How can it be acceptable for millions to watch the advanced technology of TV replay -- in HD even! -- clearly showing a runner being thrown out at first base while an umpire calls him safe? And this was not just any hitter running out any infield grounder. This was the 27th batter in what had been up to then a perfect game thrown by the opposing pitcher. All 26 hitters who had come to the plate over eight and two-thirds innings had made out. No hitter had reached base. No hits. No Walks. No errors. No way. Perfect.
And then -- the 27th batter grounds harmlessly to the right side of the infield. Everyone on the field and everyone in the stands -- and of course everyone watching on television -- knew the meaning of this ground ball. This was it. The last out. A perfect game had been pitched.
But no. The first base umpire impossibly signaled "safe." It wasn't a bad call. It was the worst call in the whole history of Major League Baseball. TV replays endlessly showed the play at the bag wasn't even close. This was not a bang-bang play -- throw hits the fielder's glove at the same time the batter's foot hits the bag. This was the most common form of runner out by a half step. This was the sort of play an umpire calls a million times in his career. But how often does an umpire get to call the final out of perfect game? How often is history denied?
If such a dispute had happened in the NFL, the NBA or the NHL, the officials would have gone to the TV monitor and watched the replay. In football nearly every play is reviewable. In basketball, all plays involving the time clock are subject to TV review. And in hockey, no goal counts if the TV replay shows it wasn't properly scored. Umpires are human. They do make errors. But some mistakes can be caught and fixed. This was one. Baseball could have changed the call from "safe" to "out" and the pitcher would have had his justly earned perfect game. But Major League Baseball will only use TV replay for questionable home runs. Why?
Among all the major sports, Baseball probably has the most disrespected commissioner. Bud Selig has been an ineffective, weak-kneed errand boy for the owners. He's an owner himself. The Selig family owns the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League. The commissioner's complete lack of credibility has never garnered him fan acceptance as a leader of his sport. He is seen instead as the spokesman for the cabal of team owners. Despite that, Bud Selig is supposed to be in charge of Major League Baseball. He has the power to do what's right.
Commissioner Selig can change his and Major League Baseball's reputation with a firm and simple action. He can use the power of his office and in so doing become a fan hero. He can even earn the respect of the players. All he needs to do is step up. Selig should order the correction of the umpire's terrible call. He should declare that the hitter was out, that a perfect game had indeed been pitched. We already know that's what really happened. This wasn't a ground ball in the fifth or sixth inning. This was the last out. The game should have been over. The commissioner can make it so. He can restore reality and good sense to the management of America's time honored game.
Bud Selig -- do it!