Selig needs to side with Giants on Tarpgate

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig made a trip to Oakland Tuesday, speaking to the press mostly about the Coliseum situation.

During that time, he called himself his toughest critic, a man who’s always trying to do his best.

Well, Mr. Selig, eight hours after your press conference ended, you were given a good opportunity to put some action behind those words.

The Giants lost their Thursday night game to the Chicago Cubs grounds crew, who put on a show worthy of a Golden Globe. Or, one that would make Zeus, the Greek god of the sky, cringe and send lightning down upon them.

With the score 2-0 and the game stuck in the top of the fifth, the hometown Cubs were granted a win following over four hours of defensive support.

The Giants, locked in a pennant race with the Dodgers and fighting tooth and nail to remain afloat, felt the sharp end of Zeus’ trident.

They Giants have the right to protest the game, and word came Wednesday that they had. Now, Selig has the option to enter a new interpretation of one rule, and allow the Giants to play out the second half of the game.

Rule 4.12 (a)(3) says:

“Light failure or malfunction of a mechanical field device under control of the home club. (Mechanical field device shall include automatic tarpaulin or water removal equipment)”

Past interpretations have allowed little room for teams to avoid a loss, regardless of the situation. But mistakes were clearly made in deploying the tarp that let water soak into the infield dirt. While more human than mechanical, it was clearly under the home club’s control, and should be enough to give the Giants another shot.

Some might not see it that way. But like the U.S. Supreme Court, Selig has an opportunity to interpret the wording of his most holy of documents, and change things for the better.

Certainly Clayton Kershaw and Don Mattingly would have an argument against it. Maybe even the Atlanta Braves would too, who, as a result of the official loss, are now tied for a wild card spot.

There’s a flip side, though. Would those teams ever want to be in the Giants predicament, and be unable to have justice served?

Definitely not.

Selig, who has five months left to cement his legacy — one already laced with ethical questions and multiple scandals — needs to seize this opportunity.

If he chooses to ignore the issue — like he largely did during the BALCO scandal — he’ll be remembered by history books as nothing more than a financial adviser to America’s pastime.


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