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Selig to "examine" umpires, replay; declines to overturn Joyce call

Jun 3, 2010, 2:57 PM EDT

Selig statement.jpgBud Selig just released a statement on last night’s events. Short version:

  • No word on overturning the call, which I think is a clear signal that he will not do so (UPDATE: Multiple reporters are now hearing that no, Selig will not overturn the decision);
  • A decision to “review” umpiring systems and replay which, as I suspected this morning, is the first step of a long delay job on both of these issues; and
  • A congratulations to Galarraga and Leyland for how they handled themselves after last night’s debacle and an appreciation of Jim Joyce for his “courage,” all three of which I think are well-deserved.

The statement in full:

“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.”

  1. Boycott Baseball - Jun 3, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    So Selig is not going the fix this travesty huh? Professional baseball just became professional wrestling then, where there is no integrity, no truth, just a bogus act. I’m extremely disappointed in this. I think that all the fans around the country who are outraged by this injustice should boycott baseball for the rest of the season. Make it hurt in the owners’ pocketbooks. Maybe that will cause them to fire Selig (and some of the bad umpires), and bring the game into the 21st century. BOYCOTT BASEBALL!

  2. Hank - Jun 3, 2010 at 5:11 PM

    This was an absolute no brainer. Selig could have and certainly should have just corrected the obvious mistake. Absolutely NO ONE would have been harmed. This was about as unique a circumstance as could be. There would be no “slippery slope.” I seriously doubt anyone would have used it to argue overturning other more run-of-the-mill umpiring mistakes. Selig is a joke, AGAIN.

  3. walk - Jun 3, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    Part of being grown up is taking ownership of ones mistakes and doing everything possible to fix them. The umpire in this case, to his everlasting credit, has done so to the best of his ability and only wants it to be fixed as well as most of us on this forum.

  4. RichardInDallas - Jun 3, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    So, what have we learned here from all od this? Have we learned that Bud Selig is a Douche? Nope, unless we’ve been in a collective coma for the past 20 years, we’ve known that! Have we learned that baseball needs to pull it’s collective head out of the sand and embrace some of the technology that’s available to us in this the 20th, er, 21st century? Nope. Think we knew that, too. Have we learned that both Armando Galarraga AND Jim Joyce are two of the finest gentlemen to have ever made their way onto a diamond? That’s it!! I knew we would learn something from such a monumental event!
    My son, who is a pretty fair pitcher himself, agreed that if HE were the poor soul whose legacy was squaqshed by an honest mistake, we would be scrambling for bail money and a good lawyer today (can I call you, Craig?).

  5. Ken - Jun 3, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    Why didn’t the other umps also step up and conference this call on the field and get it correct? You can’t tell me that they didn’t see what everyone else clearly saw and I speak as an umpire and official myself for many years, The error can and should have be corrected on the field by the crew at the time of the blown call. Not all the blame should fall on this one ump.

  6. Bob - Jun 3, 2010 at 7:00 PM

    To the slippery slope camp:
    Where do you draw the line? Simple. You do not correct a call when doing so would adversely affect one team over another. By that I mean, turn a winner into a loser and a loser into a winner.
    Last night was a unique circumstance that is easily overturned and is likewise distinguishable so as to mitigate any slippery slope concerns. If the call is over-turned, who loses? Not the Indians, they lost on the next play. Certainly not Gallaraga. The umpire even comes out a winner. The only one adversely affected is Jason Donald. His hit is taken away. From his reaction right after the call, I’d bet he has the class to take it.
    The call should be over-turned because nothing changes except HOW the game was won. Now, had the Indians put more runners on and eventually gone on to win, you don’t over-turn. You can’t do it even though a correct call in the first place would have ended the game. But since that did not happen, Mr. Selig has the ability to make this change. Too bad he does not have the foresight.

  7. John - Jun 3, 2010 at 7:32 PM

    Should be scored E-U3 (error on first base umpire). Problem solved…

  8. Dave Higgins - Jun 3, 2010 at 8:35 PM

    I say have ALL the players/managers/owners sign a petition to overturn it, and sent to Bud, with the clause that they, as a result of this decision, will NOT use it as a basis to claim any of their own disputes should be overturned in the same manner.
    I think you would see ALL of them sign it.

  9. Dave Higgins - Jun 3, 2010 at 8:46 PM

    >> Where do you draw the line? Simple. You do not correct a call when doing so would adversely affect one team over another. By that I mean, turn a winner into a loser and a loser into a winner.
    For future reference, I say do like NFL… Give each team two red flags. Each flag can be used to challenge any play on the field (stolen base when leaving a guy at second could mean a hit wins, close play at home, outfield catch vs. trap, etc…)… That way you’re not reviewing every other tag at a base, every “did he leave third before the fly ball was caught”, etc…
    If that was already the rule, and the Tigers had used both of their challenges, then too bad (as a Tiger fan I would have been bummed). Also, I guess you have to consider the penalty for making challenge that does not result in a reversal. In football you lose a time-out. For baseball…. Hmmm… Maybe an automatic out (when batting), or an automatic balk (when on the field)? That would have to be sorted out, but I think a team/manager should be able to demand a review (in limited fashion… can’t use it for balls/strikes).

  10. Patty - Jun 3, 2010 at 9:19 PM

    For those of you who are minimizing this great feat of Galarraga and telling us to grow up and just accept this-well obviously you have never played sports or ever tried to achieve something in life. These ballplayers do this for a living I might add so this is their job. A pitcher whether being paid or not paid will always aspire to have a perfect game. They probably even dreamed that one day this would happen. For Galarraga that dream became a reality, only to have to awaken to a “nightmare” call from Joyce. For those of you who are suggesting that he take the no-hitter as opposed to the perfect game, well that is just second rate. Doesn’t even compare to a perfect game. He deserves and earned a perfect game. It can be corrected and should be corrected! Joyce has admitted that he made a mistake and to allievate the guilt and pressure he is no doubt carrying around and will carry around Selig could allieviate this burden and also validate this young pitcher’s dream game.

  11. Scott - Jun 3, 2010 at 9:39 PM

    Emotion is an interesting thing. It leads us to knee-jerk reactions and often a herd mentality. The calls for overturning the base hit and expanding replay are understandable, but misguided. You simply can’t change what happens on the field after the fact. You could get every possible affadavit from every possible constituency in MLB, but it would still open up a huge bucket of bad to pretend the bad call never happened.
    Likewise, expanding replay would not be the answer either. There will always be some tough situation that will fall through the cracks of any replay set of guidelines. You just can’t anticipate every possible scenario.
    Another suggestion I have heard in the wake of this has been to require the umpires to seek help in situations like this, but that also can’t work. Can you imagine how the authority of umpires in general would be undermined if it becomes generally accepted that a guy who is 70 feet or more from a play can see it better than the one right on the play? That comes from our belief that the best place to see balls and strikes is from the eighth row in the upper deck.
    Stripped of its emotion, the real problem here is very clear and that is that the umpires simply need to be held to a higher standard so that maybe they will work to a higher standard. Those that don’t work to that standard consistently should be fined/suspended/let go. Maybe Jim Joyce and some of the others who ‘feel worse than anyone about this’ should work with their own union to allow easier and more stringent discipline.
    I say this because, though no one tries to make a bad call (hopefully) many umpires don’t always try hard enough not to make poor calls. Joyce never made a move to get into optimum position to make that call. It was the samw with Don Denkinger and his infamous gaffe in the World Series. I did some umpiring and learned that the best angle from which to make a call is at 45 degrees to the play. Joyce could have easily taken two quick steps to his right as that play developed and not gotten caught at a 90 angle. He was lazy. He feels bad, but he didn’t feel bad enough soon enough to hustle to the last pitch. Similarly, Denkinger got caught at a 180 degree angle in his moment of infamy. There is no way he could see when the ball was in the glove from where he positioned himself.
    If you watch calls that wind up being bad ones, the vast majority are a result of the umpire(s) not getting themselves in good position. They are old, fat, slow and lazy and no amount of external checks (replay, etc) will change that. MLB has to demand that they become more professional in their appearance and attitude and that they make every effort to hustle through every play. It’s the only answer that will save the game from the raging emotions that can kill it.

  12. walk - Jun 3, 2010 at 11:19 PM

    Please refrain from stating out and out lies, the play on the field can be changed and the precedent has already been set. I refer you to a game at Yankee stadium on july 24 1983 in which the opposing team Kansas city had a play on the field over ruled by the American league president Lee MacPhail. This is normally referred to as the pine tar incident, link follows to wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_tar_incident

  13. Mick - Jun 4, 2010 at 12:32 AM

    Old liberal ideas is what Bud is all about…. even though he sees and admits something is wrong, he does nothing about it. O well, those are the rules, even though the rules may need to change. Old guys like him need to retire or die… perhaps both.

  14. Dexhu - Jun 4, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    I think the GAME should be ruled a PERFECT GAME!
    YES the tradition in Baseball that there is Human Error is true as
    most Fans say! BUT this Blown Call is obvious and since there are only 20 Perfect Games in the history of Baseball then there should be a special exception! if one of the other umpires say the runner was out there should have been a conference between the umpires and the call reversed in a historic situation! Baseball needs to be more tolerant and show some compassion! I’ve been a Red Sox fan since 1949 and seen many calls that were bad! This one merits a significant historical honor! Let it be a PERFECT GAME as it should be!

  15. Mark - Jun 4, 2010 at 5:46 PM

    yah doug, lets change a wrong to a wrong.
    Jim Joyce is right. this is not just any play. it MUST be righted!
    for the (INTEGRITY??) of the game. This is the PERFECT situation. It is SO doable. It was the FINAL out. There is NO bigger call as fixable in major league history! EVERYONE wants it. Everyone on the planet with the exception of the blind and mentally challenged know this was a perfect game. Jim Joyce stood like a man as Selig stood spineless.
    This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Selig to be remembered for having at least one testicle. And is there any doubt that if he doesnt change the call, that it wont one day be changed anyway?

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