The Umpire Strikes Back

Jim Joyce, what were you thinking, brah?

Last night, veteran MLB umpire Jim Joyce blew the call on a routine ground ball out, declaring that the runner was safe at first base. The emphatic call, which came with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, cost pitcher Armando Galarraga a rare perfect game. In honor of Joyce’s boneheaded blunder, let’s look back at some of history’s most notorious blown calls.

  1. Bush vs. Gore, 2000 – Ah yes! Who could forget those few shining moments when we liberals experienced the joy of victory as voting closed on the 2000 Presidential election. But wait, what’s this? Florida’s calling it for Bush? Gore’s victory speech was a false alarm?? Oopsies! Alas, even several instant replays couldn’t save this blown call. But it’s okay, right? After all, under G.W. we experienced a flourishing economy, kept ourselves safe from terrorists, and had a leader of whom we could be proud. Oh, wait…
  2. War of the Worlds, 1938 – Where were you in October 1938? If you’re like me, you were huddled around the family radio in your evening slippers while the kids enjoyed the refreshingly smooth taste of unfiltered cigarettes. All was fine until the broadcaster announced that the FUCKING ALIENS WERE ATTACKING! HOLY CRAP!!! In a snap judgment, you gathered your kids, called your wife away from the stove, and took to the streets in fear! Too bad you weren’t paying close enough attention, and missed the part where it was explained that this was all just a radio play of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. Oopsies! Gather your dignity and head back inside, middle American families.
  3. Who Shot First?, 1977/1997 – Alright Star Wars fans, this one’s for you! In the original Star Wars: A New Hope, Han Solo and Greedo are sitting across from each other at a table in the Mos Eisley Cantina discussing a bounty that Jabba the Hut had placed on Han’s head. During the conversation, Han reaches under the table and fires a blaster shot at Greedo, killing him. Pretty clear, right? Apparently not clear enough for director George Lucas, who altered his own story twenty years later. In the 1997 re-release, Greedo fires an initial blaster shot that misses Han, making Han’s subsequent shot at Greedo appear to be an act of retaliation. Oopsies! This change ultimately compromises Han’s moral ambiguity at the beginning of the trilogy, thus weakening the potency of his transformation into a hero at the end of Return of the Jedi. Bad call, Lucas. Bad, bad, bad.
  4. Meg Kennedy’s Haircut, 2010 – The picture speaks for itself…

What are some of your most memorable missed calls?

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