Saturday, September 15, 2018

Jim Joyce Safe Call in the Imperfect Game between Detroit and Cleveland on June 02, 2010 might have been the Correct Call.

This is a quick link to the GIF that shows the final moment of the out that wasn't, or the safe call that was in the Imperfect Game of June 02, 2010 between the Detroit Tigers and the Cleveland Indians.
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.
Was Galarraga's elbow colliding with his own thigh enough of a jolt to cause the ball to either jostle, bobble, trombone or the seams to spin while snow coned within the webbing of the glove? One thing we do know, James Joyce would have had the best view of the ball possibly moving or spinning since the ball was snow coned and Joyce had the best vantage point of everyone in the ball park to see this. It would be amazing if Major League Baseball took it upon themselves to review this play and analyze if the ball did move in any way during Jason Donalds final 1/2 step before he touched first base.

These four consecutive frames show that the glove is moving laterally. What we can't tell is if the ball inside the glove is truly contained and not moving, spinning, rotating, or tromboning. The telephoto nature of the shot compresses the action. If you look directly below it looks like the glove is touching Galarraga's thigh, yet from a different angle we would see the Glove is actually a foot in front of Galarraga's thigh. So if the ball was tromboning within the webbing this particular telephoto camera angle would not be able to show that.
If the ball is tromboning, the seams of the ball would most likely be rotating or changing relative position to the webbing around the ball. 
Galarraga never really established that he was stable at first base specifically because he had to run over from the pitching mound. Ideally, if the ball could have been throw half a second sooner it would have allowed Galarraga enough time to snare the ball and then just focus on touching first base with his foot.

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.
Pictured above, Instant Replay and Slow Motion Replay kept freezing the frame either as soon as Armando Galarraga's foot touched the first base bag, 
or just as the ball first entered Armando Galarraga's glove, both freeze frames failed to show what was going on from Jim Joyce's Point of View.

Apparently the emotion of the moment was so great after the call of safe at first base by Umpire Jim Joyce that not only did the Media want to believe Umpire Jim Joyce got the call wrong on what would have been the final out of a Perfect Game, the Media seemed on a mission to prove to themselves and the world that the play at first base was not even close and that Jim Joyce had allegedly missed the call by a lot.

What Dashcam Detective's research has found is Miguel Cabrera's throw had a lot of spin on it. The ball hit the lower pocket / inner heel of Galarraga's Glove and bounced forward inside of Galarraga's glove, possibly still spinning. It took FOUR additional video frames for a total of five frames, or 1/6th of a second (Donald would have traveled another 4 to 4.5 feet down the line during that 1/6th of a second) before the ball finally temporarily nestles in Galarraga's Webbing. The Tigers Instant Replay Crew incorrectly chose to freeze the frame that showed the ball first reaching the glove. 

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.
 Above, Ball is just about to enter Galarraga's Glove.  
Above, Ball hits back inside pocket and heel of glove and begins to bounce forward, the ball clearly had some velocity at this point as can be evidenced by the blur of the ball inside the glove.
Above, Ball moves forward to the center of the glove. You can check for the accuracy of the sequence by gauging if the runner is moving down the line in the proper sequence.
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 were a lot of moving parts going on in what could have been the final play of a Perfect Game. There was Jason Donald streaking down the line in a very fast 3.76 seconds with the final second of his run most likely his fastest. 

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.

While Video Evidence appears to exist that shows Galarraga was able to hold onto the ball in the webbing of his glove for a brief moment, Video Evidence also exists that appears to show that Galarraga's momentum created unwanted gyrations that make it look like he bobbled the ball more than once. Galarraga's elbow contacting his own thigh which then caused the webbing part of his glove to move in an accelerated swipe while the heel part of his glove moved at a much slower speed most likely created some type of unnatural ball movement that Umpire Joyce could see from his vantage point because the ball was snow coned while also appearing to Trombone within the glove. If you watch the GIF you can see the ball make a strange 90 degree turn while 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.
Galarraga's elbow hits against his thigh, causing the top part of the glove to accelerate at a different speed than the heel part of the glove. The glove swipes towards the first base bag. Umpire Joyce has a clear picture of the entire ball within the glove at this point since the ball is actually snow coned as seen from the previous angle and also from Joyce's perspective as well.
Compare the tip of the glove to the tip of the ball that is barely visible to the lettering in the background tar[ directly underneath the glove. The glove's relative position to the graphics on the tarp in the background remains identical, however the ball has clearly tromboned back inside the webbing. The ball, while contained in the glove, has not settled, it appears to be moving and the movement would be clearly visible from Umpire Joyce's perspective. At this point, Jason Donald's foot is touching first base.
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.
Galarraga's glove looks skinnier in this frame than the prior frame above. It appears as if this might be the frame where Galarraga contains the ball. Jasn Donald has now touched first base for 3 video frames, or 1/10th of a second.
Once again a very small sliver of white appears at the tip of Galarraga's webbing. Umpire Joyce would have clearly seen the ball's tromboning movement since from his perspective the ball is snow coned. (see first sequence of pictures).
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.

Recapping what happened.

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.

So what we have now is ball hits heel and inside lower pocket of the glove, bounces towards webbing, is clasped in the webbing, then glove lurches towards Galarraga's body because of Galarraga's momentum and his elbow acting as a contact / leverage point against his own thigh, the top side of Galarraga's glove is moving much faster than the heel part of the glove, causing the ball to probably slightly rotate and move in a n in and out trombone fashion while still remaining within the webbing of the glove while also intermittently protruding just a bit from the webbing of the glove. 

Then Galarraga does one final adjustment with the ball in the glove, letting the ball pop up and then go back down in the glove after Donald has aready passed first base, but that may have added a final seed of doubt in Jim Joyce's mind. 

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.

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  1. Hi, The runner was out... And it wasn't even a close call!!! Also, the first base umpire could have asked for help from the the home plate umpire. The home plate umpire always watches the plays at first base. So if the first base umpire needs help, the home plate umpire can make the call or give his or her input to the first base umpire. Then the first base umpire can decide whether to change their call or keep it the same. If I would have been the home plate umpire, because of how important that call was, I would have immediately walked down to the first base umpire and told him in my opinion the runner was out.
    This play reminds me of a spring training game that I was working. We had 4 umpires and I was the second base umpire. Runners on first and second - fly ball hit down the left field line. Third base umpire went "Out or down the line" to make the fair/foul call. Also, the left field fence had a very tall backup fence a few feet behind it. So it was possible for a ball to clear the home-run fence and hit the backup fence and then bounce back onto the field. The left field fence had a yellow line marking the top of the fence. Ground rules are set by the home team and at that ball park, any ball hitting the yellow line and still going over the fence, was a ground rule double. So if a fly ball clears the yellow line it is a home run. So the third base umpire went down the line to make a fair or foul call and he needed to make a call on whether the ball was a home run or a double. The third base umpire froze up and did not make a call. The home plate umpire was the back up on that play and should have made a call, but he did not. From the dugout the coach yelled at me wanting to know if that was my call. So I put my right hand up (meaning to the coach stay put) and I said, "Joe I've got this" and I jogged in to talk to the home plate umpire. I asked Perry, the home plate umpire, why he did't make a call when he realized the third base umpire froze up. The short answer was Perry froze up too. So I asked Perry what he saw - was the ball fair of foul? Perry said, "Fair".
    Was it a home run or a double? Perry was not sure - he thought the ball hit the yellow line. So then I asked Perry if he wanted to go talk to the 3rd base umpire and Perry said, "No". So I told Perry that I thought the ball cleared the yellow line, but I could not tell if it was fair or foul. I told Perry if he was not going to make the 3rd base umpire make the call, then he had to make the call. Also I told Perry at this point, it doesn't matter what decision he makes (Home run or Double) either way one of those coaches are going to come out and set his as on fire! Then I told Perry the only way we can get out of this mess without having to throw coaches and players out of the game, was to have me make the call even though it wasn't my call to make. If I make the call, the first thing both coaches are going to think is: from second base that was a tough play for me to judge whether the ball was fair or foul. And by me talking to the home plate umpire it looked like I was getting help on whether the the ball was fair or foul. So I told Perry that I was going to turn around and signal a home run, and I did. The coach walked out to talk to me and asked me if I was sure that the ball cleared the yellow line - and I said, "Yes" but I could not tell if it was fair or foul and that is why I spoke with the home plate umpire. The coach said he thought the 3rd base umpire should have made the call, but when he didn't that stuck me with a difficult call to make. And then the coach thanked me for getting help from the home plate umpire. And last thing the coach said to me was he thought it was a home run too. And no one got thrown out.

    1. I appreciate your response and you reliving an experience you had, but I am going to point out that you did not refute anything that was written in the article.

    2. I also want to add that in real time, the play was a bam bam play, to say that it was not even close is to have not studied the play, which is what my complaint has been all along. The ball was clearly bobbled upon first entering the glove, and the ball was bobbled after the runner passed the base, the question is was the ball also bobbled one more time while Galarraga was trying to maintain his balance while on the base. The act of gyrating to keep balance along with the two bobbles is the element that created doubt in the Umpire's mind. Technically the second bobble is irrelevant because it happened after the runner crossed first base, but was there that third bobble while the glove was being moved all around? The first and last bobble can lead one to think there was also a middle bobble, and I shown ample frames that show the ball might have been bobbled throughout the play.


Dashcam Detective appreciates on topic comments.