Don’t count on Selig reversing Joyce’s call

Much of the talk today is how baseball commissioner Bud Selig should reverse Jim Joyce’s blown call that cost Tigers’ starter Armando Galarraga a perfect game. Jon Heyman of writes that Selig will make a statement on Thursday regarding the incident and many hope that he’ll do the right thing and “fix” what transpired in the top of ninth inning at Comerica Park.

But they shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for Selig to actually do it.

While he has the power to reverse the decision, it doesn’t mean he will. Don Denkinger’s blown call in 1985 cost the Cardinals a World Series against the Royals and it was never reversed. For as special and as sacred as a perfect game is, Denkinger’s foul-up was in the pivotal moment of a World Series. And in the record books, it still says 1985 World Series Champions: Kansas City Royals.

For as much as most of us would love to see Selig step in, we all know as sports fans that it’s up to umpires to make judgment calls. And unless it’s a home run that can be reviewed by instant replay, those calls stand. For as big a moment as this was, Selig knows that if he reverses this call, then he may have to reverse future calls and then what’s from stopping people from demanding that all the records during the steroid era be fitted with an asterisk next to them? We would all love to see that happen, but that’s a can of worms that everyone knows Selig doesn’t want to open.

Would it be the right thing for Selig to do to overturn Joyce’s call? Yes. But I’d be shocked if he actually went through with it. It’s not in his nature to make sound decisions when pressed into a corner, so chances are the call will stand. If anything, maybe this incident will always be remembered as the moment that changed how instant replay is used in baseball forever.

Update: Selig released this statement via

“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.”

He says a lot in his statement, but it’s clear that Galarraga’s near-perfect game will remain just that: near perfect.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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