Michigan senator wants Detroit Tigers pitcher awarded perfect game

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) said Thursday that she wants Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga awarded a perfect game for his effort Wednesday night.

Galarraga had a perfect game with one out left in the ninth inning. But umpire Jim Joyce wrongly deemed a Cleveland Indians baserunner safe at first even though he should have been called as the final out, according to video replay.

“Last night’s performance deserves its place in the record books,” Stabenow said in a statement. “It is clear that Commissioner [Bud] Selig should make an exception in this case and invoke the ‘best interests of the game clause’ to grant a perfect game to Armando Galarraga and the Detroit Tigers organization.”

Separately, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) said he would introduce a resolution next week calling on Major League Baseball to overturn Joyce’s call. He noted that baseball’s executives had overturned a decision in the “pine tar” game in 1983, setting a precedent for reversing a decision.

In that game, New York Yankees manager Billy Martin protested that a home run by Kansas City Royals baseman George Brett should be disallowed because of the amount of pine tar on his bat. Umpires agreed, calling Brett out and handing the Yankees a victory. That prompted an enraged Brett to storm out of the dugout and race toward the officiating crew.

The call was later reversed by American League officials, and the game was restarted where it had left off. The Royals ended up winning.

Dingell praised Galarraga and Joyce for their handling of the incident on Wednesday night.

“Umpire Joyce made a colossal blunder, but if we can reverse it,
he will have played a huge role in righting the wrong,” Dingell said in a statement. “If Mr. Joyce
had not quickly and honestly admitted his error, the groundswell to
make this right might not be so strong.”

The actions by Stabenow and Dingell came amid reports that Major League Baseball officials are meeting Thursday to review the call. Selig later announced that he would not overturn the call, but would explore expanding the use of video replay for umpires.

The perfect game would have been the 21st in baseball history. It also would have been the second perfect game thrown this week and the third in the past month, both unprecedented in the history of the game.

But some say that changing the result would wrongly interfere with the record books, and that umpire error is part of the game.

Baseball has limited instant replay that can only be used to judge home runs. Other sports use video replay to more broadly review calls.

Earlier in the day, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) said she would issue a proclamation declaring Galarraga’s effort a perfect game.

This story was published at 12:15 p.m. and updated at 4:58 p.m. and again at 6:43 p.m.

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