P L A Y O F F P U S H
The postseason countdown is on and teams are jockeying for position as we make our way to the final turn.
With only 30 games left in the 2013 season, there's little time left for error for the bubble teams. And this year, our first with the expansion to a 12 team league, the bottom 4 teams will miss out on the September Classic.
Starting next week, the league will be counting down the magic numbers of the playoff teams as the race for the finish line draws close.
THE REST OF THE STORY
J.J. fell in love with the game at an early age. He wanted to be the next Mickey Mantle. Growing up in the ‘60s in Ohio, J.J. got to see many baseball games with the some of the greats in action: Mantle, Koufax, Gibson and many others. He wondered if “J.J.”, as his friends would call him, would ever become a world famous name like the others who came before him. It wasn’t until the 10th grade in high school when he realized his dream of being a professional baseball player would never be. He had a condition in his knees that prevented him from being able to run and so his chances of making it to the Majors was shot down faster than a line drive single.
So he decided to do the next best thing and become an umpire.
As his parents recalled, “He just wanted to be a part of the game; to be in it, on the field, down there in the action.” So many like him have had that burning desire before and for J.J., he was determined not to let his knee condition stop him from getting there.
At 27 years old, he became the 2nd youngest umpire in the history of the Big Leagues and only two months into his tenure ship he was quickly mired in controversy as the home plate umpire in the Pine Tar game on July 24, 1983.
Years of successful umpiring followed until 2010 when something unique happened.
On May 9, Dallas Braden threw a perfect game for the Oakland Athletics, the 19th in the history of the game. J.J. was behind the plate for the rare feat.
Not one month later in the bowels of Detroit’s Comerica Park, J.J. found himself in the spot light the way he did almost 30 years earlier with George Brett. This time J.J. was the first base umpire and he made the biggest call of his career when Armando Galarraga, the pitcher who was on the cusp of history, covered the bag on an infield hit. Miguel Cabrera fielded the ball, threw to first and made the out, for a perfect game-- which was immediately called a hit by J.J. and wiped away what would have been the 3rd perfect game in 24 days. The call, everyone agreed, including J.J., was incorrect and yet the hit stood and Galarraga would not be included on the short list of perfectos.
In the days following the missed call, J.J. and Galarraga became friends as J.J.’s remorse pulled on the heartstrings of America, and especially the pitcher himself.
Of course you know him as Jim Joyce, the famous umpire on that fateful day. He may have become a household name, as he dreamed of as a child, but certainly not in the way he was expecting.
And now, you know... the rest of the story.
This story is fact-based fiction. Much of the information contained here is true while some is literary license.
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