Armando Galarraga lost a perfect game last night, what was the 21st perfect game in major league baseball history. Umpire Jim Joyce called a routine ground out a base hit, as though he were unaware of the historical significance of it all...or just oblivious. Joyce was man enough to acknowledge his mistake, apologizing to the Tiger pitcher after the game.
Commissioner Bud Selig has the power to change the error, using the best interests of baseball clause. What keeps him from doing so? Is it tradition, stupidity, possible testosterone deficiency, or fear of opening Pandora's Box?
Tradition and racism kept generations of African-Americans out of baseball. The tradition argument falls apart when acknowledging baseball's current use of replay for determination of disputed home runs, introduction of the designated hitter, changing the field dimensions by lowering the mound itself, and other revisions that have occurred in baseball.
Stubbornness is hardly unique to Selig. Baseball protests about its integrity, yet dragged its collective feet for years regarding drug testing, maybe because "chicks dig the long ball" and their money rolled in. Perhaps baseball fears interminable delays about the purity of the grand old pastime. Has anybody watched a Red Sox-Yankees game lately? Often it's like watching the last two minutes on an NBA game...in perpetuity. Some wanted to crucify Joe West for his keen sense of the obvious. Enforcing an "indisputable" standard works for the NFL, and managers could be given a finite number of challenges.
Are more nefarious forces at work? I doubt that, but if this were Yankee Stadium, and a right-hander named Phil Hughes had accomplished what Galarraga achieved, does anybody NOT think that Selig would be falling over himself to make things right?
I will always consider Galarraga's effort a perfect game. In fact, if fans wanted it to be so, they could simply vote with their wallets, targeting a future game day, let's say Sunday, to boycott MLB merchandise. Can you imagine owners calling Selig, demanding that he overturn the decision lest they lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue? Would you like to be a fly on the wall for those (expletive deleted) calls?
Baseball has an empowerment clause about the "best interests". Selig has the power to right the wrong that happened last night. Yet ironically only the fans can make that happen. Money talks...keep your wallet in your pocket, and make Selig squirm and Galarraga the legitimate author of perfection.
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