[Chavez, the People’s Baseball Commissioner, seen here with Broadway star Carol Channing.]

It wasn’t so long ago that Hugo Chavez stood in the United Nations calling President Bush “the devil” and noting the sulphury stink W left in the UN’s General Assembly room.  This summer, Chavez is content to watch Venezuelan oil futures skyrocket as BP ends the USA’s off-shore oil industry for good “ or at least until the November mid-terms.   He has also expanded his Presidential powers to make himself the final authority on Major League Baseball.®  His first official act as the People’s Baseball Commissioner is to overturn umpire Jim Joyce’s ruling in the Perfect Game America Will Not Recognize.  As the AP wire (via a link sent by Rob Wamowski) reports:

Chavez called for a round of applause for the Venezuelan pitcher during his weekly TV and radio program, saying “everyone knows he pitched a perfect game.”

“From here we salute Armando,” Chavez said.

The Detroit Tigers pitcher has won wide praise for his grace following the botched call Wednesday with two outs in the ninth inning against Cleveland.

Chavez added that first-base umpire Jim Joyce was “noble” for having apologized to the pitcher in tears.

“The umpire was wrong … but, well, the umpire is the umpire,” the president said.

Galarraga, in Venezuela’s professional league, plays for the Leones de Caracas, the bitter rival of Chavez’s favorite team, the Navegantes del Magallanes. Chavez joked that Galarraga should switch teams and concluded: “No one is perfect.”

Chavez is a die-hard baseball fan who grew up dreaming of pitching in the major leagues. He recalled that years ago he was pitching to his mentor, Fidel Castro of Cuba. The umpire awarded Castro a walk when Chavez was sure he struck him out.

Chavez also recalled striking out Dominican slugger Sammy Sosa once in a 1999 exhibition game in Caracas. Sosa, it should be noted, also hit multiple home runs.