This ridiculous argument makes me want to throw my keyboard. Baseball and “flow of the game” are two diametrically opposed concepts. Baseball is one giant morass of interruptions and look-at-me inanities.
Every time a home run ball ricochets around one of the quirks of a ballpark we see the managers, batter and pitcher all have a 15 minute long discussion with the umps, even on the calls that are clearly correct. The mangers go out there just because it’s the thing to do, even if they agree with the call. The cynic might say they do it for the camera time. Adding replay would more likely shorten the disruption.
That’s tangential to my main point though. Baseball is nothing but a 3 hour delay interrupted by maybe 20 minutes of activity. We watch pitchers pace the mound and play hackey sack with the rosin bag. We watch batters go through their OCD routines, adjust their cock, spit and waggle their bats. We watch umps and catchers going through the “check the ball for scuffs” routine twice per at bat. We’ve got Ronan Tynan and his 20 minute rendition of God Bless America. Lou Pinella and his glacial saunter from the dug out to the mound and Liquored Up La Russa and his one-batter pitching changes complete with 4 warm-up regimens on the mound in a half inning. We watch the ball get tossed around the horn and the Manny being Manny Home-Run, um, amble. This weekend, an ump refused a batter time-out in the box in an attempt to speed up the game…the result, a 20 minute argument and ejection of the manager. Flow of the game indeed.
Anyone who trots out the “flow of the game” argument or the “unnecessary delays” argument against Replay is simply lying or they have never seen a baseball game. There’s no other way around it.
I watch, like, 150 baseball games a year, and cannot remember the last time this happened.
Or it may simply be that they recognize the problem and don’t want it worsened.
I absolutely agree baseball allows too many delays. I don’t have a problem with a 3-hour game, if it happens to be a well-paced 9-7 affair that was long simply because there were a lot of hits. The problem in baseball is when a game is long because of interminable pitching changes, batters stepping out of the box, and all that shit. With baseball, it’s not about the LENGTH, it’s about the PACE. A three-hour game can fly by if it’s paced quickly and stuff happens; a 2.5 hour game can feel like six if it’s all guys adjusting their batting gloves.
Adding IR would, I fear, simply add to the silly delays. MORE delays isn’t going to just be “well, that’s baseball,” it will make the situation noticeably worse. Instant replay became a terrible nuisance to the NHL when they had the hardline crease rule because you’d have multiple reviews in every game where nothing was happening, and it just pisses you off. I sometimes wonder if the NFL might not erven be able to make itself more popular if it could figure out a way to play the game at something faster than the glacial pace they currently play in.
I’d like to seebaseball do more to reduce delays; specifically, I’d like the batters to be forced to stay in the box unless they have an actual reason to get out (brushed back, something in their eye, etc.) If your goddamn batting gloves have to be adjusted after every pitch, you need new batting gloves that fit.
If they could do that and shave a few more minutes of delay off the game (and in fairness games are a little shorter than they were a few years ago) then maybe they can afford a few minutes for instant replay.
I enjoy the pace of baseball - the game whose pace really bothers me is football. The next time you watch a game, keep a stopwatch with you and start it everytime the ball is hiked, and stop it when the play ends. 4 15-minute quarters turns into a total of about 12 minutes of action. I like to think that baseball has signal-noise ratio of better than 1-4.
As to the original topic, I don’t have a preference one way or the other regarding instant replays. But one thing I DON’T understand would be if they restricted it to the postseason. If a team comes within a game of winning a wild-card race (for instance), why isn’t game #58 that they lost against some random team because of a bad home-run call any less important than a similar call in a playoff game? Both calls prevent a team from advancing when they should have. Either institute IRs all season, or not at all.
I spent five lines after this one in my original quote explaining that. Look, you’re not going to understand it, fine. But let me restate, part of the beauty of baseball is its inaccuracies. The human factors, the flaws, the flubs - they all go into making the game entertaining and involving us. That we can argue about it, makes it a wonderful game. If we had robots playing and umping the game would make it more accurate and less flawed sure, but it would not have half the joy or frustration. Would we love the Cubs half as much if they had been to the World Series 10 times in the last 90 years? I don’t think so. And those quirks of fate and humanity that manupliate a team whet our love even more.
You can have your perfect video and computer games, give me humanity every time.
A lot to think about in this thread. Regarding replay, if they gave it the same “sacrosanct” status as ball/strike calls–i.e. you argue about it and you’re ejected–that might eliminate the potential for long delays.
Really, when it comes to NFL replay, I have no idea why the ref spends as much time as he does looking at it; you can often tell on the first or second replay. I don’t think the delay waiting for a HR replay call would be more than a couple minutes, and if you threaten to eject a manager for launching a tirade when a replay call goes against his team, it won’t be much longer than that.
As for “flow of the game”, I understand the need for moving it along, but the deliberate pacing of the game shouldn’t be lost. I’ll admit I get frustrated as a fan at some of the Mike Hargrove style batting antics that delay the game, but IMO such delays enhance the experience when the game is on the line. If, say, the bases are loaded late in a tight game, watching how the players react to the pressure is what makes these guys real human beings rather than robotic fantasy players. Chipper Jones bending and stepping backwards with a grimmace after a close strike, or Carlos Zambrano storming around the mound after he misses to drive the count full: These are elements of a drama that require time to unfold. Enforcing things like a pitch clock might eliminate the repeated batting-glove tightening or rosin-bag slam during lesser moments, but it would also have to be enforced for every pitch, and I fear it would destroy the dramatic potential of these magical moments. IMO leave it to the umpire’s discretion to decide when a player is delaying the game, issue a warning, then start calling balls/strikes if it continues.
The human flaws of players intrigue me. I want players to be rewarded when they play well, and punished when they play poorly. I want to watch them sometimes get lucky, and sometimes be robbed by other players. If a player hits a home-run, he has earned it, the team has earned it, and no independent arbitrator should take it away.
Huh? I don’t get this argument at all. That is like saying we shouldn’t expand to 32 teams, because eventually it could lead to 96 teams and that would be disastrous. The question is whether instant replay should be used in this specific circumstance. There is no slippery slope. Any future changes can be debated when the time comes. Agreeing to this change does not mean you agree to any other.
Echoing gonzomax. I don’t think umpiring mistakes are a part of the game that need to be preserved. And I’m a Royals fan who benefitted from Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. Errors are something that is to be rooted out as best as possible. Period.
It happens probably once a week in Wrigley. Every time a ball hops up into the Ivy the managers for both teams waddle their fat asses out to have a token debate with the 2nd base ump. It never amounts to anything since they’ve been doing it that way for closing on a century, I figure it’s just so that the managers can convince everyone that they aren’t sleeping in the dugout and somehow earn their contracts.
It also has happened in each of the 5 or 6 missed calls this season that is the impetus for this possible rule change. I’m not sure how you missed it considering the OP.
I have to admit my experience is likely colored by being an AL fan, where they don’t have as many bizarre parks.
I was in Minute Maid Park once and couldn’t believe MLB allowed such a thing to be built. “Okay, so it’s a home run if it goes over this fence, or over that wall, but on this wall it’s a homer if it hits above the line, unless it strikes the wall above the abutment from the wall over there, in which case it’s a home run, unless it bounced off the facing of the abutment first, in which case it’s an automatic triple and the first base coach has to sing “Marie Mac” and dance for two minutes.”
The Juice Box is an abomination. Ironically, I really enjoy all the quirks of these new, largely NL, ballparks. Some of those crazy caroms make for exciting inside-the-park HRs and even more exciting catches ala Willie Mays, but most importantly they give the parks a sense of place. I think it’s silly not to use technology to make these parks easier to ump. Fewer boundary calls were missed in the era of cookie cutter multi-purpose buildings but I’m not sure I want to go back to that.
And some of the ground rules in Boston aren’t much better:
I’ll echo the general sentiment that it shouldn’t be that hard to design or retrofit a park where the difference between a HR and in-play would be fairly clear. Why, for example, can’t they install beveled surfaces on the HR side of the vertical line to give the ball a crazy bounce if it strikes there? Or some material like styrofoam that gets visibly damaged when struck by a batted ball?
These aren’t perfect solutions, but it just seems as though nobody has even given the problem much thought until this season, when a number of HR calls have been made in error because of poor park design. I remember in Milwaukee’s old County Stadium that there were two railings on the outfield wall–one for the wall and one for the bleachers behind it, separated by a three-foot gap. About once a year, some HR would be erroneosly called a GRD for fan’s interference because a fan reached over his bleacher railing to catch a ball that had cleared the main wall (I believe Mark McGwire lost a HR for this reason in his steroid-fueled 1998 chase for 70, leading signs around St. Louis’ Busch Stadium to declare he had hit “70 1/2” HRs).
I don’t fault the umpires as much as I fault MLB for letting the situation continue for so long, and if instant replay is the solution (as opposed to retrofitting parks), so be it. It’s a critical call, it doesn’t create any new delay that isn’t already built in via manager arguments over close calls, and the decision (GRB vs. HR vs. foul ball) is pretty clear cut (i.e. no further interpretation as in the NFL on “whether the whistle had blown” or “where to spot the ball”). I can’t see a good reason not to use instant replay for such calls.
I’m a vocal advocate for more instant replay in every sport. I want to get the calls right. If you have the ability to determine indisputably what really happened, then you should do it. Not pnly would I support replay for homerun calls, but also for close safe/out calls on the bases.
I also think they institute some kind of electronic strike zone and put chips in the balls. take the human error right out of it.
Sports fans do not know how bad they have it today. I go back when football games were not held up for commercials. Then it happened a couple times. Then more. Now the games are spaced out between commercials . The tail wags the dog.
Some games like baseball have natural breaks that serve commercials well. Football is all twisted into a long commercial.
The problem isn’t with officiating, it’s with ballpark design. All ballpark fences should be built so that if the ball disappears, it’s a HR; if it comes back, it’s in play. This would eliminate 99% of the problems.
Now we just need to do some retrofitting, and we’re done.