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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Shaikin: For sake of argument, baseball’s replay review system has a downside

Of the 598 plays reviewed through Thursday, the call was overturned almost half the time — on 278 occasions, or 46.5%, according to Major League Baseball.

“There is a challenge every night,” Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier said. “I don’t think there was a manager coming out to argue every night.”

In preparation for replay expansion, league officials reviewed video from last year’s games and determined one call every six games would be challenged, according to Joe Torre, the executive vice president who oversees replay operations. This season is halfway done, and the challenges are coming once every four games.

“They’re challenging a lot more bang-bang plays than I thought they would,” Torre said.

When a player insists the call is wrong, a manager wants to at least consider a challenge, lest he be perceived as not supporting his player. When a team’s challenge has been used, an umpire wants to at least consider a manager’s request for an umpire review, lest the umpire be perceived as intransigent.

And, because an unused team challenge does not roll over to the next game, there is no harm in trying an available challenge late in the game. On their last trip to San Diego, the Dodgers called one in the ninth inning, with a three-run lead.

“We had our challenge, so you might as well use it,” catcher A.J. Ellis said. “There was a two-minute delay in the game. But it’s a piece of strategy managers can use to help their ballclub, so why wouldn’t you?”

Never have games taken so long to play, and the daily use of replay is a factor.

The average major league game covers 3 hours 3 minutes, according to MLB statistics through June 22. The record of 2 hours 59 minutes was set last year.

Never have there been fewer than three replay challenges on a given day this season. On June 14, there were a record 14 challenges, according to MLB statistics.

Thanks to Esso.

Repoz Posted: June 28, 2014 at 07:43 PM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: replay, zzzzz

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   1. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 28, 2014 at 08:02 PM (#4738560)
In preparation for replay expansion, league officials reviewed video from last year’s games and determined one call every six games would be challenged, according to Joe Torre, the executive vice president who oversees replay operations. This season is halfway done, and the challenges are coming once every four games.

“They’re challenging a lot more bang-bang plays than I thought they would,” Torre said.


You'd think a former manager would have foreseen this since everyone else in the world did. In fairness after some early blips (mostly related to the transfer rule) I think it's been working pretty well. There is still some obvious stuff to fix most notably this thing with managers coming out of the dugout and standing their picking their nose waiting for the thumbs up/thumbs down thing but generally I think it's as good as a system in this format could be.

In my perfect world it's not a challenge system and it's only on scoring plays but it's not been as bad as I expected.
   2. Bruce Markusen Posted: June 28, 2014 at 10:19 PM (#4738608)
The time situation needs to be addressed. As soon as the manager steps onto the field, he should have to tell the umpire if he's challenging the play or not. No checking with someone watching in the clubhouse or wherever; that simply shouldn't be allowed. If he doesn't indicate a challenge immediately, the umpire tells him to go back to the dugout, the opportunity to challenge is lost, and play resumes.

Good god, it's unbelievable that an average game is now taking over three hours. No wonder attendance is down.
   3. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 28, 2014 at 10:36 PM (#4738610)
The time situation needs to be addressed. As soon as the manager steps onto the field, he should have to tell the umpire if he's challenging the play or not. No checking with someone watching in the clubhouse or wherever; that simply shouldn't be allowed. If he doesn't indicate a challenge immediately, the umpire tells him to go back to the dugout, the opportunity to challenge is lost, and play resumes


Man do I agree with this. Really I'd love to have a non-challenge based system but if we must have one then the challenge needs to be issued within 30 seconds (or whatever) of the play ending. This crap of waiting for someone to look at it first is asinine. If you're going to allow this then just take away the challenge part and just have someone review plays.
   4. Bruce Markusen Posted: June 28, 2014 at 10:43 PM (#4738612)
Right on, Jose.

If need be, just review the play right away and get it done quickly.
   5. boteman Posted: June 28, 2014 at 11:45 PM (#4738627)
Since it's highly unlikely that MLB would change the challenge arrangement mid-season, they could institute a 60 second review period, I guess starting from the time the umpires establish communications with World HQ in NYC. If the reviewer can't establish a conclusion within 60 seconds then the call stands. If it takes 3 and 4 minutes to review a play then it was too close to call, so quit farting around trying to figure it out.

Then, next year, ditch the challenge system and just implement the system that many here have championed where a full-time 5th umpire does nothing but replay work in each game, in whatever way those details would be worked out. Nothing takes the wind out of a game more than to have the manager stand there picking his nose next to the field ump staring blankly into the dugout. Let's see if MLB is truly good for its word to "make adjustments".
   6. Justin T steals bases with his bat Posted: June 29, 2014 at 12:14 AM (#4738640)
I don't sense that the league feels like the managers standing around is a problem that needs fixing. I don't anticipate a change there. In-season or otherwise. Maybe some stuff to speed up the stuff from once the headsets go on. Even the easy ones take a bunch of time.

But they're not going to make the managers have to make those decisions so quickly. It opens them up to too much criticism when things go terribly wrong. Guy burns his challenge on a non-overturned call and then doesn't get a review on a play later that costs them the game. Not good times. We can say "tough #### you make good enough money to deal with some grief" all we want. It isn't happening.

But, if they are going to build in all these protections for them with the butt-picking while gazing into the dugout, there shouldn't be bailouts also built in for umpire reviews on subsequent close plays. Lose a challenge and you're done.
   7. Bunny Vincennes Posted: June 29, 2014 at 12:17 AM (#4738642)
By "make adjustments" its usually adjusting to whatever the NFL is doing, which is ALWAYS the wrong idea when it comes to baseball. I don't watch football to watch Andy Reid girlthrow a beanbag onto the field.
   8. Bhaakon Posted: June 29, 2014 at 04:06 AM (#4738675)

By "make adjustments" its usually adjusting to whatever the NFL is doing, which is ALWAYS the wrong idea when it comes to baseball. I don't watch football to watch Andy Reid girlthrow a beanbag onto the field.


The mere fact that the umpires aren't huddled around a hooded 8" screen to review their own calls puts it a a solid half-parsec ahead of the NFL system.
   9. Dr. Vaux Posted: June 29, 2014 at 06:31 AM (#4738680)
It's fun at the ballpark, though, if hard to get used to. At least it's more fun than not being able to see the replay of a bang-bang play. And the crowd cheers or boos lustilly throughout the whole thing.
   10. bobm Posted: June 29, 2014 at 10:51 AM (#4738732)
FTFA:

Torre said he plans to consult with every manager in the two weeks between now and the All-Star break, soliciting ideas for how to improve the replay system. For instance, Torre said, the league might consider whether to add cameras, some at particularly effective angles, others with advanced slow-motion capabilities.


I wonder how much time this will save on each replay review or if it will just result in more overturned calls.
   11. majorflaw Posted: June 29, 2014 at 12:41 PM (#4738790)
I don't sense that the league feels like the managers standing around is a problem that needs fixing.


Agreed. I'll gladly trade the extra couple of minutes in return for getting the call right. And what hasn't been mentioned is the extent to which the replay rule has made the game more civilized. In situations where managers would previously have charged out of the dugout and approached the relevant umpire with a string of obscenities, they now stroll over and exchange pleasantries while waiting for their own reviewer to give a signal. Also, getting reversed approximately half the time has been an uplifting experience for the officials. Looks like MLB finally got something right.
   12. boteman Posted: June 29, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4738976)
Yes, you're right. There is absolutely NO room for improvement whatsoever. Yawn.
   13. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: June 29, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4739036)
Also, getting reversed approximately half the time has been an uplifting experience for the officials. Looks like MLB finally got something right.


Yeah, I'm surprised the "overturned" numbers are that high, and that the overall number of challenges is so low. Basically, every other game a challenge is made, and every other challenge results in an overturned call, so about one per four games. That's not exactly a big deal.

Here's an interesting set of stats: TBR, TOR and KCR lead the AL in number of challenges (27, 25, and 22, respectively). TBR also leads the AL in length of games, at 3:21, which lines up with the complaints about "increasing game times". But TOR and KCR have two of the three shortest game times in the AL, with 3:00 and 3:01 average game times (shorter than any NL teams except STL and SDP!). Overall, R squared between game time and #challenges in the AL is a miniscule .00493. Challenges don't appear to be driving the increased game times, at least in a way that is directly linked to the number of challenges initiated by a team.

In the NL, despite a moderate average game length, the Cubs (28) blow everybody else away in number of challenges; game-time leaders LAD (20) and almost twice the #challenges as the #2/3 game-time teams, NYM and PHI (15 each). R-squared of game time and #challenges in the NL is .23.
   14. Justin T steals bases with his bat Posted: June 29, 2014 at 05:32 PM (#4739144)
I forget the details, but I am pretty sure the Rays have an entire bullpen of guys who work incredibly slow, even by reliever standards. That's where their 3:21 comes in.
   15. Sunday silence Posted: June 29, 2014 at 10:16 PM (#4739374)
Yeah, I'm surprised the "overturned" numbers are that high...


I'm not, the closer and closer a play is, the more likely the call is a random guess. That's just a natural law of, I dunno, physics or stats or something.

Presumably the only the plays being challenged are those on the borderline in terms of how our eyes see the play. Again, presuming that easy calls are not being blown. That would then leave, very close plays to be reviewed. So the percentage has to verge on 50%.

Curious as to the reasoning that you expected some other percentage.
   16. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: June 30, 2014 at 12:53 AM (#4739463)
I'm surprised the "overturned" numbers are that high,

How far do they drop if you omit C.B. Bucknor and Angel Hernandez?
   17. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 30, 2014 at 12:59 AM (#4739467)
I'm surprised the overturned rate is so low. Presumably someone has seen an angle that makes them think the call will be overturned and it still isn't.
   18. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: June 30, 2014 at 09:52 AM (#4739537)
R-squared of game time and #challenges in the NL is .23.

I don't think this necessarily works as a measure of the effect of challenges on game time. The effect of a team's use of challenges on game time (if it exists) would be to increase a team's game time versus game time in a challenge-free alternate universe. It could be possible that the teams that otherwise play the shortest games lead the league in challenges. In that scenario, challenges could have a negative correlation with game time (because only fast teams challenge) while still having a real effect on game time (2:40 games instead of 2:30 games). In a dataset of just 30 teams it wouldn't be shocking to have the high challenge teams bunched towards one end of the Platonic game length spectrum, which would throw a simple correlation out the window.

The Cubs, for instance, should play fairly short games if you look at their "game length component stats" -- they have a crap offense that draws very few walks, and an averageish pitching staff. If their game length is really around average (I don't have the numbers in front of me) that could reflect, at least in part, challenge-related delays. It could also reflect pitchers who work slowly or whatever. So IOW, you're going to have to watch the games with a stopwatch in hand as well as do statistical measures.
   19. Rusty Priske Posted: June 30, 2014 at 10:43 AM (#4739590)
Jose... exactly. I would have gussed the overturned percentage was somewhere like 75-80%.
   20. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 30, 2014 at 10:43 AM (#4739591)
I'm surprised the overturned rate is so low. Presumably someone has seen an angle that makes them think the call will be overturned and it still isn't.

as this page shows, there is quite a spread in the success rate of challenges, ranging from:

Miami 13/16 81%
NYY 12/16 75%

down to

Toronto 8/25 32%
Cincy 3/11 27%
Cards 3/12 25%
   21. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 30, 2014 at 10:51 AM (#4739601)
NYY 12/16 75%


East coast bias! Big club bias! Yankee bias!!!
   22. boteman Posted: June 30, 2014 at 12:27 PM (#4739752)
And up until no more than about a week ago Mike Redmond was "undefeated" in challenges, having "won" all 13. I guess that accrues more to his video review guy or maybe they employ a more conservative approach when evaluating whether to ask for review.

Despite his otherwise puzzling managerial decisions, Matt Williams has a pretty decent record on challenges as well.

Maybe managers should be considered in the race for some award to encourage them to strive for challenging only when they are fairly confident that they will win and adjust their policies accordingly? That might discourage teams like the Reds and Cards from asking for review so readily when they don't seem to get the calls most of the time.

I don't know whether replay reviews are a big component of longer game times, but they certainly drain away a lot of the drama associated with a close play. I think it was a Giants game last week that would have ended with a play at 1B, but the review had the crowd holding its cheers for the decision which later upheld the call on the field. Then the cheering and Gatorade sloshing could begin in earnest. I'm reminded of that Frankie Goes To Hollywood song "Relax! Don't Do It!"
   23. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 30, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4739796)
hat might discourage teams like the Reds and Cards from asking for review so readily when they don't seem to get the calls most of the time.

actually, the Cards & the Reds are among the teams with fewest challenges--they're just really bad at it
   24. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 30, 2014 at 01:19 PM (#4739823)
the teams that challenge a LOT and have a very low success %age are:
TB 9/27
Toronto 8/25
   25. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: June 30, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4739940)
The other night Toronto was up 6-0 at home. In the bottom of the 8th they challenged a call.

Nothing like telling your team you don't expect them to hold the other team to less than 6 runs in one inning.

One tweak is all it takes to get this back to civilized sanity: Eject the manager if he challenges a call and the call stands. Takes away all the crap with the manager challenging a call just as an attempt to help the player save face.

I would like to know which umpires have had the most overturned calls. I know the union protects their incompetence but at the very least the 10 worst umpires should be kept out of post-season games.
   26. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: June 30, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4739956)
but the review had the crowd holding its cheers for the decision


You can't beat buzzkill at the old ballpark.

   27. Good cripple hitter Posted: July 04, 2014 at 09:27 PM (#4743698)
I would like to know which umpires have had the most overturned calls. I know the union protects their incompetence but at the very least the 10 worst umpires should be kept out of post-season games.


Way late, but from SABR, around a week ago:

Umpire              Total  Overturned Games

Jordan Baker            6    2         51

Sean Barber             7    3         60

Lance Barksdale         8    5         65

Lance Barrett          10    5         56

Scott Barry             5    0         65

Ted Barrett             9    5         67

Toby Basner             6    5         43

Dan Bellino             7    0         56

Cory Blaser             5    2         56

CB Bucknor              9    6         64

Seth Buckminster       16   11         62

Angel Campos            1    0         25

Vic Carapazza           6    0         62

Mark Carlson            9    5         66

Gary Cederstrom         6    5         65

Chris Conroy           11    6         55

Eric Cooper             5    1         58

Fieldin Culbreth        7    2         60

Phil Cuzzi             10    6         64

Kerwin Danley           9    4         55

Bob Davidson           15    6         61

Gerry Davis             8    6         70

Dana DeMuth             5    2         32

Laz Diaz                6    4         63

Mike DiMuro            12    7         66

Rob Drake               7    3         64

Doug Eddings           12    7         60

Paul Emmel              5    3         60

Mike Estabrook         12    2         66

Mike Everitt            5    2         31

Clint Fagan            11    5         63

Chad Fairchild          1    0         12

Andy Fletcher           7    3         61

Marty Foster            8    6         64

Greg Gibson             9    2         68

Tripp Gibson            8    3         77

Manny Gonzalez         13    5         63

Brian Gorman            3    2         62

Jeff Gosney             2    2          9

Chris Guccione          6    0         56

Tom Hallion             6    3         53

Adam Hamari             6    2         63

Angel Hernandez         9    6         60

Ed Hickox               7    5         53

John Hirschbeck         1    0          6

Pat Hoberg              7    3         58

James Hoye              7    5         59

Marvin Hudson           7    4         60

Dan Iassogna            9    4         65

Adrian Johnson         10    8         56

Jeff Kellogg            3    3         55

Brian Knight            8    2         64

Ron Kulpa               3    1         56

Jerry Layne             9    4         60

Will Little             9    2         75

Alfonso Marquez         3    1         21

Jerry Meals             9    4         55

Bill Miller             5    3         62

Gabe Morales           10    6         71

Mike Muchlinski         6    3         59

Paul Nauert             3    1         53

Jeff Nelson             6    3         68

Brian O'Nora            7    4         54

Marcus Pattillo         7    3         45

Alan Porter             6    2         63

David Rackley           3    0         56

Tony Randazzo           4    3         25

D.J. Reyburn           10    4         55

Jim Reynolds           13    5         63

Mark Ripperger          8    3         71

Stu Scheurwater         2    2          9

Paul Schrieber          8    3         63

Dale Scott              8    4         66

Chris Segal             5    2         66

Todd Tichenor           6    2         64

Tim Timmons            10    3         63

John Tumpane            7    6         74

Larry Vanover          12    5         57

Mark Wegner            11    5         63

Bill Welke              9    6         64

Tim Welke               8    6         72

Hunter Wendelstedt      6    1         57

Joe West                5    3         62

Mike Winters            6    3         42

Quinn Wolcott          11    4         75

Jim Wolf                5    2         52

Tom Woodring            2    2         46

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