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Queens Chronicle

To err is human, even for umps

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Posted: Thursday, June 10, 2010 12:00 am

Yankees centerfielder Curtis Granderson played for the Detroit Tigers last year and was a teammate of Armando Galarraga, who pitched the “imperfect” perfect game against the Cleveland Indians last Wednesday. Galarraga’s bid for baseball immortality was thwarted when umpire Jim Joyce called the Indians’ Jason Donald safe on a close play at first with two outs in the ninth inning. Replays show Joyce blew the call, and he tearfully acknowledged his error when he saw the replay.

Granderson was the go-to guy for the media prior to last Thursday’s Yankees matinee with the dreadful Baltimore Orioles. While he said Galarraga was a terrific teammate, Curtis was quite sympathetic to Joyce and umpires in general. “Everyone makes a mistake,” he said. “On the whole though, the umpires get it right far more often than wrong.” He’s also against using instant replay to help umps because it would take up too much time: “The average game would last four hours if umpires had to check video after each close call.”

Not surprisingly, he was not a fan of baseball Commissioner Bud Selig trying to find a way to award Galarraga a perfect game ex-post facto. “That will open a Pandora’s box. Fans can then argue that other blown calls that affected outcomes should be reviewed.” Selig wisely declined to meddle although he expressed his sympathies to the Tigers pitcher.

The Mets bought a little time on the Oliver Perez situation last Friday when the pitcher admitted that his right knee, which was surgically repaired last year, was hurting. The team put him on the 15-day disabled list. While the timing may appear to be a bit too convenient given Ollie’s awful pitching, I never doubt an athlete who is complaining about pain.

Perez was taking a lot of heat from fans and the press for refusing to go to the minors. Conveniently ignored was the fact that there may be a good economic reason why Ollie exercised his contractual right to refuse a move to the Mets’ Buffalo Bisons farm team.

While I don’t know the specific terms of Perez’s contract, aside from the fact that he earns $12 million annually (blame General Manager Omar Minaya, not Perez, for that figure), teams often insert a clause that greatly reduces pay for a player demoted to the minors. And even if Perez weren’t to lose a dime in salary, he would lose Major League service time, affecting his pension.

It is always fun in the summer to visit the Mohegan Sun casino and resort in Uncasville, Conn. Aside from gaming, spas, restaurants and nightlife, Mohegan is home to the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, whose star player is Queens native Tina Charles. Charles was the WNBA’s Player of the Month for May.

The Yankees and HBO Sports were the big winners last Saturday as the weather stayed dry for the first night of boxing ever held at the new Yankee Stadium. The main match, the super welterweight championship, featured two popular fighters, Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto and Brooklyn’s Yuri Foreman, who outside the ring is pursuing rabbinical studies. Cotto, who won, was clearly the better fighter, but Foreman showed that he could land more powerful jabs than critics had thought.

Welcome to the discussion.