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Should Bud Selig reverse the call and award Galarraga the perfect game?

Jun 2, 2010, 10:29 PM EDT

Selig 6.jpgThat’s the question a dozen people have asked me so far. People are tweeting about it. Even my wife — who knows nothing about any of this aside from the fact that I’m banging out copy about it at 10:00PM about — asked “why can’t they just fix the call?”  Let’s unpack:

Can Bud reverse the call?:  Sure, why not?  I’ve seen some people mention Bud Selig’s powers to act “in the best interests of baseball,” but I think that’s got it wrong.  Those powers — which are specified in Article II, Section 3of the league’s Constitution — tend to be reserved for discipline and control of teams and employees. Business matters among the franchises, really, not on-the-field activities.

On-the-field, the Commissioner of Baseball would appear to have plenary power. He can deem an All-Star Game a tie. He has total control to grant or deny protests. He can make up stuff on the fly, just like he did with replay on boundary calls.  Technically speaking, there is no reason why Bud Selig can’t overturn the call, void anything that happened after it and grant Galarraga his perfect game.

Should Bud Selig reverse the call?  This is a toughie — and I’ll accept argument to the contrary, but my gut instinct is to say no.

What is accomplished by doing such a thing?  Galarraga doesn’t get to go back onto the field and have his teammates mob him.  The 17,738 people in Comerica Park for the game don’t get to come back together and cheer.  No highlight, no collective memory and no euphoria would be gained.  All that would be changed is a notation in a record book.

And doing so risks an awful lot.  Why retroactively overturn this call and not others?  Bad calls happen all the time.  Should Bud Selig be in the business of changing the outcomes of games in which outs were called on trapped balls?  Should he demand that a game be started over from the top of the sixth inning when the umpires missed a balk?  It’s an overused phrase, but it’s overused for a reason: where do you draw the line?

The funny thing here is that by keeping the call as-is — however unfair it might be — we may just be able to prevent just such a can of worms from ever being opened.  Why? Because if this game stands as a travesty — if Armando Galarraga remains a martyr, as it were — action may finally be spurred to implement instant replay.  And if that happens the right calls will be made almost every time and Bud Selig will never have to concern himself with this kind of thing again.

Another overused, but still-apt phrase springs to mind: you can’t un-ring a bell.  What happened tonight happened. Baseball has to deal with it.  No act of God or Bud can and should erase it. All baseball can do from it is to learn and, hopefully, improve.

581 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Andrew - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    Although I agree that it was a bad call, let’s look at the other side…the guy that got credited with a hit LOSES his hit. What if he ends up with a career stat of 2999 hits? Now it’s not fair to him because Bud Selig decided that Galarraga’s stats were more important than his. The ump made the call….even though it was wrong (as if that’s never happened before), stick with it and call the game.

  2. yankees Nut - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    Major League Baseball is still living in the Stone Age! Why is there no option to review ANY PLAY with a limit on the number of plays per game, per team. Why just a Home run (or not) or two. Routinely, an ump blows a MAJOR call like last night and there should be an option within the rules of the game to allow access to replay technology. The whole world know the ump had blown it 20 seconds after the play ended. Who are we kidding? Bud Selig is trying to hold Major League Baseball back from technology that would not only enhance the game, but make it better.
    Bud – it’s 2010 and computers and replay technology are already OLD TECHNOLOGY! Get with the program!!!!!

  3. Matt - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    That’s exactly why it should be overturned. Doing so affects nothing more than removing a ground out from a batter and taking a hit away from another batter. Everything else remains the same.
    The reality is, he pitched a perfect game, whether it’s officially recorded as such or not – he did pitch a perfect game. The runner was out.

  4. Jargon - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    Exactly!

  5. Stacy28 - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    This is an unfortunate situation. But the call should not be overturned. Yes, it’s unfair, but life is unfair. These are the chances you take when you play the game. It’s a live action game, which is why we love it so much – blood, sweat, tears and all. Do any of you realize the slippery slope that would ensue with the overturning of this call?? Who knows what they would want to overturn next? Seriously people… We all know he earned the PG. He played his heart out and to the best of his ability. At the end of the day, he’s happy with himself, and the fans love him. He’s done his job. Who could ask for more? We all will remember this for the rest of our lives. But rules are rules. Do we really want this to turn into football, where the game is extended an additional hour and half just because of instant replay?? NO. We love it just the way it is. It keeps us on our toes, it keeps us passionate and allows us to have conversations and debates like these, that no other sport can compare to. Baseball fans are the best out there. So let us all tip our hats to a man who did his best, and let that live in our hearts forever. That’s more important than pen and paper that will sit on a shelf with statistics.

  6. Andrew - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    Amen brother….well said!

  7. Matt - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    But it WASN’T a hit!!! You act as if he’s being cheated! He was OUT!

  8. jeremy Marks - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    I have been on the fence with this since this morning- but JoRoe nailed it. Record books do matter, and assuming this kid has kids and Grandkids of his own one day, he earned the right to be able to show him what he did. Also, lets Joyce off the hook, and deservedly so.

  9. the baseball girl - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    Because this time won’t change the outcome of a game, that’s why Bud Selig should give Galarraga, his perfect game. The score will stay the same 3-0, for the sake of the baseball game and for the future of the umpire, I think he sould.

  10. the baseball girl - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    Because this time won’t change the outcome of a game, that’s why Bud Selig should give Galarraga, his perfect game. The score will stay the same 3-0, for the sake of the baseball game and for the future of the umpire, I think he should.

  11. Dave - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    This is the same as the official scorer calling a base hit or an error. I have seen this changed long after the game has finished. The outcome is not affected, only the individuals players record is changed.
    This should be overturned.

  12. red sox fan - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    A Wrong is a wrong/ at least the umpire had the class to admit it.I say give the pitcher his perfect game.Grow up all you bitter fans. Right is right

  13. Stacy28 - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    i don’t know about you, but when my father/grandfather talked about their history, they didn’t show me a piece of paper, they TOLD the greatest stories I’ve ever heard. And those stories are what live on from generation to generation.

  14. Kathy K - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    I say overturn it as much for the umpire as for Gallaraga. Don’t make him live with this the rest of his life. People who threaten his family should be arrested. It’s ridiculous. He’s obviously a good man who made a mistake. Try to be as classy as Gallaraga is.

  15. allan - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    Change the call and give an error to the pitcher or 1st baseman. These calls are overturned all the time by the official scorer. At least he would still have his no hitter

  16. chris - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    Absolutely! It’s not like it could have gone either way. The replay clearly shows that he was out. What good is instant replay if they are not going to use it.

  17. Donny Elia - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    Wrong.
    The pine tar reversal was purely because there was a mis-interpretation of the rule. The umpire crew chief thought he had to call George Brett out, but the rule doesn’t stipulate that. McPhail ruled that because the crew chief didn’t know the rule, the game would be replayed from that point.
    There has never been a reversal on a judgment call in baseball.

  18. Skippy - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    Without a doubt, that call should be reversed.
    Oh my God, was that pitcher ever robbed.
    That is just plain unacceptable.

  19. J - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    Of course it should be overturned! At the end of the day, it’s just a game! Entertainment! It’s not life and death. Do what’s right and move on…

  20. ATH - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    for just that reason, this call makes no difference other than it is historically bad. The other team won’t win, it doesn’t affect the records, or standings, or anything else. It simply acknowledges that, in this very rare instance, a call can be corrected. The guy pitched a perfect game – give him credit.

  21. tunacanted - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    I guarantee whatever that moron Selig does in this situation, it will be handled poorly.

  22. David M. - Jun 3, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    Reverse the call, Bud, and do the right thing. These are highly exceptional circumstances warranting a highly exceptional act by the Commissioner: (1) It was the final out of a perfect game; and (2) reversing the call wouldn’t affect the outcome of the game (like in the oft-mentioned Cardinals-Royals World Series game).
    Galarraga, the fans and, most importantly, Joyce shouldn’t have to live with the weight of this.
    I have no problem with setting the precedent that if an umpire blows a call on the *final out* of a *perfect* game, the commissioner can review it. When will that ever happen again?

  23. simplesolutions - Jun 3, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    Yes. Say it’s so, Bud.

  24. tom - Jun 3, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    Doing the right thing isn’t that complicated. It would be simply giving not only Galaragga the credit for a perfect game,but the whole team as they participated in that win with their defense. Jackson’s amazing catch alone would have much more merit when attached to a perfect game pitched. The league has demeaned the whole team by not admitting to a horrible mistake by an umpire. Do the right thing and give credit where credit is due. Just do the right thing and stop being so afraid of stepping up to the plate.

  25. andrewb. - Jun 3, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    The right thing to do is to let the call stand and move on. Which is what Bud Selig has done. It is being reported now that Bud Selig won’t overturn the umpire’s call, but has also said something about examining using instant replay further than what it’s used for today (home run calls).

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