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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Bud Selig Releases Statement On Yesterday's 28-Out Perfect Game

At The Biz Of Baseball, Bud Selig praised the Tigers for their handling of the situation (which was as graceful as could be asked of any men), while "[applauding] the courage of umpire Jim Joyce to address this unfortunate situation honestly and directly." He also said, "I will examine our umpiring system, the expanded use of instant replay and all other related features."

My boss made an eminently sensible suggestion: have five-man umpiring crews, with the fifth man in the press box, watching the game on video. Most of the time he won't be needed, but when he is, the other umpires can call on him at any time by radio for a call on a close play. (Presumably, postseason umpiring crews would consist of seven men.) This would have two positive effects from the umpires' perspective:

  1. It would provide more employment opportunities for umpires, a carrot for the use of video.
  2. The video umpire would give immediate relief to the home plate umpire, or any other umpire, disabled by a foul or other hard-hit ball, play, etc. so that play could continue with a full traditional four-man crew.
Getting the call right is important. But finally, I would like to say something to those people who say that we should simply ask the commissioner's office to overturn the game result. We are far better off with a system whose rules, limitations, and failures are knowable in advance than one where outcomes can be decided after the fact. Ultimately, such a system would be a disaster for everyone, players, umpires, owners, and fans, because no win can then ever be final.

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