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Bud Selig will not reverse umpire Jim Joyce's botched call

Umpire Jim Joyce, left, accepts a handshake and lineup card from Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga.
Umpire Jim Joyce, left, accepts a handshake and lineup card from Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga. (Paul Sancya/associated Press)

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By Associated Press
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 4, 2010

NEW YORK -- The imperfect game stands.

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

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 that cost Galarraga the perfect game -- 27 batters up, 27 batters down. No hits, no walks, no errors.

A baseball official familiar with the decision confirmed 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 have 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 Tigers' 3-0 win, then took the field at Comerica Park on Thursday in tears.

Tigers Manager Jim Leyland picked Galarraga to present Detroit's lineup at home plate before Thursday's game to set up the 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," Joyce said.

Galarraga, who was barely known outside Detroit before this week, and Joyce, whose career had flourished in relative obscurity, became hot topics on Twitter. At least one anti-Joyce Facebook page popped up and firejimjoyce.com was launched.

Joyce, a longtime umpire with a solid reputation, declined comment on MLB's statement after Thursday's game, saying he hadn't read it.

"There's no doubt he feels bad and terrible," Galarraga said after Detroit beat Cleveland, 12-6, on 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."

Denied the 21st perfect game in history, the record third this season and the first for a Detroit pitcher, Galarraga still got a prize. The Tigers and Chevrolet presented him with a new Corvette.

Opinions poured in from all over.

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."


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