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Emotions flow but call stands

The Tigers’ Armando Galarraga beats Jason Donald to first but his perfect game is not to be when umpire Jim Joyce calls the Indian safe.

MLB.com

The Tigers’ Armando Galarraga beats Jason Donald to first but his perfect game is not to be when umpire Jim Joyce calls the Indian safe.

NEW YORK — The imperfect game stands.

An umpire's tears and admission he blew a call failed to move commissioner Bud Selig to award the Tigers' Armando Galarraga the perfect game he pitched. The play and its aftermath quickly became the talk of the sports world and beyond.

Selig said Thursday that MLB will look at expanded replay and umpiring after umpire Jim Joyce's botched call Wednesday that cost Galarraga the perfect game — 27 batters up, 27 down. No hits, no walks, no errors.

The Associated Press reported that the call will not be reversed, but the Los Angeles Times reported that Selig agonized so greatly for a while that he considered overturning it.

"There is no dispute that last night's game should have ended differently," Selig said in a statement.

Later, he added, "Given last night's call and other recent events, I will examine our umpiring system, the expanded use of instant replay and all other related features."

Joyce admitted he erred on what would've been the final out in Detroit, when he called Cleveland's Jason Donald safe at first base. The umpire personally apologized to Galarraga and hugged him after the 3-0 win, then took the field in tears Thursday to umpire behind the plate.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland picked Galarraga to present Detroit's lineup at home plate before Thursday's game to set up an emotional meeting with Joyce. They shook hands, and the umpire gave the pitcher a pat on the shoulder.

"I didn't want this to be my 15 minutes of fame. I would have liked my 15 minutes to be a great call in the World Series. Hopefully, my 15 minutes are over now," said Joyce, who was given the option to take the day off.

"No, not in my lowest moment," Joyce said, when asked if he considered not showing up. "If I had done that, I couldn't have faced myself."

"There's no doubt he feels bad and terrible," Galarraga said Thursday. "I have a lot of respect for the man. It takes a lot to say you're sorry and to say in interviews he made a mistake."

"I'm sad, but I know that I pitched a perfect game. The first 28-out perfect game," he said.

Denied the 21st perfect game in history and a record third this year, Galarraga still got a prize. The Tigers and Chevrolet gave him with a Corvette.

Opinions poured in from all over.

"If I was Mr. Selig, in the best interest of the game, the guy got it, and I'd give him his perfect game," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.

To others, rewriting history would mean trouble. Tweeted actor Alyssa Milano: "Personally, I agree with Selig on this one. Part of the game (as it is played now) is human error."

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, "I hope that baseball awards a perfect game to that pitcher." Told that MLB was not going to reverse it, he joked, "We're going to work on an executive order."

The umpire who made perhaps the most infamous call of all thought Selig got it right.

Don Denkinger's missed call in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series — also involving a pitcher covering first — helped cost the Cards a chance to clinch it, then the Royals won Game 7.

"No, you can't change it," Denkinger said. "It was Jim's call, and it's got to go down that way. You can't run from it, it's a part of life."

Emotions flow but call stands 06/03/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 4, 2010 12:05am]

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