MLB considers adding replay - Good or Bad, slippery slope, etc.

I’m surprised the baseball discussion on the board hasn’t included MLB’s apparent rush to use instant replay to overrule bad HR calls Some reports, in fact, sasy it could be in place by August 1st of this season (seems a little soon, but they’re out there).

Details of the planned mechanism as not finalized, but this USA Today article mentions:

  • Replays limited to home run calls only (foul, fair in play, or over-the-fence)
  • Use of an NHL-style “war room” in NY to review video live for all games,
  • Final decision in hands of on-site crew chief, based on verbal input from the war room.

I’m frankly all for using replay (and why have some of these newer parks been built in ways that make the call so difficult?) But putting it in in the middle of the season would not be my first choice.

My theory is that, with the Cubs playing so well this year and having exhausted over the past century every other possible way of blowing the championship, MLB wants to introduce a new potential stumbling block for the North Siders. You just know the Cubs will go down as the first team to have a HR taken off the board in a playoff game…in the 9th inning of game 7…with 2 out, bases loaded, and down by 1…just before a lazy pop-out to short on the first pitch following the overrule.

I’m against it. First it will be boundary calls. Then maybe appeal plays for leaving a base early. Then safe/out calls. Then ball/strike calls. We’ve always had umpire error, it’s part of the game. For the few times they really blow one, it isn’t worth the delay in the game.

Completely in agreement, IF it is implemented correctly (MLB’s overall track record does not inspire me with confidence). The NBA (closest parallel) has wisely kept judgement calls out of replay, as has the NHL, restricting it (as MLB intends here) to the most crucial calls which can decide a game. You don’t think the Jeffrey Meier incident is worth the delay, in a vital playoff game?

I’m all for taking as much out of the hands of MLB umpires as possible. Have an electronic strike zone for all I care. MLB umpires are collectively the most useless group of people associated with professional sports in the world, and that includes NBA refs and the Phillie Phanatic.

Bob Davidson having a job that requires judgement is a crime against humanity.

Surely the delay it causes would be about the same as when a manger trots on out of the dugout to argue with the umpire for one of these blown calls.

And there’s lots of things that used to be part of the game that aren’t anymore. I guess we should go back to having a negro league? After all, it was part of the game back in the day.

I have no problem with instant replay in baseball for most purposes. Balls and strikes — well, that’s another matter. (Surely those can be done electronically without unduly delaying the game.)

Baseball’s entire appeal is that it purports to be fair. Both sides get 27 outs. The game isn’t over until everyone gets his 3 at-bats. And yet there are multiple playoffs in recent memory where fan interference played a decisive role in at least two home run calls (not even counting the Cubs game, a foul ball situation). Such calls are embarrassing for the game.

I don’t like the meta-game aspects of basketball, where part of the strategy is to break the rules, or to convince the umpire that your opponent broke the rules (cf flopping). Similarly, I don’t like how some pitchers are allowed to expand the strike zone, or some catchers to frame pitches to fool the umpire.

Me, I’d enjoy the games a lot more if they played the game between the lines. The meta-gaming bothers me a great deal. If they can’t win within the rules, why bother?

Anything that makes the calls more accurate is good. Baseball is not in a race to finish within a time limit. It takes as long as it takes. I just want the calls to be correct.

I’m all for some replay and I have no slippery slope concerns. There are so many other delays in the game that I can’t object to one that might actually improve the outcome.

No objection to this implementation of instant replay whatsoever.

I have mixed feelings about the idea of electronic ball/strike calls, though. I guess I’d have to see it implemented to get a feel for it.

I could get on board with something like the NFL system, where a manager could choose to challenge a call, up to maybe twice or three times a game. If not that, then I’d say replay to validate home runs only, and let the umps call everything else, as before.

I don’t see any reason at all to introduce replay halfway through the season. Wait until next year.

Instant replay on home run calls is desperately needed, because (a) they’re important; and (b) they’re virtually impossible for an umpire to make correctly. Beyond that, I’ll assess it as they propose it.

Really, I’m a purist (I’m still against lights at Wrigley and the DH) so you know where I stand.

OK, weighing in again. See, I disagree with you here. Well, I agree about baseball not being a race within a time limit, but not about the need to be more accurate. One of the great beauties of baseball is that lack of accuracy. The delighful human factor makes it wonderful. Being able to argue about the ump’s call and the chance that a missed call can change the game makes it a more human game. Did the ball really hit the shoe? Was that really shoe polish on it? Did the ump miss the call at home? Did the player touch second on the way by on his way home? Was it out of the strike zone? Would he have caught the ball if the fan didn’t reach out and catch it? This all makes baseball the delightfully flawed game it is.

Do I want it more accurate even when my team loses? Absolutely not. I want to be able to scream at the ump from the bleachers.

One thing which would help on home run calls in the postseason is correctly placing the extra two line umps. They typically play about 90 feet behind their 1b/3b counterparts, when they should be parked close (30 feet in front) of the fair poles. Then they can hustle under the pole when there’s one down the line, and be closer to the other potential home run balls.

Your game and fun is someones living and someone elses business. If you had a multi million dollar team would you be satisfied with that. ? If you are a pitcher and a bad call loses a game ,are you still so tolerant. ? How about having your team miss the playoff? Takes the fun out of it.

It might depend how they do it. If they have to wait for a central office to rule like the NHL does it could take a while. I don’t see a valid comparison between keeping with tradition of human umpires and discrimination against minorities.

I still say it would be a step in the wrong direction. On the whole, the umps get 99%+ of the calls right. To take away from the flow of the game for that last percent really isn’t worth it in my book. In my life, I can remember only a handful of WS games where the umpire made a critical questionable call- the Armbrister case, the KC-StL call at first being two that come to mind. Over a season, you get some breaks and you lose some breaks. It more or less evens out.

I merely made the comparison to point out the flaw in the logic that we should keep it just because it’s tradition. There might be valid reasons to keep IRs out of baseball, but just because “it’s done this way and always has” is not in and of itself a valid one.

I would agree that MLB umpires are not as good as you might hope, but I have to point out three things:

  1. They’re better than they used to be, especially after the Mass Resignation Hilarity of 1999, when they dumped most of the deadweight. Umpiring in the 90s was a LOT worse than it is today, with far too many cowboys who stopped caring about doing their jobs right and far too much “we’ll call the strike zone the way we want.” I’m not even a Pirates fan and I maintain to this day they were robbed of the 1992 pennant; I can still remember their pitchers throwing strike after strike after strike against the Braves in the ninth inning of Game 7, all called balls.

  2. As bad as they are, they’re better than the other major sports. YMMV and maybe you feel otherwise, but my honest opinion is that it’s just totally insane to say those sports aren’t a LOT worse. NBA officiating is openly a complete joke, NFL officials manage two or three amazing fiascoes a year where they reveal ignorance of the rules of their own sport, and the NHL’s rules are not so much rules as they are… well, shit, they aren’t even guidelines. I’ve been watching hockey all my life and I can tell you right now the NHL rulebook bears no resemblance at all to what is or is not called a penalty.

  3. Instant replay is a great idea if it’s done right. What’re the odds they’ll do it right?

I MIGHT be for this but I’d like a very clear understanding of what it is they’re going to do, including exactly how long the game can be held up for this sort of thing.

Exactly this.

I couldn’t disagree more. What’s so great about inaccuracies?