Practically perfect

Baseball is such a great game. It's American. It's subtle. It's practically perfect.

Underline "practically" after last night's game in which a young kid recently called up from the minors threw a perfect game up until two outs in the 9th inning. He had faced the minimum of batters up to that point -- 26. One out left when Jason Donald hit a grounder and was thrown out at first.

Umpire Jim Joyce watches as Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga covers first base on Jason Donald’s ninth-inning ground ball in Detroit’s 3-0 win over the Indians at Comerica Park on Wednesday. Joyce, who later admitted he blew the call, ruled Donald was safe — costing Galarraga a perfect game. (Paul Sancya/The Associated Press)

Except umpire Jim Joyce missed the call. He called the runner safe. Later, after viewing the replay, Joyce admitted he blew it.

"It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the (expletive) out of it," he said. "I just cost that kid a perfect game."

It's just a game, of course. But a perfect game is a rare thing. And it is doubtful this day will come again for this young pitcher.

Catfish Hunter once pitched a perfect game and he was asked why he wasn't able to pitch another to which he famously said: "The sun don't shine on the same dog's ass all the time."

Even in imperfection, the game demonstrates its timeless allure. First, there's something redeeming about an umpire who understands the magnitude of the situation ... and kicks himself for costing "that kid a perfect game."

Secondly, while the game won't be in the record books, it will always be remembered.

Like I said, practically perfect.

(Postscript -- If you'd like to see all the perfect games, try this site.)