Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

After All, Nobody's Perfect; Human Element in Baseball's Umpiring under Attack; Selig Says Call Will Stand

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

After All, Nobody's Perfect; Human Element in Baseball's Umpiring under Attack; Selig Says Call Will Stand

Article excerpt


Pitchers side with pitchers. Umpires side with umpires.

That's not surprising to any fan of baseball. However, it's especially true after umpire Jim Joyce's mistake on a call at first base with two outs in the ninth inning that cost Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game in a 3-0 win over Cleveland on Wednesday night.

Reaction was strong throughout the country Thursday, and the First Coast was no exception.

The incident led to two main questions.

- Should the call have been reversed by MLB commissioner Bud Selig? He announced Thursday afternoon the call would stand.

- Should instant replay in the major leagues be expanded beyond its current use of settling boundary issues on home runs? Selig said he would continue to examine the use of replay.

One area pitcher said yes to both. One area umpire said no.

Bolles coach Storm Davis played in the big leagues for 13 years, pitching for five different teams. His opinion: Change the call and expand replay.

"I don't know how they can reverse the call now, but it would be cool," Davis said. "I don't think you could find a player who wouldn't want it changed. I think it would be great.

"I think baseball should have replay expanded and have it be like what they use in pro football. Give the managers a red flag, and let them have a couple of challenges a game."

Davis knows the difficulty of Galarraga's feat, which would've been the 21st perfect game in major-league history. While pitching for the Baltimore Orioles back in 1983, Davis took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against Detroit. Rick Leach broke it up with a leadoff home run.

"It's so hard to do and so rare," Davis said. "You can't imagine how hard it is to get 27 big-league hitters out in a row."

While the mistake changed baseball history, it did not alter the outcome of the game. That's something that must be kept in mind, according to local umpire Glenn Seltzer. The Jacksonville Umpires Association's schools booking commissioner has been a high school umpire for 13 years.

"The call should not be reversed," Seltzer said. "Baseball is a unique game with hundreds of judgment calls in every game. That last call did not change the outcome of the game. It changed the individual statistics of a player.

"It's really unfortunate for everybody involved, but look at what you have to do if you reverse the call. You have to go back and certify every other perfect game and no-hitter to verify that all the calls were correct."

Seltzer is also against the use of replay in situations such as the one that occurred Wednesday night.

"If you are going to expand replay, it should be extremely limited to game-changing situations," Seltzer said. "If you are going to use replay for any judgment call, then you might as well use computers. …

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