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Published: Wednesday, 12/8/2010

Tigers' Leyland: replay for difficult calls

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- When Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland considers more replay in baseball, he doesn't think back to the blown call that cost Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game.

Jim Joyce's miss at first base is history. Could've happened to anyone, Leyland said.

"The umpire legitimately said he made a mistake. So what could you say? Who doesn't make mistakes?" Leyland said Wednesday at the winter meetings. "If that umpire in my opinion had said, 'No, I didn't miss it. I got it right. I didn't miss it,' that would have upset me. But because of the way the umpire handled it, that caused everybody to handle it the same way, and that eliminated a lot of animosity."

Leyland is a member of baseball Commissioner Bud Selig's special committee for on-field matters that is discussing whether the umpires' use of replay should be increased. Video review, begun in 2008, has been limited to determining whether potential home runs crossed fences or are fair.

"I don't want to make this a modern-age computer game," said Leyland, a three-time manager of the year preparing for his 20th season in charge of a big league club. "But I think there are situations that should be replayed, and I think you just have to dissect which ones should you do it. ... I think to expand it a little bit probably would be good, but I think the first thing you should do in that area is find out, what are the most difficult calls?"

Joyce ruled Cleveland's Jason Donald safe at first base on what would have been the final out of a perfect game by Galarraga on June 2. Joyce quickly admitted he erred on the call, which would have completed a 3-0 victory and only the 21st perfect game in major league history. Joyce apologized to Galarraga and hugged him after the game, then took the field at Comerica Park the following day in tears.

"We were involved in one of the most controversial calls in all of baseball last year. ... To me, that thing was handled so smooth by everybody, not just us, but by everybody," Leyland said. "I think it's the defiance of an umpire once in a while, when you really believe he missed a call and you know he missed a call. ... It's the guy that wants to argue with you about it. Most of my problems are situations. If situations are handled by managers as well as umpires, if they are handled in the correct way, it usually prevents a lot of problems."

Selig's committee also is considering whether to recommend expanding the playoffs by adding two more wild-card teams, most likely for 2012. Some favor wild cards meeting in a one-game winner-take-all matchup, others advocate a best-of-three series.



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