By Jeremy Clements
But of course, Mr. Selig would decide to do nothing. Erring on the side of caution fearing that if he did step in he would open a virtual pandora’s box of scenarios and setting a dangerous precedent for the future. Worrying that if he changed this one call he would become a court of appeals for teams in the case of a blown call by an umpire. Believing that reversing this call would cause his umpires to lose credibility. All of which are realistic concerns.
“…it is vital that mistakes on the field be addressed. Given last night’s call and other recent events, I will examine our umpiring system, the expanded use of instant replay and all other related features…” – Commissioner Bud Selig
However this is a very unique situation. One in which I believe reversing the call would not have hurt a bit. Let’s address a few of his concerns directly.
Credibility of the Umpires
First the credibility of his umpires. This one call being reversed wouldn’t have done anything to further damage the credibility of the officials. Everyone who’s seen the replay knows the call was wrong, even Joyce himself admitted the mistake. So he has already taken the blame for his mistake and moved on, without a lot of damage to his credibility. As a whole this year, the men in blue have already hurt their credibility and fans across baseball have said time and time again that the quality of umpiring has been steadily declining. Several umpires, including well known and respected Jerry West, have made it a point to be part of the “show” this year. If any damage to the credibility of umpires is to be done this year, it will be a result of the umpires, not Selig reversing a call
This is probably one of the most realistic concerns and one of the few that makes sense. It is true that if Selig stepped in here, he could very well make the statement that the commissioner has the final say and can overturn a bad call made by an umpire. However, in this case that shouldn’t really be a concern.
Why? Simply because everyone in baseball has already acknowledged this as a perfect game. Even people who weren’t even in Detroit at the time of the blown call feel it should be changed. St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who is on one of the commissioners special committees thought the call should have been reversed. “I was thinking if the umpire says he made a mistake on replay, I’d call it a no-hitter, perfect game. Just scratch it. If I was Mr. Selig, in the best interest of the game. The guy got it and I’d give him his perfect game.”
If you have other managers and players chiming in on the matter it’s clear that they understand this rare circumstance. They aren’t going to be forming a line to get their own call overturned. They understand that this is history and believe that Galarraga should have his rightful place in the history books.
Mr. Selig ultimately decided not to overturn the call and will instead “will examine our umpiring system, the expanded use of instant replay and all other related features.” All in an effort to ensure that calls on the field are correct. In otherwords, you better get ready for more instant replay.
Bud Selig once again failed to do what is in the best interest of the game but it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Afterall, he’s the same guy who forced an All-Star game to end as a tie and let steroids poison the game for years. This just further proves that when he talks about the “best interest” he’s really talking about what puts more money in his pocket.
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