SBD/Issue 35/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Selig Reiterates Stance Against Expanding Instant Replay

Selig Says He Likes The
Human Element In Baseball
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, meeting informally with reporters Thursday prior to Game Two of the World Series, maintained his staunch stance against expanding the use of instant replay beyond home run and boundary calls. But he left the door open for more discussion on the subject of aiding umpires. “I understand we had some incidents that were most unfortunate,” Selig said. “I think there are other ways we can make corrections. During the offseason, we’ll review everything. I’ve made my position clear, and by the way, I think it’s the position of most people in baseball. ... I’m not afraid of change, but you have to be very careful when you tamper with the sport. I take this more seriously than anyone will know.” Selig later added, “The more baseball [officials] I talk to [about expanding replay use], there is a lot of trepidation, and I think their trepidation is fair.” This year’s postseason has been afflicted by numerous high-profile umpiring errors, though Selig did praise the performance of the umpires in Game One, particularly on a double play pop-out play initiated by Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). Selig added, "Life is changing and I understand that. I do like the human element and I think the human element for the last 130 years has worked pretty well. There have been controversies but there are controversies in every sport" (ESPN.com, 10/29).

IT'S A MISTAKE: In N.Y., Costello & Greenberg note "another botched call by the umpires" took place during Thursday's Phillies-Yankees Game Two when first base umpire Brian Gorman called Phillies 2B Chase Utley "out on an eighth-inning-ending double play." Replays "showed Utley was safe and the inning should have continued with runners on first and second base." Crew Chief Jerry Davis said it would bother him to have this call lumped with other missed calls "because (it was) very, very close" (N.Y. POST, 10/30). In Philadelphia, Matt Gelb writes two "controversial calls late in Game 2 marred" the Yankees' victory. Gelb also notes by the "end of the seventh, fans at Yankee Stadium were chanting, 'We want replay!'" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/30). ESPN's Mike Greenberg: "The game last night again is marred by two terrible calls, and this is a shame. ... For the umpiring to be as much a part of the story as it is this morning is a shame." ESPN's Buster Olney: "I thought last night was a classic example of why you absolutely need and want instant replay in the game" ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN, 10/29). YAHOO SPORTS' Jeff Passan wrote it is "confounding to see players and managers and executives pooh-pooh the idea of instant replay when MLB is approaching a dozen missed calls in its most important month of the season." Passan: "It's laughable at this point. It really is" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/30).

Selig Admits He Hates Playing
World Series Into November
STAYING AT 162: Selig again was questioned vigorously Thursday about the postseason schedule and its annual conflict with chilly, rainy fall weather, and acknowledged that complaints about excessive off days in the playoff schedule were “valid.” But Selig said reducing the regular-season schedule is not an option. “If the clubs want to consider going to 154 games, we can reduce that. But they don’t want to do that, unanimously. Big markets, medium markets, small markets. They just don’t want any part of it.” On the layout of the schedule itself, Selig said, “How do you know in the middle of March if they’re going to go three games, four games, five games? How do you know if you’re going to need an East Coast-West Coast travel day? People say, ‘Do you hate going into November?’ Yeah, of course I do. Nobody worries about the weather more than I do" (Fisher). Selig facetiously said, "I'm going to do the schedule myself next year. Next year, when you have a complaint, you can complain to me. But it's tough" (MLB.com, 10/29). A USA TODAY editorial states because of the "demands of TV and the owners' desire to rake in as much money as possible," the World Series would end on November 5 if it goes seven games. MLB for years "ended its World Series in early to mid-October," but the postseason has strayed "far from tradition." The editorial: "Just about every time Major League Baseball had a choice between a tighter postseason schedule and more lucrative TV contracts, it chose the latter" (USA TODAY, 10/30).

OTHER TOPICS: Selig was enthused at Thursday’s news of an 11.9 fast national rating for Game One, the best Series-opening mark since '04. “It’s remarkable. But our ratings have been good throughout the postseason.” Selig also reiterated his desire to see daytime World Series games, but added he did not know how or when that could be done. He did praise Fox, however, for agreeing to roll back most of the game start times to 7:57pm ET. Meanwhile, the return of Mark McGwire to the Cardinals as hitting coach brought more plaudits from Selig for the embattled slugger, with whom he has held a long friendship. When questioned about McGwire, Selig took the opportunity to reiterate the game’s ongoing work in drug testing and steroid-use prevention. “When he comes back, you will all have a lot of opportunities to talk to him. The fact that he’s coming back gives you an opportunity you wouldn’t have had. Think about that" (Fisher).

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