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23 October 2009

Replay Review in Baseball: It Ain't Gonna Work

The umps have been blowing at least a call a game in the playoffs, and its frustrating to see how blatantly wrong their calls are on the super-slo-mo replays they have now. But I can't see how video review of calls is going to work. You can't have the crew chief clambering thru the dugout to watch a replay each time there's an argument. You could have a guy in the booth to make the calls, but even if the MLB wanted to splurge on a 5th (7th, in the post-season) umpire for each game, what criteria is he to use when over-ruling? Could he just overrule each call if he disagreed? Or just the real bad ones? Where do you draw the line?

Football has a clever system where coaches must ask for the replay and forfeit a timeout if the call doesn't go their way. Time-outs in football are like gold - coaches typically hoard them and often end up wasting timeouts because they're too afraid to squander them early. And since the review takes time (a handy commercial-break's length of time) forfeiting a time-out makes sense. How would that work in baseball? You forfeit a trip to the mound if you don't get the call? Not likely to work - there's too many ways to stall in baseball. So you can't have the team's request a review because they'd be requesting them on every play. If you set a limit of 3 times per game, they'll use it 3 times every game. And there's no clear basis for a neutral party to intervene in some cases and not others. Allow the umpires themselves to ask for a review? Fat chance - they don't ask for help now from their crewmates, they're surely not going to ask for help from someone watching TV. I'm afraid we'll just have to put up with human beings for the foreseeable future.


Anonymous uwi said...

It wouldn't matter if they did have replay, the umpires would still be favoring the Yankees because thats just the kind of gutless weasels the umps are.

October 25, 2009 6:14 PM  
Blogger Figgy said...

Nonsense, it shouldn't be that tough to institute some kind of instant replay system for MLB. First of all, forget the regular season - with 162 games, who cares if one or two of them get decided by a bad call. So just go with home run and possibly foul ball replays for the 6 month qualifying round.

In the playoffs, do something like give each team 2 challenges, with 1 additional if the game goes into extra innings. Also have the replay guy on the alert for calls that look fishy so he can buzz the head ump and tell him he's going to do a quick review. They do something like this in college football and it works pretty well.

Balls and strikes couldn't be reviewable - that would just be too big a can of worms. But overturning a safe call at first when a guy was clearly out or overruling a dope who watches two guys get tagged out while off the base and calls them safe would be pretty easy to get right.

Heck, the games take up to 4 hours as it is; who cares if they take another 10 minutes if it means the game won't be decided by a bonehead call. These are just off the top of my head - I'm sure it could be easily refined without too much effort.

October 27, 2009 10:21 PM  
Anonymous jth said...

I agree. Only challenge the calls that go against the Yankees.

October 28, 2009 2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


October 28, 2009 3:59 PM  

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