Thursday, June 3, 2010

Do The Right Thing



June 3rd, 2010
New York, NY


Sports presents an ongoing emotional battle for all traditionalists. Constant rule changes, technological advances and the maturation of any sport means that like a living, breathing organism, sports constantly change.

For some people, this means that a sport might lose it’s magic and they lose interest.

For some, it makes it impossible to compare greats from era to era, allowing for constant debate about who “the greatest” might be.

For some, it means you might have to redefine your personal rules about how you judge greatness, winners and losers.

Mr. Black is one of those people.

Last night, Armando Gallaraga was perfect for 29 outs. The problem was that Jim Joyce wasn’t. As a traditionalist, I hate the use of instant replay in baseball. Human nature is part of the game, and my response to anyone saying that one call can cost someone a game is, “score more runs.”

But as a traditionalist, I also love that the Commissioner has total control over the rules of baseball. Kenesaw Mountain Landis demanded that he have “absolute power” to govern baseball as any way he saw fit as Commissioner for the betterment of the game. To this day, that power still stands.

Our current baseball commissioner can change the rules DURING a game (see the 2002 All-Star Game), and in the case of Gallaraga’s perfect game, what Bud “The Slug” Selig should exercise his absolute power. The answer is to overturn the call, not as a correction of the umpire, but to recognize the historical achievement of Gallaraga in a case where there is no statistical significance to the decision. He can be clear that there is not rule change, and that human error will be always be part of the game, but on a case-by-case basis where a win or loss isn’t involved, the commissioner, and only the commissioner can change a call.

C’mon, Bud. Do the right thing. For the first time.

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