SweetSpot: umpiring

No changes in umpiring ... or anything else

October, 13, 2009
10/13/09
6:17
PM ET
Before launching into a long and loving ode to the myriad of blown calls in this year's Division Series, Kevin Hench takes a moment for a little trip to the woodshed with the Commish ...
    So let's be clear. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig does not want a team to lose a game or, Heaven forbid, a championship on an umpire's correctable gaffe on a home run call.

    But he's still fine with a team losing on any other kind of blown call.

    That's right, Cardinals fans, 24 years worth of advances in high-definition replay after Todd Worrell's foot beat Jorge Orta's to the bag and Selig would still rather have the wrong team win the World Series than expand the use of replay.

    "I'm quite satisfied the way things are," the Commish told FOXSports.com. "We need to do a little work, clean up some things. But do I think we need more replay? No. Baseball is not the kind of game that can have interminable delays."

    Uh, yes it is. It's precisely that kind of game. The whole sport is sort of an interminable delay interrupted by spasms of thrilling action.

In fairness to the commish, there are legitimate concerns about time management, in the event of expanded use of video review. I believe those concerns can be reasonably and effectively addressed, but they should not be dismissed out of hand.

I'm bringing this subject up (again) for one reason: to explain why we're not going to see more video review in the foreseeable future. We're not going to see it because nothing happens in Major League Baseball without the commish's assent, and the commish is finished with this one.

Bud Selig has been described as a revolutionary, but of course today's revolutionary is tomorrow's reactionary. Realignment and wild cards; interleague play; expansion; franchise movement; "this time it counts"; video review ... what do all these things have in common? All have happened on commissioner Selig's watch, and nearly all have not been revisited since, even in the face of obvious deficiencies. Do we really want to see the Royals playing the Pirates in June? Are all 30 franchises perfectly placed? Is 30 the perfect number of franchises? Is the All-Star Game the best way to determine the home team in the World Series.

Perhaps. Perhaps not. My point is that these discussions are essentially irrelevant as long as Bud Selig is commissioner. I promise you that the moment a new commissioner is in place, the offices at Major League Baseball and within the 30 franchises around the nation (plus Toronto) will be buzzing with talk about addressing these and other core issues.

Today, though? The commissioner has done what he's wanted to do. Why do something else now?

SPONSORED HEADLINES