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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Plaschke: Baseball gets it right with expanded replay

Plaschke likes it.  Lasorda hates it. Now I’m really ####### torn.

And, of course, if there had been instant replay, Reggie Jackson’s hip check of Bill Russell’s throw in Game 4 of the 1978 World Series is successfully challenged by Tom Lasorda, and maybe the Yankees don’t come back from a 3-0 deficit to win the game and tie a series they eventually won.

“Missed call, terrible call,” Lasorda remembered Thursday. ‘‘But you know something? Our team messed up some things in that World Series too.”

It should only figure that one of the greatest umpire debaters in baseball history is not thrilled with a full instant replay system that should end those debates.

“That’s right, I don’t like what they did with instant replay; baseball should just leave it alone,” Lasorda said. “Baseball tries to get too fancy. The umpires miss, what, one call every three or four games? So they’re human. We’re all human. What’s wrong with that?”

There undoubtedly will be many voices that echo Lasorda, traditionalists understandably complaining that replay will remove the human element that makes baseball so special while making a sometimes agonizingly slow sport even slower.

This column was to be one of those voices. But watching bad calls in big games taunt us from the video highlights changed this opinion.

...On Thursday this most stubborn of sports should be applauded for moving into the video era, finally unafraid to allow their insulated of world of ERA and RBI to be influenced by the far more powerful initials of HD.

 

Repoz Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:47 PM | 44 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nfl, slippery slope

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. cardsfanboy Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:00 AM (#4640770)
MLB proved everyone else on here right by choosing the dumbest replay system imaginable.
   2. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:08 AM (#4640775)
I never watch football but being with family between Christmas until after New Year's Day, I saw an awful lot of the bowl games. Is it standard practice that every touchdown and fumble now goes to replay for stop-action frame-by-frame backward-and-forward forensic analysis just to insure the gamblers don't lose money on a marginally blown call that may or may not be discernible to the human eye in real time?

Yeah, that's what I want baseball to be turned into.
   3. Lassus Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:12 AM (#4640778)
Plaschke liking it trumps Lasorda hating it.

This is going to suck. And the people who scream and whine and moan about umpires like its their job still will, so, blah and boo.
   4. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:27 AM (#4640784)
Tommy Lasorda is dumber than ten replays
   5. Dale Sams Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:44 AM (#4640789)
If there had been instant replay in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series, Don Denkinger's ruling that Jorge Orta was safe at first base is overturned and the St. Louis Cardinals win a World Series that the Kansas City Royals won a night later.



(sigh)
   6. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:22 AM (#4640808)
Ok, here's my idea to speed up play and get the average game length down by half an hour. Every play is reviewed by the booth, but if you throw a pitch before the booth makes a rulling, the previous outcome can not be overturned. Hell, we might see games done in under an hour.
   7. Zach Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:40 AM (#4640811)
More pauses in the action -- what fun!

Maybe we should require umpires to give all calls in writing, so that there's a complete transcript for appellate review.
   8. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: January 17, 2014 at 03:12 AM (#4640815)
I've got my skip forward button, I'll be fine. Just need to give it a little more of a head start now.

With the pace the game is played at now, watching a game in real time would be cruel and unusual punishment.
   9. Bowling Baseball Fan Posted: January 17, 2014 at 04:38 AM (#4640822)
We have a shot clock on our tour. Why can't baseball have some kind of pitch clock? Batter clock to get back in the box?
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 09:16 AM (#4640837)
Why can't baseball have some kind of pitch clock?

They do. IIRC, no more than 15 seconds between pitches, with no one on base. It's just not enforced.

Batter clock to get back in the box?

Batters shouldn't be allowed to leave the box.
   11. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 09:27 AM (#4640847)
The neighborhood play won't be subject to instant replay so as to avoid increased physical contact at second base but the protective screen directly behind home plate won't be extended so that they protect fans up until the dugouts?
   12. bachslunch Posted: January 17, 2014 at 09:33 AM (#4640848)
Sorry, but I think getting the call right is the most important issue and this will help make that happen. The particulars can be modified year by year as needed.
   13. Brian Posted: January 17, 2014 at 09:45 AM (#4640851)
We'll have to see how it works out but IMO you can see if the call was correct before the next batter gets in the box. Get it right. Also, maybe the constant overturning of certain umps will lead to doing something about Angel.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4640860)
Sorry, but I think getting the call right is the most important issue and this will help make that happen. The particulars can be modified year by year as needed.

The pace of the game (already tortuous) is far more important. This is entertainment, not brain surgery. "Getting it right" doesn't matter if it makes the product worse.

You could even argue that discussions/arguments about blown calls are good publicity, as long as they are not too frequent.
   15. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:09 AM (#4640866)
The neighborhood play won't be subject to instant replay so as to avoid increased physical contact at second base but the protective screen directly behind home plate won't be extended so that they protect fans up until the dugouts?


So the de facto rule is that you don't have to actually touch second base to put out the runner; you just have to be kind of close to it. That makes perfect sense.

The NFL replay system works the way it does because it generates extra ad revenue on TV. I assume MLB has copied it for the same reason.
   16. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:10 AM (#4640868)
Sorry, but I think getting the call right is the most important issue and this will help make that happen.


The problem is this system still allows for blown calls (limited challenges) while that challenge system results in a drain on the pace of the game. It's the worst of both worlds.

There is no reason at all not to have a centralized location and a 30 second time limit on a review.
   17. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:14 AM (#4640872)
There is no reason at all not to have a centralized location and a 30 second time limit on a review.


Well, they're stupid, and technically, that does count as a reason.
   18. Lassus Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:21 AM (#4640878)
We should really let this thread die and move everything over to the other, concurrent, non-Plaschke thread.
   19. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:27 AM (#4640884)
We should really let this thread die and move everything over to the other, concurrent, non-Plaschke thread.


If two replay threads allow us to choke the Hot Topics life out of the many Arod/steroids threads, then they're doing a valuable service.

   20. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4640932)
If there had been instant replay in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series, Don Denkinger's ruling that Jorge Orta was safe at first base is overturned and the St. Louis Cardinals win a World Series that the Kansas City Royals won a night later.



(sigh)


Winning run scored with one out. And that one out was Jorge Orta, at third base.
   21. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4640937)
And the one out was on a bunt. Todd Worrell did not retire a single batter who was trying to avoid being out.

I'm trying to think of other post-season moments that would have been changed with replay. He mentions Jeffrey Maier and Reggie Jackson's hip check (would that be reviewable under these rules?)

I'm thinking something with AJ Pieryznski and Josh Paul in like 2005? What was that exactly?
   22. Hal Chase School of Professionalism Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4640949)
I'm thinking something with AJ Pieryznski and Josh Paul in like 2005? What was that exactly?


The question was whether or not Josh Paul caught the ball on a dropped third strike on the fly or on a slight bounce.

Replay would have ruled it "inconclusive", so it would have just taken 5 minutes longer to arrive at the same befuddled outcome.

Meanwhile, AJ, the red ass that he is, is smiling somewhere.
   23. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4640956)

I'm trying to think of other post-season moments that would have been changed with replay.


Joe Mauer ball down the line is the most obvious.

Jeff Maier play also almost certain (Never realized the names involved in those two famous Yankee Stadium ####-ups were so similar before).

Yankees-Angels two men at third fiasco? Probably.

Red Sox-Yankees dropped double play ball in Game 1 in 1999? If it's reviewable, possibly, depending if the rules prohibit any pivot plays at second to be reviewed, or just neighborhood questions.

Chuck Knoblauch phantom tag of Jose Offerman in same series? Definitely, provided the replay booth is given full information on why call is made (tag out vs. out of the baseline).

Not a postseason game, but a one-game playoff? Matt Holliday play at the plate vs. Padres. My gut says no way in the hell was that conclusive, but this could be one of those plays where the reviewer sees it differently and half the viewers at home are left scratching their heads in amazement.

Same game - ball off the railing. Likely overturned (I think they got it wrong).

Ed Arbrister from 1975 series - Villainous bastard executed on the spot. OK, maybe that's just if 8-year-old SoSH was manning the booth.

   24. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4640961)
Kent Hrbek throwing Ron Gant off the bag in '91? Or is that more of a subjective thing? Would they have reviewed that?

The Allen Craig interference call last year? Would that have been reviewed?
   25. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:21 PM (#4640969)
Kent Hrbek throwing Ron Gant off the bag in '91? Or is that more of a subjective thing? Would they have reviewed that?

The Allen Craig interference call last year? Would that have been reviewed?


I don't think either is overturned. It's possible the Gant play might have been. I don't see any way the Craig call could be overturned (nor should it have been, being the right call).

In both cases, you're dealing more with the umpire's judgment of what happened, rather than a clear cut case of something being missed.
   26. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:22 PM (#4640972)
One thing I will say is that the test runs that they did during the AFL on MLBN this year seemed like the process will work out. The umpires overturned the plays they needed to and it was pretty quick. The replay process was shorter than most arguments.

Granted, the AFL is low stakes. I doubt there are many arguments to begin with.
   27. bachslunch Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4640989)
The pace of the game (already tortuous) is far more important.

You're welcome to your opinion -- I just don't happen to agree. People made dire predictions that replay would ruin the pace of football games, but I don't see a good case for that argument as of now.

The problem is this system still allows for blown calls (limited challenges) while that challenge system results in a drain on the pace of the game. It's the worst of both worlds.

A "work in progress" is fine by me -- I'm not assuming this will be perfect from the get-go. I say we need to start somewhere.
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4641069)
People made dire predictions that replay would ruin the pace of football games, but I don't see a good case for that argument as of now.

You mean you haven't noticed how the joy of the moment is sucked out of every fumble, or other potentially reviewable call? Fans now don't know whether to celebrate or not; if the play will be reviewed or not. It's a shambles.
   29. tfbg9 Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:28 PM (#4641090)
You mean you haven't noticed how the joy of the moment is sucked out of every fumble, or other potentially reviewable call? Fans now don't know whether to celebrate or not; if the play will be reviewed or not. It's a shambles.


Bingo.

"I think we just scored a touchdown."
   30. tfbg9 Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4641092)
To me, the most annoying blown calls in baseball are balls and strikes, and this does squat about that.
   31. Smittywerneryeagermanjensen Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4641101)
For me it's most definitely a pace of game problem. I love baseball, Played the game in HS and college and run a youth baseball organization. I speak with the kids (13 and 14 year olds) often about whether or not they had seen a particular "play" on tv in order to illustrate a coaching point that I was trying to make. Most of the time the boys did not watch the games because they find it boring and slow paced. Not long ago someone here posted a link to a site where we were able to watch a game from the 1960's between Cinn and Chic. The most glaring difference between the pace of the game between that 1960's game and the modern one was that I noticed that the batters infrequently stepped out of the batters box, if at all. Couple that with only one 15 second (I think) commercial between 1/2 innings made for a much more entertaining experience.

I would love to see the umpires get the play right, but at the cost of a longer game-time I don't think it's worth it. As a Yankee fan - every game between the Yankees and the R Sox takes about 5 hours. My son, who loves baseball cannot watch the game because of the slow pace. So he gives up and goes to play Play station. My son is a student of the game. He has the attention span to go with me (several times) to the HOF where he reads the placques, enjoying the great history of the game, but to him and many other youths the game can be pretty much unwatchable.
   32. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:46 PM (#4641108)
I'm trying to think of other post-season moments that would have been changed with replay.


Well, if the NFL had replay review, they could've penalized the Chargers for an illegal formation on the kick that the Chiefs missed in their Week 17 game. If the Chiefs had made the re-kick, that would've put the Steelers into the playoffs instead.

Oh, wait...
   33. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4641110)


If two replay threads allow us to choke the Hot Topics life out of the many Arod/steroids threads, then they're doing a valuable service.


Wait a minute, why don't solve two problems at once? We have all replays done by a centralized office with all replays done by...Alex Rodriguez. His steroid enhanced vision would be perfect and as a current/former player he knows the game.
   34. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: January 17, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4641137)
Hey, smitty.. lets be at least fair.. kids in the 60s didn't have a wicked cool nextgen console, VOD, 8,000 channels, streaming video, or smart phones. Plus, if you asked a kid during the 60s if they saw a play from last night's game, they also would have said no because the game wasn't on the TV no matter how fast it was.

With BBTN, MLB Tonight, SC, and every freaking game televised, I bet you more teenaged baseball fans know 1000x more about topical events and recent plays than they have. Teenagers don't watch baseball because they have cooler stuff to do than ever before and know they can flip it on MLB network if they really missed anything.

Plus, I am going to repeat this again. The test runs they did in the AFL didn't add much time to the game. The disputed calls were usually settled in less time than most arguments.
   35. bachslunch Posted: January 17, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4641210)
You mean you haven't noticed how the joy of the moment is sucked out of every fumble, or other potentially reviewable call?

Can't say that I have. Maybe we're watching different games?
   36. madvillain Posted: January 17, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4641219)
I can't say enough how awful this is. It's truly, horrifically awful. That they went with a challenge based system, which is the absolute worst way to do it, is especially infuriating. The NHL's system is without a doubt the best and yet here is MLB going with an outdated model from the NFL that even college football decided not to follow based on its inherent inanity.
   37. Dan Evensen Posted: January 17, 2014 at 04:53 PM (#4641237)
I can come up with one infamous postseason play that would not have been solved by this, or any, replay system:

1980 NLCS Game 4 -- top of the 4th inning

Also, check out how long the discussion over what actually happened delayed the game. I know that NFL touchdown review delays are long, but those don't even come close to this event. And just look at all those inconclusive replays!

The worst part is that most baseball fans have completely forgotten about this event.

EDIT: Actually, the final call itself was probably worse than anything. ;-)
   38. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4641250)
I can't say enough how awful this is. It's truly, horrifically awful. That they went with a challenge based system, which is the absolute worst way to do it, is especially infuriating. The NHL's system is without a doubt the best and yet here is MLB going with an outdated model from the NFL that even college football decided not to follow based on its inherent inanity.


Again: this has nothing to do with what you the pissant fan thinks. This is about TV ad revenue.
   39. madvillain Posted: January 17, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4641275)
Again: this has nothing to do with what you the pissant fan thinks. This is about TV ad revenue.


Eh, what exactly are the dynamics here? Who exactly has lobbied MLB into it? The local cable networks? I'm not necessarily disagreeing with that take and I'm not so naive to think money doesn't play a part in every decision the league makes, but I'm curious to know what entity has pushed so hard.
   40. Dan Evensen Posted: January 17, 2014 at 05:39 PM (#4641290)
Again: this has nothing to do with what you the pissant fan thinks. This is about TV ad revenue.

Unless, of course, upset fans stop watching baseball. Then advertisers are less willing to pay for those TV ads, and things start to crumble.

There could also be a dramatic congressional overhaul of cable and sattelite television. I'm guessing that the a-la-carte system would damage the current rely-on-tv-money business model enough to really hurt things.

NFL-style replay is designed for television fans, not for fans at the park. As long as the big money continues to come from television, implementing policies that benefit television fans over live spectators make sense. However, if something eventually disrupts the television revenue machine as currently constituted, this will all seem very silly.

On a completely different note, don't baseball broadcasts already have trouble finding enough companies to fill up the commercial spots between innings? Other than ads for other network shows, I see a lot of annoying ads by companies like Taco Bell repeated at every commercial break. I guess that could just be a FOX / TBS thing -- but I feel like I see the same pattern on MASN / MASN2 broadcasts as well.
   41. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: January 17, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4641295)
On a completely different note, don't baseball broadcasts already have trouble finding enough companies to fill up the commercial spots between innings?

Yes. Baseball has plenty of stoppages for ads. The LaRussian bullpen style has made sure of that. This is less about ads and more about the non-stop pursuit to be more like football.

   42. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 17, 2014 at 06:07 PM (#4641309)
This is less about ads and more about the non-stop pursuit to be more like football.


Yep. And it's a cryin's shame, at least in this case. Much as I detest the NFL's replay system, it is logically consistent with the game. Football already had flags, so adding one of a different color fit right in. Football already had officials stopping the game and conferring with each other about why a flag was thrown, and then conferring with players and coaches about whether they wanted to accept a penalty. And football already had fans holding their collective breath waiting to find out if a big play really happened whenever they saw a yellow handkerchief on the field. For all it's glaring faults, the NFL's replay system does at least fit in perfectly fine with all of that.

Why wouldn't MLB want to devise a replay system from the ground up that would fit into its own game? It would have been pretty simple really -- when a manager comes out to argue, the ump in the booth reviews the play and within much less time than most arguments currently take, texts the crew chief with the information that sends the manager back to his dugout, either happy or not.

Why is the importance of getting the call right limited to two times per team per game?
   43. madvillain Posted: January 17, 2014 at 06:36 PM (#4641325)
@42, excellent post. It's not that replay is inherently bad for baseball, it's that trying to shoehorn a manager's challenge based system that was DEVISED FOR A DIFFERENT SPORT into baseball is the height of idiocy.

   44. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: January 18, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4641479)
More pauses in the action -- what fun!


I fully expect to wake up some Monday morning at my usual 5am, only to discover that the previous night's Yankees-Red Sox game on ESPN is still going.

In the fifth inning.

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