Major League Baseball won't overturn an umpire's bad call that stole a perfect game from Detroit Tigers' pitcher Armando Galarraga.
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement today that "the human element has always been an integral part of baseball, it is vital that mistakes on the field be addressed."
But the commissioner has decided not to invoke his authority to overturn umpire Jim Joyce's errant "safe" call, although he acknowledged a statement that "there is no dispute that last night's game should have ended differently."
If Joyce hadn't botched the call, the play would have ended the game in triumph for Galarraga's bid to throw a rare perfect game.
But Selig's statement did say that MLB will review how baseball is officiated and "the expanded use of instant replay," a move he has long opposed.
Joyce and Galarraga put on a display of perfect sportsmanship today at the beginning of another Tiger-Indians game in Detroit.
Joyce walked onto the field at Comerica Park with his colleagues, his face red with emotion and fighting back tears as he faced fans for the first time.
Joyce was assigned to call balls and strikes behind the plate today, and the home plate umpire routinely accepts the line-up cards from the managers of both teams at the start of the game.
Instead of the manager, the Tigers sent Galarraga to the plate with the line-up card. That moment of reconciliation was planned by Detroit manager Jim Leyland. The umpire wiped tears from his eyes.
But Detroit fans weren't moved by the moment. They booed him, still angry over Wednesday night's botched call that denied Galarraga a perfect game, which would have been only the 21st perfect game in baseball history.
Joyce clapped Galarraga on the back before he walked back to the Tigers' dugout. The umpire then tucked the lineup card into his breast pocket, took a breath, and prepared to call balls and strikes.
Before the meeting, Leyland expressed admiration and sympathy for the official.
"This is one of the best umpires in the game. I think how Jim Joyce handled it was also a big key," he said noting that Joyce had admitted he made a bad call instead of being defiant or arrogant. "The guy was in shambles, you know, years. My heart aches for the guy."
Galarraga, who accepted Joyce's apology on Wednesday, said he wasn't sore about the call.
"You just move on, it's already happened," he said. "In my mind and heart and everybody I know, all you guys see I threw a perfect game."
Galarraga admitted he'd love it if the history books are changed to reflect reality, though it now seems his that the official call will not be reversed.
Joyce admitted to making the wrong call immediately after Wednesday night's game against the Cleveland Indians after watching a video replay. He even went to the Tigers locker room after watching a replay and tearfully asked to apologize to Galarraga.
The pitcher accepted Joyce's apology and his hug.
"You don't see an umpire after the game come out and say, 'Hey, let me tell you I'm sorry,"' Galarraga said Wednesday. "He felt really bad. He didn't even shower."