Maybe I haven't been paying attention. Or maybe I have but just missed it. But what James A. Joyce (the umpire, not the author/poet) did was inexcusable.
No, not the blown call. That happens. It's not a good thing, but it's excusable: he's human.
The call, according to the rules, should stand, according to the Rules of Baseball, Rule 9.02 (a):
Any umpire’s decision which involves judgment, such as, but not limited to, whether a batted ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a runner is safe or out, is final. No player, manager, coach or substitute shall object to any such judgment decisions.Rule 9.02 (c) says, in part:
No umpire shall criticize, seek to reverse or interfere with another umpire’s decision unless asked to do so by the umpire making it.
But there's another rule that could have come into play that could have fixed it. At the conclusion of Rule 9.05, there is a section called "General Instructions To Umpires" that says, in part:
Each umpire team should work out a simple set of signals, so the proper umpire can always right a manifestly wrong decision when convinced he has made an error. If sure you got the play correctly, do not be stampeded by players' appeals to "ask the other man." If not sure, ask one of your associates. Do not carry this to extremes, be alert and get your own plays. But remember! The first requisite is to get decisions correctly. If in doubt don’t hesitate to consult your associate. Umpire dignity is important but never as important as "being right."And that's where Joyce screwed up. He was willing, after the fact, to admit his mistake. And that's the right thing. But the really right thing would have been to have followed the General Instructions that allowed for signals between the crew to allow for getting a blown call right.
Unless they did that, and the others signaled that he got the call right. If so, the other umps are chicken-sh*t for not stepping up and taking the heat with Joyce. But I suspect that no signals were exchanged, and that Joyce simply compounded his error with another error.
It's a shame that Armando Galarraga won't be credited with a perfect game. He did everything he was supposed to do. The other players did everything they were supposed to do. The umpire blew the call. But he's human, and that's forgivable.
But this whole controversy could have been avoided if the umpires in the game had simply taken the General Instructions To Umpires seriously.