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One of Commissioner Bud Selig’s objections to the use of Instant Replay in Major League Baseball is that it slows down the game.  I’ve always found that one a somewhat soft argument.  Case in point: I turned on the TV this afternoon and caught a small part of the Little League World Series Ohio vs. New Jersey game.  In the bottom of the third inning, the 3B for Ohio made a great play on a grounder and threw out the runner at first.  However, the first base umpire called him safe.

The Ohio manager came out, asked the umpires to get together and see if anyone got a better view of the play.  When no umpire said he had a better view, the manager asked for a replay.  Obviously the replay showed the runner was out.  After about 1 total minute, the play was reversed.

How did this slow the game down?  If the awesome Derek Jeter can step out the batter’s box after every pitch and readjust both gloves, his helmet and tap almost every part of the plate with his bat, how is that any different?

Under the LLWS rules, the manager can pretty much request a replay of almost all plays as long as the calls continue to go in his favor.

Although I support the use of replay in baseball, I do agree with Selig on one point – replay should never, ever be used to challenge balls and strikes.  The fact that every umpire has a slightly different strike zone is one of the little intricacies of baseball that should never be altered.


So what if 2012 is the 100th Anniversary of Fenway Park?  Major League Baseball thinks Kansas City is more deserving of the All Star game in 2012 because they, well, exist.  Commish Bud Selig announced yesterday that the Kansas City Royals would host the 2012 mid-summer classic.

Kansas City had been promised an All-Star game in 2006 after KC voters approved a financing plan to pay for renovations to Kaufmann Stadium.  The Stadium re-opened in 2009 boasting millions in improvements, including a giant big screen to rival that at the new Yankee stadium.

Now that the renovations have been completed, it appears Selig is following through on his promise to award KC with the game, despite what he said were “compelling” reasons to hold the game in Boston.  If you feel that the All-Star game was just at Fenway, you’re right.  The last game there was held in 1999.

If I was a Red Sox fan I would probably be upset by this, but at the end of the day, I think Selig made the right decision.  Boston (and New York) get a lot of extra benefits that most teams don’t because of who they are and how much their tradition means to the game of baseball.  Despite this, it was right for Selig to follow through on the promise he made to the people of Kansas City.  Plus, you cannot hold an all-star game in the same place twice in 13 years when there are 30 clubs in the league.  It has to be somewhat fair.

Still, I like to see Red Sox fans in a huff about this.

Things were looking up for the Yankees with their ace on the mound. Plus CC Sabathia loves pitching in the heat. But things spiralled downward for the Yankees as they lost their second straight series, 6-5 to the Florida Marlins.

Sabathia was taken out of the game in the second inning for what was later diagnosed as a bicep tendinitis. This will be evaluated tomorrow in Atlanta and Sabathia says he is day to day. Al Aceves came in on short notice and did pretty good, allowing only one hit and striking out 2 in 2.2 innings of work. Brett Tomko came in the fifth inning and blew open the game (more on that later), allowing the Marlins to score three runs on two homers, a two-run by Hanley Ramirez and a solo homer by Ross.

Phil Coke came in the seventh and allowed one hit and one run, bringing in David Robertson to pitch 1.2 innings. Robertson also allowed a hit and a run to make it 6-3 Marlins. Robertson did strike out four of the five outs he needed.

On the offensive side, the Yankees got their offense in two frames — the third and the ninth. In the third, the top of the Yankees lineup went on fire with two outs. Mark Teixeira doubled home Derek Jeter, advancing Swisher to third base. Then next, home-town hero Alex Rodrigued lined a two RBI single over the third base to bring home Swisher and Tex. That was all the Yankees could handle until Brett Gardner lined a two-RBI triple with two outs in the ninth. The Yankees were unable to score again.

A bizarre situation happened in the eighth inning that may reverse the course of the game, depending on the MLB offices. Here’s what happened:

The Marlins, Yankee manager Joe Girardi contend, made an illegal substitution in the eighth inning.

Relief pitcher Leo Nunez was placed in the first slot in the batting order. But Chris Coghlan, who was batting first, ran out to left field and was there for one pitch. That’s when Girardi went out to see the umpires.

The umpires made Florida take Coghlan out of the game. Girardi wanted Nunez taken out of the game.

The protest, in theory, could be upheld and cause the game to be replayed from that point. Whether this actually happens and gives the Yankees a second breath of air is up for discussion. I’m pretty sure the Yankees will address this with the Commissioner’s Office. Remember, Girardi is a smart manager, he knows the rules.

There were other issues up for discussion — for instance, why was Brett Tomko out there? Why not use Phil Hughes? Sometimes I just don’t get it.

According to an ESPN source, MLB investigators are interested in interviewing A-Rod based on his admission that he received steroids from his cousin.  Apparently the MLB head office wants to make sure that A-Rod and/or his cousin didn’t supply any other players with ‘roids.

The league cannot punish A-Rod for taking performance enhancing drugs before 2004, but they can punish him for distributing them.  No evidence has been submitted so far that would indicate A-Rod or his cousin distributed any PEDs to other players.  However, a source told ESPN that commissioner Bud Selig could punish A-Rod if he felt he was not forthcoming during the investigation.

Doesn’t the MLB have anything better to do?  Don’t they want this story to go away?  I do.

I’ve said it again and again. I’ve never been a fan of Selig.

Now, after reading about his interview with Wallace Matthews of Newsday, I am more convinced than ever that Selig did not do enough, and is not taking responsibility for the steroids era. Just like A-Rod should have taken responsibility in his conference yesterday, Selig needs to. Here are excerpts of the interview below. My thoughts are in italics.

“I don’t want to hear the commissioner turned a blind eye to this or he didn’t care about it,” Selig said. “That annoys the you-know-what out of me. You bet I’m sensitive to the criticism. The reason I’m so frustrated is, if you look at our whole body of work, I think we’ve come farther than anyone ever dreamed possible.’ Farther? Sure, there has been some progress made since, but you’ve not done as much as you should have.

“I’m not sure I would have done anything differently,” Selig said. “A lot of people say we should have done this or that, and I understand that. They ask me, ‘How could you not know?’ and I guess in the retrospect of history, that’s not an unfair question. But we learned and we’ve done something about it. When I look back at where we were in ’98 and where we are today, I’m proud of the progress we’ve made.” There’s plenty of things I would have done differently. With or without the players union.

“Starting in 1995, I tried to institute a steroid policy,” Selig said. “Needless to say, it was met with strong resistance. We were fought by the union every step of the way.”

“They all told me none of them ever saw it in the clubhouses and that their players never spoke about it,” Selig said. (Padres CEO) Sandy Alderson, as good a baseball man as you’ll find, was convinced it was the bat. Others were convinced it was the ball. So a lot of people didn’t know.” You either asked the wrong people, or people were as naive as A-Rod was.

“On HGH, I’m as frustrated as anyone,” he said. “Right now, we’re funding a program at UCLA with Dr. Don Catlin to come up with a test, any test, that’s reliable.” Ok, this one I give you credit for. You can keep working on this.

“I’m not going to comment on changing the records except to say that I never flatly deny anything,” Selig said. “I’ve always said I’d consider everything. But the record situation, if you go back to what Ford Frick did [with Roger Maris in 1961], is a very slippery slope. Changing records is a very difficult process.” It’s definitely a slippery slope, yes. Since baseball allowed this to happen, they need to give flexibility to players. The BBWAA needs to be lenient to some degree.

Years down the road, we will see what the steroids era has done to Selig’s reputation. Suffice to say, it won’t be one of the best tenures by a commissioner in the history of baseball.

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