PHOENIX – Umpires seldom get much praise, but Jim Joyce changed that Monday.
Joyce’s first call saved a life.
Joyce has been credited with keeping Chase Field employee Jayne Powers alive after she suffered an apparent heart attack about 90 minutes before the Diamondbacks played Miami on Monday.
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Powers collapsed in a hallway near the umpires’ dressing room, and Joyce, the first person on the scene, applied CPR to keep her alive until paramedics arrived with a defibrillator several minutes later. Joyce and others continued to use CPR while Powers remained unresponsive before being taken to Phoenix Good Samaritan Hospital.
Powers was said to be resting comfortably Tuesday after receiving a pacemaker this morning, D-backs vice president of facilities and event services Russ Amaral said.
“The docs at Good Sam said if somebody was really not that close, in combination with the (defibrillator), they were not sure if the story might not have been different last night when she got there,” Amaral said.
Powers found her Good Samaritan in Joyce, a 26-year major league veteran considered one of the best umpires in the game. He’s also known for being the umpire who missed a call at first base on what would have been the final out of the game, depriving Detroit right-hander Armando Galarraga of a perfect game on June 2, 2010.
“I don’t know if she is out of the woods totally, but I think a lot of people are surprised she is doing as well,” Amaral said. “If all goes well she will be released this week. A pretty amazing ending to what could have been a lot worse story.”
Joyce was not available for comment at the ballpark before Tuesday’s game, but he told CBSSportsline.com earlier in the day that he learned CPR as a teenager.
“I’ve had to use CPR before,” Joyce said, though not in many years. “This is something everybody should know. Everybody should know what to do in a circumstance like that.
“It’s not a hard thing. You don’t need a degree. It’s very simple, and very easy.”
Joyce was emotional after being relieved by the paramedics, and asked to be kept informed of Powers’ status.
“Him being the first one on scene, he just jumped into action mode, which is hopefully what we all would do,” Amaral said. “Once he was relieved of duty by the paramedics, he kind of stood back and it sunk in on him. He got a little misty.”
Joyce was assigned to work behind the plate in Monday’s game, and his colleagues on the umpiring crew asked if he wanted to move to a less-demanding position.
“It was very emotional, I’ll be honest with you,” Joyce told CBSSportsline. “But I didn’t want to go to third base because just standing there, literally, (the incident) is all I would have thought about all night. I wouldn’t have been able to think about anything else.
“Going behind the plate, I would have something to do every minute. I could just do my job. But I’ll be honest with you, there were still times during the game that I was thinking about it.”
D-backs special assistant Roland Hemond passed along the good news that she was doing well about the sixth inning, getting Joyce’s attention from behind the screen on the first-base side of home plate.
“I yelled ‘Jim, Jim.’ Four times. He was really pleased to hear she was doing well. That’s quite a story,” Hemond said.
“That’s phenomenal,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “He went out and umpired a game, and we were yelling at him.”
Joyce called the hospital in an attempt to check on Powers on Tuesday. Powers has worked at Chase Field since the franchise’s inception in 1998.
“She’s been with us from Day 1. We all know her and care about her a lot, as do many of our workers and guests,” Amaral said. Follow Jack Magruder on Twitter