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Friday, February 28, 2014

Paul White: How instant replay will change baseball

Wonder if Mike Pereira has an equally useless brother.

Every clubhouse in every major league ballpark will have a mini-command center in which teams can see the same video feeds. But unless the play in question ends an inning or there is a pitching change, teams will be pressed to make a call — and there’s no tolerance for stalling.

That doesn’t mean managers won’t try. Several have already added a term to baseball lingo: Turning the manager.

...One American League manager, who requested anonymity for competitive reasons, told USA TODAY Sports he wants an ex-ump even though the team video coordinator, who already handles the equipment players use to analyze their play or to study opponents, might be more tech-savvy.

“My video guy is too much of a fan,” says the manager, who already has begun the interview process. “He’d think we’re getting screwed on every play. I want someone who can interpret the rules and make a calm decision.”

Torre estimates the average challenge and subsequent replay can be done in 60-90 seconds because umpires will connect with the New York command center through a headset behind home plate and be told the decision.

...Torre and his staff plus former managers Tony La Russa and Jim Leyland, both part of a committee for on-field matters set up by Commissioner Bud Selig, have been part of the sessions with managers, coaches and general managers.

Says Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter, “That gives it instant credibility right there.”

Repoz Posted: February 28, 2014 at 06:56 AM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: doom, replay

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Lassus Posted: February 28, 2014 at 09:22 AM (#4663972)
“My video guy is too much of a fan,” says the manager, who already has begun the interview process. “He’d think we’re getting screwed on every play. I want someone who can interpret the rules and make a calm decision.”

Soriano Hutcheson is available.
   2. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: February 28, 2014 at 09:49 AM (#4663983)
I hate hate hate HATE the fact that there is a way to have someone looking at video before the challenge is issued. If we must go with this asinine challenge system there should be a limit, 15 seconds or so, to when you have to throw the flag to make that less feasible.
   3. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 28, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4664069)
So, each team is going to pay someone to review every play in quasi-real time and decide which ones might have been incorrect and therefore merit challenge, instead of MLB paying someone to review every play in quasi-real time and decide which ones might have been incorrect and therefore merit challenge. Brilliant.
   4. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: February 28, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4664078)
Halle-fukking-lujah. It's about time baseball entered the 21st century. Especially considering the horrible crapbag umpires plaguing the game these days that the league is apparently basically powerless to do anything about.
   5. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 28, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4664082)
It is about time baseball entered the 21st century. Unfortunately, the replay system they've adopted amounts to entering the mid-1980s.
   6. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: February 28, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4664085)
It remains to be seen over the course of the season how well the system works out in practice, and what tweaks and additions need to be made. It certainly won't be perfect, but it sure as heck will be better than nothing.

What matters right now is that for the first time, MLB is making a serious effort to try and address one of the single biggest problems in the game.
   7. Chris Fluit Posted: February 28, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4664096)
It is about time baseball entered the 21st century. Unfortunately, the replay system they've adopted amounts to entering the mid-1980s.


Baby steps. Football has slowly transitioned most plays away from the coach challenge system to the booth system. All scoring plays are automatically reviewed (Jim Schwartz was penalized a couple of years ago for challenging a play that was going to be automatically reviewed anyway). Now all turnovers are automatically reviewed. Coaches are basically left with four items to challenge- possession on a catch, place of the down, on-field rulings against turnovers (ref says that a fumble didn't happen, coach challenges to insist that it did), on-field rulings against a score (ref says player didn't break the plane, coach challenges to insist that they did). I'm sure the same thing will happen in baseball. Eventually, plays at the plate will be automatically reviewed, then plays on the bases and so on. Sure, I'd prefer that baseball opted for that system right away but I'm okay with this as a transitional phase.
   8. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 28, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4664104)
Baby steps. Football has slowly transitioned most plays away from the coach challenge system to the booth system.


Different strokes I guess, but for me this only adds to the frustration with MLB's approach. Why not learn from others' mistakes and jump ahead to a much better system that would be at least as easy to implement?
   9. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: February 28, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4664115)
But I don't like change!
   10. BDC Posted: February 28, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4664137)
basically left with four items to challenge

The four items left to challenge in MLB, by 2024:

1. Catcher's interference
2. Leaving 3B early on sac fly
3. Relief-pitcher allowable beard length
4. Is that girl really the hottest one FOX could find to show between pitches
   11. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4664191)
I love that we are obsessed with time when it comes to challenging a play or doing a review, but when it comes to getting in the box or throwing a pitch - you know, whatever, when you get around to it.
   12. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: February 28, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4664228)
Is there anyone who doesn't want to see those things sped up? I think the heavy majority of fans (including here at BTF) are in favor of a lot quicker pace between pitches.
   13. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 28, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4664236)
The four items left to challenge in MLB, by 2024:

1. Catcher's interference
2. Leaving 3B early on sac fly
3. Relief-pitcher allowable beard length
4. Is that girl really the hottest one FOX could find to show between pitches


I think you'll still be allowed to challenge whether or not a pitcher "looked mean" before he released a HBP, and probably whether he smirked viciously afterwards.
   14. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: February 28, 2014 at 04:19 PM (#4664242)
11-12: It's kind of a TV thing, at least for me. That stuff drives me crazy when I'm watching on TV; it doesn't bother me too much at the ballpark because I'm at a ballpark watching a baseball game.
   15. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 28, 2014 at 04:22 PM (#4664244)
11-12: It's kind of a TV thing, at least for me.


The pace of games could be slashed if you cut the time between innings back down to the pre-"gotta get these four ads run before we start the second" times.
   16. cardsfanboy Posted: March 01, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4664456)
The pace of games could be slashed if you cut the time between innings back down to the pre-"gotta get these four ads run before we start the second" times.


The problem is the perception factor. Fans at home are used to commercials. That is how a even slower paced sport like football, is considered faster paced, because they pre-plan all their commercials and have gotten the dullards that are fans of watching that game to actually think it's a faster paced game. The difference is that in baseball, when the game is going on, there is lack of "action" and it highlights how slow it can be sometimes. Baseball TV crews try to compensate for this by showing close ups of the lice in the nose hair of the pitcher, and fan shots around the stadium.... NFL hides this by having the best instant replay system on the planet and re-showing the plays over and over from different well filmed camera angles, where they have told the camera men not to use close ups on every freaking scene so that we can see the entire play happen on the field, including tertiary players who might have surprisingly made a difference.

   17. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 01, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4664538)
The pace of games could be slashed if you cut the time between innings back down to the pre-"gotta get these four ads run before we start the second" times.

That would help the time of games, the pace would still be crazy slow. It's not the breaks in the action that are the problem - or a problem that could be worked on, commercials aren't going anywhere - it's all the stalling/time wasting during the 'action'.
   18. Greg K Posted: March 01, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4664543)
The one that gets me is the old routine of the catcher talking to the pitcher for a while, then just as he leaves the mound the manager comes out to make the pitching change. It's especially annoying when the reliever's coming in to get the lefty-lefty matchup that you know the manager had planned on arranging before the game even started. It's not like they snuck David Ortiz into the lineup out of nowhere, I don't get why you need to waste everyone's time getting your pitcher more time when you could just start warming him up sooner.
   19. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 01, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4664547)
The difference is that in baseball, when the game is going on, there is lack of "action" and it highlights how slow it can be sometimes... NFL hides this by having the best instant replay system on the planet and re-showing the plays over and over from different well filmed camera angles...


The NFL also hides the lack of action by convincing the viewer that all of the BS that happens between plays actually is "action." We're treating to tons of closeups of quarterbacks holding their hands over their earholes and squinting at the sidelines to hear/see the next play call, and fans eat it up. But in baseball, a batter stepping out of the box to get a sign from the third base coach is just a waste of time that kills the pace of the game. And please save the flames: I am not in any way suggesting that batters don't step out of the box way more often than they should, or that they don't take way too long to get back in than they should. Just pointing out yet another striking difference in how the "action" of the two sports is perceived.

It's especially annoying when the reliever's coming in to get the lefty-lefty matchup that you know the manager had planned on arranging before the game even started. It's not like they snuck David Ortiz into the lineup out of nowhere, I don't get why you need to waste everyone's time getting your pitcher more time when you could just start warming him up sooner.


You do realize that when this happens it is almost always because there had been a possibility of getting out of the inning before you had to face the LHB in question, right? Repeatedly warming up relief pitchers and then not using them isn't good for your bullpen.
   20. OsunaSakata Posted: March 01, 2014 at 03:32 PM (#4664552)
All the time "wasted" reviewing a play would have been wasted anyway by the manager arguing with the umpire.
   21. BDC Posted: March 01, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4664555)
Interesting discussion. I actually find NFL and MLB very similar in terms of pace and dead time. Both are sports where I bring a book, or look up over the top of one to catch the action if I'm on the couch at home. Action in either sport is infrequent. There are substantial commercial breaks (as people have noted, bearable in both sports on TV so that you can go get or return more beer). But there is also substantial milling about in the course of game play. The latter is more forgivable in the NFL because one does have to scrape the injured off the turf, run everyone back to scrimmage, and at least nominally inform the offensive line of what you're planning next. What gets unforgivable in MLB is the taking ten, 12, 15, 30 seconds between pitches, as if the next ###### fastball were an event of the gravity of the Nuremberg Trials.

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