Brewers GM considering lobby effort toward play-scoring overhaul

Updated: September 1, 2008, 7:03 PM ET
Associated Press

MILWAUKEE -- One day after CC Sabathia pitched a controversial one-hitter against Pittsburgh, Milwaukee's general manager said he may lobby to have changes made to the way official scoring decisions are made.

Doug Melvin said he thought there should be a committee to decide scoring decisions like the one that may have cost Sabathia a no-hitter in the Brewers' 7-0 victory over the Pirates on Sunday. One official scorer is used in all baseball games until the World Series, where a three-person panel reviews scoring plays.

"There could be possible reviews to see if there's a better way of doing it where there's not all the pressure put on one individual," Melvin said before the Brewers' 4-2 loss Monday to the New York Mets.

Melvin said representatives of both teams put a lot of pressure put on scorers when controversial calls are made.

"A questionable call gets a lot of people involved and a lot of peoples' hair on end," he said. "There may be a better way to try to avoid that."

He suggested a three-person panel consisting of an official scorer and two writers.

"I thought of it before this play," he said. "It's not just because of this. There's becoming too many changes and too many people involved."

Melvin said he would speak to others in the Brewers organization before making a final decision whether to bring it up for discussion at the general managers' meetings in the offseason.

"You've got to get the writers involved, obviously, and see what their thoughts are on it," he said. "There's a lot for one person to make that call and he's got people on his left and on his right yelling at him. It's not easy."

Sabathia tried to make a barehanded pickup of Andy LaRoche's softly hit grounder, but the Brewers ace dropped it. Official scorer Bob Webb immediately ruled it a hit, explaining he watched LaRoche out of the batter's box and the runner was two-thirds of the way down the line as Sabathia was picking the ball up.

He also said the ball was spinning as it went to the left of the mound "with a left-handed pitcher going to get it. It's a difficult play."

Milwaukee manager Ned Yost on Monday said it was "not a very good explanation in my mind, because, number one, the ball was not spinning, the ball was rolling. There's a huge difference.

"It's a lot easier for a left-handed pitcher to go to the third base line and make that throw than a right-handed pitcher. The explanation didn't cover it for me, but, again, it's water under the bridge and it's all said and done."

Yost's opinion was backed up by Detroit manager Jim Leyland on Monday.

"Error. Definitely an error," Leyland said. "The guy wasn't halfway to first.

"They should've overturned it [Sunday]," he said. "Can't do it now because it would be unfair to the official scoring because then they lose all credibility. That's a hard job. I have a lot of respect for official scorekeepers. It's a very difficult job and it's a thankless job."

The Brewers were working to put an appeal together on Monday, although only Webb can change the call, according to official baseball rules. Mike Vassallo, the Brewers' media relations director, said the appeal would be mailed to major league offices on Tuesday and would arrive Wednesday.

He said a comment from Pittsburgh broadcaster Bob Walk would be included. Vassallo showed reporters a yellow sticky-paper note quoting Walk's comment on the play during the game: "Just a little check swing roller, really a simple play for Sabathia. All he had to do was just pick it up and turn and throw."

Whether it's changed or not, Yost said the occasion was ruined.

Sunday "was the day it should have been a no-hitter," he said. "It takes away from that aspect. The celebration with your teammates, the excitement of the plane ride home, that's all gone. Whatever they call it they missed their opportunity to do it right."

About the only person not making a big deal of the play was Sabathia.

"If I put the glove down and make the play, it wouldn't be a big deal," he said. "It is what it is."

"We still won the game. We got the sweep. If they change it or they don't, it's not going to change much, really. If they change it or if they don't, I'm fine."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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