Denkinger supports replay in baseball

Updated: June 3, 2010, 4:06 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Don Denkinger knows a thing or two about what Jim Joyce is going through.

Denkinger, whose questionable call at first base in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series helped the Kansas City Royals come back to beat the St. Louis Cardinals, said that he supports the use of instant replay in baseball to reverse blown calls such as the one Joyce made Wednesday night, costing Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game.

"There are so many areas you can use instant replay," Denkinger said, according to the New York Post. "Maybe instant replay can clean things up. If a play is missed, it can be corrected. I didn't feel that way in '85, but I feel that way now."

Joyce called Cleveland's Jason Donald safe at first base on what would have been the 27th and final out of a perfect game for Galarraga.

After the game, a tearful Joyce, having seen the replay, admitted he blew the call and apologized to Galarraga and the Tigers.

"It looked to me he was in perfect position to see the play . . . obviously he didn't see it properly," Denkinger told ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike in the Morning" on Thursday.

"I think that's admirable for him," Denkinger said of Joyce's apology. "Unfortunately, it's going to be with him as long as he officiates."

Although Denkinger supports instant replay, he said there are a lot of factors that will need to be addressed if it's to be more widely implemented in baseball -- including any effect on the length of games and whether umpires would hesitate on making close calls as a result.

Currently, replay can be used only on questionable home runs calls.

"There's a whole lot they need to clean up before they get to bang-bangers at first base," Denkinger said on "Mike and Mike." "Go out there and try and call it when it's at full speed."

Denkinger worked on the same umpiring crew as Joyce during his career.

"He's a very good umpire," Denkinger said, according to the Post. "I feel badly for the situation."

Denkinger had a 30-year career as an umpire, retiring in 1998. But he's known for just one call -- when he ruled the Royals' Jorge Orta was safe at first base in the ninth inning of Game 6. The Royals, who were trailing by one run, went on to win the game, then take Game 7 and the World Series; the Cardinals and their fans said they had been robbed by Denkinger's call at first.

"I had 30 great years ... and I had one call that's all anybody ever wants to talk about. It's not right," Denkinger said, according to the Post. "But it's the way the game's played, and that's what happens."

Denkinger was on the umpiring crew for two of baseball's rare perfect games during his career. He was at second base when Len Barker of the Cleveland Indians threw a perfect game against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 15, 1981.

And he was at first base when Kenny Rogers of the Texas Rangers threw a perfect game against the then-California Angels on July 28, 1994.

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