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Selig brushes off calls for expanded instant replay

Oct 12, 2009, 2:20 PM EDT

Poor umpiring and high-profile blown calls have been one of the biggest storylines of the playoffs so far, but commissioner Bud Selig made it clear today in an interview with Ken Rosenthal of that he has no plans to expand instant replay:

I don’t really have any desire to increase the amount of replay, period. This goes on every time there’s a controversial call. I understand the Phil Cuzzi call and others. But frankly, I’m quite satisfied with the way things are. We need to do a little work, clean up some things. But do I think we need more replay? No. Baseball is not the kind of game that can have interminable delays.

The first round isn’t even over yet and we’ve already had Phil Cuzzi ruling Joe Mauer’s double a foul ball, Jerry Meals ruling Chase Utley’s foul ball fair, and C.B. Bucknor botching multiple calls at first base. And let’s be clear about something: Those are not, as Selig puts it, “controversial calls,” because that trivializes the issue by implying that they were something other than flat-out wrong.
We’re not talking about inconsistent strike zones or bang-bang plays being ruled the wrong way, although certainly those are issues that Selig should be looking to address as well. No, we’re talking about blown calls in hugely important situations. In every case instant replay could have corrected them within minutes, but Selig wants us to be satisfied with the idea that “baseball is not the kind of game that can have interminable delays”?
So, bad umpiring and incorrect calls are acceptable as long as they’re really quick? And since when is baseball worried about delays? Nearly every playoff game is running well over three hours at this point, with expanded commercial breaks and snail-like pacing, so spending a few extra minutes to review plays that can make or break a team’s season seems reasonable. If the umpires are unable or unwilling to get these calls right, they need help.

  1. Mike - Oct 12, 2009 at 3:28 PM

    I wrote a post about this on my blog in the middle of the year when the Twins got the bad end of a couple calls. My solution was just a simple system where there is an extra replay official who reviews any questionable calls. If he can’t tell within a minute what the call should be, then the play is too close and the original call stands. This has the potential to actually speed up the game if the childish arguments between managers and umpires can be eliminated.

  2. AverageGuy - Oct 12, 2009 at 3:46 PM

    The problem with Bud Selig’s ideology is that it lacks modern-day logic and considerations. His positioning on this issue is nothing more than old-school boyhood nostalgia to preserve some sort of classical essence of the game. However, the game has today become an overpriced show of bloated-contracts-for-talent; a game which the every-day middle-class family can’t even afford to attend anymore. Yet that middle-class crowd seems to be the most likely to actually appreciate and embrace any sort of nostalgic preservation of the game — So it is ironic to me that Selig’s preservation effort is actually targeting the wrong audience; Because the people out there who ARE paying absurd amounts of money to see their teams play are the audience who want to see perfection, not nostalgic essences of the past. Selig needs to appease his mob. In this day and age, there’s simply no reason not to… and everyone who supports this gluttonous beast of a game gets to suffer while he fulfills his own selfish interests.

  3. greeniemeanie - Oct 12, 2009 at 4:00 PM

    What is uber frustrating as I read and hear arguments from other fans and Selig is that a.) in their minds it makes no difference in the outcome of the game because baseball is a “fluid” game or b). it is just part of the game. The argument that I heard over and over and that was repeated via the TBS booth in game three of Twins/Yankees is that the Mauer call may not have had an effect on the outcome because of this that and the other thing.
    Let’s be honest… every call is going to have an effect on the outcome. You can’t deny that any one of these mistakes could have resulted in a run or not resulted in a run.
    I don’t believe that things like this should be “just part of baseball.” For the common fan it is not enjoyable to see your home-team get hosed on a bad call and then be told it is just sour-grapes when you gripe about it.
    I may be going out on limb by saying that the Game 2 Mauer call had a negative effect on Game three attendance… but a number of casual fans I have spoken with were resigned to not care anymore.

  4. Ernie - Oct 12, 2009 at 4:03 PM

    Wow, a whole article on bad umpire calls and no one mentions Randy Marsh?

  5. Ben - Oct 12, 2009 at 4:41 PM

    While I’m not calling the blown calls because of crooked umpires, the opportunity does exist.
    When Selig finally gets it through his skull that umpires are human beings just as the ballplayers are and do make mistakes, perhaps then replays will be as much part of the game as in football.
    Whether my team got the benefit of a blown call or was on the short end of that call has no bearing. As the football announcers so delicately put it, get it right. Football tries, why shouldn’t baseball???

  6. Omega - Oct 12, 2009 at 4:44 PM

    I am not sure what is wrong with me, but I find myself agreeing with Bud Selig…I may have to go lay down for a while now.
    Instant replay would bring nothing to the game. Good calls and bad calls, blown calls happen all the time. Sometimes your team benefits, other times they suffer, it is just sour grapes if you complain about it.
    Now, what Selig should not ignore is the calls for his resignation.

  7. peteinfla - Oct 12, 2009 at 6:25 PM

    Shocking that Selig does not seem a problem here isn’t it? This is the same guy who (with the help of the players union) for years told us that steroids were an isolated problem with just a few “users”. It was not until congress got involved that anyone admitted what we all as fans knew: It was a huge issue! We still don’t know exactly how big, but we know it was severe to say the least.
    So now he does not see a problem with the incredibly bad umpiring this season? Hard to believe isn’t it?
    From whar I could find online, the umpires assigned to these playoff games are rotated in and out. Not assigned by the basis of performance. Furthermore, it seems that once you become an ump, you are so for life, or at least until retirement. Again no accountability for performance. How great would it be if all us working stiffs were given our jobs for life? Not having to worry about being fired if we did a lousy job! If this info is correct, (Someone please let me know if I am wrong!), then the entire umpiring system is foul, and there is no reason to expect it to get better. I do not think that replay will fix this, probably only slow the game down even more. But I think that if these umpires were truly accountable for the quality of their work, and were assigned to playoff games based on there ability, it would greatly reduce this rash of lousy calls we are currently seeing.

  8. peteinfla - Oct 12, 2009 at 6:30 PM

    Omega, I agree with alot of what you say! However, the fact that you actually agree with “Dictator for Life” Selig on anything would scare the hell out of me! Might want to seek immediate medical help for this condition, I sure hope it is not contagious.

  9. bh0673 - Oct 12, 2009 at 6:57 PM

    I am not sure expanded instant replays are the answer it can get out of hand however there needs to be control over some of the Umpires that seem to think they are above perfection. Selig needs to be reminded the fans don’t pay to see the umpires they pay to see the players and there are some Umpires that are overly trigger happy even afte a bad call. The game has an emotional element and since the rules against arguing a call especially balls and strikes became stricter an element of the game has been taken away.
    There are more bad strike calls then fair balls being called foul.

  10. Voice of Reason - Oct 12, 2009 at 7:07 PM

    Absolutely horrible calls….Selig is a MORON!!!! Inconsistent strike down..the outfield ump has ONE the foul line..How does Cuzzi even still have a spot? What was CB Buknor thinking..I know the NBA is fixed..but I thought baseball wasn’t…

  11. Dave G. - Oct 12, 2009 at 7:18 PM

    Ben, I’m going out on a limb and I’ll be the one to say it. Selig makes MILLIONS based on how HE sees the game and how the MLB performs. Bad attendance? Could affect his paycheck. Grumpy owners? Could affect his paycheck. There’s a reason he doesn’t want anything upsetting his cart. Could affect his paycheck! Sorry, when an ump’s ONLY duty at third is to make sure that the ball is fair or foul, is 20 feet away and the ball lands a FOOT inside, that’s not bad judgement, that’s quid pro quo. I put something extra in your paycheck, you make sure the Yankees win even if it means calling a ball foul when it’s clearly a fair ball. I seriously believe that the MLB front office (re: Selig) wants a cheating game because it lines HIS pockets and paychecks. And I’ll say it to his face if he ever gave me a chance. Of course due to his age he might have been behind the Black Sox.

  12. dbsdbs - Oct 12, 2009 at 8:42 PM

    I don’t expect Selig to take any action on this — but I have been conditioned to never expect anything from Selig. But, why can fans at the ball park not see the same replays that are shown on TV? The Twins are a horrible example — I was at the Metrodome for Twins game #160 vs KC. That was obviously a big game that the Twins had to win and there were several close plays and a few great plays. But the only replay shown at the Dome was a foul ball hit down the 3rd base line by Denard Span. It must have been worthy of replay because it was hit so high?? There is no other explanation for showing the replay. Yet, none of the close plays in this close game were shown at the Dome. Why not??

  13. bh0673 - Oct 13, 2009 at 7:09 AM

    They have TV screens on the lower decks overhead at Yankee Stadium and they were showing all the replays including the bad strike calls as well.

  14. dkp - Oct 14, 2009 at 8:39 AM

    As a rockies fan it may sound like sour grapes(ok it is) but those bad calls really affected the outcomes of those games. Kill the ump

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