Bud Selig, the backboneless, indecisive commissioner of Major League Baseball should change the call in Wednesday night’s near perfect game, and here’s why:
1) The call is obvious. There’s no doubt. The runner (Jason Donald) thought he was out.
2) Outcome of game is unaffected. Still 3-0 either way. People argue that this will set a precedent for overturning calls, and that this will require MLB to go back and change all sorts of decisions, specifically the ’85 World Series. The only precedent set by overturning Wednesday night’s call is for would-be perfect games that ended on an obviously blown call on the last out. If a situation like this happens again (which it won’t), I think we can all agree to react in the same manner.
3) Regarding this precedent, it’s already been set. Pitcher Harvey Haddix has is no-hitter removed from the record books, 32 years after the game occurred. This is not as unheard of as people are making it out to be. In an obvious situation, there’s nothing wrong with making a correction.
4) This does not negatively affect any of the parties involved: Jason Donald, who singled on the play, says he feels bad about the situation. I think he would be alright with having one less career hit. The umpire, Jim Joyce, showed his remorse, and it was reported that he received death threats. Overturning the call is best for his legacy and the safety of both him and his family. Armando Galarraga, the pitcher, handled the situation with the utmost class, and if he didn’t deserve his name in the record books before, he certainly does now. People will argue that he will receive more publicity for his handling this situation for this game than he would had the call been made correctly. This is true, in 2010, but 80 years from now, this story will get lost in our massive news archives and it will be absent from the record books in a sport with a long and valued history. Galarraga was robbed of a chance to be immortalized in the annals of a game he loves and respects.
“The Human Element” of baseball is overrated. Baseball writers and analysts are purists who want no change. Since when is “that’s the way it’s always been done” an good excuse to do something? Major League Baseball, though adored for decades, has been stuck in the past for as long as I can remember. Bud Selig, who’s major career achievements are the steroid era, an All-Star Game that ended in a tie, and now this perfect game debacle, has been less than proactive throughout his tenure, and as a result other professional sports are passing MLB in terms of popularity and revenue. This Galarraga-Joyce situation is just another example of something that could have been prevented (though it pales in comparison to the steroid era). It’s time for Selig to either make some changes, or turn baseball over to someone who is willing to make the changes necessary to grow the game. It’s time for instant replay, among other things, and there’s no reason that shouldn’t start today with the awarding of a perfect game to Armando Galarraga.