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Selig Won't Budge On Replays? He Should Ask Galarraga

What will it take to get more replay in baseball, with Bud Selig saying "No" to its expanded use in the postseason? George examines the issue.

Commissioner Bud Selig says he won't expand video replay for this postseason beyond the toe-dip into home run boundary calls.

Traditionalism and timidity -- perhaps fear of invoking the job-security nervousness of umpires -- prevails over simply getting the calls right.

Nowhere among Selig's platitudes did the commish say he talked to one of the men who provoked the debate over using existing technlogy to supplement the umpires, not start down the road to replacing them with coldly efficient computer gizmos.

"Maybe they can give two options (per game, per manager) to have them look at replays," said Armando Galarraga.

You remember Galarraga. The Detroit Tigers right-hander would be in the books with a perfect game 10 ways to Sunday except for a horribly blown call by first-base ump Jim Joyce on the final play of the June 2 game against the Indians, Galarraga beating a baserunner to first by at least half a step. Joyce realized he screwed up, apologized immediately to the pitcher and the sight of the two meeting the next day in the ultimate act of sportsmanship -- Galarraga presenting home-plate ump Joyce with the lineup card.

Selig felt the whole episode was a grand display of the best baseball had to offer in gentleman upholding the human factor. But, subsequently, more close plays at first have been exposed by dead-on camera angles to show umpire errors. Replays have been easily worked into all other pro sports, including the overhead camera angle that confirmed Patrick Kane's Stanley Cup-clinching goal for the Blackhawks. But Selig and the old guard will resist  due to hide-bound traditionalism.

Even Galarraga, who suggested the replay expansion while the Tigers were in town recently to play the White Sox, is an advocate of the human factor remaining predominant in baseball.

"We are humans, we make mistakes," he said. "That's why it's such a difficult game."

But here's an interesting angle. Just as players have to work their rears off in the winter to improve, so should the umpires, said Galarraga.

"The players work hard, they swing more strongly, they throw harder (after working out)," he said. "I think the umpires have to make adjustments."

Since Galarraga is not questioning a specific umpire's ball-strike calls, he is suggesting they find a way to better call pitchers from the game's increasing corps of flame-throwers.

"Before, it was more easier to call (pitches) behind home plate for a guy throwing 85, 86 (mph)," he said. "Well, nobody's throwing 85 or 86 anymore. It['s hard to see a fastball thrown 96, 97 and being located. The umpires have to practice more. I don't know how they can (specifically) do it."

In any addition of replays, Galarraga wants the lords of the game to take care not to lengthen games significantly due to the review times. The difference between baseball and other sports is its frequency -- 162 games vs. 16 for the NFL. The long season cannot afford to increase gametimes, so the number of mangerial challenges should be rationed to the four per game Galarraga suggested.

What the game will require to move the replay issue forward is another Don Denkinger fiasco, essentially deciding a World Series. A spring game at Comerica Park won't have the same impact as what Major League Baseball calls its "jewel" event. Baseball tends not to be proactive and reacts only to negativity hidding it aside the head.

Does the issue of steroids come to mind as far as that process goes? And, much more recently, maple bats exploding and impaling players?

Four challenges per game on basepath plays and boundary issues.  Sounds like a plan any forward-thinking sports mogul would embrace. Forward-thinking, I emphasize.