to make sure his body did not contort as much as it did because Galarraga had to run so fast to first base. The result would have been a more in control pitcher with the ball in his glove and no bobbling, or what looks like a bobble. And if Donald had not been so fast, Galarraga could have even caught the ball and just run over the bag into foul grounds and had his perfect game.
It seems a bit unfair to not give Jason Donald any credit for running hard to first base which seems to have created just enough of a margin of doubt, especially from Umpire Jim Joyce's point of view.