Friday, May 23, 2008

More on Instant Replay

Good buddy ShysterBall has posted a few entries dedicated to the possibility of Instant Replay in baseball and there's been a good, spirited debate by the commenters, myself included. I wholeheartedly recommend a visit.

I'll try to keep it brief and summarize my thoughts here:

  1. I'm entirely concerned about the slippery slope if IR is adopted for boundary calls (HR fair/foul, over the wall or not, fan interference on HRs). I do not want it used on safe/out or worse, ball/strike. Period.

  2. I think it will speed up the games, not slow it down.

  3. I think the ump's would rather have help to get it right than be subbornly wrong. That was the attitude back in the 50's, not today.

  4. This IR idea was proposed to Selig during the most recent off-season but Selig himself shelved the idea. So for those who claim --erroneously-- that the only reason this is an issue today is because it happened 2x this week at Yankee Stadium, you are incorrect. The three incidents (the third being in Houston) this week were merely accelerants to have the proposal re-examined by Bud.

  5. I don't think the cost will be material at all, at least not with respect to the revenues earned by MLB ($6B last year!).

  6. I think the ump's union can be assuaged with the hiring of one more ump for each crew, and the rotation includes a night per rotation as "video judge". More jobs for umps makes umps and their union leaders happy...just guessing.

  7. The NFL has restricted use of IR to only certain plays; MLB could and should do the same.

  8. The NFL and NHL has proved the concept of IR to be both successful and welcomed by players and fans alike.

  9. I firmly believe, and I've yet to hear a cogent argument to the contrary, that fans would rather have a pause in the action to get the call right than to have the call left wrong for eternity. Instant replay would not have reversed the Denkinger call back in 1985 but that's OK. It would have changed the outcome of the infamous Jeffrey Maier play back in 1996. It would NOT have changed the outcome of the Bartman play.

  10. I hope MLB changes its normal pace of action and this doesn't take a major blown call in the playoffs to enact change. We've seen the other leagues change their rules quickly. NHL changed a rule mid-playoff series. The NFL righted a wrong in the immediate off-season. The MLB would benefit to follow the leads set by their peers.


themarksmith said...

"I think it will speed up the games, not slow it down."

The NFL thought so too, but how many times do IR reviews take 5 minutes on a simple call?

themarksmith said...

I know I argue with you a lot over this issue. I actually think you have a good argument, but I just don't agree. I guess I'm too much of a baseball traditionalist.

Jason said...

Mark, it's all good, my man. A healthy debate is always fun and two reasonable minds can agree to disagree.

I think there will be no appreciable difference in the game times once you net out the time to review a call with the time it takes for the umps to get together, aruge with one manager and then possibly face an argument with the other manager if a call is overturned.

I'm a traditionalist by nature, but not so much that I can't consider improvement to the game or rules changes. The Wild Card was a great idea and most hard core traditionalists were ballistic.

And truth be told, if there were a way to completely automate ALL the calls, balls/strikes, safe/out in an instantaneous way, I'd probably be all for it. But we're eons away from that.

The point of having officials is to correctly enforce the rules. And if we can help them without being intrusive, I'm all for it.

Anonymous said...

"The NFL thought so too, but how many times do IR reviews take 5 minutes on a simple call?"

Answer - Because it only takes 30 seconds to make the call, the rest of the time they are watching porn

Ron Rollins said...


I thought Bud was behind this, but you've proven me wrong, so my apologies on that.

I'll have to agree with Mark. I'm just against this. If they could leave it alone, I would be for it, I guess. But they won't. It will get worse.

I agree that this can be a serious issue, but if/when they get it solved, what's the next one? Then something else becomes the serious issue and we'll go through this debate again. And they'll cave in and change the rules. Just like on the field goal in the NFL, after just one incident.

If anyone could convince it was a one-off thing for HR's, I'd back it, even though I'm a traditionalist. But I believe as a truly wise man once told me, "It IS about the money, stupid".

And when has MLB ever failed to take an opportunity to use an issue to increase their revenue, or to create an issue to increase their revenue?

And this isn't about getting the calls right? Its about how they can manipulate it to make more money. At least, in my (somewhat) humbel opinion.

Jason said...

Not sure I follow, Ron, but the apology's accepted. Like with botched HR calls, I just want the call made right and Bud is anti-instant replay.

But I can't connect the dots to MLB's desire to keep revenues moving northbound. How does a changing of the rules to get a HR call right influence revenues, either positively or negatively in any material way?

themarksmith said...

I guess we'll see. At this point, it seems as though we're going full steam ahead into IR. However, I can almost guarantee that when they implement it into the Arizona Fall League, no one is really going to care all that much. There won't be a huge sigh of relief.

Jason said...

You're right, Marc: no will care that much. It will be used maybe a handful of times per year and generally speaking, I can see everyone saying "See? That wasn't so bad. They got the call right."

And, if it's botched and it sucks, I'll be the first in line to bash it.

But if they implement it properly and allow an off-the-field ump present at each game to make the call, it will be seamless and an improvement.

Or so I think. ;)

Chipmaker said...

The notion of a five-man umpiring crew was floated back around 1988-89, with the fifth man acting as official scorer for the game. The idea was to have "more neutral" eyes record the game, maybe find out if Ripken really was that infallible on defense and so forth, by removing OS responsibility from a local sportswriter.

Died on the vine. Maybe its time has come again.

Chipmaker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

They add 2 umps for playoff games. Why not just do that but position them in left center and right center. Problem solved.