Selig 'Extremely Comfortable' With Not Changing Jim Joyce's Call
Selig, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, didn't sound like the controversy, which became a nationwide story that transcended sports, made him any more inclined to expand the use of instant replay. But Selig said he will "do what's best for the sport" and praised the participants for how they handled the situation.
"I'm partial," Selig said, "but only baseball could produce a story like that."
Selig spoke to a small group of media during the first round of the annual draft, held Monday at MLB Network's studios.
Detroit's Armando Galarraga last Wednesday lost a perfect game with two out in the ninth inning when umpire Jim Joyce missed a call at first base. Selig ignored widespread calls, by the public and the media, for him to overturn the call and instead issued a statement saying he would examine replay and the state of umpiring.
Selig never seriously considered changing Joyce's call to give Galarraga a perfect game retroactively.
"In this job, precedence is very important," Selig said. "A lot of people don't really understand that. But it is important. And while you can say, 'This was really aberrational,' there are a lot of situations -- I've had clubs call me and say, 'What about that game I lost, why didn't you think about doing that?' And they were serious."
One of those teams might have been the Twins, who later Wednesday lost a game on a bad game-ending call.
"Of course you open Pandora's Box [by changing a call]," Selig said. "You may think you haven't, but you have."
Selig said he doubted any changes to umpiring or replay would happen before the end of the season. The current replay system -- for "boundary" (disputed home run) calls only -- was instituted midseason 2008.
"I have done a lot of thinking about it, obviously, over the years," Selig said. "I have done a lot since last Thursday. But I meant what I said in the statement, I'm just going to take a look at everything. In the end, I'll make the decision.
"I am a traditionalist, but I also want to do what I think is best for the sport."
Selig is consulting with his Special Committee for On-Field Matters, which includes four managers, four general manager types, four owners or team presidents, Hall of Famer Frank Robinson and George Will (but no players).
"It's important to talk to people who are on the field," Selig said. "Most baseball people are really against instant replay. There's no question about that. You could sense that the last three days."
Selig said he has told the committee, "there are no sacred cows."
"I will do what I think is right here," Selig said, "and take responsibility for it."
Selig said he spoke Monday with Joyce.
"He's a very good umpire," Selig said.
"I don't want to be trite here, but it really turned out to be a great story. You have a pitcher who acted just beautifully. You had an umpire who did what a lot of people in life should do -- told the truth, 'I screwed up,' and that was it. And I have undying admiration and respect for him, as I have told him. You have the Tigers fans that acted well. [Detroit manager] Jimmy Leyland could not have been better.
"I was very proud of baseball. ... That's as good as any sport has confronted a difficult situation. And the credit goes to the parties involved."