It’s Time, Selig

Honestly, there’s not much I can add to the discussion regarding Jim Joyce’s blown call. Every column and post I’ve seen has basically said “this is why baseball needs instant replay, Bud. Do the right thing.” That’s exactly how I feel, too. I will also say, however, that just as former players are often asked to do a job they can’t do in offering performance analysis, so too are umpires when making calls on things that the human eye is often incapable of accurately discerning. Although Joyce’s call was particularly egregious, significant culpability lies with the people in charge, the people who put umpires in such a difficult position when a seriously challenging call occurs. If Bud Selig is smart (or merely alive), he will recognize that there is absolutely no downside to instituting instant replay. It will not slow the game down. It will not drive away the purists. It will restore some measure of legitimacy to the umpires. It will make the fans happy. It will make the umpires happy. Everyone wins. It’s time.

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7 Responses to It’s Time, Selig

  1. grumps says:

    thank you! It’s about time.

  2. Why wouldn’t it slow the game down? Do you believe that football games are not slowed down by replay? I can’t wait for those 5 hour Yankee/Redsox games.

    In 110 years I can think of one perfect game that was blown by a bad call, and one World Series that was impacted by a bad call. Let’s face it, between replay and technology baseball could do away with the umps entirely.

    Selig should reverse the call and be done with it. I’m OK with human error. It’s gotten us this far.

  3. Kevin says:

    I do believe football games are slowed down by replay. But football isn’t baseball. Really, the best possible replay system in baseball would add on a negligible amount of time. Think about it. Within 30 seconds of a call being made (fair/foul, safe/out), broadcasts show a replay that is almost always conclusive. There’s no reason that an umpire (or replay official, if you’d like) can’t be sitting in a booth somewhere in the stadium with a walkie-talkie, watching these very same replays, ready to radio down the decision to the crew chief. This whole process should take no longer than one minute.

    As for Selig reversing the call, I think that’s a terrible idea and I’m thrilled he has apparently decided against it. As honorable a decision as it may appear to be, it sets a precedent that he would regret immediately – and with good reason. If he reversed it, can you imagine how many teams would call Selig asking for a reversal of a bad call in one of their games? The same night as the Galarraga-Joyce call, the Twins lost a game to the Mariners because of a blown call at second. That outcome is WAY more significant than the amazing but ultimately meaningless achievement of throwing a perfect game. If Selig reversed the call, teams would have every right to ask him to do the same for them, and would also have a right to be upset when he turned them down. It’s just a bad idea.

    The real solution is pretty simple in theory: (1) conduct meaningful, thorough, and rigorous evaluations of umpires (at all levels) throughout the season, (2) promote the ones who perform, demote the ones who don’t, (3) use instant replay to support umpires on plays that the human eye simply cannot discern accurately. That’s it. Instant replay isn’t the solution. Improving the quality of the umpires is the solution, and instant replay should be available merely to support the highly qualified and deserving umpires that should be on the field in the first place.

  4. Why make a slow game slower? I do not agree that the calls would only take 30 seconds to decide. How many calls in football look obvious to the naked eye via replay yet take over two minutes to call? Waiting for replay outcomes are almost as exciting as watching paint dry. I prefer a bad call to the numbness that ensues once the zebras go under the curtain.

    Selig can reverse this call because it was the last out of a perfect game. Who cares if it sets a precedent? In fact, I *want* this precedent to be set. Here’s a chance for him to do the right thing. Everyone knows Gallaraga pitched a perfect game — let’s make it official. Here’s a way to get it right without replay. I’m all for it.

  5. I almost forgot — I enjoy your blog and am subscribing.

  6. Kevin says:

    I suppose we just disagree about how long replay would take. I think a conclusion would be reached pretty quickly, you think it would take a while longer. If instant replay does indeed happen, I guess we’ll just find out. As for you preferring a bad call over boredom, I understand that to an extent, but I bet you’d feel differently if that bad call hurt your favorite team’s chances of winning the game. I’m not trying to be confrontational about this, I just think it’s probably true.

    We also might just disagree about the value of a perfect game. I do agree that a perfect game is an amazing feat that should be recognized and admired by all fans. But I don’t think that its uniqueness entitles it to special treatment (i.e. Selig reversing the call). A perfect game is special, but more often than not, there isn’t anything on the line other than a historical oddity. This stands in pretty stark contrast to the blown call in the Twins-Mariners game. That call cost the Twins a game, a game that could, conceivably, cost them a shot at the playoffs way down the line. If Selig reversed Joyce’s call, he is basically saying that he’ll protect individual feats but not actual outcomes of games. That may make Armando Galarraga, Jim Joyce, and Tigers fans happy, but it sends a horrible message. I agree with you that everyone knows Galarraga pitched a perfect game. So what’s the point of setting a terrible precedent to confirm to the masses something they already know to be true? It doesn’t seem worth it to me.

    I’m glad you enjoy the blog. I’m especially glad that you’re commenting. I wish more people did. Thanks for reading!

  7. R Thomas says:

    Why not have a replay system similar to professional football instead of college football? Give each manager two challenges (even a red flag if you want), have them triumphantly throw it on the field from the dugout, and if the calls get upheld, they lose the right to challenge.

    The downside: every single time there’s a challenge, we’ll get reminded by the commentators that it must be indisputable video evidence to overturn the call on the field. Don’t know if I can handle that 9 months of every year.

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