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Monday, October 12, 2009

Rosenthal: Selig: I have no desire to expand instant replay

Another

“I don’t really have any desire to increase the amount of replay — period,” Selig told FOXSports.com on Monday.

Talk of expanding replay beyond boundary calls on home runs resumed after a missed call down the left-field line on a ball hit by Joe Mauer in the 11th inning of Game 2 of the Twins’ series against the Yankees.

Lopez

Mauer’s ball bounced several inches fair, but left-field umpire Phil Cuzzi ruled that it was foul. Cuzzi later admitted to the Newark Star-Ledger that he had made a mistake.

“This goes on every time there’s a controversial call,” Selig said. “I understand the Phil Cuzzi call and others. But frankly, I’m quite satisfied with the way things are.

Tonight

“We need to do a little work, clean up some things. But do I think we need more replay? No. Baseball is not the kind of game that can have interminable delays.”

Commercial

 

 

Repoz Posted: October 12, 2009 at 04:27 PM | 128 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: television

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   1. Voodoo Posted: October 12, 2009 at 04:47 PM (#3349806)
How the heck would replay work on fair/foul calls down either line? Sure the Mauer hit went into the stands and was a groundrule double, so its obvious where he would have ended up if the call were correct, but how often does that happen?
   2. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: October 12, 2009 at 04:49 PM (#3349810)
“We need to do a little work, clean up some things. But do I think we need more replay? No. Baseball is not the kind of game that can have interminable delays.”

Exactly. Quit playing with your junk and then spitting between every pitch guys! I'm tired of explaining that behavior to my girlfriend over and over. My rationalizations sound thin even to me...
   3. Tripon Posted: October 12, 2009 at 04:55 PM (#3349821)
You don't even need the delay, just have somebody in the booth point out if a incorrect or correct call is made, and then have a feed of the replay wired to each dugout.
   4. JC in DC Posted: October 12, 2009 at 04:57 PM (#3349827)
Good for Bud.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: October 12, 2009 at 04:59 PM (#3349832)
Good for Bud.


Seconded.
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 12, 2009 at 05:04 PM (#3349840)
Good for Bud.
Definitely good for Bud to stand up against instant replay.

But the umpiring has, to me, gotten worse every year since Sandy Alderson quit running things. Selig seems to dismiss these issues, though I don't think it would be a good idea for him to call out the umpires publicly in the middle of the playoffs. Making reforms privately in the offseason would be warranted.

So, good for Bud, and then incomplete for Bud.
   7. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 12, 2009 at 05:04 PM (#3349842)
You don't even need the delay, just have somebody in the booth point out if a incorrect or correct call is made, and then have a feed of the replay wired to each dugout.

Yep. And although that still doesn't answer many of the other practical and philosophical objections, it would still be a hell of a lot better than what the NFL has. But that said, I'm glad that Selig correctly sees the larger philosophical point.
   8. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 12, 2009 at 05:09 PM (#3349851)
You don't even need the delay, just have somebody in the booth point out if a incorrect or correct call is made, and then have a feed of the replay wired to each dugout.
I just find it naive to suggest that there wouldn't be delays. You start out with a very simple procedure, perhaps, and then it gets more elaborate and takes longer. That's the way it always works.
   9. JC in DC Posted: October 12, 2009 at 05:09 PM (#3349852)
Agree, MCOA. I have no objection to using technology to help umpires improve, by showing them, for instance, their shitty strike zones and missed calls. But after the games. There needs to be better accountability and policing and training, and Bud seems often to regard facing those needs as a concession he cannot make.
   10. NewGrass Posted: October 12, 2009 at 05:15 PM (#3349858)
Is this a joke? We don't need interminable delays?!...Umm the games themselves are already interminable. What the h*ll is the difference. Yesterday's games were 3:49, 3:25 and 4:06. If a someone like me is actually losing interest in the postseason because the games simply are moving too slow, I can only imagine what this is doing for the interest level amoung casual fans. Football is and will continue to be king as long as baseball refuses to take some steps to return a modicum of rhythm to the games. I think the postseason may actually be doing the game more harm than good by reaffirming to people who don't normally watch that the game IS as boring as they thought. It is a shame.
   11. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 12, 2009 at 05:21 PM (#3349866)
I mean, as an objective fact interest in baseball has been increasing steadily and the game is in no real trouble at all. And stuff like this:
Football is and will continue to be king as long as baseball refuses to take some steps to return a modicum of rhythm to the games.
is so ill-conceived that I don't know what to say. Baseball's either passed the NFL in revenue or will pass it soon. And more importantly, there is no sporting event with less rhythm in the game than a professional football game. I've watched youth curling that had a better pace.
   12. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 12, 2009 at 05:22 PM (#3349868)
The commercial delays between innings were noticeable at Fenway yesterday. At least twice the batter was in the box and the pitcher on the rubber but the music was playing because they had not come back from commercial yet.
   13. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: October 12, 2009 at 05:25 PM (#3349869)
there is no sporting event with less rhythm in the game than a professional football game. I've watched youth curling that had a better pace.

Pro football is incredibly boring to watch in person. I was once in the studio audience for a tv show and seeing an NFL game in person reminded me of that. Sit around for a while and then make noise at the proscribed times and then sit around for a while. It looks good for tv that way, I guess...

I do wish baseball would move at a slightly faster clip, though.
   14. JJ1986 Posted: October 12, 2009 at 05:28 PM (#3349874)
Yesterday's game were incredibly slow and the commercial breaks weren't helping. It seemed to take about 4 minutes between the top and bottom of the ninth in the Twins/Yankees games.
   15. JJ1986 Posted: October 12, 2009 at 05:33 PM (#3349879)
Football replays take a long time for two reasons. One, the rulebook is really complicated, much moreso than fair/foul calls or safe/out calls. Two, they have to find the right timing to fit every play, so that even after determining catch/no catch or the spot or whatever they have to go back and find the second that it happened. Baseball replays would take five seconds.
   16. NewGrass Posted: October 12, 2009 at 05:43 PM (#3349890)
The argument wasn't that football has rhythm and baseball does not. It is, that baseball games should have a certain rhythm to them. When it is missing, the game suffers. Football is successful for a myriad of different reasons besides the variable of rhythm.

Now, there is no doubt that baseball's revenues are growing. However, revenue increase ignores the troubling fact that TV ratings for the World Series have been consistently dropping and since 1985 there has been an 8% drop in people identifying baseball as their favorite sport.

http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=866

Now, I have no way of proving that dip in baseball's popularity has anything to do with the length of the games. My guess is that it plays some role. Regardless, my original point still stands...postseason games are already interminable. To use the "pace of the game" argument as a reason for not expanding the use of instant replays is, to my way of thinking, silly.
   17. JC in DC Posted: October 12, 2009 at 05:43 PM (#3349891)
Football replays take a long time for two reasons. One, the rulebook is really complicated, much moreso than fair/foul calls or safe/out calls. Two, they have to find the right timing to fit every play, so that even after determining catch/no catch or the spot or whatever they have to go back and find the second that it happened. Baseball replays would take five seconds.


Yeah, this is nearly completely wrong.
   18. Tripon Posted: October 12, 2009 at 05:58 PM (#3349904)
I just find it naive to suggest that there wouldn't be delays. You start out with a very simple procedure, perhaps, and then it gets more elaborate and takes longer. That's the way it always works.


Asses like LaRussa would exploit it, but the delay happens anyway because a guy like LaRussa would try to exploit any situation he has. At least now there's physical evidence of whatever they're arguing.
   19. asdf1234 Posted: October 12, 2009 at 06:23 PM (#3349944)
How much time is lost to managers coming out to question or argue about calls and dealing with their aftermath?

Anything that would remove human error from umpiring is welcome, whether that's a computerized strike zone or complete freedom with instant replay. If that extends the average game time, so be it--I'd rather watch a clean game that's 15 minutes longer but didn't include a half-dozen blown calls.
   20. McCoy Posted: October 12, 2009 at 06:31 PM (#3349950)
Pro football is incredibly boring to watch in person

Pretty much any team sport is incredibly boring to watch in person nowadays and perhaps always was. What makes it a good experience is what you do at the event and not, for the most part, what actually happens on the pitch.

Hockey might be the only team sport that is better to watch in person than on TV.
   21. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: October 12, 2009 at 06:33 PM (#3349953)
Regardless, my original point still stands...postseason games are already interminable. To use the "pace of the game" argument as a reason for not expanding the use of instant replays is, to my way of thinking, silly.

The fact that postseason games are already long means that introducing something that would make them longer would be a big mistake, IMHO.

I agree with those who say that, if the umpiring's no good, bring in better umpires (or train the ones you have). I'd much, much rather have a fast answer that's "right" 99% of the time (the way it is now) than a slow one that's "right" 99.5% of the time.
   22. tfbg9 Posted: October 12, 2009 at 06:35 PM (#3349955)
Hurrah!
   23. BDC Posted: October 12, 2009 at 06:36 PM (#3349959)
But I wanna see baseball managers throw those little red hankies onto the field.
   24. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 12, 2009 at 06:41 PM (#3349963)
I just find it naive to suggest that there wouldn't be delays. You start out with a very simple procedure, perhaps, and then it gets more elaborate and takes longer. That's the way it always works.


Asses like LaRussa would exploit it, but the delay happens anyway because a guy like LaRussa would try to exploit any situation he has. At least now there's physical evidence of whatever they're arguing.

And it would be kind of droll to see LaRussa arguing with a TV monitor that showed that he was blowing it out of his butt.
   25. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: October 12, 2009 at 06:41 PM (#3349964)
I get Bud's point to an extent. I also know that the Twins were robbed of a probable victory by an incompetent umpire. This isn't a case of a blown "bang bang" play at home or 1st. This was a blown call by an umpire specifically put in place by Bud and MLB to get the call right for the playoffs and he ###### up.

I mean, doesn't it seem troubling that MLB realizes they need umps down the lines in the playoffs for exactly this scenario and despite these nobel intentions the fallible human umpire blows it? If that doesn't point to a need for a non-human replay element to umpiring I don't know what does.

Spare me the doomsday arguments about "rhythm" and the "essence of the game" as well. Here is a simple idea that I can't take any credit for: give each manager a red flag that they can use once a game to call for a review. Flesh out exactly when it can and can't be used. No you can't use it on balls and strikes and check swings, no you can't use it on balks, no you can't use it on ... etc, etc.

We only want to fix the egregiously bad calls that happen from time to time because of human error. The only way to do that is to introduce replay. Of course you could logically conclude we should take that to the exreme and allow for unlimited replays. However, I'd argue the odds of two or more horribly blown calls that impact the game directly are very low, much lower than the cut and dry case that we saw the other night.

Allowing for one challenge for each side solves the vast majority of these cases and still allows for the "purity" and "rhythm" of the game.
   26. BDC Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:03 PM (#3349984)
give each manager a red flag that they can use once a game

Matt, baby, I was kidding, Matt, oh Matt. Matt, I do funny here, ask anybody. Oy gevalt, Matt.
   27. esseff Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:08 PM (#3349988)
Has anyone got a good answer for the question posed by Voodoo in No. 1, or the example of trapped vs. caught balls raised by someone else the other day?

Is it going to be like the rule for fan interference, in which the umpire has to just decide how to nullify the bad call by placing the runners where he thinks they may have ended up? I can't see how this is going to head off long, game-delaying arguments.
   28. Zipperholes Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:12 PM (#3349993)
And stuff like this:

Football is and will continue to be king as long as baseball refuses to take some steps to return a modicum of rhythm to the games.

is so ill-conceived that I don't know what to say. Baseball's either passed the NFL in revenue or will pass it soon.


So revenue is the best way to compare the popularity of two sports, one of which has 10% as many games as the other?
   29. NotLikely20 Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:13 PM (#3349995)
I'm all for robots as umps...I'm 99.9% certain they could do everything a human ump is currently doing, with almost 100% accuracy.
   30. Zipperholes Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:14 PM (#3349998)
Has anyone got a good answer for the question posed by Voodoo in No. 1, or the example of trapped vs. caught balls raised by someone else the other day?

Is it going to be like the rule for fan interference, in which the umpire has to just decide how to nullify the bad call by placing the runners where he thinks they may have ended up? I can't see how this is going to head off long, game-delaying arguments.


Call everything fair/ no catch. The only thing you'd have to guess is whether someone would've tagged, but wouldn't that usually be evident from what actually happened when the wrong call was made?
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:16 PM (#3350004)
So revenue is the best way to compare the popularity of two sports, one of which has 10% as many games as the other?


Seems as logical as only using TV ratings to determine the popularity of the two sports, one of which only has 1/10th as many games to try to act eyeballs to.
   32. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:19 PM (#3350010)
Call everything fair/ no catch.

Where do you put the runners, though?

Let's say that the Mauer hit didn't bounce into the stands, but instead kicked around in (playable) foul territory. The outfielder stops chasing it, and the runner stops running, as soon as the umpire calls "foul". If the replay overturns the foul call, where do you put Mauer? How do you make that call without at least one manager coming out to argue with you?
   33. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:19 PM (#3350012)
Bob: no offense, I didn't even read your post. A guy on Victors board (legendary Michigan sports board) posted the one red flag idea the other night. That's where I got the idea from.
   34. NewGrass Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:22 PM (#3350015)
Sounds like something that would be said on the Victors board...that is why I only read spartantailgate.com..ha
   35. shock Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:23 PM (#3350016)
R. Mahay relieved M. Guerrier
- J. Damon struck out swinging
- M. Teixeira walked
- J. Rauch relieved R. Mahay
- A. Rodriguez walked, M. Teixeira to second
- J. Mijares relieved J. Rauch
- H. Matsui walked, M. Teixeira to third, A. Rodriguez to second
- J. Nathan relieved J. Mijares


...and people complain that replay takes too long. Yeesh...
   36. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:23 PM (#3350017)
And briefly on the NFL vs MLB popularity thing -- both are basically 1a and 1b for American sports in whatever metric you want to use -- revenue, TV ratings, paid attendance, etc. Football has a hold in places like Green Bay though that Baseball once had but doesn't have anymore.

Baseball will always be big in certain urban areas (most on the east coast, some in the midwest) and no so big in the northern midwest, near west and south.

I'd have to argue football is more popular overall (if pressed I'd say more Americans would identify themselves as "NFL" fans than "MLB" fans) but Baseball is right there in a close second.
   37. BarrettsHiddenBall Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:24 PM (#3350021)
We only want to fix the egregiously bad calls that happen from time to time because of human error. The only way to do that is to introduce replay.

Dunno about this "We", but I would like a better level of umping throughout the game--on balls and strikes, on whether Youk touched the bag/placed the tag, on whether Cliff Lee was out at second. And on Mauer's fly.

And while instant replay could help with all of that, better training for and oversight of umpires could too. Bringing up replay and reducing the issue to the Cuzzi call just gives Selig an easy way to avoid the subject of declining ump performance, and what he's gonna do about it.
   38. Flynn Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:27 PM (#3350023)
Seems as logical as only using TV ratings to determine the popularity of the two sports, one of which only has 1/10th as many games to try to act eyeballs to.

Or using a Harris poll, which requires people to name only their favorite sport rather than list the sports they are interested in. I mean, does anybody believe NASCAR (aka auto racing in the poll) is 2/3rds as popular as baseball? Nobody outside the South gives a ####.
   39. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:30 PM (#3350025)
And briefly on the NFL vs MLB popularity thing -- both are basically 1a and 1b for American sports in whatever metric you want to use -- revenue, TV ratings, paid attendance, etc.

In 2008, the NFL drew some 17 million fans to stadiums. MLB drew about 79 million.
   40. BDC Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:31 PM (#3350026)
that is why I only read spartantailgate.com

I do too, sometimes. Actually I started to read spartantailgate in hopes of finding out what was in that stuff we used to be fed at the dorms at State in the 1970s, "Johnny Marzetti" it was called. But opinions seemed to differ.

No offense taken, Matt. Unless you actually went to U of M. Even then I will be magnanimous in triumph :)

All seriousness aside, I have never seen the point of the "one red flag" thing in the NFL or anywhere. How do you know the most egregious bad call has been made? Suppose there's a terrible call on a potential bases-loaded triple in the third inning, and you flag it, and then you have no flag left for a Mauer hit in the 11th, or something? Replay shouldn't be subjected to gamesmanship. If you want to get all the calls right, just slow it down altogether, put it in the hands of officials who make sure every flipping play is called right, and leave the coaches out of it.
   41. Zipperholes Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:31 PM (#3350027)

Where do you put the runners, though?

Let's say that the Mauer hit didn't bounce into the stands, but instead kicked around in (playable) foul territory. The outfielder stops chasing it, and the runner stops running, as soon as the umpire calls "foul". If the replay overturns the foul call, where do you put Mauer? How do you make that call without at least one manager coming out to argue with you?


I'm not sure what you mean -- it wouldn't be called foul. The play would continue as if the ball were fair and then be reviewed.
   42. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:39 PM (#3350032)
I'm not sure what you mean -- it wouldn't be called foul. The play would continue as if the ball were fair and then be reviewed.

Huh? Every ball that was playable would be played as if it were fair? That would waste a lot of time - there are a lot of foul grounders.
   43. SoSH U at work Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:39 PM (#3350033)
I'm not sure what you mean -- it wouldn't be called foul. The play would continue as if the ball were fair and then be reviewed.


And what's the margin there. Do umpires have to let balls that hit within three feet of the foul line on the foul side to keep playing, on the offchance that they may have gotten it wrong.

And that still doesn't help the no-catch scenario. If you call no-catch, but replay shows the the guy caught it, can you retroactively double and triple up the guys who left early on the umpire's faulty advice?
   44. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:40 PM (#3350034)
I have never seen the point of the "one red flag" thing in the NFL or anywhere.

It was to deal with pace-of-game issues. They quickly realised that if every play was reviewable, every play would be reviewed, and the games slowed to an unbelievably slow pace.
   45. JC in DC Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:43 PM (#3350037)
Huh? Every ball that was playable would be played as if it were fair? That would waste a lot of time - there are a lot of foul grounders.


The suggestion he's making seems very very ill-conceived. Could you imagine trying to train ballplayers to play everything as though fair and then subjecting it all to review? Calling players back in from the dugout multiple times a game? I really, really am with Bud on this. Mistakes like Cuzzi's are pretty uncommon. People are going back years to find others. I'll take my chances with the humans.
   46. Zipperholes Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:44 PM (#3350039)
I'd have to argue football is more popular overall (if pressed I'd say more Americans would identify themselves as "NFL" fans than "MLB" fans) but Baseball is right there in a close second.

I don't see baseball as even close -- just my perception. I was at a bar last night and there were a handful of people watching the Yankees game, even in the 8th inning. I'm certain there will be more people watching the Jets there tonight.

Baseball probably has as many or more die-hard fans, but the average American just doesn't care, outside of a few cities. And I do think part of it has to do with the pace. I don't think attendance is a great measure because a lot of people go for the experience, not because they care about the game.
   47. WillYoung Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:45 PM (#3350041)
During one stretch of Game 2, the Yankees had 4 (FOUR) mound conferences in the span of 6 (SIX) pitches. Every time the Twins got someone on base that game, they needed multiple mound conferences. Put a ####### limitation on that ####, make AJ Burnett's dumbass think for himself, and BOOM, Yankee games are about 30 minutes faster.
   48. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:45 PM (#3350042)
I really, really am with Bud on this. Mistakes like Cuzzi's are pretty uncommon. People are going back years to find others. I'll take my chances with the humans.

Concur. I'm all for greater accountability by umpires, but instant replay creates way more problems than it solves.
   49. JC in DC Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:45 PM (#3350043)
I don't think attendance is a great measure because a lot of people go for the experience, not because they care about the game.


Which is piss-stoppingly unlike why people go to bars to watch football games.
   50. Zipperholes Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:50 PM (#3350045)
Huh? Every ball that was playable would be played as if it were fair? That would waste a lot of time - there are a lot of foul grounders.

Oh, I thought this would apply only to close calls like Mauer's. All that would entail is umps being more conservative with foul/catch calls.

And that still doesn't help the no-catch scenario. If you call no-catch, but replay shows the the guy caught it, can you retroactively double and triple up the guys who left early on the umpire's faulty advice?

This is true. It would be a problem. But on most catches, wouldn't we have a good idea of who would've tagged by virtue of what happened after the catch (which had not yet been called)?
   51. WillYoung Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:50 PM (#3350046)

Let's say that the Mauer hit didn't bounce into the stands, but instead kicked around in (playable) foul territory. The outfielder stops chasing it, and the runner stops running, as soon as the umpire calls "foul". If the replay overturns the foul call, where do you put Mauer? How do you make that call without at least one manager coming out to argue with you?


Earlier this year in Toronto, a groundskeeper accidentally picked up a ball he thought was foul despite it being fair. The umpires ruled that the runner from first base would have scored and counted the run. If they can figure it out in that situation, they can figure it out in easier ones.
   52. SoSH U at work Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:51 PM (#3350047)
I don't think attendance is a great measure because a lot of people go for the experience, not because they care about the game.


And a lot of people watch football for the gambling.

I'd concede that the NFL has probably passed MLB on an all-encompassing popularity poll (whatever that would entail). I just don't think the gap is terribly large.
   53. cardsfanboy Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:51 PM (#3350048)
I don't see baseball as even close -- just my perception. I was at a bar last night and there were a handful of people watching the Yankees game, even in the 8th inning. I'm certain there will be more people watching the Jets there tonight.

Baseball probably has as many or more die-hard fans, but the average American just doesn't care, outside of a few cities. And I do think part of it has to do with the pace. I don't think attendance is a great measure because a lot of people go for the experience, not because they care about the game.


baseball is a more casual experience to casual fans. A single football game is equivalent to about 7 baseball games, heck even in the playoffs that math comes out to be pretty close to right. There are a lot of reasons people watch football on tv more intently than baseball, but that doesn't mean they have more fans, they just have higher ratings based upon the impact of their individual games, and the simplicity of understanding the basics so that it's easier for casual fans to care about it. (not saying football is simple, but the basics that a fan needs to know is easier than baseball imho)
   54. BDC Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:51 PM (#3350050)
It was to deal with pace-of-game issues

Sure, but it seems to me odd that the resulting compromise is that they can only afford to make the officiating a little bit more correct.
   55. Zipperholes Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:52 PM (#3350051)
Which is piss-stoppingly unlike why people go to bars to watch football games.

Good point.
   56. Craig in MN Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:52 PM (#3350052)
Let's say that the Mauer hit didn't bounce into the stands, but instead kicked around in (playable) foul territory. The outfielder stops chasing it, and the runner stops running, as soon as the umpire calls "foul". If the replay overturns the foul call, where do you put Mauer? How do you make that call without at least one manager coming out to argue with you?

Umpires already have some leeway on placing runners for fan interference and some other situations, don't they? They can do the same here. It still could end up wrong but it's less wrong than having the play go as a foul ball and then nothing coming from it at all. Sure, the managers will argue, but they can argue about of lot of things, regardless of what is fair.

How would public opinion weigh in on this if the better team ended up losing a game or losing a series based on a bad call? As it was, this was the worse team losing a game they probably would have won, but in a series they probably wouldn't have won anyway. It's hard to work up much sympathy for that. I wonder if Bud's eye for injustice might have been a little keener if the spotlight shone a little brighter at that moment....say, if it was the Yankees or Red Sox who really lost out on a bad call.
   57. cardsfanboy Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:55 PM (#3350054)
Concur. I'm all for greater accountability by umpires, but instant replay creates way more problems than it solves.
disagree, I think instant replay would work by basing it upon "obvious" replays. Teams shouldn't get a chance to ask for a replay, but if the booth sees it right and feel it can implement a replay without it taking time, then they should just fix it. The cuzzi play should have been fixed within 3 seconds, the broadcast had a clear cut replay on the play and should have had an ump/league supervisor radio in that there has been a change on the call on the field.

I agree replays shouldn't happen in every game, or be about strike/balls or almost any normal play, but occasionally a call is clearly blown and can be fixed right then and there that there should be some mechanism in place to quickly fix an obvious mistake.
   58. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:58 PM (#3350057)
Oh, I thought this would apply only to close calls like Mauer's. All that would entail is umps being more conservative with foul/catch calls.

So we don't trust umpires to make fair/foul calls, but we do trust them to make judgments about what plays are "close calls" and need to be reviewed?

Earlier this year in Toronto, a groundskeeper accidentally picked up a ball he thought was foul despite it being fair. The umpires ruled that the runner from first base would have scored and counted the run. If they can figure it out in that situation, they can figure it out in easier ones.

There's nothing weird about that call - it's a straight interference. They make interference calls all the time, and managers run out to argue about those all the time. So now we have two delays - one for the review of the call, and one while the manager(s) run out to argue about where the runners should be placed.
   59. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:58 PM (#3350058)
And briefly on the NFL vs MLB popularity thing -- both are basically 1a and 1b for American sports in whatever metric you want to use -- revenue, TV ratings, paid attendance, etc.

In 2008, the NFL drew some 17 million fans to stadiums. MLB drew about 79 million.


So, less than half as popular on a per-game basis. How sad.
   60. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 12, 2009 at 07:59 PM (#3350062)
Teams shouldn't get a chance to ask for a replay, but if the booth sees it right and feel it can implement a replay without it taking time, then they should just fix it. The cuzzi play should have been fixed within 3 seconds, the broadcast had a clear cut replay on the play and should have had an ump/league supervisor radio in that there has been a change on the call on the field.


I think this is right. It should be for obviously blown calls, where a booth reviewer can tell in one or two replays that a call was clearly wrong. If it takes any more scrutiny than that, the default should be that the umpire is correct. Next batter up.

As far as what to do when a trapped ball is called caught, then reversed, or vice-versa, yes, that would be a little bit of a mess, especially at first when people were getting used to it. It also seems far more fair than living with a clearly wrong call.
   61. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:00 PM (#3350063)
I wonder if Bud's eye for injustice might have been a little keener if the spotlight shone a little brighter at that moment....say, if it was the Yankees or Red Sox who really lost out on a bad call.

If Bud's eye were really focused on protecting the Yankees, we'd still be playing with two divisions and no wild card. And if Selig were really interested in protecting the Red Sox, he'd move them to the Central Division.
   62. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:03 PM (#3350064)
It also seems far more fair than living with a clearly wrong call.

I'm not particularly interested in "fairness", whatever that means. Like I said, I'm happier with getting a fast call that's "correct" 99% of the time than a slow call that's "correct" 99.5% of the time. Just play the game.
   63. Zipperholes Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:04 PM (#3350065)
So we don't trust umpires to make fair/foul calls, but we do trust them to make judgments about what plays are "close calls" and need to be reviewed?

Well, I definitely trust umps to merely determine whether a play is close than to make the correct call. Once they've determined it's a close play, if applicable (e.g., foul/fair calls), they make the "conservative" call -- the one which leaves open the possibility of reversal, rather than trying to guess. Then the teams can do their flag thing or whatever.

I'm not necesssarily pro-instant replay -- I'm making the case that it shouldn't be more problematic than it is in NFL.
   64. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:05 PM (#3350068)
So, less than half as popular on a per-game basis.

I suspect that, if the NFL had ten times as many games to sell tickets for, the margin would narrow considerably.

Ratings and attendance for individual NFL and MLB games are apples and oranges.
   65. Craig in MN Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:08 PM (#3350070)
If Bud's eye were really focused on protecting the Yankees, we'd still be playing with two divisions and no wild card. And if Selig were really interested in protecting the Red Sox, he'd move them to the Central Division.

If Bud Selig was really focused on doing what right despite a huge PR nightmare, the All Star game would be a inconsequential scrimmage rather than deciding home field advantage for the World Series so he can pretend that he fixed a problem. My example isn't about the teams, it's about setting the scale for the PR flack he'd take.
   66. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:10 PM (#3350072)
I'm not necesssarily pro-instant replay -- I'm making the case that it shouldn't be more problematic than it is in NFL.

Okay. I see it as pretty problematic in the NFL, but I suspect I'm in the minority here, because I don't gamble on NFL games.
   67. Zipperholes Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:11 PM (#3350074)
Ratings and attendance for individual NFL and MLB games are apples and oranges.

This is correct - you can either emphasize or downplay either metric to make the case for either sport. They're no more telling than Harris polls.
   68. Swedish Chef Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:12 PM (#3350076)
It is possible to use every game of a football season as an excuse for drinking, overeating and general debauchery and remain a functioning human being. If someone tried that with baseball and drank nine beers per game, it'd probably end with liver collapse by August unless the fried chicken takes out the heart first.
   69. esseff Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:13 PM (#3350077)
So, here we are in the bottom of the 9th of the seventh and deciding game of the World Series. Game is tied and runners are on first and third, with one out.

The batter hits a flare down the rf line over the 1b's head. Right fielder is charging in, near the foul line, tries for the sliding catch, comes up with it in the glove and . . . the umpire rules that the ball was an inch foul and furthermore was trapped. Just an exciting strike.

But wait, here's the replay; the ball was indeed foul, but it looks like it was caught. So now let's wait and see if the umpire is going to decide that the World Series has just been won because the runner at third would have tagged up and scored if the ball had been ruled a catch.

Let's see, he's thinking, that's a pretty fast runner at third, but he was kind of limping going to third on the previous play. Right fielder wasn't in a good spot to throw, but he did pop up pretty quickly from that feet-first slide, and from where he's at, it's probably only about 170' to the plate. Guy used to have a real accurate arm, too. Then again, this season he's been a little scatter-armed on his throws to the bases. On the other hand, that's been a pretty soft track between third and home. Could err on the conservative side and hold him at third, but putting it all together, there's probably a 60, 65 percent chance the run would have scored and to not rule that way would be to interject an umpire's decision in favor of the field team. So, OK, run scores. World Series is over. Home team wins.

I think.
   70. SoSH U at work Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:13 PM (#3350078)
If someone tried that with baseball and drank nine beers per game, it'd probably end with liver collapse by August unless the fried chicken takes out the heart first.


But dammit, Miggy's going to give it a shot next year.
   71. JJ1986 Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:16 PM (#3350081)
So, here we are in the bottom of the 9th of the seventh and deciding game of the World Series. Game is tied and runners are on first and third, with one out....


I don't think that would happen. The opposite scenario is far more likely - outfielder slides, traps it, called a catch, runner scores and then replay brings him back. Just as annoying, but relies less on judgment.
   72. Zipperholes Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:18 PM (#3350084)
Okay. I see it as pretty problematic in the NFL, but I suspect I'm in the minority here, because I don't gamble on NFL games.

If your problem is slowing down the games, yeah, it does to some extent. If your problem is bad calls rather than the teams' play dominating next week's headlines, I think it has done wonders.
   73. BarrettsHiddenBall Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:21 PM (#3350087)
If your problem is bad calls rather than the teams' play dominating next week's headlines, I think it has done wonders.

Hasn't prevented the Ravens from ########.
   74. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:23 PM (#3350088)

I'm not particularly interested in "fairness", whatever that means.


It means not having an umpire create a different game from what actually happened. It means Joe Mauer hit a double, and Chase Utley hit a foul ball.
   75. Alex_Lewis Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:24 PM (#3350089)
What about having a "booth ump" just for the postseason? Errors during the regular season generally (I feel) even out over the course of 162 games (Bill Hohn's passions excepted), but for an October series, a blown call can be pretty significant.
   76. DaMick knows what love is. A Boy Loves His Dog. Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:24 PM (#3350090)
I think there should be someone in the TV booth watching the monitors. When an ump misses an obvious call (no grey areas), the watcher pushes a button, sending an electric shock to the umpire, thereby letting him know he screwed up. The computer keeps track of each time an ump is shocked, and at regular intervals, say every 5 shocks, the amperage (voltage?) gets upped. By the end of the season, only the good umpires will have survived-the rest will have quit, gone catatonic, or be umping in that Field of Dreams in the Sky.

The umps pain will be our gain!
   77. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:27 PM (#3350094)
If your problem is bad calls rather than the teams' play dominating next week's headlines, I think it has done wonders.

I don't even know if the challenge system has done all that much to make game-calling "better". Things are moving so quickly that half the time replay is totally unclear as to what the "correct" call should have been, and it's a coin-toss as to whether the call on the field will be overturned or not.

And, from an aesthetic standpoint, it sucks most of the excitement out of the moment. Rather than being excited (or pissed off) about a fumble, everyone's waiting around while the referee tries to determine whether his knee was down before he dropped the ball or not.

Basically, I don't think that replay has done anything to make the NFL a more interesting or exciting game.
   78. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:30 PM (#3350101)
It means not having an umpire create a different game from what actually happened. It means Joe Mauer hit a double, and Chase Utley hit a foul ball.

And to me, there are things that are more important than what "actually happened".

If the issue is umpire incompetence, then hire better umpires or train the ones you have better. If that's not an issue, then play ball and move on.
   79. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:50 PM (#3350119)
However, revenue increase ignores the troubling fact that TV ratings for the World Series have been consistently dropping and since 1985 there has been an 8% drop in people identifying baseball as their favorite sport.

That's more because cable TV penetration started reaching critical mass by then. People weren't stuck watching the WS if they didn't want to and they now have dozens of choices. Football's ratings have been dropping too, for much the same reason; they had to move the prime time game to Sundays to get bleed-over interest from the afternoon. Since there's a game on Sunday night now, the ball and chain doesn't let me get away with watching on Sunday afternoons that much anymore.
   80. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 12, 2009 at 08:55 PM (#3350124)
And, from an aesthetic standpoint, it sucks most of the excitement out of the moment. Rather than being excited (or pissed off) about a fumble, everyone's waiting around while the referee tries to determine whether his knee was down before he dropped the ball or not.
What, you mean you think fans should cheer for the players who are running with the ball, rather than the ref who is saying, "On further review, the call on the field is..."
   81. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:02 PM (#3350131)
I mean, doesn't it seem troubling that MLB realizes they need umps down the lines in the playoffs for exactly this scenario and despite these nobel intentions the fallible human umpire blows it? If that doesn't point to a need for a non-human replay element to umpiring I don't know what does.

Disagree.

I'd bet the call had a better chance of being called right with 4 umpires instead of 6. I've seen this happen countless time in amateur baseball - there's normally 2 umpires and they know how to ump a 2-ump game; then the playoffs start and more umps are added and they get confused over who has what call and more calls are blown because of it.

Outfield umpires are bound to make a call incorrectly since it's a job they never do normally and has so few instances they may not even be paying attention - the only reason they're there is to call foul balls so they call "foul" even when it's not warranted. Why is anyone surprised?
   82. Zipperholes Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:03 PM (#3350134)
I don't even know if the challenge system has done all that much to make game-calling "better". Things are moving so quickly that half the time replay is totally unclear as to what the "correct" call should have been, and it's a coin-toss as to whether the call on the field will be overturned or not.

Really? I feel like in cases where the call on the field was bad, replay usually gets it right. Where it's ambiguous, the call stands, but I think those situations are outweighed by replay giving us the right answer on the others.

And, from an aesthetic standpoint, it sucks most of the excitement out of the moment. Rather than being excited (or pissed off) about a fumble, everyone's waiting around while the referee tries to determine whether his knee was down before he dropped the ball or not.

Don't you think the pissed off team that gets the fumble reversed would gladly take the waiting around over a bad call?
   83. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:06 PM (#3350139)
Don't you think the pissed off team that gets the fumble reversed would gladly take the waiting around over a bad call?

That doesn't speak to what I was saying. I was speaking from a fan's perspective, one who wants to watch football, not referees gathered around trying to figure out what happened. I'm really not interested in getting the call "right" every time. If it's determined that the officials are "wrong" too often, get better officials.
   84. NewGrass Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:06 PM (#3350140)
During one stretch of Game 2, the Yankees had 4 (FOUR) mound conferences in the span of 6 (SIX) pitches. Every time the Twins got someone on base that game, they needed multiple mound conferences. Put a ####### limitation on that ####, make AJ Burnett's dumbass think for himself, and BOOM, Yankee games are about 30 minutes faster.


No sh&t;, this stuff has to be knocked off.
   85. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:08 PM (#3350142)
Responding to the long list of pitching changes posted in #35 above, followed by:

and people complain that replay takes too long.


On average, there's about one mid-inning pitcher change per team per game, and that rate has been declining over the last 10 years.

-- MWE
   86. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:08 PM (#3350143)
Don't you think the pissed off team that gets the fumble reversed would gladly take the waiting around over a bad call?
Who cares? Games are played for fans, not teams.
   87. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:12 PM (#3350147)
On average, there's about one mid-inning pitcher change per team per game, and that rate has been declining over the last 10 years.

If you isolate just playoff games, does that number change? It seems that managers get jumpy in October.
   88. Jesus Luzardo Maraschino Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:12 PM (#3350148)
Instant replay in the NFL makes me not care what the ref calls. I know it will be overturned or at least reviewed and I start to dread a close play knowing that I'll be waiting.
   89. cardsfanboy Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:16 PM (#3350152)
I think there should be someone in the TV booth watching the monitors. When an ump misses an obvious call (no grey areas), the watcher pushes a button, sending an electric shock to the umpire, thereby letting him know he screwed up. The computer keeps track of each time an ump is shocked, and at regular intervals, say every 5 shocks, the amperage (voltage?) gets upped. By the end of the season, only the good umpires will have survived-the rest will have quit, gone catatonic, or be umping in that Field of Dreams in the Sky.

The umps pain will be our gain!


I don't see a downside to this option, so there is no way Bud will implement it.
   90. Ray (CTL) Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:21 PM (#3350155)
Where do you put the runners, though?

Let's say that the Mauer hit didn't bounce into the stands, but instead kicked around in (playable) foul territory. The outfielder stops chasing it, and the runner stops running, as soon as the umpire calls "foul". If the replay overturns the foul call, where do you put Mauer? How do you make that call without at least one manager coming out to argue with you?


You put Mauer on first (or second if the ball bounced into the stands) and give any runners one base. A bright-line rule: one base.

Giving Mauer a hit is more fair than giving him a strike. (Yes, in the Cuzzi situation, Mauer ended up on first anyway. So what?)
   91. Zipperholes Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:24 PM (#3350157)
That doesn't speak to what I was saying. I was speaking from a fan's perspective, one who wants to watch football, not referees gathered around trying to figure out what happened.

Ok. You're more concerned with the pace of the game than bad calls, which is fine. I'm not sure most other fans feel the same when a bad call goes against them. Until they started replay, it was to the point that all we heard about was terrible calls ruining games.

I'm really not interested in getting the call "right" every time. If it's determined that the officials are "wrong" too often, get better officials.

It's not getting it right every time, it's getting the handful of most important calls in a game right. And I don't know that getting better officials is the answer. Football is so difficult to referee that there are going to be bad calls no matter who's out there.
   92. Swedish Chef Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:26 PM (#3350160)
I don't see a downside to this option, so there is no way Bud will implement it.

Of course the watchers would be selected by seniority as such a heavy responsibilty demands experienced men like Bucknor and Joe West.
   93. Morty Causa Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:29 PM (#3350164)
During one stretch of Game 2, the Yankees had 4 (FOUR) mound conferences in the span of 6 (SIX) pitches. Every time the Twins got someone on base that game, they needed multiple mound conferences. Put a ####### limitation on that ####, make AJ Burnett's dumbass think for himself, and BOOM, Yankee games are about 30 minutes faster


Man, there's no really good reason not to do something about stuff like this. I just don't get people who think games aren't too long. Jeez, a fan has time to knit a sweater or put together Big Ben in a Bottle during the delays. It isn't written in stone that games have to routinely last 3,3.5, even 4 hours. There was a time when these horseshit delays weren't acceptable. In fact, the lenght of games is just an outrage, especially since it's so easily remedied, with very little real change to the playinf of the game itself.

This is how you drastically reduce the time the games take: the batter gets into the batter's box and he doesn't get to step out for any reason; the pitcher gets on the rubber and he stays there. He doesn't get to circle the mound between pitches having extended metaphysical give and take with himself. The umpire enforces that the batter stay in the box and the pitcher on the rubber. Then: No one but the players and the umps get to ever be on the field. No one gets to conference. They're supposed to know how to play the game, and if they don't, that should be evident as the game proceeds. Not only that, the reliever should have to trot quickly to the mound, take three or four practice pitches, and that's it. He doesn't get a second warmup on the field. This would be a good start in cutting serious fat from the game. And it's not changing the game hardly at all. It's just making them play.
   94. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:32 PM (#3350165)
I don't see anyone really addressing the problem in #69 (or similar issues.) Whatever you think of the NFL replay system, there is one thing it doesn't do, it doesn't change anything after a whistle has been blown. Even if replay clearly shows a runner wasn't down- if the whistle blew, the play is/was dead.

Effectively all "foul" calls are just like whistles (assuming no catch is made of course.) I don't see any practical way to work around that without having umpires trying to re-construct what would have happened had they not blown a call. I'd prefer not to deal with that.
   95. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:35 PM (#3350170)
Instant replay in the NFL makes me not care what the ref calls. I know it will be overturned or at least reviewed and I start to dread a close play knowing that I'll be waiting.


I know you said NFL, but go tell that to Oklahoma, after the replay booth blew two chances to remedy the onside kick fiasco against Oregon in Eugene a few years ago.
   96. Zac Schmitt Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:38 PM (#3350171)
Slightly unrelated, but I've always hated, and I mean hated, how Refs in football still need to announce penalties when they're either declined or offset by other penalties. I can see why it'd be nice to know exactly what happened for housekeeping (although if offset penalties don't count as official penalties I can't really see why it matters), but do we really need to stop the game and have the ref announce them? Can't they just put those up on a scoreboard somewhere like they list errors?
   97. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:38 PM (#3350172)
It's not getting it right every time, it's getting the handful of most important calls in a game right. And I don't know that getting better officials is the answer. Football is so difficult to referee that there are going to be bad calls no matter who's out there.

And I don't care about getting it "right". If it's too close for human eyes to tell, flip a mental coin and make a call. I really don't care whether the guy's right pinky toe went out of bounds at the 23 yard line or not - certainly not enough to justify stopping the game to figure it out.

It's the rules lawyering and breaking out of the protractors and slide rules that's the least attractive aspect of sports. Just play.
   98. NewGrass Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:42 PM (#3350176)
Number 93, please email the MLB! I'm not kidding. I got so frustrated last night that I sent them a message. I love this sport, but I dread the postseason. I cannot sit through 4 hours of endless mound meetings and batters playing around with their batting gloves while pitchers stare into space. I would like to see the game played. If I wanted to stare at people doing nothing, I'd spend the evening at work.
   99. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:53 PM (#3350179)
Morty, you're preaching to the choir with me regarding all the stalling and bullshit that goes on during games, but with all the poetry that the Wills and the Boswells have fed us over the years about "baseball is the only game without a clock", you'd think that we were calling for the elimination of foreplay before sex.

There was every bit as much poetry in baseball when the games were two hours as there is today, and in many of those years there was just as much offense as well. There are plenty of good explanations for why the games take so long, which are real and uncorrectable (working the count; power hitters up and down the lineup), but amidst those legitimate factors there's still a hell of a lot of preening and other bullshit, most of which could be easily done away with without reducing baseball to mere prose. You couldn't get it down to the 2 hour range of the pre-WWII era, due to the legitimate factors (plus the extra commercials), but you could almost certainly get the average game down to about 2:30, which is what it was in the late 70's. And it would be a much better game for it.
   100. Zipperholes Posted: October 12, 2009 at 09:53 PM (#3350180)
And I don't care about getting it "right". If it's too close for human eyes to tell, flip a mental coin and make a call. I really don't care whether the guy's right pinky toe went out of bounds at the 23 yard line or not - certainly not enough to justify stopping the game to figure it out.

I see your point of view, but surely you can understand how replay has been beneficial from the NFL's perspective.
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