​Armando Galarraga is right: MLB should officially recognize his 2010 ‘perfect’ game

This isn’t hard. There is no can of worms and there is no slippery slope. Sometimes a solution is obvious, and this is one of those times: It’s time for MLB to rectify a decade-old error and give Armando Galarraga proper recognition for his perfect game in 2010.

Of course, the official record shows that Galarraga did not pitch a perfect game that June 2 against the Indians. He retired 26 consecutive batters, then allowed a “hit“ to the Indians’ Jason Donald when umpire Jim Joyce blew a fairly obvious call at first base and ruled Donald safe. Replays clearly showed that he was out, but there was no replay review at that time. So the call stood and Galarraga retired the next batter to settle for a one-hit shutout.

You know the rest of the story: Joyce emotionally admitted he blew the call, Galarraga handled the whole thing with class and, despite pleas for then-commissioner Bud Selig to overturn the call, baseball ultimately decided to let it go because “the human element” has always been integral to baseball.

But now Galarraga wants that changed, and Joyce concurs. So let’s do it.

With a decade of hindsight, and with replay review now a common thing in baseball, it would be proper for MLB to correct the mistake and officially award Galarraga his perfect game. Had the game been played at any point since 2014, when MLB instituted expanded replay review, this wouldn’t even be up for debate. The call would’ve been corrected on the field at the time and Galarraga would’ve celebrated with his teammates. There’s little reason for this correction to be an issue even now.

The usual argument is that it sets a bad precedent, opening baseball history to all sorts of revisions and changes to reverse other bad calls. But this just isn’t the case, especially given the circumstances of the play. We know with absolute certainty that the outcome of the game would not have changed. The blown call happened on what would’ve been the final play. There are no unknowns after that, no what-ifs and no what-abouts. A correct call means the game is over and Galarraga owns the 24th perfect game in baseball history. End of story.

This is not Game 6 of the 1985 World Series, when umpire Don Denkinger’s ninth-inning blown call at first base led to a Royals rally and, perhaps, cost the Cardinals a championship. In that case, the blown call occurred with the first batter of the inning. There’s no way of knowing how the rest of the inning would’ve unfolded had the correct call been made. Maybe the Cardinals, who led the series 3-2 at the time, hang on to win the game 1-0. Maybe the Royals find a different way to rally. We’ll never know.

We know with Galarraga.

FAGAN: MLB owners, players can’t afford to screw this up

Some will say that one reason they like sports is because they’re not perfect and sometimes unfair, that heartbreak can be a weird kind of beautiful in the human experience. Another counterpoint to my argument is that Galarraga’s imperfect game was its own kind of special. If not for the blown call, the theory goes, most people would have forgotten about it. In other words, the blown call gave Galarraga essentially the same notoriety as a pitcher who actually was credited with a perfect game, perhaps even more.

But think of it this way: Making it to the highest level of a sport is hard enough. Succeeding there is another level of hard. Historic achievements on that stage are rare. That’s why there have only been 23 perfect games in MLB history. None of them belong to Armando Galarraga. But he definitely pitched one, just not in the official eyes of baseball.

It’s time for MLB to fix this mistake. Galarraga earned a legitimate place in history. Baseball should let him have it.

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