In the wake of umpire Jim Joyce’s missed call in the Tigers-Indians game that cost Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game, arguments for increasing the use of instant replay in baseball have resurfaced with renewed intensity.

Joyce called Indians infielder Jason Donald safe at first in what would have been the final out; replays later showed that Donald was clearly out at first, but baseball commissioner Bud Selig refused to reverse the call.

As heartbreaking as it must be for Galarraga who misses his opportunity to go down in baseball history, I have to say that I agree with Selig’s decision. It was a human error, something both Galarraga and Joyce acknowledged, and if Selig makes the exception this time, who is to say there won’t be the same expectation every  time there is a controversial call in a crucial game or situation?

The issue of instant replay in baseball is a little more complicated. I have always enjoyed the “human element” of baseball and maintaining the sport’s more traditional characteristics. The lack of digitalization, varying field dimensions, the Green Monster at Fenway—all of these things detract from the game’s precision and an even playing field, but all of these things also add to the character of the game as well.

At the same time, however, I wonder if this “old-school” perspective is a close-minded view towards potentially beneficial advancements that could improve the game, in an unnecessary attempt to cling to the past.

You want to be fair to players and have results that reflect reality, but there is always going to be some limitation to the amount of precision and accuracy you can impose on an imprecise game, and the consequences of human error every once in a while may be a worthwhile price to pay in exchange for the benefits of the character and intricacies it elicits.

In fact, perhaps even more astonishing than the missed call was the reaction afterwards. Joyce was clearly upset about the missed call and apologized to Galarraga afterwards, a rare occurrence in baseball.

Even more impressively, rather than deriding Joyce, Galarraga commented, “We’re human, we make mistakes.”

Selig later commented, “The dignity and class of the entire Detroit Tigers organization under such circumstances were truly admirable and embodied good sportsmanship of the highest order.”

In a sport full of opportunity for retribution, which players tend to capitalize upon more often than not, the situation is actually very encouraging; Joyce’s call was, in a sense, a perfectly human error.

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