UPDATE: Color me amazed! This afternoon, Commissioner Selig issued a written statement indicating the ruling would NOT be reversed AND indicating he would, “look at the game’s umpiring system and the expanded use of instant replay.” It’s extremely difficult for me to congratulate Selig on a decision, but I do congratulate him (or whichever advisor told him, “Are you kidding, you CAN’T reverse that call!”) on this decision. Now, let’s see some follow-up that will give the umpires the help they deserve to make sure as many “blown calls” as possible can be avoided. -JC
It’s been all over the internet today, from blogs to social network sights. An umpire missed a call.
OMG… really? That happens?
While I feel awful for Armando Gallaraga for losing his shot at a perfect game on a blown safe/out call at 1B, and just as awful for umpire Jim Joyce for having made an honest mistake, what I simply do not understand is why THAT call… which did not affect the outcome of a game… is so much more important than the equally atrocious blown call that prematurely ended the Twins/Mariners game later in the evening.
During our GameChat last night, we were discussing the Gallaraga/Joyce call and the question arose concerning whether MLB might step in and reverse the call. I responded with something to the effect of, “They can’t and they shouldn’t, but since it’s the wrong thing to do, that’s probably exactly what Bud Selig will do.” I stand by that sentiment this morning.
Today, I read that the MLB office has not yet decided whether to change the call. Seriously?
Ah… but yes, it all makes sense now. The cry has never been louder for expanded use of instant replay and we all know how Bud feels about that issue. Reversing the call would allow the Budster to accomplish several things. First, it would “get the call right,” and awards Gallaraga the perfecto that he deserves. Second, it gets the heat off of Jim Joyce so he doesn’t have to go through the rest of his life haunted by the blown call. Finally, it mutes the voices screaming for more instant replay.
Look, I’m all for finding a way to give Gallaraga his justice (he handled the situation with remarkable class and maturity, by the way… and you should read Joe Posnanski’s cnnsi column on that subject, if you haven’t already). I also have no wish to see Joyce suffer the same fate Don Denkinger did for the rest of his career after his blown World Series call in 1985 (don’t ask me how I’d feel if it had been one of the total yahoos in the umpiring business, like Joe West, had blown the call).
But as difficult as it might be to figure out how to do, baseball NEEDS expanded instant replay and if Selig reverses this particular call, while ignoring blown calls like the one that ended the Twins game, not to mention the blown calls in last year’s post season… you know, calls that actually had effects on who wins games… then the owners should immediately relieve him of his Commissioner duties. Well, I think they should do that anyway… but this would be the latest crime against baseball that would warrant his dismissal.
Stepping in and effectively saying, “a blown call that costs a player a record is more worthy of reversal and thus more important than a blown call that affects the outcome of a game,” is exactly the wrong thing to do. Which means that I fully expect Bud Selig to do exactly that.
The RIGHT thing to do would be to say, “It’s a shame that this happened just as it’s a shame we have calls that affect the outcome of games and we’re going to do something about it by expanding instant replay… but we can not go back and change anything that has already happened.” Of course, that’s the one thing Bud WON’T do.
But what say you? We haven’t put up a poll in a while. Am I wrong here?
By all means, feel free to expand on your feelings in the comment section. – JC