Selig: Tie was not an option
NEW YORK -- Baseball commissioner Bud Selig admitted he worried about Tuesday night's long-running All-Star Game dragging even deeper into extra innings, and the All-Star managers running out of pitchers. But Selig didn't worry that there might be a second tied All-Star game under his watch. That's because he decreed that there would be no ties.
"The game would have been played to its conclusion," Selig told a couple writers standing by home plate after the American League beat the National League 4-3 in 15 innings. "Terry [Francona] and Clint [Hurdle] knew that. They knew how we felt. They understood that."
They may have understood, but both managers were down to their last pitchers when Michael Young hit a one-out sacrifice fly to score Justin Morneau, mercifully ending the game and saving Selig the possibility of position players pitching.
"I don't mind telling you I did a lot of pacing," Selig admitted.
The commissioner continued, "It all worked out in the end. There's no sense playing the 'What ifs?' Everyone understood the ground rules. We were playing the game to the conclusion."
Selig insisted of a potential tie game, "It would not happen again."
He pointed out that measures were taken to avoid a repeat of the nightmare of the 2002 All-Star Game that ended in a tie. "We've added players to the roster," Selig pointed out. "We've done things."
Francona said he thought winning pitcher Scott Kazmir had a little more left in him (perhaps another inning, or maybe two) despite having pitched on Sunday. But Francona seemed to suggest his next thought was to ask game MVP J.D. Drew to pitch. "He's been bugging me a long time to pitch. He might have gotten his chance," Francona said.
That would not have been a great alternative, not with the game now deciding who gets home-field advantage in the World Series.
Even with the added pitchers, Francona and Hurdle were running out of pitching in a hurry. Part of the problem was the high number of All-Star pitchers who had pitched as recently as Sunday (Brandon Webb, Ryan Dempster and Kazmir were among those who pitched in the first-half finale). Hurdle's cause wasn't helped when Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum was unavailable after being taken to an area hospital in the early afternoon with what was described as dehydration and flu-like symptoms. But Francona admitted he didn't get the most out of Francisco Rodriguez because he was so intent on getting Yankees icon Mariano Rivera in to pitch in the ninth inning at the last All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. K-Rod recorded one out before being replaced by Rivera.
Selig was asked if of the managers could have done anything differently. "I'll leave that up to you guys," Selig said. "Everyone wanted 32 players."