Friday, June 4, 2010

There's No Goin' Back

  • Every wrong can't be righted----nor should it be:

This isn't Quantum Leap, a do-gooder hopping and inhabiting the bodies of one person after another, righting what once went wrong and hoping the next leap would be the leap....home.

And Bud Selig isn't Scott Bakula.

Technically, it was within Bud Selig's all-encompassing power to overturn the blown call by Jim Joyce that ruined Armando Galarraga's perfect game and rectify the mistake.

He could've done it. The short-term celebration that would've been forgotten relatively quickly except for another quirky baseball story that people will tell over and over again. The long-term consequences would've---not could've, would've----been disastrous.

Consider the following.

Let's say hypothetically the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays are all battling for the Wild Card/AL East title on the last weekend of the season----well within the realm of possibility. The Yankees and Red Sox are playing one another in Boston on the final weekend of the season and the playoff circumstances are going to be dictated by the result of Red Sox-Yankees.

The Rays have a 91-70 record; the Yankees are at 92-69; the Red Sox 91-70 as well. Now, let's say the Rays win their game over the Royals before the Yankees-Red Sox game is over. They're going to the playoffs----they think----with a record of 92-70.

The Yankees-Red Sox game ends with the tying run on third base as a dribbling ground ball down the third base line is barehanded by Alex Rodriguez and Jacoby Ellsbury is called out at first base on a bang-bang play. The Yankees win the game and the division. They're set to play the Twins in the first round, whom they always beat. The Rays have to play the Angels, and the Red Sox lose and are out of the playoffs despite a vociferous argument that Ellsbury was safe and the tying run should have scored...and the replay confirms this.

The precedent set by something so comparatively insignificant to the team/season concept as the Armando Galarraga overturned and awarded perfect game would dictate that something so important as a playoff spot also be reviewed and overturned as well.

And it is.

The commissioner's office has no choice----given the decision to award Galarraga a perfect game----but to give the Red Sox the tying run and order the game to resume from the disputed play. Let's say the Red Sox win the game.

Then what?

The Yankees had won the division, but the call being overturned cost them the game and has forced them to have to fight their way into the playoffs They suddenly haven't won the division. Suddenly, they're tied with the Rays and Red Sox and coins are flipped and chaos ensues to determine which teams have to play in a series of one-game playoffs for the opportunity to go to the playoffs as a division winner, a Wild Card winner and to go home.

The Yankees now have to play one or two one-game playoffs; and might have to play the Angels instead of the Twins. The Rays are in a similar situation and the Red Sox are granted an opportunity they wouldn't have had otherwise.

The Rays and Yankees are screaming blue murder; the Red Sox are thrilled; the fans from every fan base are freaking out from the blogs to the radio talk shows to Twitter; the calls to the commissioner's office are overwhelming the phone lines; the gamblers are threatening death to everyone involved----it goes on and on.

There are a million different scenarios that would be effective in describing why Selig couldn't alter the blown call in Galarraga's imperfect perfect game. He didn't change it because he couldn't change it and he was right not to do it.

In one of those odd situations where something wrong is strangely right, the Galarraga game will go down in history and be remembered more than it would've had Joyce gotten the call right. Selig overturning it would've made things far worse and been more dangerous in any number of ways than doing what he did and letting it stand.

He did the right thing.

  • to....INDICATE that former Orioles manager Dave TREM-bley looks like a spitting...IMAGE of....William....SHATNER!!!

After having had so many lean years in doing things owner Peter Angelos's way and patching holes in a haphazard fashion by buying declining veterans looking for their final paycheck and firing one manager after another, the Orioles rebuilt the right way under Andy MacPhail. They have a load of young talent and looked like a club that was sure to take a step forward this year. Their one question has always been in the manager's office with Trembley.

MacPhail is an executive who preferred stability to making capricious changes due to public pressure when things are going poorly and that extended to his managers. He ran the Twins with Tom Kelly as his manager; and the Cubs with Dusty Baker. Trembley has been the Orioles manager since mid-season 2007 when he replaced Sam Perlozzo and the club never improved to any great degree with him at the helm.

Year-after-year, they got off to solid starts and collapsed over the final months of the season losing, losing and losing some more. It was fair to absolve him of some of the responsibility for the poor results because of the division in which the Orioles play and that the talent level was limited; but this year, while they weren't expected to contend for a playoff spot, they were supposed to improve and they haven't.

In full context, the division is still as nightmarish as it was in past years and is in fact worse because the Blue Jays have played so well. The young pitching hasn't developed as expected, but that's par for the course when developing youth----sometimes it takes time. To be completely fair, MacPhail's moves have failed more than anything Trembley did. Garrett Atkins, Miguel Tejada, Kevin Millwood and Mike Gonzalez have been disasters.

MacPhail had to know this and for that reason may have been reluctant to toss Trembley overboard because it was as much MacPhail's responsibility as it was Trembley's; but the fan base has grown so sick of the losing and had to come face-to-face with the next-door Nationals being so respectable and preparing for the gathering storm of the Stephen Strasburg arrival that the Orioles had to do something if only for the sake of appearance.

In the end, the team wasn't getting any better under Trembley; he wasn't going to be the manager when the club turned the corner, so it makes sense to fire him now.

Trembley will get another job in baseball. He is quite admirable having worked his way up through the coaching ranks similarly to a football or hockey coach who didn't necessarily have to have played the game to be able to run a clubhouse. His rise was organic from the low minors all the way up to the big leagues and he should be lauded for that even though his results were poor.

The hiring of Juan Samuel to take over as interim manager is curious. From the outside it appears that Angelos has forced MacPhail's hand. The wise choice would've been Triple A Norfolk manager Gary Allenson (who will be taking over for Samuel as third base coach), but with the season lost, maybe it's a better idea to let Allenson function as as coach, get the lay of the land for the rest of the season and take over next year.2010BaseballGuideCover.gif

I was a guest with Sal at SportsFan Buzz eight days ago. Listen here.

My book is still available on Amazon, I-Universe and Barnes and It's available for download as an E-book here. You can also now get it for less that five bucks on BN via download here.

I am tonight's entertainment!!!


Jeff said...

Totally agree on the Selig tip. This is why this family is tops. We see the big picture.

Matt said...

Paul, great job putting the quantum leap baseball scenario in perspective. Though I for one would welcome the idea of reversing the Denkinger call from 85' and ordering those men out of retirement to do the rest of the series over again. Now that's entertainment!