NEW YORK — Commissioner Bud Selig won’t reverse an umpire’s admitted blown call that cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game.
Selig said Thursday that Major League Baseball will look at expanded replay and umpiring, but didn’t specifically address umpire Jim Joyce’s botched call Wednesday night.
A baseball official familiar with the decision confirmed to The Associated Press that the call was not being reversed. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because that element was not included in Selig’s statement.
Joyce said he erred on what would’ve been the final out in Detroit, where the Tigers beat Cleveland 3-0. The umpire personally apologized to Galarraga and hugged him after the game, then took the field at Comerica Park on Thursday in tears.
Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski had said the team wouldn’t ask MLB to overturn the call. The mistake denied Galarraga the 21st perfect game in history, and the first for the Tigers.
Joyce ruled Cleveland’s Jason Donald safe at first base, but later said he got it wrong. Even in the sports world, where bad calls are part of the mix, this one reached way beyond the lines: the perfect game that wasn’t.
Galarraga, who was barely known outside of Detroit before this week, and Joyce, whose career had flourished in relative anonymity, remained trending topics on Twitter more than 12 hours after the game ended. At least one anti-Joyce Facebook page popped up and firejimjoyce.com was launched.
From Derek Jeter to casual fans, opinions poured in.
“I was thinking if the umpire says he made a mistake on replay, I’d call it a no-hitter, perfect game. Just scratch it,” St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “If I was Mr. Selig, in the best interest of the game. The guy got it and I’d give him his perfect game. But here again, I should just shut my mouth.”
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig’s statement Thursday on the call that cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game:
First, on behalf of Major League Baseball, I congratulate Armando Galarraga on a remarkable pitching performance. All of us who love the game appreciate the historic nature of his effort last night.
The dignity and class of the entire Detroit Tigers organization under such circumstances were truly admirable and embodied good sportsmanship of the highest order. Armando and Detroit manager Jim Leyland are to be commended for their handling of a very difficult situation. I also applaud the courage of umpire Jim Joyce to address this unfortunate situation honestly and directly. Jim’s candor illustrates why he has earned the respect of on-field personnel throughout his accomplished career in the Major Leagues since 1989.
As Jim Joyce said in his postgame comments, there is no dispute that last night’s game should have ended differently. While the human element has always been an integral part of baseball, it is vital that mistakes on the field be addressed. 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. Before I announce any decisions, I will consult with all appropriate parties, including our two unions and the Special Committee for On-Field Matters, which consists of field managers, general managers, club owners and presidents.
Ben Walker/The Associated Press