With one errant "safe" call, Jim Joyce's name is now synonymous with umpiring gaffes.

According to Joe Grady, president of the Western Suffolk Baseball Umpires Association, Joyce's blunder just happened to come at the worst possible time.

"Most of the veteran umpires step up in that situation," Grady said. "The good umpires look forward to these moments, especially a guy like Jim Joyce."

Grady, who has been an umpire for three decades, admits to blowing his share of major calls. In a profession that relies on immediate reactions, imperfection is inevitable.

"I've had calls where I realize, after making the call, that I blew it," Grady said. "But you have to live with it."

Umpires on the high school level, however, do not have to contend with multiple-angle replays and the endless media cycle that Joyce does. "The guy worked his way through the minors, which is torture itself," said Alex Flyntz, president of the Nassau Approved Umpires Association. "Here's a guy, 20 years doing an excellent job, and for the rest of his life, he will be remembered for one call."

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Flyntz said the call looked debatable in real time and that Joyce had to contend with myriad simultaneous factors.

"Did the ball get into the glove?" Flyntz said. "Did the foot touch the base? He had to see all of that in a split-second."

Even Joyce admitted he didn't see it correctly. "He was in a perfect position," Grady said. "He just blew the call."