Armando Galarraga could have been made an immortal Wednesday night.
But instead he becomes just another pitcher who flirted with a perfect game.
While it was clear to anyone who understands the game of baseball that Galarraga beat the Indians' Jason Donald to the first best bag; the man in blue didn't see it that way.
Yes Jim Joyce clearly blew the call. You can look at the play from any angle you wish and you still wouldn't convince myself and several others that Donald was safe.
It is also easy for me and other baseball fans to see why Joyce was considered public enemy number one in the city of Detroit on Sunday night; he ruined history.
However, it is what happened in the aftermath of the situation in which I'm convinced that Joyce is a man of good moral character and integrity, and is no longer deserving of any hatred among baseball fans.
Please don't get the impression that I'm defending Joyce's call. He certainly blew it.
Instead, I wish to point out that what Joyce did in the aftermath of the situation was admirable.
Galarraga is probably never going to be in the upper class of pitching in Major League Baseball with the Halladays, Verlanders, and Lincecums.
In short, this was his way of being remembered forever.
Instead, he must suffer the consequences of being a guy that was close to perfect but couldn't get the cigar.
I can also understand the frustration of the Tigers and their fans who were cheated out of history because an umpire let the pressure of the situation get to him and blew the call.
But give Joyce credit for admitting his guilt and not standing behind his call like some other despicable officials such as Joe West, Jack Madden, and Ben Drieth have done.
Joyce knew he made a mistake and atoned for it by apologizing to Galarraga personally before Thursday's game.
The sight of a grown man with a sad complexion and tears in his eyes as he's walking to home plate says more about remorse and compassion than any image ever could.
Galarraga could have been bitter, but instead he chose to let bygones be bygones by accepting the apology with grace and true professionalism.
The bottom line here is that while we were cheated out of a historic moment, we were treated to an example of humility and human kindness that is not often seen in sports these days.
And hey, at least Galarraga got a car out of it.