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Bud Selig: we don’t need replay. Just look at our attendance!

Jul 2, 2012, 5:15 PM EDT

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig speaks during a news conference in New York Reuters

Bud Selig spoke with the media this afternoon. John Shea reposted one of the Commissioner’s answers about expanding instant replay:

People in our sport don’t want any more. Given our attendance and everything we’re doing, we’re in the right place with instant replay.

We’ve heard Selig erroneously claim that no one wants instant replay a million times — of course people in the game want it or else they wouldn’t have included an explicit provision about it in the latest collective bargaining agreement — but this new twist is too much. Attendance shows that people are fine with instant replay? Really? As if increased attendance has anything to do with it?

It’s nonsensical, as there is no relation — or at least there should be no relation — between the public’s willingness to purchase tickets and the Commissioner’s decision to make technical improvements to the game. As a response to the specific question and as a piece of logic. it’s simply incoherent.

And now that I think about it, it’s less about an answer that makes no sense as much as it is an answer that gives away Selig’s hand: no single innovation that baseball truly takes seriously is about improving the game. It’s all about the bottom line. “Who cares if we can improve the product? People are still buying tickets!”

It’s a horribly complacent position to take.  But hey, as long as a problem in the game doesn’t hurt revenue, who cares? As long as an improvement doesn’t increase revenue, why bother?  That’s what Selig is saying here.  Find me an example in American business history where such thinking didn’t lead an industry to ruin.

  1. icanspeel - Jul 2, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    So basically Selig says if we as fans want to see expanded replay.. Don’t go to the games? Ok if that’s what he wants….

    Who am I kidding, I enjoy going to the ball yard.

    • spellingcops - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:03 PM

      What if everyone boycotted mlb for one day. Wouldn’t that open his dumb old eyes? Someone needs to start a website organizing a one day boycott in the name of instant replay.

      • Glen - Jul 2, 2012 at 10:47 PM

        And on the same day, we won’t buy gas!

      • skids003 - Jul 3, 2012 at 7:43 AM

        Let’s boycott all the stupid baseball writers!!!

      • ajcardsfan - Jul 3, 2012 at 9:01 AM

        You think we could get away with a petition on

    • spellingcops - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:03 PM

      But I’m too lazy/dumb.

  2. dondada10 - Jul 2, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Failure to institute broadened instant replay won’t lead MLB to ruin.

    At the same time, Selig’s argument is asinine. Is he implying that we should boycott games in order to get the changes we want?

    • cur68 - Jul 2, 2012 at 11:26 PM

      Pretty much, I guess. If he reads HBT, and he should frankly, then that very sentiment would be abundantly clear to him. Just a really, really stupid decision.

      • Old Gator - Jul 3, 2012 at 12:10 AM

        “Bring it on!”

        Geor…uh, Bud Selig.

    • gmsingh - Jul 3, 2012 at 8:08 AM

      Bud Selig–the single worst thing to ever happen to professional baseball. Besides, he’s being dumb: those instant replays on TV can have sponsors paying more to sponsor them–that’s all he cares about.

  3. kopy - Jul 2, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    The attendance slip is dumb, but the “everything we’re doing” bit hilariously vague and deflective.

  4. stairwayto7 - Jul 2, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Wait until the Brewers get a bad call against them and he will change his mind!

    • paperlions - Jul 2, 2012 at 5:37 PM

      He and his family have not owned the Brewers for more than 8 years.

      • 18thstreet - Jul 2, 2012 at 6:08 PM

        Thumbs for the correction and the fact he doesn’t own the Brewers any more.

  5. paperlions - Jul 2, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    I think he said exactly what he meant. When have the owners, as a group, ever shown that they care more about the game than their bottom line? I think that answer is never. Like ever.

    Every change they institute is money driven and every change is “sponsored” by some company…when/if they do expand replay, I’m sure it will be the “Panasonic video replay, nothing has the picture quality of a Panasonic.”

    • nightman13 - Jul 2, 2012 at 6:04 PM

      That’s the sad thing about American sports, the moment they switched from sports to businesses. Nothing is ever done about the good of the sport anymore. Some day it will catch up to them, just like it did in Baseketball. Although I hope Basketball is not the sport that replaces everything.

      • 18thstreet - Jul 2, 2012 at 6:09 PM

        Damn you, 1876 Cincinnati Reds!

      • jimbo1949 - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:44 PM

        Ah yes Baseketball

  6. redguy12588 - Jul 2, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    Hate to sound cruel, but the best thing Selig will ever do for baseball is die.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jul 2, 2012 at 6:57 PM

      Can we please amend that to retire?

  7. paint771 - Jul 2, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    But hey, as long as a problem in the game doesn’t hurt revenue, who cares? As long as an improvement doesn’t increase revenue, why bother? That’s what Selig is saying here. Find me an example in American business history where such thinking didn’t lead an industry to ruin.

    I have one: every single example.

    • paperlions - Jul 2, 2012 at 5:51 PM

      Pretty much. American auto industry, every American energy industry…..everything is bottom line driven…and if you have the capital to control the market, you can fend off advancements in your industry for decades.

      • djpostl - Jul 2, 2012 at 10:49 PM

        The same auto industry that would have ended in ruin had it not been for a taxpayer bailout?

  8. dirtfrompeedysuniform - Jul 2, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Makes perfect sense Bud, the NFL attendance has fallen off a cliff since they instituted replay.

  9. tommyajar - Jul 2, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    I want instant replay as much as any person who watches baseball! The fact that they don’t do it, especially on every single scoring play is a joke! If stubborn old Bud Selig wants no part of replay, then how about holding the umpires accountable for mistakes? I thought recently an umpire was suspended for a few games, due to repeated mistakes or something like that? If that is the case, why not continue to hold umpires to these strict rules! I am amazed at how bad these calls are…seem to get worse and worse every day! The Yankee game from the other day, as an example! I see home plate umps who blow plays at the plate, by calling a guy out when the catcher swipes his glove at the guy, and never touches him….and the umpire is no more than a foot or less away from the play! HOW IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE NOT TO SEE THAT WHEN YOU ARE LOOKING RIGHT AT IT? Start punishing these umpires, since we won’t be having replay, maybe it will inspire them to start looking much closer at some of these plays? Ike Davis from the Mets got the boot the other night in Chicago after a pick off play! He catches the ball and swipes his glove at the guy, missed the guy, but then puts his glove back on the guy and the runner was still not on the base….so blatantly out….then Davis argues, and the ump has a super short fuse, and immediately tosses him in a close, one run game, late in the game! INSANE! Suspend the umpire, not the player! thanks!

  10. bigleagues - Jul 2, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    “People in our sport don’t want any more. Given our attendance and everything we’re doing, we’re in the right place with umpire accountability.”


    • bigleagues - Jul 3, 2012 at 11:09 AM

      Perhaps the irony was lost on people?

      MLB is NOT in the right place with umpire accountability . . . nor is it in the right place on instant replay.

      But mostly I was satirizing Bud Selig’s on-going war on the obvious.

  11. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jul 2, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    Just because people like the on-field product enough that they can put up with umpire incompetence doesn’t mean the league should just overlook said incompetence. Incoherent is right, Craig.

  12. danaking - Jul 2, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    There are serious problems with replay in baseball. If the umpire calls a ball foul and replay shows it’s fair, where do the runners go? If an umpire calls a catch and replay shows it’s a trap, what then? Too many examples to cite. making the umpires more accountable is the only way this will work.

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:08 PM

      Of course, every single possible answer to those questions is better than getting it wrong and being happy about it (celebrating the “human element”).

      • bigleagues - Jul 3, 2012 at 11:14 AM

        I don’t have a problem with leaving most of the human element in the game. And I think that people who want to neuter the umpires altogether need to find a new game to watch.

        Where I do have a major problem is when an umpire completely botches a call on the field – either because they were out of position or had an inadequate view of the play – and their call (or reversal of call) negatively affects the game.

        There are two recent examples of this. DeWayne Wise’ phantom catch in RF stands and the Cardinals having a called triple-play turned into a single out – despite no compelling video evidence to overturn the call on the field.

    • highump - Jul 2, 2012 at 10:57 PM

      The reality is, a trained umpire could quickly decide where the runners would have gone (and should end up), based on the reversed call.

      Catch/Trap – If the runner(s) are tagging, the call has no effect on the play. If the runners are halfway, this could make for a difficult decision, but not an impossible one.

      Foul/Fair – Ground Rule Double/Homerun/Infield Single, if overturned to be fair. Foul is foul, anything else that happened afterward would be erased from the record.

      Please cite any further examples you can think of…

      • Kevin S. - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:13 AM

        Agreed except for the catch/trap thing. If ruled a trap and is actually a catch, nobody gets to tag. Sorry team that got screwed by not getting to tag, but having the out and no tag is still better overall than mistakenly allowing the hit.

  13. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jul 2, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    …just look at him there. That smug bastard! #jk #maybe

  14. bbk1000 - Jul 2, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Bud is so out of touch it’s frightening….

    • BratLee - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:30 PM

      Attendance is up, so we must not be charging enough for the beer.

  15. Old Gator - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    ” But hey, as long as a problem in the game doesn’t hurt revenue, who cares? As long as an improvement doesn’t increase revenue, why bother?….Find me an example in American business history where such thinking didn’t lead an industry to ruin.”

    Tabloid journalism.

  16. rcali - Jul 2, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    Dear Bud,
    Please Retire.
    Baseball Fans

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jul 3, 2012 at 2:58 AM

      Dear Bud, there was a time when games were seen only by those in the park, and then some were televised but we saw each play just once. Then more games were televised and we got replays. Up until then, fans might argue about a close play until they were hoarse, with both sides believing they were right, but neither ever knowing for certain. It was arguably one of the game’s charms. THAT IS NO LONGER THE CASE. Now, every game is televised and from myriad angles we see super slow-mo, and now we all know, not believe, but know that the umpire erred and the result of the game is false and unfair and tainted. And that hurts the integrity of MLB. More fans are showing up? My word man, people bought millions of cars that had no seat belts, but the safer ones are better. That you and others don’t get this is saddening and frustrating for many of us. You want us to boycott and not go to your ballparks? OK, schmuck, I’ll boycott. I’m just one fan, but until you get it, you don’t get me.

  17. buffalo65 - Jul 2, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    Replay and baseball don’t mix. Last thing we need Is to have everyone waiting to cheer on a close play cause of the threat of replay. Leave it alone.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 3, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      Your defense of non-replay is because people can’t wait to cheer? Come on. What’s next, because you’ll miss the excitement of an umpire/manager snafu?

  18. footballchic777 - Jul 2, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Selig! Are you REALLY that big of an IDIOT? Are you saying that in order for us to get instant replay, you want us, as fans, to boycott the games to prove our point? How stupid can you be? You are just getting your fan base back, stadiums are having to remove/cover seats, and you want us to boycott? You are totally unconnected with the fans! We keep telling you these absurd, which are being made more and more, need a way to be overturned. Limit them to 2 per team. Have a replay crew that their only job is to watch for these questionable plays so they are called quickly! But please…………get us instant replay!

  19. themajorleagueblog - Jul 2, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    Bud is looking to save time and time is money, and what is in the best interest for Bud wins.

  20. highump - Jul 2, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Little League International has shown that replay can work. None of the LL replays have taken longer than 1 minute with most under 30 seconds with a (so far, perfect) response back to the field. Each team gets 1 challenge. If they win the challenge, they can challenge again. Any play is able to be challenged. If the play is overturned, the replay official will put the runner(s) where they should have been. This system could work in the pros.

    A better system for the pros, would be a 5th umpire in the booth. He would have access to each team’s tv feed, eliminating the “homer” replays, and would buzz down to look at a close, game-changing play. Legitimate “bang-bang” plays would NOT BE ELIGIBLE for review as this would make a mockery of the game. Balls/Strikes also should not be reviewed. Only plays that looked bad in real-time and as bad/worse on the first replay would the 5th umpire buzz down for a challenge. This would include all of the plays that are already being used as an arugment for instant replay.

    The reality is expanded instant replay would cost $$$. 15 games @ 1 additional umpire/qualifed replay official = 15 six figure salaries (with all expenses taken into account) = 1.5 to 2 million in human expenses + technological expenses. Seems like a drop in the bucket when you consider Chone Figgins will make 9.5 mill this year, but it is still enough to continue dodging the question.

  21. historiophiliac - Jul 3, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    I hate to agree with the Antichrist, but no more replay!!!! Limited is enough. I think the problem here lies at the feet of the umps, but I’m not naive enough to suggest Selig take on their union…because I think it’s pretty clear how good he is at dealing with the help…er, labor.

  22. giantschamps - Jul 3, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    This is one reason the NFL continues to kick MLBs azz. This old dinosaur refuses to modernize the game. Isn’t about time for you to go Bud?

  23. thefalcon123 - Jul 3, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Bud Selig:
    Good for the business of baseball
    Bad for the *game* of baseball

  24. brenenostler - Jul 3, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    I hope everyone who thinks Roger Goodell is a bad commissioner saw this

  25. cereal blogger - Jul 3, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Worst commish in the history of sports….steroid era, juiced balls, unlevel playing field, failure to promote the game in urban areas, overall drop in popularity, failure to adapt to modern technology, All star game ties,,,,,he’s the worst

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