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In Wilbon's World

Give it to him, Bud

Of course Bud Selig should ignore the "baseball purists" who are for the most part self-appointed sanctimonious irritants, and declare Armando Galarraga's Wednesday night masterpiece an official perfect game. It's a no-brainer. There's no downside to it. There's no presumption. The erroneous "safe" call on the 3-1 put-out was the 27th and final out of the game. This wasn't some sixth inning mishap that calls on officials to speculate on what might have happened. The Cleveland Indians runner was out, period. Game over. Galarraga, above all else, earned the perfect game.

Second, umpire Jim Joyce, needs an assist from his bosses in MLB. He admirably admitted his error, repeatedly. I can't think of any other time when a referee/umpire so endeared himself to the sporting public and to the people he officiates. Joyce's tears in the day-after game Thursday told just how sorry he was that he cost Galarraga a perfect game. Now, Selig ought to save Joyce from ridicule for the rest of his career by declaring this a perfect game.

I don't care that it can't get Don Denkinger off the hook, or that baseball's thousands of erroneous calls over 150 years go unaltered. Selig can address this mistake, and should, because we all know, through replay, the runner was out. It's undisputed. We have evidence now that Judge Landis didn't have in 1927. There's nothing dumber than trying to ignore what all of us see so plainly at home. Figure out how to use replay as wisely, in a limited capacity of course, the way the NHL used it to get the calls right on the same evening in the Stanley Cup finals series between the Blackhawks and Flyers.

Galarraga, from his wry smile to hugging Joyce, demonstrated a humanity and sense of decency most competitive people simply couldn't muster under such circumstances. Can you imagine what Roger Clemens would have done? I'd have had a George Brett-style pine tar fit had that call been made to ruin my perfect game. Galarraga's ability to be so composed in such a heated moment is amazing. Everybody has behaved so far (even the runner who was called safe when he knew he was out) in exemplary fashion, even admirably...which doesn't happen every day in sports anymore. Now, so should Bud Selig. He's going to take heat either way, so take it after doing the right thing, the smart thing for baseball, for the pitcher, the umpire, for everything involved. Call it what it is: a perfect game.

By

Michael Wilbon

 |  June 3, 2010; 11:31 PM ET  |  Category:  MLB Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Mr. Wilbon,

I heard your defense of Albert Haynesworth yesterday on PTI by supporting Mr. Haynesworth's claims that the Redskins lied to him. I am not surprised that Mr. Haynesworth and his agent Mr. Speck would come up with such a lame excuse to defend his indefensible actions. But I am very surprised that you would take his side.

I understand that the Redskins recent history of personnel moves and player relationships in general have not been always stellar but in Mr. Haynesworth's case he is totally at fault.

First he and his agent knew Jim Zorn and staff were on the hot seat coming into the 2009 season. Had Mr. Haynesworth been more dedicated to his profession and been in the proper condition to perform at an All-pro level just maybe that 4-12 record could have been better and he could still be in the 4-3 defense with the Jim Zorn’s staff right now. His lack of effort was a key reason for the Redskins’ poor record so he need not go much further than the nearest mirror if he is looking for someone to blame.

Posted by: tbonesr | June 17, 2010 7:38 AM
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I don't mind if they change the call, as long as they first go back and review what every player was doing on every other play of the game and change any other calls that may have been made or not made in error. Oh, and also do the same thing for every other baseball game. In history.

Posted by: jfiorill | June 7, 2010 11:06 AM
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I disagree Mike.

I'm not a "purist". I just don't like setting a precedent that a Commissioner can change a call in a game. Selig should just come out and say "i'm just not going down that road." If the runner was obviously safe, and called out, would there be this cry to take the perfect game away? I dont think so. If he changed the call it would have nothing to do with fairness or getting the call right, it would be based on emotion. We want him to have the perfect game, so lets make it happen. Bud is doing the right thing, but in a clumsy way.

Posted by: jkp7 | June 4, 2010 5:52 PM
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What matters is that Galarraga didn't get the experience he earned in the moment he earned it. No post hoc changes to the official outcome will change that, nor will it (or should it, IMO) likely diminish the shame Jim Joyce feels at having erred, as humans do, and deprived him of it.

I'm not an implacable "rules are rules" guy, and I would change outcomes to make them right when doing so would make the right kind of difference. But here it seems like an empty symbolic act.

Let's remember the event for what it was. If we broaden that memory to include the great sportsmanship in the aftermath, in a lot of ways this is even more unique and memorable than a perfect game. After all, the guy got 28 consecutive outs.

Posted by: AndJuan | June 4, 2010 3:57 PM
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I cannot think of anything more misguided than the comment below that "rules are rules." No, dude, they're not. There is something called nuance, justice, etc. "Rules are rules" when you're in kindergarten, then adult reason takes over. If "rules are rules," should we just build cars that explode when a person drives over 65mph, because they broke the rule? Rules are not rules, dummy. It's because of people like you that we had George W. in office for 8 years.

Also, to the others: please stop with the racism. Just stop. Please.

Posted by: Urnesto | June 4, 2010 3:09 PM
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"self-appointed sanctimonious irritants"
Self awareness isn't your strong suit, is it Mr. Wilbon?

Posted by: Gutavo | June 4, 2010 3:03 PM
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It figures Wilbon would have no trouble making up the rules to suit his desires.

Like laws, rules are rules.

When egregious things happen, it's called life. Life is too short to spend it whining.

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | June 4, 2010 1:56 PM
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Come on Mike, the budster has had many, many occasions to do the right thing and has yet to achieve success. This sniveling clown wouldn't know the right thing if it bit him on his puppet ass. The only reason that he is commish is because no one , I mean NO ONE thinks he has a back bone or a brain. The owners treat him like the joke that he is and the unions ignore him. The systematic breakdown of MLB umpire is in progress, we are heading back to the days when that big fat guys couldn't run to get into position and they were provoking players, somehow thinking that we paid money to see their fat butts. The budster has let this situation deteriorate lie he did the steroid problem. Now we have a case where he can do the right thing to help a classy player and get one of the few competent and classy umpires off the hook. Do you really think that there is a chance in hell that this buffoon will do the right thing??? Please!

Posted by: Phillip258 | June 4, 2010 1:42 PM
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To all of you who are attacking Mike Wilbon, I say go eat jagged hot rocks. Mike calls it as he sees it and if you can't handle that, well go jump in front of a Mac truck doing 60 miles per hour. Jeeez all y'all can "biatch" about is black this, colored that. Put a suck in it morons! Bud silly Selig is indeed dumber than a rock.

Posted by: Henry_of_BrowardCounty | June 4, 2010 1:35 PM
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Many shared outrage at Bud Selig, but after all of the press coverage in national media - NY Times; great columns in the Washington Post; USA Today , 5649 newspapers stories(and counting) and 950,0000 Google hits; The Today show on NBC this morning; ESPN and MLB Network covering it for hours with repeated, but varied, stories; and the Hall of Fame already establishing a permanent display - it will clearly go down next to Don Larsen's perfect game in the world series as one of the great moments in baseball history.

While I suspect that MLB will eventually recognize it as a perfect game, its standing in baseball lore will be because of the class with which everyone handled a mistake. Galarraga's, Leland, and Jim Joyce's behavior go very far toward erasing the steroid blot. It is a historic high note for the Tigers and MLB.

Grand Rapids, Michigan


Posted by: rwmw1958 | June 4, 2010 1:26 PM
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"self-appointed sanctimonious irritants", I like that quote. Though many sports journalist fit the bill (and Wilbon is a sometime member himself), baseball is full of this breed. #1 - Bob Costas!

if this guy were a sure fire hall of famer full of nostalgic story lines to support his immortality, the baseball press would be all over this killing Selig. however, since this guy is a probable journeyman, just as likely to be out of baseball in 3-5 years no one really cares. And there lies the problem with baseball. the game cannot rival the story.

Posted by: whomp1 | June 4, 2010 1:22 PM
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Even as a relative unknown this young man makes more money than most of us could dream of pulling in. As a result of his efforts his team won the game. He got a new Corvette.

All this tells me that he has been properly "rewarded."

Posted by: Cossackathon | June 4, 2010 12:59 PM
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The NFL admits officiating errors regularly. But their usual response is (I'm paraphrasing here), "We screwed up. Too bad, so sad, you're SOL." At least here there's some hand-wringing. But the rules are what they are. Galarraga threw a one-hitter.

Posted by: huguenotklj | June 4, 2010 12:36 PM
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Umpire admitted mistake; reverse the call; this is an easy one, Bud.

. . . And if anyone can speak to "self-appointed sanctimonious irritants," it's you, Wilbon.

Posted by: Fief1 | June 4, 2010 12:32 PM
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That would be playing god!

Posted by: jrb947 | June 4, 2010 12:31 PM
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Yes, kieran, you are right, but you cannot just pick and choose.

All sports circumstances build on each other like dominos. A missed ball that was uncalled means a missed opportunity.

You either correct all the calls, using technology, in the whole game, and "clean" it, or let is sit as is.

If someone analyzed any "perfect" game, throughout history, with today's technology, that one could find incorrect ball/strike calls that would changed this designation.


kieran said:


"Not correcting an obvious wrong makes no sense. No way around that.
As far as life lessons go. History has certainly shown that those who do what is right have certainly made the world a much better place than those who are strict on following the rules."

Posted by: jackson641 | June 4, 2010 12:21 PM
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I kind of like sticking to the rules. He got a car out of it and a lot of overnight fame.

Posted by: celestun100 | June 4, 2010 12:21 PM
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This is indeed a no brainer. It's different than every other umpire error that's been described in the past two days.

The precedent being set is just this: if it's an obvious and verifiably wrong call that extends a game past the proper final out (repeat: FINAL OUT), MLB should correct the error. So the last batter's plate appearance gets erased. Big deal. This isn't unusual: full or partial innings are scrubbed from the books for rain postponements or shortened games. Doubles and triples aren't recorded when a walkoff run scores (home runs count only because of a special clause in the rules!)

Let's give the pitcher, his fielders (who certainly deserve to share in the accomplishment), and the team credit now and forever. Future fans deserve to see the record posted in subsequent annual histories of the team. It shouldn't be relegated to being an answer to a trivia question.

Posted by: austinetc | June 4, 2010 12:18 PM
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This line of thinking comes from a guy who loves basketball. The NBA makes up and ignores rules as they go, especially if someone is a superstar. I mean, why have integrity in the game?

Maybe other sports should go back and review some games. The Lakers wouldn't have beaten the Kings, MJ might have a few less titles, and maybe the tuck rule never happens.

Posted by: JeffBarham | June 4, 2010 12:14 PM
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Mike, We all know you have no knowledge on baseball so why start now.

Posted by: MARKHAGNER | June 4, 2010 12:10 PM
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This is indeed a no brainer. It's different than every other umpire error that's been described in the past two days.

The precedent being set is just this: if it's an obvious and verifiably wrong call that extends a game past the proper final out (repeat: FINAL OUT), MLB should correct the error. So the last batter's plate appearance gets erased. Big deal. This isn't unusual: full or partial innings are scrubbed from the books for rain postponements or shortened games. Doubles and triples aren't recorded when a walkoff run scores (home runs count only because of a special clause in the rules!)

Let's give the pitcher, his fielders (who certainly deserve to share in the accomplishment), and the team credit now and forever. Future fans deserve to see the record posted in subsequent annual histories of the team. It shouldn't be relegated to being an answer to a trivia question.

Posted by: austinetc | June 4, 2010 12:07 PM
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Should they also go back and ensure that the Home plate ump made no mistakes on called strikes that could have led to a walk? Were there any other close plays in the game that could have resulted in review? Don't think it is right to review only one call in the game. If we are going to review, review everything. Otherwise, let it go. He will probably be more famous if it never gets overturned

Posted by: td010157 | June 4, 2010 11:49 AM
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One perfect game isn't going to put you in the Hall of Fame. Yes, it would be nice to go down in the record books, but would it really matter to you anymore? Gallaraga knows he pitched a perfect game, and that's all that matters. Even if Selig was to change the call it would not give Gallaraga that moment to be bombarded by his teammates and celebrate a great feat. The call could be overturned, but the celebration would be nothing more than a handshake and a smile. And... if Selig did overturn the call, what backlash would we see from his precedence?

Posted by: travisb1 | June 4, 2010 11:41 AM
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Jackson
Not correcting an obvious wrong makes no sense. No way around that.

As far as life lessons go. History has certainly shown that those who do what is right have certainly made the world a much better place than those who are strict on following the rules.

Posted by: kieran2001 | June 4, 2010 11:33 AM
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@therev1 (June 4, 2010 8:36 AM)
"The ump should be fired. In fact, fire them all and start from scratch. A 10 year-old could do the job."

-----------------------------------------

Yeah, and you're just the 10-year-old to do it. I bet you've never umped or reffed a game in your life. Why don't you try it a few times and we can all see just how perfect you are. I guarantee you that ump is 100 times better in his job than you'll ever be in yours.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | June 4, 2010 11:23 AM
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Right on, Michael. But Selig will do what he has always done: blow the call.

Posted by: jamie_kirkpatrick | June 4, 2010 11:20 AM
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What's one more indictment against Bud Selig as worst baseball commish in history? I look forward to Selig leaving baseball in two years. He's trashed the game in so many ways I've lost count. Go back to selling used cars Bud. Hopefully the next commish can fix all of Bud's screw ups.

Posted by: kmp1 | June 4, 2010 11:13 AM
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Wilbon, why are you taking a break from your basketball bimbos to write about baseball? Go back to writing about something you know.

Posted by: angelos_peter | June 4, 2010 10:57 AM
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Why is Michael Wilbon writing articles on Baseball? Stick to Basketball homie and whatever ESPN tells you to do.

Posted by: thedc_kid | June 4, 2010 10:24 AM
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this is a silly analogy kieran2001:

"As far as Pelican's go, BP is merely following the Major League Baseball approach not destroying the "integrity" of the situation by trying to counteract human error."

in fact, it makes no sense.

anyway, you can't pick and choose which situations to correct. All bad calls build on each other and there are probably half a dozen per game that would lead to different outcomes if reversed.

Set the rules at the beginning and technologies or methodologies to implement them at the season's outset. Let the chips fall where they may.

If a multi-million dollar pitcher gets upset because his record is tarnished inappropriately then he is weak and does not understand a basic tenet of life: respect comes from within.

Posted by: jackson641 | June 4, 2010 10:22 AM
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Jackson:
I defy you or anyone to find anywhere in the rulebook that says the commissioner cannot overrule an umpire's call. In fact it has been done.

As far as Pelican's go, BP is merely following the Major League Baseball approach not destroying the "integrity" of the situation by trying to counteract human error.

Posted by: kieran2001 | June 4, 2010 10:08 AM
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You can't pick and choose which calls to reverse. Rules are rules.

Pelicans are covered with oil and you got a pitcher who makes five grand a pitch and you feel sorry for him. FIVE GRAND a pitch!!!

Get over it.

Posted by: jackson641 | June 4, 2010 10:02 AM
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There are 2 types of mistakes in life. Those that can be easily fixed and those that cannot. This would seem to fall into the former. To not WANT to fix it, due to some notion that fallibility is an important aspect to the game is nearly beyond comprehension. Every other sport has already instituted measures to prevent such an occurrence. Selig, once again, has found himself in the middle of something that he could have easily corrected with 1% of foresight.

Posted by: kieran2001 | June 4, 2010 9:54 AM
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Does Selig realize how desperately he needs to build up good will for baseball? Does he know how many kids play soccer and how my ten year old cousin doesn't even know who Derek Jeter is? When I was his age, I could have picked out Reggie Jackson anywhere. Does he realize that only people over 30 can remember a time in baseball before there were strikes and steroid abuse?

The Yankees don't even have enough money to buy the kind of goodwill that Galarraga and Joyce have endeared over the past two days. Many a Tigers fan scrips and saves to pay for tickets in hard hit, economically depressed Detroit. Jim Leyland told his players last year to run out every ground ball because they had to respect the folks who worked so hard to pay to get in there. Then his pitcher gets up and gives the folks in the $20 seats $20,000 worth of work and Bud Selig won't declare it a perfect game?

How do we go about getting a new baseball commissioner? Someone with the ability to see that when everyone admits they made a mistake, he should too.

Posted by: DCFem | June 4, 2010 9:51 AM
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I listened to Dave and Charlie comment about this on the Nats game radio broadcast last night, and they agreed that despite the circumstances, the perfect game couldn't be assigned by the commisioner because it would supposedly open the floodgates on all kinds of past mistakes and contradicted calls.

I have to disagree. There is no need to change a game outcome or the score in this instance. There would be no ripple or domino effect, history wouldn't be be rewritten. This is a pretty unique situation, that addresses only the pitcher's personal record, with zero ambiguity involved. Just declare it a perfect game by fiat without altering the actual box score, not even changing the ump's incorrect call after the fact, because everybody agrees and the evidence shows it was a perfect game and nothing is in dispute. Make a justified exception and simply slap the official tag on what everybody already acknowledges.

And I'd put an asterisk next to it -- not as some kind of qualifier on the accomplishment itself (which isn't needed or warranted), but as an indicator of the mistaken call, a historical reminder to future generations that, as the pitcher and the ump both stated, all humans make mistakes (and good humans apologize for them, and forgive those who do), but sometimes if we're fortunate we have the chance to recognize and correct for our mistakes. An asterisk, rather than being perceived as a potential negative, would in the fullness of time actually serve to highlight and memorialize the specialness of what happened the night of and the day after, and make this game stand out in a positive and instructive way among the history of perfect games, umpiring, and of baseball in general.

Posted by: evanescent_panoply | June 4, 2010 9:29 AM
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"self-appointed sanctimonious irritants"
______________________________
Any chance that maybe the people who disagree with you have a good reason and are well intentioned? We also pay your salary bro so stay classy.

Posted by: bob29 | June 4, 2010 9:23 AM
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Speaking of self-appointed sanctimonious irritants.

Fine change the call, but then you have to go back to the bottom of the 8th and change the same call for Detroit leading to 2 runs. And since they play different when down by 1 because of some "unwritten" rule about no bunting in the 9th inning of a no-hitter, buntings back in play. Or do you just change the call for one and not both? By the way, if the call had been reversed and the runner had been safe but called out would you be calling for a reversal, taking away the perfect game. I highly doubt it.

Posted by: RussellCox | June 4, 2010 9:15 AM
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The rules say that calls are made by the umpire and the records reflect the outcome. You can't alter records as you choose. You don't like imperfection? Then institute instant reply.

Myself, I can live with imperfection. The technology is not without flaws and it ruins the game.

The pitcher knows what he accomplished and so do baseball purists. The guy makes what, five grand per pitch, and we need to feel sorry about one bad call that went against him?


Forget about it. You got pelicans dripping with oil and you are worried about a pitcher who makes 5 million a year having a call go against him.

Moronic.

Posted by: jackson641 | June 4, 2010 9:10 AM
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Love it when a writer starts a piece by calling everyone who even might disagree with him names. Stay classy, Mike.

Posted by: guyfromjersey | June 4, 2010 8:55 AM
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Bud Selig should just simply do the right thing. "Rule it a perfect game". Follow the example of umpire Joyce and the entire Tiger team and show some class & sportsmanship.

Posted by: johnstrack1 | June 4, 2010 8:39 AM
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It's a no brainer. And Selig again proves he has no brain - he's decided not to reverse the call.

Posted by: octobertea | June 4, 2010 8:38 AM
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"There's nothing dumber than trying to ignore what all of us see so plainly at home."

Bud Selig is dumber than a rock and as sentient. I myself will quit watching baseball. Dumb rocks trashed The Senators TWICE, dumb rock Angelos trashed the Orioles. Selig will no more overturn the call than the sun will rise in the west from now on. Screw the game, full speed ahead.

BTW - The ump should be fired. In fact, fire them all and start from scratch. A 10 year-old could do the job.

Posted by: therev1 | June 4, 2010 8:36 AM
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Clearly this perfect game has 28 outs.

The game was perfect, but the umpire was not.


It is just a commentary on life in general - one can be perfect - but there is always something in the world which creates a flaw in that perfection.

It is almost a confirmation of original sin.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 4, 2010 8:35 AM
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@jakeyrotten:

you seem to be an aptly named moronic cracker ... go crawl back under your rock.

Posted by: fendertweed | June 4, 2010 8:31 AM
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I can only imagine what this column would've looked like had the pitcher been black.

Posted by: jakeyrotten | June 4, 2010 8:13 AM
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Last night Ken Burns said eventually this travesty will be corrected by baseball, and I tend to agree with him. Baseball hierarchy is much like that of the Catholic church; they did exonerate Galileo after 400 years or so.

Posted by: nicksak | June 4, 2010 8:08 AM
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The right way, the wrong way & Bud Seligs way. Dumb & Dumber! Let's add a new record in the book. Only player to record & win a perfect game with more than 27 outs.

Posted by: pat1652 | June 4, 2010 8:07 AM
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I used to enjoy your column, but in recent years its become largely in calling people who disagree with you names. I guess that makes me a fool, but I'm giving up.

Posted by: markfromark | June 4, 2010 7:44 AM
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It's simple. The ump said he was in error and Selig should correct that error. It's for the betterment of baseball. No results were changed but a player receives the credit he deserves. There's so much wrong with baseball today, this could be one step to correct the public's perception .

Posted by: msjn1 | June 4, 2010 7:26 AM
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Totally agree, Wilbon. Everyone knows it was a perfect game. Let the record show it.

Posted by: indvoter37 | June 4, 2010 7:17 AM
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Mike==Stick to Basketball. Bad hops, bad weather, bad plays, and bad calls are part of the game. The aftermath of this event was way better than if the pitcher had actually been given credit for a perfect game. The Sports World needs to see good examples of good sportsmanship when they are used to Lebron James, etc. It is what it is. Let it go.

Posted by: maxlibbee | June 4, 2010 7:16 AM
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Well, a blind squirrel did find an acorn....Nice job Wilbon!

Posted by: KDSmallJr | June 4, 2010 6:47 AM
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Loved everything about the people involved in this play. Great for baseball!! Best baseball moment since Cal's retirement night.
Imagine, real sportsmanship being shown to our little league kids (and parents).

Due the right thing Bud and make this the perfect baseball moment. But be very careful with replay rule. As a Yankee fan I do not need longer games.

Posted by: ckellywallace | June 4, 2010 6:42 AM
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Come on Wilbon isn't brown black enough for you to play your usual race card? Clearly an issue of a white ump trying to keep the men of color out of the record books.

Posted by: NICKYNUNYA | June 4, 2010 6:18 AM
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Wilbon, when you're right, you're right. This one was a no-brainer (fill in Bud Selig joke here).

Posted by: jksesq1 | June 4, 2010 1:24 AM
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