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Friday, August 16, 2013

MLB announces Instant Replay

Question 1: So all-encompassing instant replay is officially coming to a done deal?

Well, Major League Baseball certainly is acting like it, but they still need to get approval by the Major League Baseball Players Association and the umpires’ union. The umpires union wants assurances that no jobs are phased out, and is asking for an extra umpiring crew to be at the command post each day. If everything is cleared, the owners will vote on it Nov. 13-14 at their next quarterly meetings.

I don’t know about you, but I was facebook stalking Furtado, waiting for an instant replay thread to occupy my day.

Cabbage Posted: August 16, 2013 at 02:14 PM | 88 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bud selig, instant replay

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   1. Monty Posted: August 16, 2013 at 02:54 PM (#4520390)
Well, I can't imagine this generating any discussion.
   2. zonk Posted: August 16, 2013 at 02:55 PM (#4520393)
Pass
   3. BDC Posted: August 16, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4520397)
Replay per se is not as big a potential problem as the gamesmanship issues considered by Shane Tourtellotte in a thoughtful comment at The Hardball Times:

We can anticipate a sixth-inning slowdown as managers burn off their expiring reviews on "what-the-heck" challenges, just in case one hits. The same thing happens with the two challenges that activate in the seventh. There's little reason not to take your shots with them in the ninth as well, thus bogging down the end of the game


I wonder if the ninth inning of baseball games will turn into something like the last minute of an NBA game (with challenges doing the bad work of fouls and timeouts). I hope not.
   4. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:02 PM (#4520400)
Supposedly, managers won't be allowed to argue on reviewable plays, but can you still ask the umpires to confer before finalizing the call? Any initial call that was overruled by another umpire would likely go to replay anyway, but there is an advantage to having the on-field call in your favor in case the replay is inconclusive.
   5. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:03 PM (#4520402)
Nobody will be satisified.
   6. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4520404)
They absolute MUST have a time limit for deciding to review. I do not want NFL-style delays allowing some manager to spend two minutes thinking about a review. Inning-ending plays are especially important, do we allow a review after the pitcher has warmed up? That could be chaos.

And how freakin' predictable is it that MLB has decided to follow the NFL model here? Just because the NFL does it let's take the stupidest possible approach!
   7. Baldrick Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:06 PM (#4520407)
I like replay but why on earth not just have someone to monitor all potentially questionable calls? Give the umpires discretion about whether to call on them, and give the managers one or two 'challenges' just in case the umpires make a mistake. If you can't confirm within 15-20 seconds that the call was wrong - or at least close enough that it requires a bit more time to sort out - then the play should stand. The effect on the course of play would be pretty negligible.

Setting up a system of challenges is just asking for mistakes to continue to be made, and for the process to be as annoying as possible.
   8. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:07 PM (#4520409)
It's not terrible. I think allowing managers to have challenges is dumb - the goal is to get the call right, not to imtroduce more gamesmanship - but this seems like it could have been a lot worse.

The most important thing is whether the people reviewing the calls back in New York take 30 seconds to look at a play, or five minutes. My feeling is, if you can't see enough to overturn it in 30 seconds, there's not enough to overturn it.
   9. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:11 PM (#4520413)
If you can't confirm within 15-20 seconds that the call was wrong - or at least close enough that it requires a bit more time to sort out - then the play should stand.


Concur. There should be no delays at all, unless a call is overturned. If you can't find enough evidence to overturn a call before the next pitch is thrown, then play on.
   10. BDC Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:13 PM (#4520414)
I do want the managers to throw a beanbag to activate the challenge. It could be a customized beanbag. Mike Scioscia could throw a Rally Sock Monkey. Ron Roenicke could throw a plush beer mug, and so on.
   11. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:14 PM (#4520417)
Walt Weiss could throw a rock.
   12. catomi01 Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4520421)
just have someone to monitor all potentially questionable calls?


This is the only way that I really like it - forget all the stupid gamesmanship - just have a 5th umpire (or someone from the league if you don't think they'd overturn each other's calls) in a TV booth...he has from the end of the play until the start of the next to buzz the crew chief...set up a TV stand immediately off the field - the crew chief and the ump making the call go in and confer quickly - and the play stands or gets overturned. If the 5th official is an umpire, that's automatically 15 more jobs at the MLB level they gain...so umpires actually come out ahead in this.
   13. BDC Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4520423)
There could be a whole line of marketable official challenge MLB™ beanbags. $39.95 for official replicas, and $399.95 for game-used.
   14. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:18 PM (#4520429)
I just hope they have safeguards in place to keep the game moving. I cannot watch NFL & the last minutes of NBA/college basketball games because of the interminable replay delays/timeouts/fouls/kneel downs.

If this works like the NHL replay system that's fine. 162 3.5 hour long baseball games will get tiresome though if we're seeing pointless challenge after pointless challenge.
   15. The_Ex Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:19 PM (#4520431)
There are always unexpected consequences. After a disputable call I can see the manager telling the catcher to go talk with the pitcher. That will give someone in the clubhouse enough time to check the TV to see if it should be reviewed. Will teams put TV's down the tunnel? will teams have a kid on a walkie-talkie just down the tunnel. I see managers finding out whether to review before they decide to thow the rosin bag or whatever.
   16. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:21 PM (#4520435)
Never did I think MLB would be dumb enough to do this with a coach's challenge type of system.

Sigh.
   17. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:26 PM (#4520441)
From TFA:

Q3: So have we seen our last argument in baseball?

No, La Russa promises us. You can still argue balls and strikes, and replay challenges or not, you can still scream at missed calls for the heck of it. "We're not going to take arguments out of the game,'' La Russa said.


So, they are going to allow arguing balls and strikes now?
   18. AROM Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:34 PM (#4520454)
We can anticipate a sixth-inning slowdown as managers burn off their expiring reviews on "what-the-heck" challenges, just in case one hits. The same thing happens with the two challenges that activate in the seventh. There's little reason not to take your shots with them in the ninth as well, thus bogging down the end of the game


Late innings, batter hits a 2 hopper to short, where he is thrown out by 10 feet. I would expect the manager to use his review if he's got one to burn and needs more time to have his reliever warm up.

But while it will be abused, I think replay will be a net positive for the game. Get the calls right, especially the ones in the most important situations.
   19. Baldrick Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4520455)
So...you're still allowed to not be allowed to argue balls and strikes. Great.
   20. Srul Itza Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:42 PM (#4520464)
Never did I think MLB would be dumb enough to



There are very few ways to end that sentence, and have it be factual.

I mean, sure, "Never did I think MLB would be dumb enough to" instigate a thermonuclear exchange with Russia, sure. But anything within the realm of conceivable screw-ups? yeah, MLB would certainly be "dumb enough to".
   21. Srul Itza Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:44 PM (#4520469)
Late innings, batter hits a 2 hopper to short, where he is thrown out by 10 feet. I would expect the manager to use his review if he's got one to burn and needs more time to have his reliever warm up.

But while it will be abused, I think replay will be a net positive for the game. Get the calls right, especially the ones in the most important situations.


At some point, I think they will have to institute some kind of penalty for a frivolous challenge to be assessed by the league office after the game. Possibly a fine, and the loss of challenge privileges for a game or more. That would cut down on the abuse.
   22. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:47 PM (#4520472)
I mean, sure, "Never did I think MLB would be dumb enough to" instigate a thermonuclear exchange with Russia, sure.


Someone bookmark the date and time on this one. The apocalypse is coming.
   23. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:48 PM (#4520473)
I first found out about the BTF outage when I read something about review by Scott Miller of CBS and I came here to post it, only to find out the site had gone and left no forwarding address. Anyway, from Scott Miller:

"Yet whatever system is implemented -- and most of what we're hearing sounds pretty good -- there also will be kinks to work out and, undoubtedly, at times, Gatorade-curdling moments.

Like what happened to the A's at the hands of Angel Hernandez and Co. in Cleveland in May. At this moment, Oakland trails Texas by two games in the AL West. Hernandez completely blowing the call on a should-have-been Adam Rosales home run in the ninth inning May 8 still may well send the A's wobbling into a fragile one-game wild-card playoff instead of steaming into October as AL West champions.

That's Exhibit A as to why New, Improved and Expanded instant replay is needed, and the sooner the better.


So, a bungled review of something that is currently reviweable is evidence that it needs to be expanded?

Look, I get the desire to get it right. I am seriously opposed to the ridiculous challenge system which works against it. I understand that if managers have to call for the review there needs to be limits, but just wait until a manager is out of challenges and a really egregious blown call changes the outcome of the game.

Baseball says they need the challenge system because they have only one crew working the replays of all games and they can't monitor everything. Well, HIRE MORE UMPIRES!!. The game is awash in billions and billions of dollars and they can't fork over a few million to have a dedicated replay umpire at every game? It's all about getting it right, unless it costs too much money.
   24. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:48 PM (#4520475)
I always knew Bud Selig's stockpile of ICBMs would turn out to be a bad idea.
   25. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4520481)
At some point, I think they will have to institute some kind of penalty for a frivolous challenge to be assessed by the league office after the game.


Can they challenge the penalty? Out by 10 feet, sure. Out by 2 feet?

Another thought. Will this be the end of the neighborhood play? Can you imagine a review of the DP turn at second and an ump saying the play stands because the SS was close enough to the base? And the manager losing his challenge because of it?
   26. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:54 PM (#4520483)
I'm in the (it appears tiny) minority on this: I love challenge-based systems. I love making things increasingly complex and adding layers of strategy to games; this is one of my favourite smaller features of tennis, with some players substantially more skilled at challenging calls and picking their spots than others. Bring it on! Make managers decide! I'd rather debate "he should have held his challenge there" than complain about calls...strategy, for me, makes things more fun.

Then again, I love the NBA salary cap, too, not because I'm a particularly strong advocate of salary caps, but because I really enjoy the absurd complexity, gaming of cap loopholes, and difficulting regarding signing specific types of players. So I imagine this is more of a reflection on me than anyone else.
   27. BDC Posted: August 16, 2013 at 03:57 PM (#4520488)
penalty for a frivolous challenge

Agreed. At least some sort of rule tweak is inevitable. Replay will have its Dick Williamses or Earl Weavers, who will put stress on the rule and expose structural weaknesses people didn't anticipate.
   28. Ned Garvin: Male Prostitute Posted: August 16, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4520491)
Runners on the corners, 1 out. Batter hits a liner to right-center field, RF makes a diving attempt but traps it. Runner on 3rd scores, runner on first was running with the pitch, so he makes it to 3rd base, despite having to hold up near 2nd base.

Play is challenged, replay official determines it was actually a catch. What happens? Do you assume the runner on 3rd base gets to tag up and score? Do you assume the runner on first gets doubled up? Which happens first?

This, I think, will be the real bane of any replay system in baseball. The umps have to figure out what would have happened had they made the correct call, and it is often not obvious.
   29. BDC Posted: August 16, 2013 at 04:04 PM (#4520493)
The umps have to figure out what would have happened had they made the correct call, and it is often not obvious

I suggest they be given tables of outcomes, and decide such plays by rolling a 20-sided die.
   30. bunyon Posted: August 16, 2013 at 04:06 PM (#4520494)
At some point, I think they will have to institute some kind of penalty for a frivolous challenge to be assessed by the league office after the game. Possibly a fine, and the loss of challenge privileges for a game or more. That would cut down on the abuse.

If the challenge fails, it counts as a visit to the mound in the next half inning the challenging team is on defense (that is, if you were on defense and had already visited the mound, you wouldn't be forced to switch pitchers if you lost, it would go the next half inning). If a coach/manager speaks to a pitcher when challenging, both the pitcher and coach/manager are ejected.

I'm somewhere between appalled and horrified that they went with a challenge system. That doesn't "get it right", it introduces a new wrinkle to the game. That can be cool and I like thinking through the process but, in general, I like baseball to be about baseball, not chess. Sure, there are chess components to the game but then the guys you move have to execute. You can't win just by being clever.
   31. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: August 16, 2013 at 04:07 PM (#4520496)
Dusty Baker could throw Fidel Castro.
   32. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: August 16, 2013 at 04:14 PM (#4520500)
I'm in the (it appears tiny) minority on this: I love challenge-based systems. I love making things increasingly complex and adding layers of strategy to games; this is one of my favourite smaller features of tennis, with some players substantially more skilled at challenging calls and picking their spots than others. Bring it on! Make managers decide! I'd rather debate "he should have held his challenge there" than complain about calls...strategy, for me, makes things more fun.

Then again, I love the NBA salary cap, too, not because I'm a particularly strong advocate of salary caps, but because I really enjoy the absurd complexity, gaming of cap loopholes, and difficulting regarding signing specific types of players. So I imagine this is more of a reflection on me than anyone else.


I am surprised to find myself nodding as I read what you wrote here. Overall I do love things like that...it's just in this case, I think the delays and whatnot will hurt the flow/pace of the game.
   33. Cabbage Posted: August 16, 2013 at 04:21 PM (#4520505)
I think the NHL replay strikes a very good balance between keeping the game flowing, and acknowledging what we can all see on the HD replays. The "war room" -- a distant location where plays are reviewed -- avoids the infuriating NFL problem of officials trotting to the sideline, huddling under a hood, etc.

One potential hang-up is that the NHL's economic situation makes them much more concerned about providing a good TV product. MLB is much more concerned with not angering it's various stakeholders: owners, MLBPA, and the umpire union.
   34. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: August 16, 2013 at 06:24 PM (#4520611)
I'll say it every thread until the proposal dies: this has the stench of control-freak/self-appointed genius Tony LaRussa all over it.

At least make the manager pick up a base and throw it instead of some idiotic beanbag.

3 challenges a game per team is just nuts. The umpiring isn't that bad. I say make it 15 challenges per season, win or lose, and 3 in the postseason. And make them tradeable.
   35. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: August 16, 2013 at 06:34 PM (#4520623)
Now, if I were a manager, if Angel Hernandez was behind the plate, I'd throw the challenge on his first ball or strike call of the game. Umpire baiting has become a lost pleasure of the game.
   36. Robinson Cano Plate Like Home Posted: August 16, 2013 at 06:40 PM (#4520630)
I hate this idea so much.
   37. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 16, 2013 at 06:43 PM (#4520635)
#26 - there's no way you're not a lawyer, correct?
   38. OsunaSakata Posted: August 16, 2013 at 07:29 PM (#4520675)
You can have one crew work all the games. All it takes is a room with 30 screens in the MLBNetwork building. Just have two interns watch each game, each listening to a different broadcast team. When there's a controversial play, they call an umpire over to make the call. Does anyone think there will ever be more than four replay calls simultaneously? Okay, it will, but it won't be more than once a week. And there will be delays at that point, but shouldn't' take any longer than a typical manager argument.
   39. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 16, 2013 at 07:37 PM (#4520682)
Again. What do they do about the neighborhood play? It's either:

A) they don't get challenged by "unwritten rule", which leads to it's own complications*. or

B) they say the fielder was "close enough", which leads to its own complications**. or

C) they call it by the book, which leads to its own complications.

*Fielders get further and further away on the pivot

**You have replay umps with their own personal "close enough" zone. For one guy, 6 inches is close enough. For another, 4 is too far.

***Middle infielders become an endangered species



   40. Baldrick Posted: August 16, 2013 at 07:40 PM (#4520686)
Well the announcers in the Dodgers game are marshalling all kinds of arguments against replay.

1. There have always been mistakes. It's part of the game
2. When stuff goes wrong, you have to deal with it. And that teaches you how to deal with life.
3. It's inconceivable that the players will go for this. I mean, what is possibly in it for them? Nothing.
4. OTOH, replay is good for the postseason. Because those games matter.

Great stuff.
   41. Baldrick Posted: August 16, 2013 at 07:46 PM (#4520694)
I think they have continued to talk about this, but I've ripped off both of my ears so I can't really be sure.
   42. BDC Posted: August 16, 2013 at 08:09 PM (#4520726)
So what if (NFL analogy) Robin Ventura gets confused and throws his beanbag (a white sock, what did you think?) on a Royal home run he thinks went foul? Does he get ejected for improper challenge of an automatically reviewable play? Do the Sox get penalized two extra bases plus an out? I want some absurd codicils to this rule, please.
   43. cardsfanboy Posted: August 17, 2013 at 11:19 AM (#4521110)
They got half of it right. Taking it off the field and putting it in a studio is so obvious, that it's surprising that even an incompetent league like the NFL should be able to figure that out.

Then they took a good idea (Instant replay) and screwed it up with a horrible idea (manager's challenges)... At no point in time, would a reasonable person EVER suggest that replay should be up to a manager's challenge in ANY sport. When you come up with a replay system, the goals should be

1. Get the call on the field right as often as possible
2. Get the replay done as quick as possible(ultimately without disrupting one second of the game)
3. Eliminate gamesmanship from the process.
4. Be fair.
and then you add the political issues.
5. keep the umpires union happy.

The obvious way to do this, is to have 5 man umpiring crew, with the fifth man being a review umpire, who's job is to watch the game on a monitor, either in the stadium(if you want to rotate the job) or at the home offices(better set up of equipment etc) Who has a link to the crew chief, and who will review every play as it happens, signal the crew chief if there is a debatable play that might take a few more seconds to review, and then tell the crew chief the result of the review...and allowing the crew chief to still make the call on the field.

There would be no managers request for a review, as every play is automatically reviewed as the game is progressing. If they can't get a good enough camera angle to change the call on the field in a short time, then call stands. People aren't looking for perfection, they are looking to eliminate the Denkinger and Joyce obvious mistakes.
   44. bunyon Posted: August 17, 2013 at 11:24 AM (#4521116)
I think cfb's plan in 43 is so obviously the way to do it that I'm continually surprised that that isn't how it's done. The sports leagues seem to be incapable of simplicity.
   45. cardsfanboy Posted: August 17, 2013 at 11:26 AM (#4521118)
Runners on the corners, 1 out. Batter hits a liner to right-center field, RF makes a diving attempt but traps it. Runner on 3rd scores, runner on first was running with the pitch, so he makes it to 3rd base, despite having to hold up near 2nd base.

Play is challenged, replay official determines it was actually a catch. What happens? Do you assume the runner on 3rd base gets to tag up and score? Do you assume the runner on first gets doubled up? Which happens first?

This, I think, will be the real bane of any replay system in baseball. The umps have to figure out what would have happened had they made the correct call, and it is often not obvious.


I hate that scenario. Every time a replay system this comes up. A play that happens league wide, maybe once every other month is used as evidence of a flaw in any potential replay system, while ignoring the dozens of other plays that happen weekly which can be fixed by a replay system.
   46. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: August 17, 2013 at 11:28 AM (#4521120)
#26 - there's no way you're not a lawyer, correct?

There has to be a way, because I'm not <.<
   47. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 17, 2013 at 11:51 AM (#4521156)
I think cfb's plan in 43 is so obviously the way to do it that I'm continually surprised that that isn't how it's done.


$$$. It has to be. No other explanation makes any sense. Not that mine does either. It would require hiring at most 11 more umpires, and they won't do it because they are too damned cheap. 11 more umpires would cost what, $3 mil tops? That's only 100K per team, or less that 1/4 of one minimum wage player.
   48. bunyon Posted: August 17, 2013 at 12:43 PM (#4521181)
You must be right. It's just amazing penny-ante cheapness in the face of an industry awash in cash. I'm sure my priorities aren't what MLBs are but if I were they I'd try to trade a little more control over umpire performance with 15 "cushy" replay ump positions. That is, if you let me fire Angel Hernandez, I'll let the best 15 of you old guys move to a replay booth in New York.
   49. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: August 18, 2013 at 07:33 AM (#4521590)
5. keep the umpires union happy.

Or, alternatively. ### them. The bunch of egotistical, narcissistic attention-whores, who think the game revolves around them, need to be taken down 7 pegs anyway.
   50. SoSH U at work Posted: August 18, 2013 at 09:15 AM (#4521619)
They got half of it right. Taking it off the field and putting it in a studio is so obvious, that it's surprising that even an incompetent league like the NFL should be able to figure that out.

Then they took a good idea (Instant replay) and screwed it up with a horrible idea (manager's challenges)... At no point in time, would a reasonable person EVER suggest that replay should be up to a manager's challenge in ANY sport. When you come up with a replay system, the goals should be


As soon as I heard this (in the dark Primer period), I couldn't help recalling your insistence that the anti-replay folks concerned that some kind of NFL-style replay would be instituted were worrying about nothing, and that kind of silliness shouldn't even be brought up.
   51. OsunaSakata Posted: August 18, 2013 at 09:24 AM (#4521622)
My idea would require hiring only four more umpires and a stint in Secaucus would be part of the regular rotation. Putting the fifth umpire in the stadium or in the video trailer would require a new set-up for each stadium. Put it all in Secaucus and everyone would be familiar with the layout. The cost would be 4 umpires, 30 HDTVs, 30 interns and 1 guy to supervise the interns. How expensive could that be?
   52. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 18, 2013 at 09:46 AM (#4521634)
Cfb continues to be 100% right on this issue. Im with SoSH, I immediately thought of his battles with folks saying it would never happen.
   53. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 18, 2013 at 11:32 AM (#4521719)
I hate that scenario. Every time a replay system this comes up. A play that happens league wide, maybe once every other month is used as evidence of a flaw in any potential replay system, while ignoring the dozens of other plays that happen weekly which can be fixed by a replay system.


It also ignores the fact that in the non-replay scenario, an obviously wrong call stands (and we're talking purely about obviously wrong calls here). I don't know why that's any better than having to figure out a possibly non-optimal place to put the baserunners.
   54. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 18, 2013 at 12:24 PM (#4521743)
So again, because MLB is so terrified of the umpires union it can't possibly do anything about 95% of the bad calls**, but because it's afraid of SportsCenter and YouTube it doesn't mind setting up even more delays in order to correct the other 5%. What complete BS. This is like standing up to a 10 year old child while backing off from the neighborhood bully.

**Other than by issuing a polite request that reads, "If it's not too much trouble, please try to make those personalized strike zones a wee bit less personal."

------------------------------------------

It also ignores the fact that in the non-replay scenario, an obviously wrong call stands (and we're talking purely about obviously wrong calls here). I don't know why that's any better than having to figure out a possibly non-optimal place to put the baserunners.

So if Greg Maddux pads his record thanks to an expanded strike zone, that's just "part of the game", whereas if a team benefits from a blown call on a stolen base or a close play at first, those are scandals that have to be reversed. The polite word for that is "inconsistency".
   55. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 18, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4521774)
So if Greg Maddux pads his record thanks to an expanded strike zone, that's just "part of the game"


Who do you think you're arguing with here?
   56. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 18, 2013 at 01:15 PM (#4521779)
I always knew Bud Selig's stockpile of ICBMs would turn out to be a bad idea.

I'll have you know that those Insufferable Corporate Baseball-Mongers are what made the sport the raging success it is today.
   57. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 18, 2013 at 02:40 PM (#4521835)
So if Greg Maddux pads his record thanks to an expanded strike zone, that's just "part of the game"

Who do you think you're arguing with here?


Not necessarily with anyone here, but with the idea that targeting 5% of the bad calls while ignoring 95% of them is doing anything significant. Forget replay and put in roboumps for balls and strikes, and you'd do far more to stop games being decided by bad calls.
   58. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 18, 2013 at 04:47 PM (#4521924)
Horrific idea strategically -- the last thing baseball needs is more slowdowns. (*) Horrible idea tactically -- wrong calls stand if a manager is out of challenges????

And no more managers arguing with umpires, a perennial charm of the sport? Absurd.

Classic, vintage Bud Selig.

(*) And I continue to dissent from the underlying premise that sports are important enough that they must be mechanized and impersonalized so that every last call be made "right." They aren't. Get a life, people.

   59. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 18, 2013 at 04:51 PM (#4521932)
Forget replay and put in roboumps for balls and strikes, and you'd do far more to stop games being decided by bad calls.


This assumes that current technology is better than the umps and that bad calls favor some teams more than others. I don't believe either of those is true.

To me all the whining about the umps (not you Andy, just generally) is a function of people being unwilling to accept responsibility. Umps don't win or lose games, teams do.
   60. Lassus Posted: August 18, 2013 at 04:53 PM (#4521935)
I agree with Jose.
   61. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 18, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4521941)
Forget replay and put in roboumps for balls and strikes, and you'd do far more to stop games being decided by bad calls.

This assumes that current technology is better than the umps and that bad calls favor some teams more than others. I don't believe either of those is true.


I'm assuming that current technology can at least be standardized rather than "personalized". And while I don't think that some teams are favored by personalized strike zones more than others, I do think that certain pitchers are (and were), just as certain hitters get the benefit of the doubt on borderline pitches.

To me all the whining about the umps (not you Andy, just generally) is a function of people being unwilling to accept responsibility. Umps don't win or lose games, teams do.

I couldn't agree more with that sentiment, even if the occasional game does get turned around by a bad call in the late innings when there's little time left for the victimized team to respond. I'd happily can roboumps in return for canning all instant replay. My objection is to going after the politically easy 5% of bad calls while ignoring the politically difficult 95%.
   62. Robinson Cano Plate Like Home Posted: August 18, 2013 at 05:12 PM (#4521954)
So now, if an outfielder goes for a ball that's either a shoestring catch or a trap, the batter should keep running, no matter what call the ump makes, because it might be overturned. You should force the outfielder to make the throw into the infield, especially if there's a runner on third.

If a batter hits a swinging bunt and the home plate ump immediately jumps out and calls a foul ball, the batter should run to first anyway and force the throw, because the foul ball might be overturned.

If you have runners on first and third with two outs, and the runner on first is caught stealing, the runner on third should come home, in case the call is overturned.

In other words, from now on, defensive strategy requires putting out *every base runner* you plausibly can every time the ball is put into play (edit: even after 2 outs), and, indeed, putting them out as many *ways* as possible, because you never know if any of them will be overturned.

This is a terrible, terrible idea.
   63. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 18, 2013 at 05:20 PM (#4521962)
If a batter hits a swinging bunt and the home plate ump immediately jumps out and calls a foul ball, the batter should run to first anyway and force the throw, because the foul ball might be overturned.

And a David Wright or a Mike Trout is going to tear a hamstring running out a foul ball for just that reason, rendering the farce complete.
   64. Baldrick Posted: August 18, 2013 at 05:24 PM (#4521965)
So now, if an outfielder goes for a ball that's either a shoestring catch or a trap, the batter should keep running, no matter what call the ump makes, because it might be overturned. You should force the outfielder to make the throw into the infield, especially if there's a runner on third.

The batter should do that anyway. You run to first regardless.

The guy who runs home after the catch because it could have been dropped is an idiot. Either you tag up to score - which you ought to do anyways. Or you fail to tag up because it 'could be a catch' in which case you get doubled up at third.

If a batter hits a swinging bunt and the home plate ump immediately jumps out and calls a foul ball, the batter should run to first anyway and force the throw, because the foul ball might be overturned.

I don't understand the dilemma here. Is the issue whether it's a fair or foul ball?

If you have runners on first and third with two outs, and the runner on first is caught stealing, the runner on third should come home, in case the call is overturned.

Or, you know, not. Because if you come home and get thrown out at home, then you've given up a second and third opportunity in the world where the call was overturned.

In short: most of these examples assume extreme stupidity on the part of the runners. If you want to just give away free potential outs, you are free to do so. Since people usually do not want to do this, they are unlikely to adopt a strategy for potential-replay situations that do so.
   65. SoSH U at work Posted: August 18, 2013 at 06:36 PM (#4522007)
The guy who runs home after the catch because it could have been dropped is an idiot. Either you tag up to score - which you ought to do anyways. Or you fail to tag up because it 'could be a catch' in which case you get doubled up at third.


If you're at first and there's a ball lifted to the outfield and the guy makes a diving attempt, the call on the field dictates what you do. You're not tagging up, because there's a force at second so you have to go partway. You then proceed based on the information that's been given to you by the umpire on the field. You can go back and review that initial call, but the runner's behavior was still dictated by the initial call. For many of us, this is problematic. Replay advocates don't care. But it sure as hell isn't just stupidity on the part of the players. Their actions are often based on what the umpire's call on the field was.

I think replay will make baseball less interesting to me, just as it has done to football. And I think roboumps on balls and strikes to meet Andy's bizarre crusade against the evil personalized zone would be even worse, but we've been over that more than enough.





   66. Baldrick Posted: August 18, 2013 at 07:01 PM (#4522021)
If you're at first and there's a ball lifted to the outfield and the guy makes a diving attempt, the call on the field dictates what you do. You're not tagging up, because there's a force at second so you have to go partway. You then proceed based on the information that's been given to you by the umpire on the field. You can go back and review that initial call, but the runner's behavior was still dictated by the initial call. For many of us, this is problematic. Replay advocates don't care. But it sure as hell isn't just stupidity on the part of the players. Their actions are often based on what the umpire's call on the field was.

If they call it an out, you go back to first. If the replay says it was actually a trap, they will award you second base.

if they call it a hit, you go to second. if the replay says it was actually a catch, they will return you to first base.

Problem solved.

Look, I get that there are edge-case examples where you could theoretically capitalize on something if you knew what the changed call was going to be. In the vast majority of cases, if you simply respond to the call as made on the field, you will be in perfectly good shape either way. And the game will be better for having fewer blown calls.
   67. SoSH U at work Posted: August 18, 2013 at 07:34 PM (#4522043)
If they call it an out, you go back to first. If the replay says it was actually a trap, they will award you second base.

if they call it a hit, you go to second. if the replay says it was actually a catch, they will return you to first base.

Problem solved.


And problem created. For you, this post-play, deadball assignment of bases is a non-issue. For me, it sounds godawful.

One thing I hate about watching football now is that I never feel like what I've just seen is what I've seen until after it's been given a second look. It's a fundamental change in the experience, and not for the better.
   68. Robinson Cano Plate Like Home Posted: August 19, 2013 at 09:53 AM (#4522456)
It's even worse than football, where the game is broken into plays, and when the ball is down, it's down. In baseball, the play is more fluid, and multiple outs (cf. football's downs) can happen on the same play, and subsequent outs often depend on earlier outs, such as whether the play is a force or a tag.

The problem with things like the swinging bunt example above is that the spectator doesn't know whether he's watching a live play or a dead ball EVEN IF THE UMPIRE SAYS IT'S ONE OR THE OTHER.

And that's not even to get into the gamesmanship that I expect to emerge from a challenge system.

I want to watch baseball, and I want it to baseball the first time I see it, not only upon further review.

And yes, that's worth more than "getting it right."
   69. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 19, 2013 at 10:26 AM (#4522481)
I know these plays happen rarely, but take the following scenario:

Adam Dunn is on second, 1 out. Paul Konerko hits the ball to the gap to left-center. Adam Dunn heads halfway to third and stops, viewing the play. The center fielder attempts a diving catch, and appears to catch the ball, but the umpire rules it is a hit. Dunn takes off immediately and scores easily and Konerko winds up with a double.

The center fielder throws the ball in to his second baseman, who steps on second base. Then his manager throws out a challenge bag, and they declare that the center fielder actually caught the ball, and then (since the Dunn never re-tagged the base) he completed a double play.

....How should base-runners handle this scenario under an instant replay system? They NEED to know that the call on the field can not be overturned so they know how to proceed.
   70. Robinson Cano Plate Like Home Posted: August 19, 2013 at 10:57 AM (#4522512)
I think the obvious answer is just to review every play. An ump in a booth will watch the replay of every ball in play, and scoreboards can have a big green light and a red light to indicate whether the play stands or not. Or maybe a big thumb that can point up or down.

Then after every play, whichever manager loses the review can appeal to an en banc panel of three umps who will give a preliminary review of the appeal. The loser of *that* appeal can then further appeal the ruling to the full Appeals Court, which will consist of all of the replay umps on duty that night around the league, who will pause all of their own games to watch the replay of the contested play. Their decision will then be final, unless appealed to the Supreme Court.

WE MUST GET THE CALLS RIGHT.
   71. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 19, 2013 at 11:03 AM (#4522524)
You left out the most important arbitrator of all: The twitter polls.
   72. OsunaSakata Posted: August 19, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4522529)
I know these plays happen rarely, but take the following scenario:

Adam Dunn is on second, 1 out. Paul Konerko hits the ball to the gap to left-center. Adam Dunn heads halfway to third and stops, viewing the play. The center fielder attempts a diving catch, and appears to catch the ball, but the umpire rules it is a hit. Dunn takes off immediately and scores easily and Konerko winds up with a double.

The center fielder throws the ball in to his second baseman, who steps on second base. Then his manager throws out a challenge bag, and they declare that the center fielder actually caught the ball, and then (since the Dunn never re-tagged the base) he completed a double play.

....How should base-runners handle this scenario under an instant replay system? They NEED to know that the call on the field can not be overturned so they know how to proceed.


First of all, I don't believe that a batter will get anything more than a single on a potential trapped ball play. If the outfielder has the ball, the batter is not going to get to second. The runners will have to rely on the umpires, which in this case, says it's a trap. So after the review, Konerko is out and Dunn is still on second.
   73. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 19, 2013 at 11:15 AM (#4522539)
If they call it an out, you go back to first. If the replay says it was actually a trap, they will award you second base.

if they call it a hit, you go to second. if the replay says it was actually a catch, they will return you to first base.

Problem solved.


Runner on first, one out. Sinking liner to short CF. Runner goes partway, CF makes a diving catch and pops up immediately ready to throw. Rule on the field is catch, runner retreats safely. Review shows trap. Runner awarded 2B even though it is obvious to everybody that he would have been easily forced out at second had it been called trap initially?

Same scenario, but runner off with the pitch. Called a trap initially, runner stays at second. Replay shows it a catch and runner returned to first even though it's obvious to everybody that he would have been easily out at first had it been called a catch in the first place?
   74. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 19, 2013 at 11:27 AM (#4522553)
So after the review, Konerko is out and Dunn is still on second.

Why? Why would Dunn automatically get to stay on second when runners get doubled up on caught balls that they don't think will be caught all the time?

And how could this "blue-chip" committee not have figured this dilemma out when it took us five seconds?
   75. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 19, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4522556)
I fully believe that the downsides of no longer allowing the umpire's ruling on the field to be final vastly vastly vastly outweigh the benefits of correcting mis-calls. Runners and fielders are going to have no damn clue what to do on any close catch/trap plays.

So many opportunities for shenanigans, for guess-work by umpires (on where to put runners after a corrected call, e.g.), and abuse--I just don't like it one bit.

The solution will be much worse than the problem ever was.
   76. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 19, 2013 at 11:38 AM (#4522567)
Same scenario, but runner off with the pitch. Called a trap initially, runner stays at second. Replay shows it a catch and runner returned to first even though it's obvious to everybody that he would have been easily out at first had it been called a catch in the first place?


Or better yet, the runner tries to go to third and is thrown out, and the batter, trying to go to second on the throw to third is also called out. In that case, the batting manager may want to call for a replay, claiming his batter was really out so as to get out of a double play.
   77. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 19, 2013 at 11:43 AM (#4522573)
Or how's this for a fun one: Batter hits a sharp liner to shallow center field, CF dives and appears to trap it, but the play is ruled a catch.

The batter now gets what in football they call a "free play": There is absolutely no reason whatsoever for him to NOT try to "stretch" that "out" into a double. Can you imagine? The defense makes a diving catch AND they STILL have to execute a run-down play to get the batter out twice!
   78. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 19, 2013 at 11:50 AM (#4522579)
Or how's this for a fun one: Batter hits a sharp liner to shallow center field, CF dives and appears to trap it, but the play is ruled a catch.

The batter now gets what in football they call a "free play": There is absolutely no reason whatsoever for him to NOT try to "stretch" that "out" into a double. Can you imagine? The defense makes a diving catch AND they STILL have to execute a run-down play to get the batter out twice!


I don't think the batter would be safe at second under any scenario. First of all, if there are no other runners on base, the umps would probably call time and stop the play. Second, even if they did, they would almost certainly rule that had the ball been called a trap in the first place, the batter never would have tried for second.

Now, if there is a runner on third and he is tagging, and the throw comes home, the play is still live and the batter may well try for second and there could be an argument for him staying there if it is later called a trap. Then the defense argues that would never had thrown home, or at least cut off the throw, as there was little chance of getting the runner at the risk of allowing an extra base to the batter...
   79. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 19, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4522592)
Now, if there is a runner on third and he is tagging, and the throw comes home, the play is still live and the batter may well try for second and there could be an argument for him staying there if it is later called a trap. Then the defense argues that would never had thrown home, or at least cut off the throw, as there was little chance of getting the runner at the risk of allowing an extra base to the batter...
Heh, yep, that was the next one I was thinking of. It's gonna be a ###########. And you know a team like the Tampa Bay Rays are gonna exploit the hell out of it.
   80. OsunaSakata Posted: August 19, 2013 at 12:39 PM (#4522646)
Why? Why would Dunn automatically get to stay on second when runners get doubled up on caught balls that they don't think will be caught all the time?


As Dunn is concerned, the ball wasn't caught, because that was the umpires' initial call. Sure you can't say this is exactly what would have happened, but there are other judgement calls like placing the other runners after fan interference.

Now, if there is a runner on third and he is tagging, and the throw comes home, the play is still live and the batter may well try for second and there could be an argument for him staying there if it is later called a trap. Then the defense argues that would never had thrown home, or at least cut off the throw, as there was little chance of getting the runner at the risk of allowing an extra base to the batter...


I guess I'm missing the problem.

Scenario 1: Ruled a trap, replay rules a catch. Probably ruled a sac fly. Outfielder making a questionable play likely won't be in position to make a successful throw home.

Scenario 2: Ruled a catch, replay rules a trap. Runner on third scores, batter placed on first.

If the teams know these are the likely outcomes, they won't try to game the system. Once the play is called a catch on the field, the batter is a non-entity. All he can do is be called for interference.
   81. Canker Soriano Posted: August 19, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4522657)
If a batter hits a swinging bunt and the home plate ump immediately jumps out and calls a foul ball, the batter should run to first anyway and force the throw, because the foul ball might be overturned.

I had the same thought watching last nights' game - there was a grounder down the line, and it could have been fair or foul. The umps ruled it foul, and everyone went about their business. But if that was challenged and called fair, now what? Is the batter out, on the assumption that the first baseman, who caught the ball, would have beaten him to the bag? What if he bobbled it? What if - hearing the ump shout 'foul' - he gave it the toreador defense because the game had been going on for 4+ hours already and he was tired? On an overrule, would the batter now get a hit?

And what if the grounder had been to third - diving play on a ball called foul, later found to be fair? Fast runner, strong arm... who knows what the outcome would have been.

I guess what I hope is that, like in the NFL, they tell the umps to let everything go and sort it out by replay afterward if needed. So all potentially trapped balls are still in play, anything close to the lines is fair, etc. I think it's easier to undo everything if the ball turns out to have been an out (or a foul) than it is to figure out where people should go if a foul ball was really fair.

(In reality, I assume the umps will get minimal guidance on all of this, and so you'll have different crews doing things different ways, which will frustrate the hell out of everyone. Managers will still get ejected, but for arguing the logistics of the replay system rather than the actual calls on the field.)
   82. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 19, 2013 at 01:05 PM (#4522671)
We could see plays where BOTH sides challenge the ruling on the field.

Oakland batting against Texas. Crisp on second with one out, Brandon Moss hits one down the line in right field. Alexis Rios in right dives and traps the ball, umpires rule it is a base hit. Rios recovers nicely, and throws Crisp out at home. Moss is now at first with two outs.

On the jumbo-tron, it becomes pretty clear that Rios actually caught the ball, and the umpires screwed up. Then two things happen:

1) Texas challenges, because they want this to be an inning-ending double play. They reason that Crisp has already been thrown out on the bases, and that the only thing they're reviewing is whether Moss got a single or a line-out--and since it's clearly a line-out, the inning should be over.

2) Oakland challenges, because they want to have Coco Crisp on third base with two outs (rather than Moss on first base with one out). They reason that, had the ump made the correct call originally, Crisp would have tagged up and made it to third. (Or, at the very least, they'd rather have the speedy Crisp at second rather than the slow Moss at first.)
   83. Baldrick Posted: August 19, 2013 at 01:44 PM (#4522720)
If you really want to construct fanciful scenarios where crazy things happen, then yes, you can certainly do so.

I can't imagine any of these things a) causing much trouble or b) happening more than a few times in the whole year.

Baseball is already full of quirky rules that create weird dynamics. See the infield fly rule from the Braves/Cardinals game, balks, ground rules about speakers that hang over the field, etc.

In the vast majority of these cases, a strong equilibrium will form whereby players choose not to risk injuring themselves for incredibly marginal potential (theoretical) advantages - and therefore don't challenge things. And AGAIN, to whatever extent there is a problem of stupid system-gaming risks, it's because of the challenge system. If you just had a neutral arbiter (say, an ump) who was tasked with sorting this stuff out, it would only come up in the genuine cases of doubt.

If you don't like an umpire being able to arbitrarily say what 'would' have happened, how can you like an umpire arbitrarily saying what DIDN'T happen? One is a judgment call that might or might not be 'correct' in some absolute sense. Getting the play WRONG is just wrong by definition.
   84. SoSH U at work Posted: August 19, 2013 at 01:55 PM (#4522724)
And AGAIN, to whatever extent there is a problem of stupid system-gaming risks, it's because of the challenge system. If you just had a neutral arbiter (say, an ump) who was tasked with sorting this stuff out, it would only come up in the genuine cases of doubt.


That's not true. The risks and scenarios exist because of the post-play determination, not how one gets to the arbiter.

If you don't like an umpire being able to arbitrarily say what 'would' have happened, how can you like an umpire arbitrarily saying what DIDN'T happen? One is a judgment call that might or might not be 'correct' in some absolute sense.


This has been explained, repeatedly. Whether an initial call is right or wrong, it is made on the field and affects how the rest of the play unfolds. The players react to these instant determinations.

Inserting replay into the equation means pretending all that happened after the wrong call didn't happen, or simply trying to tease out what would have happened had the call been correctly made in the first place. Many of us find this unpalatable, for a variety of reasons.

Getting the play WRONG is just wrong by definition.


And WRONG, even in its all-caps version, is not the end of the world. That's one of the fundamental differences between replay advocates and its foes (well, keep in mind there will be still be plenty of calls that are wrong. Replay isn't really about getting it right, but getting a little closer).

   85. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 19, 2013 at 02:00 PM (#4522729)
OTTOMH, right now, under MLB rules, there's basically only one or two times in which the umpires have to use their judgment as to where they should place baserunners:

1) Ball hits an umpire.

2) Fan interference.

That's it.

Under Instant Replay, this will happen on just about every call that is overturned.

And it's not just cherry-picking. Every time there's a runner on base and a catch/no-catch gets overturned, it'll be up to the umpire to guess where to put everybody. Any time a safe/out call gets overturned on the bases (when there are other base-runners involved), the umps will have to guess what would have happened had they called it right from the beginning. Any time a foul ball gets overturned into a fair ball, they'll have to guess how far the base-runners would have advanced.

Despite the fact that the "objectively" bad calls will now be overturned, the end result is a game in which the umpires will play a significantly larger role, and their subjective opinions will still certainly alter the outcome of games.
   86. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 19, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4522730)
The runners will have to rely on the umpires, which in this case, says it's a trap.


Thank you for the visual of Admiral Akbar as an umpire.
   87. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 19, 2013 at 02:24 PM (#4522743)
Scenario 1: Joe Mauer hits a long fly down the left-field line that lands in fair territory for an apparent double, but Phil Cuzzi calls it a foul ball. Where do you put the runners?

Scenario 2: Todd Worrell beats Jorge Orta to the bag on a grounder to first, but Don Denkinger calls Orta safe. Where do you put the runners?

Scenario 3: Robinson Cano is on second and Jorge Posada and on third when Nick Swisher hits a ground ball back to Darren Oliver. Catcher Mike Napoli runs Posada back to third, and tags both him and Cano. Tim McClelland calls Posada out, but calls Cano safe, despite the fact that he was tagged while off of third base. Where do you put the runners?

I don't see how these are any more problematic than the occasional trapped fly ball.
   88. Gaelan Posted: August 19, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4522777)
Reading this thread I can't help but think of how naive the technophiles are on this issue. This is what is going to happen:

1) Using instant replay does not "get the calls right." It will solve one set of problems but in so doing create another set of problems. I.E. there will be unintended consequences to the use of instant replay.
2) In response to these unintended consequences MLB will modify the rules to adapt to instant replay rather than modify the technology to the game.
3) This still won't "get the calls right."

This is a classic example of the way technology isn't simply a tool to be used. The technology won't adapt to the game, rather the game is going to adapt to the technology.

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