When baseball introduced limited instant replay in 2008, Bud Selig rejected the notion that a system that enabled umpires to review some plays but not others inevitably would be expanded.
"Not as long as I'm the commissioner," Selig said then.
So much for that. Amid a wave of national outrage over the blown call that cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game Wednesday, Selig said Thursday he would consider broadening the use of instant replay.
"There is no dispute that last night's game should have ended differently," Selig said in a statement.
Selig agonized so greatly over the blown call that he even considered overturning it and awarding Galarraga a perfect game, according to a high-ranking baseball official who spoke with him.
Selig, wary of sanctioning a 28-out perfect game as well as setting a precedent for aggrieved teams, opted against it. The official cited Tuesday's game in Houston, in which the Washington Nationals appeared to have won until umpires ruled — incorrectly, according to replays — that the Astros' Lance Berkman had not swung at what would have been strike three, and the final out. On the next pitch, Berkman hit a walk-off single.
In his statement, Selig commended umpire Jim Joyce for his "courage" in owning up to his mistake and saluted the Tigers for their "dignity and class." Joyce apologized personally to Galarraga, who responded with a hug.
"He told me he was sorry like 20 times," Galarraga told reporters.
Against Cleveland on Thursday, Tigers Manager Jim Leyland had Galarraga deliver the team's lineup card to home plate so he could shake hands with Joyce. Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who heckled Joyce after the blown call, gave him a pat on the chest protector on his way to his position Thursday.
Galarraga, whose immediate reaction to the botched call was a disbelieving smile, said Thursday he would not be haunted by his absence from the record books.
"It's more special," he said, "because I threw a perfect game with 28 outs."
St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa suggested that Galarraga get credit for a perfect game, an idea Angels Manager Mike Scioscia hesitated to endorse.
"I think everyone in Major League Baseball has to be accountable, and everything is reviewed, whether it involves a manager, an umpire, a coach or a player," Scioscia said, "but I don't know how you overturn that one."
Angels pitcher Scot Shields said he was unsure whether Joyce's call should lead to the additional use of replay.
"I think the human element in the game is good," Scioscia said. "Umpires are right 99% of the time. It just so happened that was one call that was magnified."
But Selig said in his statement that he would "examine … the expanded use of instant replay." Leyland, La Russa, Scioscia and Dodgers Manager Joe Torre serve on Selig's blue-ribbon committee for on-field matters, which is expected to discuss when and how to broaden the replay system.
The current system restricts replays to disputed home run calls. Scioscia, who adamantly opposed an expanded system during last fall's cavalcade of umpire errors, indicated Thursday he might support replay rules that would have allowed Joyce to review his call.
"I think there is probably room for expanded replay that will benefit the game," Scioscia said. "Full-blown replay for all calls is not the protocol we should use."
Times staff writer Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report from Kansas City, Mo.