Flip Flop

The baseball gods find it amusing to taunt me. I have been a staunch opponent of instant replay in baseball, but the last few weeks have seen several errors on part of the Men In Blue when dealing with the long ball. To their credit, each time they have admitted their error (unlike the crooked brats in the NFL and NBA) and said that their utmost goal is to make the right call. Maybe it is time to give them some help. Deal with it, gerbil, you know you were wrong and you know that baseball is way tardy on using the cameras.

Sure, I know, you think I’m only writing this because of ARod last night. You’re probably right, but I want George King to be able to call his homers meaningless, not his grounds-rules doubles.

27 comments… add one
  • I’m in favor of it, now.

    I'm Bill McNeal May 22, 2008, 4:06 pm
  • I don’t see why you wouldn’t, at least on plays that hit inanimated objects, which contains almost no variables – none of the “if the kid didn’t stick out his hand..” type of guessing.
    That said, I already kind of hate that baseball games take 4 hours. It would be great if they find some other way to cut the fat off the games though..

    Lar May 22, 2008, 4:14 pm
  • Like they were saying on YES last night…how much time would it actually add to the games? How often does it really happen? They could have a small screen in the dugout that the Umps could jog (quickly walk maybe, some of them are HUGE)over to, take a look and make the call. Maybe adds a few minutes to a game? Small price to pay for the right call being called. They should just check homers, fair/foul in my opinion…

    krueg May 22, 2008, 4:18 pm
  • Replay on HRs alone would be a huge step that would very likely save time and almost always get the call right. I dont think this one is brain science. Im glad you’ve come around gerb….

    Sam-YF May 22, 2008, 4:27 pm
  • > I dont think this one is brain science. Im glad you’ve come around gerb
    I’ll never be accused of being a rocket surgeon.

    attackgerbil May 22, 2008, 4:35 pm
  • Don’t get YF started on this. He’ll start citing Errol Morris, or Walter Benjamin, or Roland Barthes, or something esoteric about why instant replay is as deceptive as it is informative!

    SF May 22, 2008, 5:15 pm
  • I honestly don’t see any good argument for NOT having it on home run calls. One, they’re pretty big deals – sure, in a blowout, it doesn’t matter too much, but we all remember Jeffrey Maier. And two, it would actually SAVE time. Nowadays you have the umpires make the call, get together, discuss it a bit, deal with irate managers clamoring for one side or the other, possibly change the call, deal with MORE irate ranting from managers – there’s far more delay now than there would be if they just looked at the replay and made the call. It’s not like most of the calls aren’t entirely clear on replay. I really think it would save time.
    As for the “human element” thing – that’s fine on balls and strikes, but home run calls are things that need to be gotten right.

    Micah-SF May 22, 2008, 5:17 pm
  • Delaying games as an argument against replay is a red herring. How will an ump getting a call from an ump in a video booth be any longer than four to six umps conferring in the middle of the diamond and hearing five minutes of arguments from each manager?
    Since they’re starting replay in the Arizona Fall League, World Baseball Classic and spring training next year, it seems like it’s only a matter of time.

    Paul SF May 22, 2008, 8:13 pm
  • > Since they’re starting replay in the Arizona Fall League, World Baseball Classic and spring training next year, it seems like it’s only a matter of time.
    If there is quorum, it seems strange it would take that long to effect something that seems so technically simple.

    attackgerbil May 22, 2008, 8:23 pm
  • we don’t need replay…baseball has survived for years without it…the game isn’t that hard to follow, unlike football, which found a way to integrate replay, even though it does annoy me with some excruciating delays…bad calls, and good ones, are part of the game…where would they draw the line with replay?…i was po’d, as was girardi apparently, about what i perceived as a bad call on giambi tonight, but i fail to see how replay helps in that case…i realize the proposal is “just for homeruns”, but please…how hard is it to call a homerun?…maybe the umps just need to be in better shape so they can hustle out there and not blow the obvious…if we need replay, why do we need umps at all?…just let robots make the calls…if teams need to modify their parks to eliminate the phony fence lines, then so be it…while their at it they can bring the wrecking ball to fenway and build a major league park once and for all…green monster indeed…doubles-maker…arod got screwed last night…big deal…the yanks got a break a few nights earlier with the foul pole foul-up…how funny was it to hear espn obsess about the placement of the yankee stadium foul pole…funny stuff…i had a bet with a friend about how many times it would get mentioned during the rest of the game…i’m still laughing…
    yeah, i know…crickets…

    dc May 22, 2008, 11:54 pm
  • how hard is it to call a homerun?
    Apparently harder than you think.

    SF May 22, 2008, 11:58 pm
  • awesome.

    attackgerbil May 23, 2008, 12:03 am
  • yep
    ugh…my 8th grade english teacher would be appalled….their=they’re

    dc May 23, 2008, 12:03 am
  • “…awesome….”
    what?, the inability to make a simple hr call?, umpires required to actually be in shape?, the use of robots?, a wrecking ball slapping upside the green monster?, espn insisting that the left field foul pole in ys is misplaced? [still cracking up], the bad call on giambi?…
    yeah, i know…crickets…and tree frogs…

    dc May 23, 2008, 12:08 am
  • by the way, you both missed the point: “…bad calls, and good ones, are part of the game…”
    i get po’d about bad calls as well as anyone, but replay is not the answer…sox fans especially shouldn’t want it…if we had it, dave roberts is OUT…

    dc May 23, 2008, 12:15 am
  • I guess I should have been more clear in my compliment to your post and SF’s response.. “awesome” was to say that you, dc, authored a great “stream-of-consciousness” compelling comment that I thoroughly enjoyed and SF authored a funny, appropriate response that I also thoroughly enjoyed, so I repeat…
    awesome.

    attackgerbil May 23, 2008, 12:22 am
  • uh oh…awkward moment…i thought you were “awesome”-ing sf’s comment, which was, in retrospect, awesome…but, my comments, awesome?…nah, they were probably bs, but i do half-believe what i said…i’m not crazy about replay in any sport…it trivializes the role of the officials…my followup comment at 12:08 was definitely bs, intended to be funny, not insulting…

    dc May 23, 2008, 12:35 am
  • dc:
    it is hard to call a home run properly when your beer gut prevents you from turning 180 degrees quickly enough to see where a ball has landed.

    SF May 23, 2008, 12:39 am
  • as the proud owner of a beer gut, i can confirm that

    dc May 23, 2008, 12:50 am
  • “maybe the umps just need to be in better shape so they can hustle out there and not blow the obvious”
    Are you actually suggesting that someone could be in shape enough to run from third or first to anywhere near the wall in time to make a more accurate HR call? If they are, I hope the Yanks sign them. We need some speed off the bench.
    As for replay, I’m sorry to see it in the abstract “not the way the game was played in 1927” way, but will probably be happy to see it in the context of a game where it matters. And will be hard-pressed to hope for the good old inaccurate days even when the correct call goes against the Yanks.

    IronHorse (yf) May 23, 2008, 1:40 am
  • it appeared from the replay that only the ump didn’t realize that it was a homerun…as for solutions, how about foul-line umps like in the post-season, or an outfield ump?…or require teams to modify the areas over the fences to remove the ambiguity…the area that arod hit the ball should have been a no-brainer, but the faux fence lines in some stadiums are confusing the umps…we don’t need replay…it’s a cop-out to coverup for bad officiating…frankly, folks think replay’s necessary only because we have replay, and very sophisticated replay at that…i remember the days where i had to listen to the games on the radio…i wonder how many bad calls i missed…

    dc May 23, 2008, 1:55 am
  • dc;
    Should the olympics not use sophisticated time-measuring devices to determine the winner of the bobsled races? Why is technology automatically a bad thing? I don’t see why a multi-leveled cost/benefit analysis for replay (in limited circumstances) shouldn’t suffice — that is, if replay for determining homers is initiated, what are the benefits to the game and what are the detriments. Certainly there are several issues at hand (impact on time of game, impact on level of officiating, cost of implementing technology consistently at each stadium, determination of how many calls typically might be changed/reversed and whether this is “worth” the corrective, etc. etc.). But I don’t think that just because the possible change involves “technology” it is automatically a bad thing. There have always been technological/design changes in sports. Think about glove design in baseball – certainly this has had a greater impact on the sport than replay ever could, yet we don’t really question the “original intent” of the founders of the game when we see Ichiro with a fish net out in the outfield, despite the fact that his glove would seem, based on historical documentation, to violate the spirit of what a glove was supposed to be as originally utilized. Technology should be rationally embraced, not reflexively rejected, as far as I am concerned. That’s not to say replay should automatically be accepted, either, but that it’s worth thinking about if it can be done smartly. I am convinced that it could be done, I don’t have the same worries that others do, but MLB needs to do the legwork to prove that this is the case, for sure.

    SF May 23, 2008, 5:47 am
  • I hate the human element.
    I was shown a play in a Braves game a few weeks ago. Yunel Escobar drag bunts and gets called out at first. The play wasn’t even close; his foot made the bag well ahead of the ball hitting the glove. He beat the throw by a good ten feet, and the umpire got the call wrong.
    Of course, Bobby Cox comes out to argue, but the best he’s going to get is thrown out. What the umpire says, goes.
    If a play that clear can get called wrong, how can we reasonably expect the thousands of calls that are closer than that to get called correctly?
    The fact that replay isn’t in the game drives me insane. It’s almost as if it doesn’t actually matter what the players do.
    The most frustrating part is that so many things in the game are black and white. In football or basketball, you have fouls and contact calls of all sorts for the refs to make judgments on. In baseball, there’s very little of that; it’s all fair-foul, out-safe, and ball-strike. Everybody in the country knows whether or not a call was correct within seconds; NESN will go back and replay something not ten seconds after it occurs.
    If the MLB really cares about the call being correct every time, they’d push replay through immediately. No argument against replay is good enough. Daily, 3-hour games for six months, and you’re worried that baseball would take too much time? Are you serious?
    The only place I don’t think replay belongs is in calling balls and strikes; I appreciate the dynamic nature of the strike zone. For any other aspect of the game, there’s no excuse.

    Kazz May 23, 2008, 6:34 am
  • “Why is technology automatically a bad thing?”
    “Technology should be rationally embraced, not reflexively rejected, as far as I am concerned.”
    sf, i don’t think you intend to be insulting…but those 2 comments attempt to trivialize my position beyond recognition by suggesting that i’m simply anti-technology…it’s not about whether or not i embrace technology at all…i did say that i didn’t like replay in “any” sport…i may have been over-stating it a bit…it certainly has its place in horse-racing [although i guess it’s called the “photo finish” and not “replay, but the concept is the same], and you mentioned the olympics, although we could have a whole other discussion about whether that sport has its arms around its officiating problems…i like your example about the advances gloves have made over the years, but i’m surprised you didn’t comment about the controversial inconsistency of the baseball over those same years…i’m sure that sunglasses, shoes, protective gear, and playing conditions are better now than they were in the old days too, but that’s not the point…the only point i’m making is that we’ve lived with good and bad calls all these years, and the game has survived….close calls give us something to debate…i just think it’s the lazy approach to a non-problem…why are umps missing so many calls?…it’s because WE see them better than ever, especially with big screen HD, and multi-angled replay cameras…the “problem” is further exacerbated by the vast amounts of money at stake in winning and losing, and achievements [remember this if arod comes up one homer short of the record]….but why not ask the umps to fix the problem?…how can we help them get homerun calls correct more often without replay?…i offered a few suggestions…you’ll notice that i focused on homerun calls since that seems to be getting the most attention right now, but why exclude the rest of the game?…you could eliminate the umps all together…doesn’t calling balls and strikes have more of a direct impact on the outcome of a game than the occasional blown hr call?…i could understand the argument better if it was for using ques tec for balls and strikes and limiting the home plate ump’s role to non-ball/strike plays…

    dc May 23, 2008, 8:34 am
  • Just to throw in my two cents:
    I think instant replay should be used for homerun calls and NOTHING MORE. One of the most unique things about baseball is that managers are allowed to run out on the field and yell and scream and argue. It’s entertaining, and it’s been going on for over a century. Use replay for homerun calls, but keep everything else the same.

    Atheose May 23, 2008, 9:17 am
  • Daily, 3-hour games for six months, and you’re worried that baseball would take too much time? Are you serious?
    Well said, sir.

    Atheose May 23, 2008, 9:21 am
  • Managers running out and screaming and yelling isn’t unique to baseball. When was the last time you watched a basketball game? Baseball managers are docile sheep compared to your average NCAA coach.
    I don’t like the arguing. I don’t consider it entertainment. Watching baseball for the arguments is like watching hockey for the fights, or NASCAR for the crashes. They are rarely pretty.
    I like the sport of baseball, and I want it to be fair. Giving the umpires total, unquestionable power over the outcome of the game is ridiculous. They’ve proven time and again that they aren’t perfect.
    I’m willing to bet that any given player would agree that they want every call to be correct; it is so frustrating to watch someone have to walk back to the dugout when, according to the rules of the game, he was actually safe.
    I don’t care about calls going my team’s way. I really don’t. I feel bad when the team catches a break on a bad call. It isn’t legitimate.
    If you assume that the umpires are evenly illegitimate, though, I suppose things pan out all right. But as long as Mike Winters remains an MLB umpire, I can’t imagine that that’s the case.

    Kazz May 23, 2008, 8:26 pm

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