Baseball’s Stubborn Refusal to Change

I will admit right up front that I’m not the biggest baseball fan in the world. I’m a football guy, and that’s a fact.

Still, it’s hard not to pay attention to baseball if you’re a sports nut, which I am. I’ve been following the Royals this year for the first time in a long time. Partly that’s because I switched from listening to political talk radio to listening to sports talk radio… in the interest of not having a nervous breakdown.

Baseball has stubbornly clung to the “old ways” of doing things… insisting that the “human element” is a critical component of the game. By that they mean they hate technology and hate replay. They’d prefer to let the umps make the calls wrong or right.

Never was this stubborn stupidity more clear than this week, when Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers pitched a perfect game but wasn’t given credit because of a blown call on the last out of the game. It was not a close call. It wasn’t an understandable result of fast action. It was a terribly, obvious blown call. The runner was out, and the ump called him safe.

This robbed Galarraga of a guaranteed spot in the Hall of Fame. Robbed him of being one of only 21 people to ever throw a perfect game, out of more than 300,000 games played in the past 130 years.

Galarraga through it all has been the essence of class and professionalism, even telling the ump after the game that “nobody’s perfect, everyone makes mistakes.” When the call was made, he smiled knowingly, walked back to the mound, and got a 28th batter out.

Bud Selig, the emperor of Major League Baseball, had the opportunity to make it right. Everyone knows it was a bad call – even the ump. 80% of the baseball fans in the world wanted Selig to overturn the call and give Galarraga his much-deserved perfect game.

Selig stubbornly refused to reverse the call.

He falls into the 20% of people who ruin baseball. People who think the tradition of baseball will be ruined by replay. Who think that decades of records will unravel if we set a “precedent” (of doing the right thing).

Sadly, Selig is where the buck stops for now. Galarraga will never officially have that perfect game. But we all know he got it, and that is why baseball is a dying breed.