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Thursday, January 16, 2014

MLB unanimously approves expansion of instant replay

Managers will start each game with one challenge. If correct on the first challenge, they would receive a second. Additionally, umpire crew chiefs can invoke replay starting in the seventh inning if challenges run out.

The replay command center will be at MLB headquarters in New York and won’t be handled by individual stadiums. The on-site umpires will not have video access to replays and will not leave the playing field to seek replay footage.

I personally do not object to instant replay. But it’s my understanding that some people feel differently about it.

Monty Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:30 PM | 48 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: replay, umpiring

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   1. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: January 17, 2014 at 09:16 AM (#4640838)
I don't like instant replay much at all. And I think the umpires are horrific. Which leads to my conclusion of this system based on the description of it here: this thing with crew chiefs able to initiate replay on close calls after the seventh is terrible. I foresee numerous events of a chief unwilling to look at a play that it turns out they got wrong, and everyone but the umpires knows they got wrong.

In that case, you can fall back on it being the aggrieved managers fault for not having his challenge left. Well, just leave it at that I say. 8th inning and you're out of challenges? Tough ####. Unless the umps get together and agree to change a call in the old style, you're screwed.

This aspect is not going to work well.

Other than that, one (misapplied) challenge for each side is not too terrible. But it is neutralized by the silly crew chief initiation option.
   2. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 17, 2014 at 09:22 AM (#4640841)
Other than that, one (misapplied) challenge for each side is not too terrible.


I disagree, I think it is horrendous. Let an "eye in the sky" make the call that a replay needs to be done. It takes 20 seconds and we're done. Instead we're going to get bullshit where managers spend 3 minutes arguing just to let someone in the dugout run to the clubhouse to look at video. Fredi Gonzalez was on MLB XM yesterday and said he was considering hiring a guy whose job was just to watch videos.

I'm the opposite of Monty. I hate the idea of replay but I get the reasons why people are for it. The system they are implementing is just awful though.
   3. Lassus Posted: January 17, 2014 at 09:24 AM (#4640843)
I foresee numerous events of a chief unwilling to look at a play that it turns out they got wrong, and everyone but the umpires knows they got wrong.

I'm 98% sure you're incorrect, clouded by your umpire bias. I don't have the figures, but from working in the area, HR review calls increased a lot between year one and year three or so. It may be a slow adoption at first, but all this will do is initiate more reviews and longer games in those final three innings.
   4. JE (Jason) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 09:42 AM (#4640850)
As I mentioned elsewhere, it's interesting that the neighborhood play won't be subject to instant replay so as to avoid a little extra physical contact at second base but MLB has no plans to extend the protective screen currently behind home plate to the dugouts so that fans don't get struck with batted balls traveling over 100 MPH.
   5. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 17, 2014 at 09:47 AM (#4640852)
As I mentioned elsewhere, it's interesting that the neighborhood play won't be subject to instant replay so as to avoid a little extra physical contact at second base but MLB has no plans to extend the protective screen currently behind home plate to the dugouts so that fans don't get struck with batted balls traveling over 100 MPH.


So they won't be handling either situation differently than they do now.

As I said when we were hashing this out earlier, I can't imagine any of the teams wanted the neighborhood play included in the replay system. It's only fans who get worked up about it. For all of the primary stakeholders, it's a non-issue.

   6. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 17, 2014 at 09:47 AM (#4640853)
Since I double posted, I hate the idea of the late-game rules changing. That's the closer mindset at work, that somehow the stuff that goes on in the 7th inning or later is more important in terms of right-getting than earlier in the game.

   7. John Northey Posted: January 17, 2014 at 09:47 AM (#4640854)
My vote would be for a 5th umpire who sits in a box with TV's and watches every play - if he feels there is a question about it he hits a button that alerts the crew chief on the field so they call time until he determines if it is OK or not. If a manager comes out to complain the ump in the booth double checks while the manager is running out so by the time the manager gets out there to start yelling the ump in the booth can say 'no issue' and even send the reply to the jumbotron and let everyone in the park see the truth. Probably would cut down managers running out after a few embarrassing moments for them. The ump in the booth could also make all error/not error calls thus removing home town bias on those as well as cutting down players whining about 'but I lost a hit due to that call'.
   8. Random Transaction Generator Posted: January 17, 2014 at 09:52 AM (#4640855)
I hate the method of implementation being used here.
They should have gone with the NHL "central eye" system and just hired a few video review guys for the main office (ex-umps?), and one guy for each park to handle technical issues.
   9. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 09:59 AM (#4640856)
As I mentioned elsewhere, it's interesting that the neighborhood play won't be subject to instant replay so as to avoid a little extra physical contact at second base but MLB has no plans to extend the protective screen currently behind home plate to the dugouts so that fans don't get struck with batted balls traveling over 100 MPH.


Nets cost money, but no-calls are free. The invisible hand of the market at work.
   10. bobm Posted: January 17, 2014 at 09:59 AM (#4640857)
Teams have the right to show replays of all close plays on their ballpark scoreboard, regardless of whether the play is reviewed. [...]

Torre also said the league and players continued discussions on eliminating home-plate collisions for the 2014 campaign. MLB COO Rob Manfred said he “fully expect[s]” that change to be enacted this season.


Ken Davidoff: http://nypost.com/2014/01/16/mlb-approves-expanded-replay-for-2014-season/

   11. Accent Shallow Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:01 AM (#4640859)
I hate the method of implementation being used here.
They should have gone with the NHL "central eye" system and just hired a few video review guys for the main office (ex-umps?), and one guy for each park to handle technical issues.


Strongly concur.

Perhaps the reason they're not going with something like this is that current umps/former umps might be unwilling to correct their colleagues, out of a misplaced sense of professionalism?

"Jim's a good guy, I can't show him up by letting the entire stadium know he blew that call at 1B."
   12. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4640861)
The best I can say is that this isn't the worst possible implementation. They got a few things right.

- The calls aren't reviewed by the umps on the field. This is by far the stupidest thing the NFL did.
- They're claiming that potentially reviewable plays will be sent to the central office within 15 seconds so that the central umps can be reviewing the play before the challenge is issued. This should significantly cut down the time.
- The placement of baserunners is determined by the central office, so there shouldn't be any managers arguing with the umps on the field after an overturned play.
- They actually plan on tweaking it over the next 3 years.

The challenge concept is the worst part, and we all knew they would adopt that. So, it's bad, but not the worst it could be.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4640862)
Nets cost money, but no-calls are free. The invisible hand of the market at work.

More importantly, middle infielders cost millions and millions of dollars, fans are free.
   14. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4640865)
Perhaps the reason they're not going with something like this is that current umps/former umps might be unwilling to correct their colleagues, out of a misplaced sense of professionalism?

"Jim's a good guy, I can't show him up by letting the entire stadium know he blew that call at 1B."


While I'm not a fan of any instant replay, it seems the easy way to get over umpire reticence is to follow John's example in No. 7 and simply expand the field of umpires to a five-man crew, with the replay booth serving as one spot in the rotation.
   15. JE (Jason) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:13 AM (#4640871)
My vote would be for a 5th umpire who sits in a box with TV's and watches every play

While I'm not a fan of any instant replay, it seems the easy way to get over umpire reticence is to follow John's example in No. 7 and simply expand the field of umpires to a five-man crew, with the replay booth serving as one spot in the rotation.

MLB wasn't going to take any steps that might strengthen the Major League Umpires Association, including an increase of its membership.
   16. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:14 AM (#4640873)
They aren't just free, they pay money to get hit with foul balls!

I concur with the strong preference for an eye in the sky system (if they could possibly implement a tennis-style system for instant review of fair/foul, even better). I like the idea of replay but this sounds like a poor way to go about it.
   17. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:19 AM (#4640876)
I disagree, I think it is horrendous. Let an "eye in the sky" make the call that a replay needs to be done. It takes 20 seconds and we're done. Instead we're going to get ######## where managers spend 3 minutes arguing just to let someone in the dugout run to the clubhouse to look at video. Fredi Gonzalez was on MLB XM yesterday and said he was considering hiring a guy whose job was just to watch videos.


ESPN goes into a bit more detail about how the manager 'challenges' will work. Teams will be allowed to hire someone to review the replays in the clubhouse and let the manager know if the call is questionable via a direct line into the dugout. Obviously, any team that doesn't hire someone to do that is idiotic. Both clubhouses will have the same camera angles and replays available and all games will require certain camera angles. Managers supposedly cannot go and stall for time while the play is being reviewed - if the manager heads out and starts talking/yelling at the umpire the ump can ask them right then if they would like to review the call and the manager has to either decide if they want to challenge right at that time. Once the pitcher and batter are set and ready for the next pitch the game resumes. And supposedly there will be as of yet undefined penalties for delays to the game. I say supposedly to that and the managers crying like little #######, because the rulebook says a lot of things about the pace of the game that the umps don't enforce.
   18. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:23 AM (#4640879)

MLB wasn't going to take any steps that might strengthen the Major League Umpires Association, including an increase of its membership.


You're probably right, but it would have been nice to tie these 15 extra jobs with some other needed reforms (speed up the between-pitch pace, stop being confrontational dicks, etc.)

Obviously, any team that doesn't hire someone to do that is idiotic.


Jeff Loria will have you know there's another perfectly reasonable explanation for the Marlins' failure to hire this individual.
   19. Accent Shallow Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:24 AM (#4640882)
Perhaps the reason they're not going with something like this is that current umps/former umps might be unwilling to correct their colleagues, out of a misplaced sense of professionalism?

"Jim's a good guy, I can't show him up by letting the entire stadium know he blew that call at 1B."



While I'm not a fan of any instant replay, it seems the easy way to get over umpire reticence is to follow John's example in No. 7 and simply expand the field of umpires to a five-man crew, with the replay booth serving as one spot in the rotation.


I like this idea more than the current implementation, but does that deal with the issue I raised? We rarely see one ump overrule another on the field, I wonder if they'd be similarly reluctant, even in a setting where they're explicitly there to do so.
   20. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:28 AM (#4640887)
How can I apply for this "watch video in the clubhouse" job?
   21. BDC Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4640888)
We rarely see one ump overrule another on the field, I wonder if they'd be similarly reluctant, even in a setting where they're explicitly there to do so

But the overruled call in Game One of the WS last year was notable. It probably happened because replay was on the horizon. Umpires do not save face by sticking with a mistake, quite the reverse.
   22. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4640891)
MLB wasn't going to take any steps that might strengthen the Major League Umpires Association, including an increase of its membership.


MLB is going to hire two more umpiring crews to man the NY replay booth. Fair/foul home run balls are reviewed by them, not the crew in the stadium. That is a great change. All sports should do this. Hockey has for a while.
   23. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:33 AM (#4640892)
I like this idea more than the current implementation, but does that deal with the issue I raised? We rarely see one ump overrule another on the field, I wonder if they'd be similarly reluctant, even in a setting where they're explicitly there to do so.


If the system rotated every ump through the box, and added 15 new jobs in the process, and allowed everyone to get one workday where they sit in a soundproof and air-conditioned suite instead of standing out in the heat and getting called a fatass blind ############ by a 14-yaer-old kid in the stands, I think you'd find that the tradeoff of occasionally overruling your colleagues (and them overruling you) would be quite acceptable.

   24. JE (Jason) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:33 AM (#4640893)
MLB is going to hire two more umpiring crews to man the NY replay booth.

Wait, what? I thought the idea was to have MLB officials working those booths.

And if it's really true, will these umps wear the on-field unis or are they allowed to dress down?
   25. Accent Shallow Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4640894)
And if it's really true, will these umps wear the on-field unis or are they allowed to dress down?

I love the idea of an ump sitting in a computer chair while wearing a chest protector.
   26. Boxkutter Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4640896)
MLB wasn't going to take any steps that might strengthen the Major League Umpires Association, including an increase of its membership.


You did see where they are hiring two more umpire crews that will rotate with other crews in the review office, right? Also, the Umpire Union is the reason they were the last to agree to this, because they did not want retires umpires running it.
   27. fra paolo Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:42 AM (#4640897)
Teams will be allowed to hire someone to review the replays in the clubhouse and let the manager know if the call is questionable via a direct line into the dugout.

I absolutely hate this aspect of the change. It should be limited to what was visible to people playing or watching from the dugout, and without the help of anything except a Mark One Eyeball.

I would trade away the clubhouse reviewer for two more challenges, if that helps.
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:46 AM (#4640900)
And if it's really true, will these umps wear the on-field unis or are they allowed to dress down?

It's creative black-tie.
   29. BDC Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4640908)
It should be limited to what was visible to people playing or watching from the dugout

The problem there is that the need for replay is driven by the availability of replay. Old-school arguments over plays that were never filmed, or captured only by one uninformative camera angle, could generate #####ing and moaning, but not the kind of dead certainty we now have that an umpire got it wrong. If you're going to have a challenge system at all, it seems that the manager has to have access to the information that makes the need for the challenge apparent.
   30. thetailor Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4640920)
I HATE THE IDEA OF INSTANT REPLAY BEING CHALLENGES. I hate it, hate it, hate it with a fiery passion.

Not only is the "eye in the sky" method better, as pointed out by several smart folks above, giving managers challenges is *unnatural*. Although other sports have evolved over the years, baseball has remained largely the same.

Here's my big problem: In MLB there is simply no reason to put the reviews in the hands of the on-field managers when the technology exists to have close plays reviewed automatically. Someday, and someday soon, the story after a game will be about challenges -- whether it should have been used, whether it was wasted, whether a bad challenge earlier cost a team the game when it prevented a later challenge.

It changes everything, and I hate it. I think the other arguments, about delay, etc., is not such a big problem. I don't mind the pace of game issues. But ugh.

A friend and I wrote a pretty non-serious article about it here, if you're interested: http://thereadzone.com/2013/08/16/pointcounterpoint-baseballs-use-of-instant-replay/#comments
   31. zonk Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:22 AM (#4640927)
Earl Weaver would have loads of fun with this...

   32. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:22 AM (#4640928)
From the ESPN article

Meanwhile, MLB alleviated a key concern of the umpires by agreeing to hire two additional umpiring crews (a total of eight new umpires), and staffing the replay center in New York through a rotation of current umpire crews instead of with former umpires and umpiring supervisors.
   33. CFiJ Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:27 AM (#4640930)
I have no problem with instant replay.

I despise "challenges".
   34. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:33 AM (#4640933)
I agree with #33. I'd rather just have an eye in the sky to make all decisions. Out/safe, fair/foul, HR/not HR. Maybe even tell us what to buy, what career to embark on, who to love.
   35. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4640934)
I'd rather just have an eye in the sky to make all decisions.


Nice try Alan Parsons.
   36. BDC Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:38 AM (#4640935)
It occurs to me that one problem with endless reviews and replays after the seventh inning is that they've stopped selling beer by then. Maybe this should be coupled with a relaxation of the beer ban. Hard liquor may be needed, in fact.
   37. Hal Chase School of Professionalism Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:43 AM (#4640939)
Am I the only one who would freely use a challenge to get a relief pitcher warmed up in a hurry?

In a random July game, I think that's far more likely to affect the outcome than some potentially botched call at first that doesn't get overturned because there's not enough "Don Denkinger"-level evidence that it's f*^&ed; up.
   38. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:43 AM (#4640940)
I foresee numerous events of a chief unwilling to look at a play that it turns out they got wrong, and everyone but the umpires knows they got wrong.

If it ends up working anything like the NBA, any out-of-bounds call in the last two minutes with even the slightest hint of doubt results in the officials going to the replay TV. From my POV it's extremely obnoxious, particularly given NBA end-of-games are already a bit of a trudge.
   39. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:46 AM (#4640944)
Well, I'm going to sit in my corner and be really happy because I love (post #26) challenge-based systems.
   40. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4640950)
Am I the only one who would freely use a challenge to get a relief pitcher warmed up in a hurry?


I think so. Any manager that does this, then has a close play afterwards is going to criticized for wasting his challenge.
   41. thetailor Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4641096)
It injects a whole new element of strategy into the game that shouldn't be there. It's going to affect the outcome of an important game someday and it's going to suck.
   42. Mariano Rivera Posted: January 18, 2014 at 12:14 AM (#4641436)
This thread is now CLOSED by the great #42 #mariano
   43. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 18, 2014 at 02:09 AM (#4641452)
Isn't the worst thing that can happen that the manager has used his challenge, so a bad call can't be reviewed and overturned, just like things have been for 150 years? The fact that it could have been overturned will be annoying, and it will suck, but it won't be earth shattering.

(I hate doing it with a challenge system, for the record.)
   44. Monty Posted: January 18, 2014 at 02:52 AM (#4641455)
Isn't the worst thing that can happen that the manager has used his challenge, so a bad call can't be reviewed and overturned, just like things have been for 150 years? The fact that it could have been overturned will be annoying, and it will suck, but it won't be earth shattering.


That could result in the game being delayed and obviously wrong calls not being overturned, so it's a strictly worse result than what we have now. But I don't think that will be too common.
   45. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 18, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4641512)
Of course, "I don't think that will be too common" isn't exactly a ringing defense for a dumb challenge system. After all, bad calls that determine the outcome of games aren't too common in the first place. If the point is to get the calls right, then you should want to get them all right. Not just the first two per game that a manager decides are worth challenging.
   46. tfbg9 Posted: January 18, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4641577)
32-the umps get time off in season, and AAA umps come up to replace them, IIRC. Will AAA umps also work the replay room?
   47. spycake Posted: January 18, 2014 at 03:47 PM (#4641617)
Am I the only one who would freely use a challenge to get a relief pitcher warmed up in a hurry?

I think the results of the challenge could come in pretty quickly, especially if the play isn't particularly close. Probably not worth it, especially when you can just send the catcher to the mound for a conference, etc.
   48. Dan Evensen Posted: January 18, 2014 at 07:43 PM (#4641694)
42. Mariano Rivera Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:14 PM (#4641436)
This thread is now CLOSED by the great #42 #mariano


Are you kidding me? Somebody went to the trouble of registering the name Mariano Rivera just to post this as #42 in this thread?

I felt like I was back in pre-registration Baseball Primer for a minute there. You just don't see people trying stuff like this anymore.

Next thing you know, Rear Admiral Piazza will make his inglorious return, and "It's a trap!" will cover the site.

Oh, yeah, replay. We keep forgetting that baseball is not a sport designed for reversing umpire's decisions. In the other thread, I posted a YouTube link to the top of the 4th inning of the 1980 NLCS Game 4. Most of you have probably never heard of the phantom double play ruling, and I'm certain that none of you are aware that the replay angles were inconclusive and contradictory. Have a look at the video here.

This play is a good example of why a replay system could do damage. Let's say that the same play happens today, in a postseason game: runners on first and second, nobody out, batter his a very weak comebacker to the mound, pitcher attempts to make a shoestring catch and throws ball to first. As originally played, with the runners moving up, the play has the potential for being either a 1-3 putout at first if the ball was trapped, or a 1-3 triple play (in the film, the first baseman ran over to second to tag the bag) if the catch was made.

If the initial call on the field is that the ball was caught, and the runners attempt to return to first and second, but the replay (using our super-duper FOX HD Closeup-On-Everything cameras) convinces the umpires in the booth that it was trapped, we've got a problem. In that case, the defensive team ought to tag both runners for a potential triple play just in case the call on the field is reversed. Because they reacted to the initial (incorrect) call on the field, the runners would put themselves at risk of being found out should the call be reversed.

If the initial call on the field is that the ball was trapped, and the runners appropriately move up (which is what happened in real life), and yet the FOX Up-Your-Nostrils camera clearly shows that the ball was caught, we've got another problem. That's what happened in real life: again, by responding to the initial call on the field, the runners put themselves at risk for a triple play.

The confusing thing about the original play is that there was no clear initial call on the field. If the exact same play happened today, I also doubt there would be a clear call on the field. Of course, one would hope that the final call would make more sense than the final call in that 1980 game.

Basically, for the integrity of the game and the sanity of its viewers, I would rather see umpires occasionally risk getting a call like this wrong and letting things develop on the field as a result. Baseball is suited for going back against initial field rulings. As its proponents have noted for decades, what you see in baseball is almost always what you get; in fact, the exceptions to that rule are so rare as to be infamous.

Whatever. I'm sure that ESPN, FOX and the rest of the mainstream media will use this development to continue their endless praising of the All-Wise Commissioner Selig.

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