Expansion of replay not likely soon
Selig discusses Clemente, scheduling, review before Game 2
NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig held court with a group of writers after the Roberto Clemente Award presentation on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium, addressing a number of pertinent issues.
The key topics: He's against the expansion of using instant replay, although he said he'll continue to study the subject; he's in favor of playing at least one day game during the World Series; he will study the spacing of off-days during the postseason, and baseball will not retire Clemente's famous No. 21."Jackie Robinson transcended baseball," said Selig, who retired Robinson's No. 42 throughout the sport on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of him breaking the color barrier in 1947. "You want to be very careful about retiring numbers. We honor Roberto every chance we get in every other way we can." Because of missed calls in the first two rounds of the postseason, the subject of expanding the use of instant replay has been a common source of discussion over the past couple of weeks. Last year, the general managers voted to use replays on home runs only -- fair or foul, in the park or out. That's probably the way it's going to remain. "I've talked to a lot baseball people about this recently -- that includes on the field and executives," said Selig, explaining his position at length. "Believe me, they have a lot of trepidation about expanding it. [Angels manager] Mike Scioscia put it very well: The umpires get it right 99 percent of the time. "Times change, but I'm still in favor of keeping the human element as a part of it, and I'm also very concerned about pace. I think there are other ways we can make corrections. During the offseason we'll review everything. I've made my position clear, and by the way, I think it's the position of most people in baseball. You have to be very careful when you tamper with a sport." Day baseball during the World Series has often been an open question because the Fall Classic used to be played entirely during the day as late as 1970. The last day game to be played under an open sky was the final game of the 1984 World Series at Detroit -- a Game 5 Tigers victory over the Padres. The last World Series day game, in general, was played at the Metrodome in 1987 -- a Game 6 Twins win over the Cardinals.
The first World Series night game was Game 4 of the 1971 World Series between the Pirates and Orioles in Pittsburgh."I would like a day game, I've said that," Selig said. "I appreciate what FOX has done to accommodate us. Guys, we're starting tonight at 7:57, that's 35-40 minutes earlier. I hope there's some way we can figure out how to do this." As far as spacing of postseason games, two years ago, MLB decided to move the start of the World Series back from Saturday to Wednesday. That gave them several days to play with in the earlier rounds. For example, though, the Phillies have wiped out the Dodgers the past two years in five National League Championship Series games. Thus, they've had to wait six days each postseason to open the World Series. "We plan to take a look at it," Selig said. "But how do you know in the middle of March if a series in October is going to go three games, four games or five games. How do you know if you're going to need an East Coast-West Coast travel day as you did with Boston and Anaheim? You have to figure that out through the end of the League Championship Series." "I'm going to do the schedule myself next year. Next year, when you have a complaint, you can complain to me," he added, facetiously. "But it's tough. Look, you play 162 games. I've said for a long time that if the clubs want to go back to 154, we can reduce a lot of this. But they unanimously don't want to do that. The fact is, there's nothing much we can do. Do I hate going into November? Of course. Nobody worries about the weather more than I do."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.