Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sorry Humber, It Wasn't A Perfect Game

By Sean Gagnier

Officially, White Sox right-hander Phil Humber just became the 20th person to ever throw a perfect game in Major League Baseball history, and the third in White Sox history. He recorded 27 consecutive outs against the Seattle Mariners as Chicago went on to win 4-0. But did he actually get the Mariners to go 27 up and 27 down?

No. He didn't. Humber went to a 3-0 count against Michael Saunders, the first Seattle batter in the ninth inning, but was able to bounce back and strike Saunders out for his eighth K of the day. After a John Jaso fly out to right field, Brendan Ryan was all that stood between Humber and history.

Pinch-hitter Ryan worked a 3-2 count against Humber and after fouling off a pitch Humber threw him a slider that broke way off the plate and Ryan checked his swing. As seen in the photo above Ryan's bat never crossed home plate but the home plate umpire said that he had and White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski threw down to first base to complete the game.

The umpire never appealed down to his first or third base counterparts who would have had a better angle to see whether or not Ryan's bat did or did not cross home plate. FOX Sports also did not show a side angle replay of the play and as such posterity is left with the video from center field.

But the video from center is all that is needed, it's close, but Ryan clearly checked his swing which would mean that the pitch was a ball and Humber would have issued a base-on-balls. With the walk Ryan would have been standing on first base and Humber would have been throwing for a no-hitter, which he more than likely would have gotten - it's the Mariners.

Instead of making the right call, the umpire went with the 'it's a perfect game scenario, so I'm going to give every call to the pitcher' ideology. While ordinarily a good idea, when the play is directly in front of the umpire and as obvious as this play was, that mentality should go out the window.

Perhaps it is the umpire's response to the Jim Joyce blown perfect game call during which he called a clearly out runner safe and cost Detroit Tigers right-hander Armando Galarraga the 21st perfect game in MLB history. While both men handled it with class and Galarraga was awarded with a brand new Corvette, that perfect game that wasn't probably was something he wanted more.

All baseball fans want is the correct call. It's not about which team does what, it's about what actually happened. And the 21st perfect game in history, did not happen. Sorry Phil.

Watch the video for yourself and comment what you think it was; checked swing or perfect game?
White Sox Phil Humber 27th Out Video

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