I always thought Bud Selig was the single worst Commissioner in the history of Baseball and now it’s official. His stubborn refusal to entertain the expansion of instant replay in the sport is now making Baseball look extremely foolish.
By now, you have probably heard about the blown call by first base umpire Jim Joyce last night that cost Detroit Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga a place in baseball history. It just can’t get worst than this for an umpire or for the game; to blow a call on the 27th out that would have given the young man a perfect game…and Baseball, its first season ever with three perfect gems.
Jim Joyce is not to blame. He is an experienced 21-year umpiring veteran and one of the best in the business. He blew it because he’s human. A more heart-rending mea culpa will never be heard. He apologized directly to Galarraga following the game after he’d seen the replay. There was a hug involved. He cried in an interview saying he felt so bad that he had deprived the kid of a perfect game.
Even Detroit Manager, Jim Leyland, after going nuts on the field after the contest, seemed to undergo a change of heart later when he said Joyce was a good ump who just missed a call.
So why isn’t there instant replay in baseball other than for home run calls? There’s always been the “purist” argument; that the game’s events have always been decided by the umps and that humanity and it’s occasional failings are just part of the sport. Rather quaint, I’d say.
The real reason for limited instant replay is the insane concern the sport has had for years about the length of its games; that instant replay would just drag things out too long. I’ve never understood why there’s a problem with long baseball games. Baseball’s powers-that-be seem to be perpetually paranoid that their sport isn’t fast or exciting enough. Which shows how fundamentally they misunderstand their own sport.
Baseball is what it is. Sometime it’s fast, sometimes it’s as lethargic as a slow, humid summer day. That’s part of the charm. It’s three hours of mostly slow, strategic ritual interspersed with exhilerating moments of breathtaking action.
Baseball should be willing to wait a few minutes while the umps take a look at a controversial call on a replay. Everyone, except the record books and the box scores, knows Armando Galarraga threw a perfect game last night. You cannot deny the truth you see with your own eyes.
Leave it to Bud Selig and his crony owners to cripple the sport into making it accept a lie as reality; that Cleveland’s Jason Donald was safe at first base on the evening of June 2nd, 2010 and that a 28-year old Venezuelan pitcher for the Detroit Tigers did not achieve perfection.
Note: Baseball Commissioner, Bud Selig, this afternoon announced Major League Baseball would look at expanded instant replay. here is the Commissioner’s complete statement:
“First, on behalf of Major League Baseball, I congratulate Armando Galarraga on a remarkable pitching performance. All of us who love the game appreciate the historic nature of his effort last night.
“The dignity and class of the entire Detroit Tigers organization under such circumstances were truly admirable and embodied good sportsmanship of the highest order. Armando and Detroit manager Jim Leyland are to be commended for their handling of a very difficult situation. I also applaud the courage of umpire Jim Joyce to address this unfortunate situation honestly and directly. Jim’s candor illustrates why he has earned the respect of on-field personnel throughout his accomplished career in the Major Leagues since 1989.
“As Jim Joyce said in his postgame comments, there is no dispute that last night’s game should have ended differently. While the human element has always been an integral part of baseball, 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. Before I announce any decisions, I will consult with all appropriate parties, including our two unions and the Special Committee for On-Field Matters, which consists of field managers, general managers, club owners and presidents.”