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Thursday, June 3, 2010
Girardi: Review, but don't beef up replay

By Kieran Darcy
ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- At Yankee Stadium on Thursday morning, the main topic of conversation was not the upcoming matinee between the Yankees and Baltimore Orioles.

It was the blown call that cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game Wednesday night.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi expressed sympathy for Galarraga and for Jim Joyce, the umpire who admitted getting the call wrong at first base with two outs in the ninth inning in Detroit.

"I felt bad for both," Girardi said after seeing the replay for the first time Thursday morning.

Girardi played 15 seasons in the major leagues before becoming a manager, so he is familiar with Joyce, who has been a full-time big league umpire since 1989.

Joyce is widely regarded as one of the best umpires in Major League Baseball, having worked two World Series, 11 other playoff series and two All-Star Games.

"He's an umpire that, as a catcher, you could always talk to," Girardi said. "He does a very good job on the bases, as well as balls and strikes.

"My heart goes out to him. He's been a very good umpire for a very long time."

"Everybody makes mistakes," Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson said.

After the game in Detroit on Wednesday night, a distraught Joyce was quoted as saying, "It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the [stuff] out of it."

Girardi didn't quite share Joyce's view of the career importance of the call. "The guy has worked World Series games," Girardi said.

Girardi said he believes the hardest call in baseball, at least from his vantage point, is a close play at first base. But he is not in favor of greatly expanding the use of instant replay -- right now, it can be used only for questionable home runs. Girardi doesn't want the rhythm of the game interrupted for pitchers, hitters and the players in the field.

Granderson concurred, pointing out how much slower the pace of the game would be with an increased use of replay. "So many elements of the game are bang-bang," Granderson said.

As of Thursday afternoon, Major League Baseball was still deciding whether to review Joyce's call. Commissioner Bud Selig does have the power to reverse it. Granderson did not support making any changes, arguing that it would be unfair to what's transpired before in baseball history, and would set a dangerous precedent going forward.

Girardi, on the other hand, was in support of a review. "You're talking about a historical event," Girardi said, calling it "about as unique a situation as you're ever gonna come across."

If the call was reversed, Joyce's name would not live in baseball infamy.

"A guy can have an unbelievable career, and it can be marked for one [bad] moment," Girardi said. "It's a shame."

Kieran Darcy is a staff writer for ESPNNewYork.com.