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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 3, 2010

A practice that would make it perfect

By Ferd Lewis

As commissioner of baseball, Bud Selig gave us the infamous All-Star Game tie in 2002.

And, he took away the 1994 World Series.

So, here's a hand-delivered opportunity to make good: Give Detroit's Armando Galarraga and baseball back last night's perfect game.

Replace the imperfect call with the perfect ending.

If, in some convoluted way of thinking, the commish can in the much-quoted "best interests of baseball" make executive decisions that so compromise the game, then why not one that puts back some of the integrity?

What umpire Jim Joyce took away, surely the commish can restore.

If you've seen the replays and it was next to impossible to miss them if you turned on the TV or internet you know as well as Joyce does that he "kicked" the call that cost Galarraga a perfect game in the Tigers' 3-0 victory over Cleveland.

He mistakenly ruled Jason Donald safe at first base on what should have been the final out of the game. One that cried out for instant replay. Unfortunately, baseball's limited replay policy allows only for questions about a home run. Which is something else Selig might want to look into.

So while everybody in Comerica Park and watching on TV knew better, Galarraga was denied the perfect game and a moment in baseball history.

I mean it isn't like perfect games come along every week. Well, except the last couple weeks, it seems.

While last night's decision cost Galarraga a milestone moment he is unlikely to ever get back, it became one that Joyce will painfully never be able to shake.

One of baseball's better umpires, except for a much regrettable instant last night, Joyce soon took heartfelt responsibility seeking out Galarraga to tender an apology. "It was the biggest call of my career and I kicked the (stuff) out of it," Joyce said. "I just cost that kid a perfect game."

Joyce said, "I would have been the first person in my face and he (Galarraga) never said a word to me."

But, then, Galarraga didn't need to say anything.

That should be Selig's job today. He should stand before the cameras and all of baseball and say, "I'm declaring it a perfect game."

Last month Selig appointed what he termed a commission to "think outside the box." One that would step away from some of baseball's most tightly held ideas and consider real changes.

Well, here is the commish's opportunity to lead by example, not just invoking the phrase "in the best interests of the game" but putting it to practice.