Vladimir Guerrero, enjoying a late career renaissance in his first season in Texas, took one of his own batted balls to the eye during batting practice, resulting in a trip to the hospital. Like half the Yankees' roster, he's day to day. And that doesn't even begin to tell to the terrible tales from last night around the Bigs.
Shortly after the Yankees' game got underway, Ken Griffey Jr announced his retirement, cutting short his 22nd Big League season hitting just .184/.250/.204 with only two extra base hits (both doubles) in 98 at bats. He suffered through his nap-gate controversy earlier this season, had been benched in recent weeks, and despite his statement to the contrary, was almost assuredly nudged towards the door.
I've had mixed feelings about Griffey over the course of his career, and I have mixed feelings about Griffey's retirement. It's near tragic to see him go out like this. At the same time, I suppose it's good that he didn't force Seattle to release the most iconic player in franchise history. And it's good that he didn't hang on longer to further tarnish his reputation. But I can't help but think he wouldn't have been better off just hanging them up after last year. Here's the farewell post we ran for Griffey eleven months ago. It was premature then; it's overdue now.
And yet the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Griffey's exit from the game don't even remotely approach what happened in Detroit last night. One out from an unprecedented third perfect game in the first third of the season, and second in four nights, Armando Galarraga coaxed a grounder to first. He raced to the bag, received the throw from Miguel Cabrera, and recorded what should have been the final out of the game. Instead first base umpire Jim Joyce called Jason Donald safe.
Armando Galarraga must feel terrible. Jim Joyce must feel even worse. And while the men in blue haven't been at all popular of late, and while many have made poor decisions that actively inserted themselves into the fabric of the game, Jim Joyce doesn't deserve what he has coming his way. It was a bang-bang play, not terribly close, but pretty close. And he made the wrong call. He didn't do it to make himself part of the storyline. He didn't do it to flex his muscles. He did it because he thought it was the right call. And he was wrong. And he's going to have to live with it for the rest of his life. And despite a 24 year career as a Major League umpire, a career that has been otherwise respectable if not commendable, Jim Joyce will forever be remembered for one mistake.
At least Griffey will be remembered for his peak, not his nadir. Jim Joyce won't ever be so lucky. It sure as hell can be a mean old world. Let's hope it's a little nicer today.