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First 28-out perfect game?

MLB says ump's blown call stands

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NEW YORK -- The imperfect game stands.

An umpire's tears and admission he blew a call failed to move baseball 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 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, 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.

Bad calls are part of the mix in sports, witness the many mistakes last October in baseball's post-season. But something about this one -- the chance to right a wrong, the heartfelt emotions of everyone involved -- reached way past the lines.

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. Wikipedia blocked editing to the umpire's page.

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

What Selig said was: "There is no dispute that last night's game should have ended differently."

"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."

"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, 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.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 4, 2010 C6

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