Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Will Bud Selig Do the Right Thing?

Will Bud Selig do the right thing? I think the answer to that question is another question: Why would he start now?

Bud Selig's refusal to allow any sort of video replay into the game he claims to love has once again been revealed to the entire planet as the supremely idiotic position it has always been. Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga tonight pitched a perfect game against the Cleveland Indians, except that first base umpire Jim Joyce erroneously called Jason Donald safe at first. Making it all the more nauseating is that it wasn't even close. Donald was clearly out, but once Joyce ruled, that was it, and Galarraga's perfect game - only the 21st in major league history - will, at least as of this writing, not be officially recorded as such.

What is the right thing to do? I think the answer is obvious. Just as baseball commissioner Ford Frick ruled in 1961 that Roger Maris's homerun record of 61 in a season be recorded as having been accomplished in 162 games (to distinguish it from Babe Ruth's previous record of 60 in just 154), Selig should decree that the history books record that Galarraga pitched a perfect game tonight. Furthermore, he should shut the hell up about Ernie Banks and Dizzy Dean, stop hazily dreaming about the past, and take baseball into the 21st century - which means utilizing video replay. It's simple - each team could have one challenge opportunity a game, or even a certain number per season. The NHL uses video replay. Rugby league uses video replay. Football uses video replay. Rugby union uses video replay. Why? To preserve the integrity of their game. That's what's so stupid about Selig's position on this: despite all his prattling about wanting to maintain "the integrity of the game" by keeping video replay out, it is precisely that integrity which is damaged when the outcomes of games are determined not by the players, but by refereeing errors. Duh.

But...why would Selig start caring about (as opposed to just talking about) "the integrity of the game" now? After all, he's the guy who turned a blind eye to steroid use for years, and in doing so, facilitated the most integrity-damaging saga in baseball since the Black Sox scandal of 1919. No - if Selig does the right thing in this case, it will be, first of all, a miracle; but second of all, prompted only by a vain concern about looking like an idiot, rather than an innate sense of decency or justice.

So hopefully, there will be enough of an outcry over this episode that Galarraga's marvelous performance tonight will be enshrined in the record books as the perfect game it was, rather than the one-hitter it was not. But...I'm not counting on it.

Time for a new commissioner - and video replay.


Erika said...

This situation makes me sick to my stomach. Basketball always uses instant replay on last second shots. This enhances the game and minimizes subjective human error for certain situations. Clearly, it should have been used here.

The league must recognize the event, not only to credit an amazing achievement but to also clear any resentment directed at Joyce. You could tell the pain that the ump felt in the post-game interview.

You also can't ignore the class and maturity shown by Galarraga in his post game. Though understandably upset, he didn't cop a Danica Patrick attitude. He's taking it in stride and is an example of true sportsmanship.

Erika said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Phil said...

It will happen. Instant replay is coming, it's a question of when - in line with the questions you've asked about Selig.

I want to know what Jim Joyce was looking at, and what he was thinking. Of course he knew what was on the line, he had to have known the instant the ball was put into play that there would be a play at first, and he would need to make a call-- and it would be important to be Johnny-on-the-spot with it. And then the throw gets there, it wasn't even bang-bang. He was out by a step-- i.e. not close, as you observed. And, with a perfect game on the line, Joyce signals safe. I just really want to know where he was at that exact moment.

Jewelz said...

I just read that Don Denkinger even favors instant replay. I remember watching the '85 World Series with my Dad when Denkinger made that infamous bad call in game six.

I also saw that Armando Galarraga was given a Corvette before the game today. That should ease the disappointment a bit.

It's impressive how he and Jim Joyce have chosen to handle this. Very classy. The only real loser here is Bud "Stubborn" Selig.

Phil said...

Yeah, '85 game 6... that call robbed the Cardinals of a World Series.

B. Lumberg said...

Bud Selig screwed that up. Give the guy the perfect game.