Alan Dell

Commentary: Once again, Selig gets it wrong

Sometimes, it’s better to allow human compassion to triumph over convenience. It leaves most people feeling justice was served.

Bud Selig could learn from such a policy, but he has not comprehended much during his 18-year run as the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

By now, nearly everyone in the free world knows Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was denied his place in history on a blown call with two outs in the ninth inning, which robbed him of a perfect game.

Umpire Jim Joyce admitted he called the play wrong and, unfortunately, that is going to be his legacy.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Selig has the power to change the call, take the hurt from Joyce and Galarraga and show people across the country that baseball truly represents American values.

He would have a lot of support, including the White House, which issued a statement hoping he would reverse the call. Others echoed similar sentiment, though none stronger than Milt Pappas, who lost a perfect game in 1972 with two outs in the ninth, and called Selig “an idiot” in an interview with ESPN.

Village Idiot?

Perhaps or just a person out of touch with the real world.

He is the man who ran baseball during the steroid era and turned a blind eye to what was going on, according to numerous reports, earning him the title of “Steroids Commissioner.”

He has steadfastly refused to allow video replays with the exception of deciding home runs that are questionable, thus denying his sport the use of modern technology.

Word from his office seeped out that if he changed this call, he would have to change others in the past and some in the future.

It’s a weak excuse.

This would’ve been the 21st perfect game in major league history, an occurrence so rare it comes with a built-in justification, particularly with the umpire’s admission, video and numerous high-placed people calling for a reversal.

Best of all, it would have liberated Joyce and given Galarraga his deserved place in history.

Few would’ve complained, and millions would’ve agreed. It was win-win for baseball.

The only question that remains is who made the worse call: Selig or Joyce?

The umpire had less than a second to make his decision. Selig had time to sleep on it and still couldn’t get it right.

The commish sent out a statement that said he would look at expanded replay and umpiring without directly addressing the blown call.

It’s a message that has a familiar ring — ignore a problem and it will go away.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work during the steroid era, and it doesn’t work in this case either.

Selig would not be setting a sports precedent if he changed the call.

The NBA does it regularly, waiting for an opportune time to double check 3-pointers even if it’s minutes later. It reviews game-deciding buzzer shots all the time, and the day after a game the league can rescind a technical or flagrant foul.

The NFL has its red hankies, and in the last two minutes of a game everything is open to review by officials.

So why is baseball different?

It’s simple — Bud Selig.

It was reported more people on planet earth tweeted about the Galarraga incident than any other topic the day after his game. Fair or unfair, folks around the world judged baseball’s handling of this to how justice is meted out in our country.

Selig argues instant replay would take the human element out of the game. Actually, it would put it in, allowing his league to show compassion for its fellow humans in correcting a grievous wrong.