The broken record book

Here’s a math problem for you.

If a tiny little publisher called ExtremeInk Books published a new title called The Clean Book of Baseball Records, would the publicity from the libel lawsuits be valuable enough to offset the legal fees?

Because we’re seriously thinking about it.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig could have declared that Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game Wednesday night, as umpire Jim Joyce, the defeated Cleveland Indians, and Braille Institute all have acknowledged.

Mr. Selig could have reversed the umpire’s erroneous call on what would have been the last out of the game.

He could have declared it the first success story of Major League Baseball’s new instant-replay policy.

But he didn’t.

So now everyone knows Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game that’s not in the record books.

Just like everyone knows Roger Maris still holds the single-season home-run record.

Just like everyone knows Hank Aaron is still the career home-run champ.

Just like everyone knows Pete Rose is baseball’s all-time hits leader, even if the Hall of Fame pretends he never existed.

There was a time when baseball fans argued over whether this pitcher or that one was the greatest of all time, or whether this shortstop was better than that third baseman, or whether the ‘27 Yankees could have beaten the Big Red Machine.

Now we argue over whether cheating with steroids is worse than betting on baseball, and whether breaking a record on Human Growth Hormone is really that much worse then breaking one on amphetamines.

Yes it is, by the way.

But back to the math question. Our tiny little publishing company could hire a team of statisticians to comb through baseball’s record books and adjust the records of people who experienced sudden horizontal growth spurts that only Jose Canseco has been able to explain. The Clean Book of Baseball Records would be a reliable reference work for baseball fans who would like to know the real statistics of the real game.

Armando Galarraga will be in it.

If the book’s a success, we’ll build a Hall of Fame with an entire wing devoted to Ron Santo.

As long as we’re correcting errors.

Copyright 2010

Susan Shelley posted at 2010-6-4 Category: Uncategorized