How "Perfect" Was Philip Humber's Perfect Game?

Categories: Baseball, Sports
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www.thesportshole.com

You got a guy who is 29 years old and making a comeback from Tommy John surgery - and, to top it off, hasn't won a game this year. He throws a perfect game and nobody - and I mean nobody, including me - wants to put a damper on it. (Did I mention that his wife is nine months pregnant?)

All I want to know is: was the last pitch Philip Humber threw to Brendan Ryan actually a strike?

I'm not asking whether the ball was outside the strike zone -- anyone could see that it was. I'm not asking if the batter is supposed to be guarding the strike zone a little more carefully in those situations, on a full count with two outs - clearly he is. I won't even ask the question as to whether umpire Brian Runge should have been giving Humber the benefit of the doubt with a perfect game on the line. (The answer to that question is an emphatic No! The umpire is supposed to treat all pitches the same under all circumstances.)


I won't even ask - though I have to admit I'm just a tad suspicious on this one - why Runge didn't look down to the first base umpire to confirm if Ryan had checked his swing or gone too far. (Isn't that what you see done about 3-4 times during an average game?)

What I want to know is this: why didn't Fox Sports show us Ryan's half swing from the traditional above-the-plate camera so we could decide for ourselves? I'll say this: from the angle I saw and the angle ESPN was replaying it last night, there's no way it looks like Ryan broke the plane of the plate.

But I can't make a final judgment because I don't have anything to go on. No matter how many times I saw it on ESPN last night, I can't make a clear call, even when I replayed it in slo-mo several times. You can't determine whether a checked swing is a swinging strike unless you have either the first base umpires' view or the view from the overhead cam.

I'm not suggesting that FoxNews, MLB, Humber's team, the Chicago White Sox, or the home team, the Seattle Mariners, are in some kind of conspiracy ...

No, to hell with that, that's exactly what I'm suggesting. Can anyone offer a rational reason why, in the most important pitch of the young season, and a play that was instantly controversial, Fox didn't show us the pitch from the camera angle that would have given us the clearest view?

Can it be that they know that Ryan successfully checked his swing, that the pitch should have been called ball four, that Runge blew the call, and that therefore Humber's perfect game is tainted?

That's what I think happened.

Saturday night I couldn't find a single replay that featured an overhead view. I still can't today. If anyone reading this can find one, I'd appreciate if they posted the evidence here.


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73 comments
Yawn
Yawn

"The umpire is supposed to treat all pitches the same under all circumstances"

So how long ago did you write the story "Hey guys, I heard about this awesome game called baseball!"?

JKRedondo
JKRedondo

The check-swing is by far the silliest "gotta live with it" annoyance in baseball.  I am not surprised it is stumbling into important moments.  I agree with "Cheese" below, EXCEPT I believe with the current rules, the home plate ump trumps here.  It is not a two-way street. The other umps ONLY come into play if he calls it a ball (and the defense "appeals"), or occasionally if he is not sure.  But IF the home plate ump declares it a swing, it's over. and there is no appealing, no double-checking. AND I have talked to umps. They all HATE having important moments hinging on check-swing appeals.  It is an unspoken thing. The home plate ump quietly works to make sure that does not happen, ESPECIALLY on the last pitch of a perfect game.  

Jimrae
Jimrae

I totally agree with {it matters},it does matter,that last pitch looked like a ball to me

Jorge Zamora
Jorge Zamora

In many sports it is established that when the referees have to make a decision of a highly questionable move, they (referees) should be conservatives in order to do not affect the outcome of the game. That was what made the umpire Brian Runge in Philip Humber perfect game and that's not what did Jim Joyce in the "almost" perfect game Armando Galarraga. It is very difficult to make decisions with only one second of time to do so. The umpire Brian Runge was right, The umpire Jim Joyce was wrong.Jim Joyce later apologized to Galarraga, but to no avail and too late, Joyce was not focused on the game of Galarraga, for that reason you have to concentrate since before the game.

Rick Mason
Rick Mason

This is all you can whine about??, he swung,he ran,he was out.You need to see 10 different angles so you can be ok with the fact that someone other than Cliff Lee,Roy Hallady can throw perfect games.The MAN did a great job   deal with it...

Jose
Jose

Tainted to me it was. Now, I remember the infamous call from Jim Joyce in Galarraga's "almost perfect" game

Bruce
Bruce

Give it a rest. There are better things to do than argue about a fait accompli. Let Humber be given the credit due. You can argue any close call ad infinitum. It is what it is. Was Dale Mitchell's strike 3 call to end Don Larsen's perfect WS game the right call? Makes no difference.

BoSox Fan 1950
BoSox Fan 1950

This article is a monumental example of sour grapes. Unfounded sour grapes at that. What a crock of sh1t!!  Allan Barra, you definitely exhibit a penchant for having an axe to grind. But with whom?  And why?  Somebody urinate in your Wheaties?Get a life, Allan, and let the perfect game stand. No one else is complaining.

Glen Nash
Glen Nash

I think this story is ridiculous and hilarious.  I guess during the first 20 perfect games that were thrown in MLB all the check swings were reviewed and appealed to the first or third base umpires during the game and caught on camera and reviewable?  NOT!!!! The umpires didn't call any close pitches strikes that weren't swung at either during those other 20 perfect games?  NOT!!!! Obviously it was a close pitch or the batter wouldn't have been offering and checking his swing in the first place. Kudo's to Philip Humber on throwing a historical game at this point in his career.  Quit trying to take something away from a great performance!!!

CEB13
CEB13

I have a question, do you not think that with all the excitement of a perfect game going on that maybe television directors were concentrating on other things other than that call? After other perfect games did they cut to every camera angle of the last play? For you to come out and call it a conspiracy is a stretch and bang out of order trying to take something away from a player that has worked his ass off to get to this level?

Syd Gaffney
Syd Gaffney

Didn't see the game and didn't see the pitch that is question.  However, be that it may the ump called it the way he saw it.  Did he give him the benefit of the doubt?  Better ask the Ump.  I think all of this stinks.  Guy comes back from Tommy John surgery.  Isn't that enough?  many plays could be reviewed over and over again.  Now it takes 3 to 4 hours to play a 9 inning game.  Lets just let it go and leave the player and ump alone.  It goes in the record book as a perfect game.   Great pitching performace

Majorleagues162000
Majorleagues162000

He missed the call.  I've umpired for many years, and I know that you can get caught up in the moment just as easily as the players.  The anxiety of the pitch that's coming, along with the adreniline flow can cause you to lose focus.  Was it last year that an ump blew a call against a Detroit pitcher that would have resulted in a perfect game?  That pitcher was very humble and graciously accepted the result.  Let's applaud this effort and realize that it was something special.  Let's not tarrnish it.

BK19MT
BK19MT

I don't know Allen Barra's credentials, but shouldn't the point of comments be real comments, not the author perpetually defending his piece? He's right that Fox should have showed whatever replays it had. In this case Runge instantly signaled with his left hand that Ryan offered at the pitch, but couldn't raise his right hand because the ball got away from A.J. Runge, from a venerable umpiring family, called it quickly and called it the way he saw it.  This was a ball or a strike. It's first Runge's call and if he needs help he asks for it. I am a fan of more instant replay, particuarly on trapped balls and plays at the plate where an umpire is too often out of position as the play develops. But no official replay on balls and strikes, please.

Bert Tully
Bert Tully

Let me guess: you're still reeling because they interrupted your beloved Yankees-Red Sox game for a slice of history in the making, right?

Idiot.     http://i.imgur.com/Xk7EU.gif 

deejay
deejay

You all need to get a life! The guy pitched a perfect game. Now move on with your mundane lives..

Rlbrnnr
Rlbrnnr

If you could only listen to the game on the radio it would not matter. Why is everyone always trying to put an * on all records?

Kuryla
Kuryla

 How about the terrible called third strike to hand Don Larsen his bogus perfect game in '56

DonSoxMerk
DonSoxMerk

This guy is a party POOP...a rain on anyones Parade..A JERK ! Allen Barra..never heard of him. What a discrace when Ryan hisself would not dispell the call. Go away Barra and don't come back.

Fryeguy13
Fryeguy13

Here it the main thing, IF the Batter would have ran on the dropped 3rd strike rather then argue with the ump, he would have made it to first with out a doubt.  This would have ended the Perfect game.  Then we would only be talking about a no hitter.

Rocket_queen
Rocket_queen

I lost my fantasy head to head matchup due to this nonsense. Thank you for speaking out. Remember that bum Galaragas suspect no hitter last year....Not good MLB, not good. TAINT !!!

Michael
Michael

and the fact that the home plate ump doesn't honor the pitcher AND catcher's request to check with the first base ump to back up HIS decision just adds more questions to this... I feel bad for the pitcher, cuz he did pitch one helluva game, but you've gotta ask yourself - what's better... Having a TAINTED perfect game or not having a perfect game at all...??? !

Billburkesr
Billburkesr

If Humber pitched in the media beloved American League East  there would be no controversy.

Michael
Michael

I said that exact same thing while watching the game... i pointed out that that they weren't showing the angle theat they ALWAYS DO that shows whether or not a swing is checked or if the batter DID roll his wrists or if the bat DID break the plane making it a legimate swing... Granted, it was a hell of a game that was pitched, but to call it a "perfect" game is a stretch!!

Dittodaisy14
Dittodaisy14

I think it was the right call..however if Ryan had just taken off and ran as fast as he could to first he might have beaten the throw from the catcher....instead he stops on and off hopping down the line arguing....you can always argue after you have run past first base....

Blingnit
Blingnit

A few years ago I saw an interview with a MLB umpire who stated what most 1st and 3rd base umpires look for on a check swing is the barrel end of the bat. That is if they see the barrel end of the bat, it was not a check swing; rather a strike.  Based on this, clearly it was a check swing and not a perfect game. Sorry, Humber.

SophieMerry
SophieMerry

I say this as a Mariners' fan: I only hope this is the *worst* thing that happens to the Ms this season.

Jose S
Jose S

Go to youtube and do search for Philip Humber Perfect Game 4/21/12 Last Out LIVE HD Vs Mariners  and look at 2:53 and you will see it was a strike.

Jose S
Jose S

If you watch this video at 2:53 you will see it was a strike

John
John

The author is 100% correct here.

Upon seeing that play in real time, I knew Ryan and the umpire wanted him to get it.

If you saw the whole inning, he was similarly erratic to the 1st hitter.

That pitch was so far outside the strike zone that if the hitter were a lefty, it would have went BEHIND him.

You could tell it was obvious by the hitter not even bothering to run down to 1st base!

FINALLY someone who is willing to expose that it was rigged!

BUT I'm willing to accept it here as compensation for Galaragga's catastrophe, so now it is even!

Dorman6150
Dorman6150

 Allen Barra...who is this guy?  Get a grip buddy.  It's baseball and the guy pitched one hell of a game.  All you want to do is provide typical low quality "media hype".  I for one think the ump made the correct call.  The batter played right into the White Sox' hand by standing there like a jerk and trying to argue the call.  Get over it and move on...Humber moves to the Hall of Fame.

Kjc
Kjc

it was strike because the umpire called it a strike,  simple as that. when you read the box score, it was perfect.

Brettj666
Brettj666

I'd rather be in the dark on one pitch and have the perfect game intact rather than having the right call (if that's the case)

IT MATTERS
IT MATTERS

LOL credit to those of you who deign to comment on this issue without reviewing the play.I like Glen Nash's comment "Obviously it was a close pitch or the batter wouldn't have been offering and checking his swing in the first place"There is  guy who didn't see the pitch and if he checked his swing its a strike which is contrary to your argument. Looked like a ball to me.Dont really understand why people are unhappy that we would want to make the correct call.The majesty of the perfect game is in the difficulty.Those of you who advise that it doesn't matter after the fact are wrong.Watch Humber after he releases he ball..he knows he missed his spot.Sorry boys and girls but if you cant hold it together to throw a perfect game (and Mr Humber did not) then you shouldn't get the plaudits.Sorry kids but if Pedro Martinez doesn't get the perfect game then this guy definitely shouldn't.

Kirk Out

Dorman6150
Dorman6150

What are you ataking about?  The pitcher nor the catcher made made a request to have the decision reviewed.  Did you watch the game?

AllenBarra
AllenBarra

 I wouldn't hold my breath on that, but good luck.

AllenBarra
AllenBarra

 I must have checked a dozen of these replays, including the one I recorded.  None of the ones on TV and nothing I've seen on YouTube is clear enough to tell that Ryan broke the plant of the plate. 

In any event, that's not the issue.  The issue is that FoxSports shuold ahve gievn us th eoverhead view or at least the first base ump's view right there at the end of the game.

AllenBarra
AllenBarra

 You should get over it and move on.  You want to be part of the party, that's your business. Bu tif you're going to post here you should learn to read properly.  The point is not whether or not the umpire made the correct call. the point is whether or not the TV people gave us the evidence to evaluate Runge's call, and they didn't.

AllenBarra
AllenBarra

 The, by that standard, any call an umpire makes is correct whether or not it is correct or not.  May as well do away with instant replay.

In any event, that's not my point. the point is that the TV people did not present us with the proper evidence to evaluate the call.

AllenBarra
AllenBarra

 I'd rather have the right call -- and I'd rather have the evidence to see whether it was the right call.

Jose S
Jose S

If you would look at the video I told you to look at you would see that he did not check his swing.  You say that's not the issue but you are calling into question whether this was a perfect game or not. 

Sam
Sam

"The issue is that FoxSports shuold ahve gievn us th eoverhead view or at least the first base ump's view right there at the end of the game."You seem to be suffering from dyslexia. That may explain why you couldn't tell it was a strike. Also, if you expect Fox to attempt to give you the truth, why aren't you writing about BS propaganda  they promote as news. Why aren't you pleading with Fox to fire Hannity, O'Riley, Palin, and all the other BS artists they have on the pay role. Why waste your time on something irrelevant, when they are promoting policies that will result in a few multi-billionaires in the world,  having control of what happens in the US.

Rheal14
Rheal14

Allen, if you still haven't checked out the other available angles of the last strike, then you're clinging a little too tightly to your original column idea in spite of evidence to the contrary.  I also thought it was a non-strike until I saw it from the first base angle.  The batter definitely offered at that pitch.  The ump made a good call.  You're correct that the TV angle left much to be desired, but the bottom line is that the perfect game was indeed legit.

paulcatanese
paulcatanese

I think you have made you're point, several times over. Did not watch the game, but look at it this way, you saved hours of frustration to yourself by not having the TV people show what you were looking for.How many calls have been poorly done by umpires and then instant replay shows the mistake and then one sits there and knows that the game would have been different with the right call?Not really worth it cause no matter what it won't be changed, or if it was, it would be a complete rarity.

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