With Jackie Robinson already on the mind, last night’s game-ending play at the plate in Colorado naturally set us to thinking of the scene above from Game One of the 1955 World Series, when Robinson stole home through Yogi Berra. Robinson was called safe. Yogi was apoplectic. The visual evidence is inconclusive, though Yogi maintains to this day he was out. (In the end, it didn’t much matter: the Yanks won the game, but wound up losing the series.) Yesterday, Matt Holliday appeared out, both at first glance and in subsequent replays, but he was nonetheless called safe by ump Tim McClelland, and San Diego saw their season come to an ignominious end. The final days of the NL campaign beg a lot of questions about the meanings of “clutch” and “choke.” Did the Mets choke? Did they just have a lousy pitching staff that caught up with them? How about Trevor Hoffman? Did he blow it? Or is a pitcher maxing out at 84 mph a sitting duck against a good hitting lineup in the thin air of Colorado? There’s a lot to ponder over the next 24 hours, before baseball resumes. Of this I’m happy: baseball has shown it’s humanity, for both better and worse, over the past couple of days. It’s been wonderful to watch.

132 comments… add one
  • Hoffman also blew Saturday’s game, not played in thin air. As you say, it’s just humanity.

    SF October 2, 2007, 9:54 am
  • It’s too bad Yogi died in “like the 1800s” so we no longer can get his first-hand account of the event, right BRAW?

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 9:56 am
  • IH: Why incite a problem here?

    YF October 2, 2007, 9:57 am
  • YF: please. I bite my tongue several times a day on this blog when that guy makes his absurd and often profane comments. I’ve gone about as far as anyone in acknowledging error and reigning back inflammatory rhetoric. My comment above is at worst a very mild ribbing. If we are to be wrist-slapped for such behavior, then the message is that people can act like jerks and never be approached. In other words, don’t ban the guy, but chide anyone who confronts him with his own ignorance about the game. If he is going to remain around these parts, I will from time to time poke fun at him, though I won’t do it with the name calling you all rightly asked me to refrain from. If even that is not allowed, then just let me know. I will gladly leave you all to enjoy his wisdom without me.

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 10:10 am
  • Being up 7 games with 17 to play, that has to be the meaning of choke. But Minaya has to take some of the blame. That team needed more pitching and he made no moves at the break.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 10:12 am
  • IH:
    I don’t think YF was chiding you, just wondering why is it necessary to poke the bear? You are an incredibly valuable commenter, and an articulate and knowledgable one, so why bother needling when no needling is necessary? Everyone knows about a certain commenter’s lack of knowledge and common sense (both SF and YF share the sentiments, in general), so there’s just no reason to antagonize, as far as I am concerned.

    SF October 2, 2007, 10:15 am
  • IH: it’s not an admonishment. it’s just that he’s not commented in this thread. why invite silliness? why ask for trouble? let sleeping dogs lie. don’t poke the bear…

    YF October 2, 2007, 10:15 am
  • Fine – fine…it’s just that he was on my mind today. My cat pooped ouside her litter-box this morning.
    OK, really, that’s it. I promise. The administrators can erase my last three postings…I’m done. I’m so ashamed.

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 10:18 am
  • I have to say that was one of the most enjoyable baseball games I’ve ever watched — made even more enjoyable by the fact that I was entirely uninvested emotionally from the outcome, aside from rooting passively for the Rockies.
    McClellan clearly blew the call, and not just the call but the way he called it. Why delay your “safe” call if Holliday tagged the plate and the ball was on the ground? Either he missed the plate, or he didn’t. I don’t think McClellan knew for sure, either.
    I think this does show the need for some instant replay in baseball. It’s been debated all morning on Mike & Mike, and the arguments are all pretty standard now. But it just makes sense to me. Use it for home runs, plays at the plate and plays at other bases the result of which would affect whether runs would score. Unlike in football, where refs have to determine much smaller, harder to see judgment calls — knee down? in possession? both feet in? arm moving forward? — I don’t see it being used in MLB under those guidelines nearly so often. A tiny percentage of home runs are even close enough to the foul pole or whatever ground-rule gray area, and a small percentage of those are close enough to be disputable. Ditto runs scored and plays at other bases — a small percentage are close, and a tiny percentage are so close as to be hotly contested.
    After all, last night, it took 13 innings to even get two such plays, and we wouldn’t have needed the second if the umps had had replay on Atkins’ “double” in the seventh.

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 10:25 am
  • The Yankees sent seven pitchers home Sunday: Brian Bruney, Tyler Clippard, Kei Igawa, Jeff Karstens, Sean Henn, Matt DeSalvo and Chase Wright. That leaves Chris Britton, Ross Ohlendorf, Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras and Ron Villone the candidates for two spots on the pitching staff.
    -This from Pete A.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 10:29 am
  • I am absolutely adamantly opposed to any replay. I love the humanity of the game; I was happy to see Kurkjian making the same point last night after the game on BBTN. Replay. Takes forever. Inconclusive. Undermines the ump’s authority. Baseball needs to remain differentiated from the NFL and NBA.
    I don’t know what McClelland was thinking last night, tho. Was it possible he was looking to see if the ball was loose? It’s tempting but impossible assign “intentionality” to his call. He waited so long, ergo he was tipped by the crowd. But the truth is it’s impossible to get inside his head and know precisely what he was thinking, why that call was slow.

    YF October 2, 2007, 10:31 am
  • I think Ramirez is for sure – he brings too much of a different look from all other relievers and starters and can get the strikeout when needed (gofer-ball possibilities do scareme though). And while I would expect Veras to be the other given Torre’s recent comments about him and his recently-proven ability to pitch ou of trouble (all be it trouble he himself sometimes creates), I would be a little surprised if they didn’t take a single left-hander, so I think it is between him and Villone.

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 10:35 am
  • Uhh, that’s “albeit”, not “all be it”

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 10:36 am
  • YF, My thoughts exactly on the ump (McClellan? McClelland? Too lazy to look it up). I got that impression that as he waited, and by the time he called safe, the crowd was going nuts and it would have been tough to call Holliday out. I don’t know. He called a good, fair game all night, so I have to believe he maybe didn’t see the ball or was trying to replay it in his own head.
    Replay doesn’t take that long. What? Five minutes, at most? Let’s not forget that under the current process in these plays, the following happens:
    – Player disputes the call
    – Manager runs out, disputes the call, discusses with umpire for at least one minute.
    – Umpire calls over backup to discuss play, check with other umps to see who got a better angle. Takes at least one or two minutes.
    – If call is reversed, *other* manager comes out, disputes the call for another minute or two, then leaves or gets ejected.
    How is this faster than a manager coming out, if the play is reviewable according to whatever rules are set in place, requesting the replay, and the umps watching it for say 90 seconds?
    As for it taking away the humanity/spontanaeity of the game, I can see that argument as a lover of that humanity, but I also would rather the really important calls be gotten right. At the very least, try it in spring training and see what people think about it.

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 10:38 am
  • I see both sides of the replay argument, and am totally torn. On one hand, I am a romantic like YF, and love the game for such foibles. And on the other hand, I detest when umps blow calls that can easily be corrected. It’s the “not easily corrected” calls where the problems happen.
    I don’t doubt MLB could institute a replay system just for home runs/not home runs, and leave the rest to humanity. That way certain calls, easily discernable in short time, would be gotten right, while the rest of the game would be left in the hands of the unimpeachable umpiring crew. YF may argue a “slippery slope” angle, but I don’t see why the game can’t be arbitrated more correctly while retaining the vast portion of its humanity.

    SF October 2, 2007, 10:43 am
  • Oh the humanity!!!!
    Seriously, I think there is a point to Kurkjian’s/YF’s point. Otherwise, why not just have Questec call all balls and strikes? It would be ultra-consistent and immediate. It would also suck. The inconsistency of strike zones and the ability of pitchers and hitters to adjust to them is part of the fun of the game. You could argue that no such fun is gained by blown HR calls or missed safe/out calls, but I think there is some – catchers and other fielders and base-runners “selling” plays, the argumentation of managers coming out on the field, which is a time-honored baseball tradition that would just disappear if all you had to do was raise your hand and get a video-review. It’s not like there is no accountability. The umps all get reviewed, ranked, etc. by the league and they know it. And too many things would be left to strange judgement calls – he called you out, which is why you didn’t throw to first, where you could have easily gotten the runner, but now that replay shows he was safe, you now have two on and 2 outs instead of the end of the inning, etc.
    I like the game the way it is on this front even though I don’t like blown calls.

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 10:47 am
  • Otherwise, why not just have Questec call all balls and strikes?
    This is a straw man of an argument. I don’t think anyone who wants replay is arguing for the replacement of the umpires. And I also don’t think that those who support some form of instant replay would want the umpires to become tentative (any more than they are right now, of course) or feel undermined. But the two things, replay and umpire independence, are not mutually exclusive. The NFL, I would argue, is better off from the replay system. Calls are now gotten right when they would have been wrong, and correct calls are reaffirmed. It has worked, in my opinion. I don’t see why some minor use of replay on specific plays wouldn’t help baseball while maintaining the humanity of it all. It’s not an all-or-nothing affair, despite what some people might want to believe. That’s a black-and-white position that doesn’t cut the mustard for me.

    SF October 2, 2007, 10:56 am
  • I love all the LoHud/NYYFans guys losing their minds over the start times of the Yankees DS games. How quickly everyone forgets that the Red Sox had two 4:00 PM games in 2004 and one game that started at 10:00 PM.

    LocklandSF October 2, 2007, 10:57 am
  • SF: I agree, but my reason for raising that straw man is to challenge those who call for replay to articulate why here and not there. There is no aspect of the game that affects outcome more than called balls and strikes based on the fact that they are called more than any other judgement call in the game. I think a major part of the reason is that fans like the humanity of the umping of the game and the variability that comes with it, thus supporting the underlying rationale of the argument that YF and Kurkjian each made.
    And I think baseball umpires are different from officials in any other sport. Others only call infractions of the rules; keep time; rule on judgement calls that come up intermittently (was that a 3-pointer, did he cross the goal-line, etc.).
    Baseball umps make a critical call on every pitch. They are more part of the game in my view than any other official. I don’t know why, and maybe it is a dumb reason, but this makes me more opposed to steps that erode their authority to make calls as they see them. I don’t think they should be the center of attention, but I like them being the ultimate arbiters on every play and not going to a technological solution.
    I also have more fondness for the game’s history – what the fields and stadiums looked like, how the players played, even that the managers wearing uniforms (yes, I know this has been discussed and roundly criticized here), etc. – that I just don’t have for football, basketball, etc.
    Again, maybe dumb and little more than nostalgia, but it’s how I feel.

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 11:10 am
  • There is no aspect of the game that affects outcome more than called balls and strikes based on the fact that they are called more than any other judgement call in the game.
    Why does everything have to be a zero-sum affair? Why can’t we just look to apply replay with a common-sense approach? Balls and strikes, phantom tags at second: no replay. Balls that may or may not have been homers: replay. If we love the “humanity”, then why not apply a little to deciding which plays can be reviewed while still maintaining umpire independence?

    SF October 2, 2007, 11:15 am
  • Did McClelland make a statement? It seemed like the pause was to see if the ball came loose. And honestly, I think that’s the right way to make the call. The throw beat him. The tag was down. So it’s a question of whether Barrett held onto the ball. I read McClelland as looking for the ball. When he saw it come loose he made the call. If Barrett holds out, the runner is out.
    And isn’t how that would go at any other base? 2B or 3B. Does the runner beat the tag? Does the ball come loose? Why should homeplate be any different?

    Pete October 2, 2007, 11:17 am
  • SF: in my view it is because you can not get a little pregnant, and for the admittedly emotional nostalgic reasons noted above, I feel that this is what replay would do to baseball even if it does not do it to basketball or football.

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 11:20 am
  • This is something I’ve thought about a great deal. I’ve worked in sports television, and spent most of my career working with and thinking about visual evidence. I would, first off, disagree with SF about the “success” of replay as it is used in the NFL, and in any event the two sports are so different–in how they are played, officiated, televised, and enjoyed–that the example is not relevant to me. Apples to oranges.
    I would suggest that “replay” is far less informative than we might believe. Often times, I would guess, things seem clear when in reality they are “inconclusive,” to use the jargon of the idiom. Events take place in 3 dimensions in real time. Replay reduces this information to 2 dimensions in a series of gapped time-stops. Errol Morris, the brilliant documentarian, has written with exceptional eloquence about just how deceptive images can be. (His latest post on his NYT blog, on Crimean War photography, is fascinating.) So I’m dubious that replay is really any better than the human eye, or several human eyes, trained.
    As for the specifics, yes, arguments do take time now. But I’m not sure there’d be any LESS arguing with replay imposed, and then we’d have the extra time of review.
    I also think that “creep” is inevitable. Let’s say that replay is used only for homerun calls (for which, I would suggest, most images are MASSIVELY uninformative, even if they appear otherwise). All of a sudden there’s a bad blown call in a big game. The commish is there in the stands. Replay is possible…..

    YF October 2, 2007, 11:20 am
  • Pete: I’d agree except I don’t think the catcher came all that close to making the tag – he was swiping after Holliday had slid past. So I don’t think this is what McClellan was looking for.

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 11:22 am
  • I’m opposed to replay except on homeruns and fair and foul. Those you usually have a very clear call and it can be quickly made before the next pitch. Plays like last night would have taken forever. And in the meantime everyone just sits there an waits?
    But I’m absolutely for an automated call of balls and strikes. It can easily be done with computers and the information Gameday already tracks. It could absolutely work and the strikes zones would be uniform for every pitchers, batter, game, stadium. Then the homeplate umpire becomes more like the chair ump in tennis. No more BS about strikezone calls. It happens. Deal with it.
    Leave the plays at bases to the umpires. That’s what someone in a booth would have to do any ways. It’s impossible to get a few good camera angles on a play and no camera will be as close as the ump at the base. Cameras can help though on homeruns and foul calls exactly because the ump has trouble getting to the spot and seeing the play at the same time.

    Pete October 2, 2007, 11:25 am
  • Pregnancy does not equal instant reply, IH. Just because there are issues that are black and white does not mean instant replay is necessarily one of them. Or, maybe it is: Home runs are replayable, nothing else is. That’s pretty pregnant/not pregnant to me. (I think replay should be extended to plays at the plate, though).
    Pete: I thought it was pretty clear the ball came loose when the play occurred, but then the TV angle was better than the ump’s. Even if McClelland was waiting to see where the ball was, he waited until after Barrett picked up the ball and ran toward Holliday to make the call. The call itself was pretty tentative, too. There’s just not much there to clue me in on what McClelland could possibly have been thinking.

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 11:25 am
  • Paul: I really don’t think there is a right and wrong here. To you, and I suspect to SF, it is not as black and white as pregnancy. To me it is. That’s fine.

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 11:28 am
  • It seemed like Holliday was pretty shaken up on the play. Might McClelland have been distracted by what he heard or saw up close? Just a theory…

    Nick-YF October 2, 2007, 11:29 am
  • With the technology we have now we could use computers to make almost every call in baseball. A computer chip in the base, ball, and mitts could be used to call plays at the plates, foul and fair, etc.
    However, I love the human element of the umpires and the game would lose a lot of its soul without them. So, Id be against automation and most forms of replay.

    Sam-YF October 2, 2007, 11:30 am
  • The idea of “creep”, while a legit fear, isn’t necessarily a reason to forego a system completely. It’s something to guard against. Apples to oranges, whatever, the NFL has successfully altered their system to avoid it becoming all-encompassing, to avoid just this “creep”. As for it not working in the NFL, I’d like to hear why you think that is the case, YF, as opposed to a blanket statement. I have seen numerous calls corrected over the past few seasons, not all to my ultimate liking (though correct), and I don’t see how the game has been hurt by this. At all.
    And yeah, Errol Morris is a hell of a filmmaker, but that doesn’t mean he knows half a whit about sports. The anti-replayers have as black-and-white a view of things as does our President us of the world, and look where that’s gotten him.
    For me, I am interested in extremely limited use on a very few distinct plays. I am not 100% convinced it will work, but I see no reason not to test it out over the course of a couple of spring trainings. If umpires are terribly uncomfortable with things, then scrap it. If it compromises the game, scrap it. If it makes the games interminable, scrap it. But at least give it some sort of test in limited, non-critical moments. See what happens. Replay is not a necessity, but it would behoove the league to at least check the viability. To dismiss this scenario outright would be unjustifiably stubborn.

    SF October 2, 2007, 11:31 am
  • We can agree to disagree, that’s fine. I just wish I understood the arguments. The only one I could conceivably get on board with is the sentimentality/nostalgia angle, but baseball is an evolving game. Very little of what is played now would be recognizable to those who played it 100 years ago. That’s a good thing. And adding replay materially changes very little of what makes baseball so great, those things that have remained unchanged in 100+ years — the lack of a clock, the individual battles in a team setting, etc.

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 11:31 am
  • I really hope replay never makes its way into baseball. The game is fine as is. I don’t want a computer deciding strikes and balls and I don’t want replay to tell me if it was a HR or not. Umpires are human and mistakes are made and sometimes they sting, but they are part of the game.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 11:32 am
  • And, really, the possibility of machines taking the place of umpires is a bit too sci-fi for me to take seriously. We’re talking about what amounts to I’d guess fewer than 10 times per team per season, not balls and strikes or your routine bang-bang play at first base. The slippery slope is a legitimate concept and a legitimate concern, but considering the NL doesn’t have a designated hitter yet, I’d guess there’s some substantial barriers to “creep” inherent in the nature of the sport and its fans.

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 11:36 am
  • I’d agree Sam except for the problem of the tag. The ball could be in the glove but I don’t see how you’d detect whether it touched the player. And I’m not sure I’d want a chip in the ball.
    So there always seems to be a need for umps. I agree with YF regarding the problem of how events happen in space. There are too many degrees of freedom for a camera to capture what happens. Witness last night! How many camera angles do we have and yet we still can’t tell. Better to have an actual humans getting as close to the action as possible.
    Balls and strikes is easy though. You’d get faster, by-the-book, calls.

    Pete October 2, 2007, 11:39 am
  • “And, really, the possibility of machines taking the place of umpires is a bit too sci-fi for me to take seriously.”
    Apparently you haven’t watched tennis lately. Very Stranger in a Strange land experience right now.

    Nick-YF October 2, 2007, 11:40 am
  • Paul, the theory of robots calling balls and strikes is the counter-argument to the position that some form of replay might be helpful. It’s totally extreme, and creates an “all or nothing” binary situation, one that doesn’t serve the debate well. This is the goal of that kind of Blade Runner rhetoric.
    A truly focused debate would question what, if any, replay could serve the game well, and why, how it could be done without interfering with the flow, the independence of the umpires, the humanity of the game. I don’t believe that any of us want the beauty of the game to falter, or for the foibles and idiosyncracies of the sport to disappear, in any way shape or form. But when one position in the debate starts talking about cyborgs calling “stee-rike three!” in muffled, metallic voices, that position seems laughably simplistic, not rational and thought out, and isn’t at all convincing.

    SF October 2, 2007, 11:42 am
  • Paul,
    1. Re: “The only one I could conceivably get on board with is the sentimentality/nostalgia angle, but baseball is an evolving game”
    My point is that this is not a minor issue for me when it comes to baseball – on the contrary, I am more nostalgic about this sport than any other. Whether or not you get on board is not the point – it is clear to me that we will nto agree and I am really not even trying to convince you at this point. I am explaining to you why it is that this one aspect that you find some legitimacy in is a very big one for me. I can’t think of many “evolutions” in baseball that I really like with the exception of night games coming about in the 30’s. Seriously. I don’t look down on those who like many more, but this is just where I am at with this sport.
    2. Re: “the possibility of machines taking the place of umpires is a bit too sci-fi for me to take seriously”
    I can’t speak for others here, but I am not raising the prospect of robots and computers ruling baseball in a serious way. I raised the Questec point only to elicit some empathy for the notion of likeing the humanity and variability of the game’s officiating system. I don’t think the game would likely go in that direction (unless of course the owners found a way to make money off of it). I just don’t like it moving even a step toward it even if it’s the last step it would ever take.

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 11:43 am
  • I see bringing up “I don’t want umpires calling balls and strikes” as an argument against using replay for home run calls to be incredibly specious is all. It’s taking a reasonable proposition, immediately leaping to the worst-case scenario and rejecting all progress because of where it *could* lead. That’s just not a good argument to me (unless we’re discussing the First Amendment, but that’s another day).

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 11:45 am
  • I agree Nick. I honestly think McClelland used the usual heuristic:
    1) Ball beat the runner? Check.
    2) Tag applied? Check. (Runner slid into the player.)
    3) Held on? Checking….Nope…
    And it seemed like McClelland, in looking for #3, never looked for #4
    4) Runner touch base?
    And that’s where his brain got stuck. I’ll admit, it seemed like he did – he slid through the catcher. And that’s why it’s such a tough play to call. Positioning-wise he’s safe. But the plate is flat. Problem is you’d need either a camera on the field and capturing the perfect angle. I think that’s impossible.
    There’s always a place for umps.

    Pete October 2, 2007, 11:45 am
  • SF: your very binary black-and-white approach to my argument is a strange way to rail against binary black-and-white arguments. I explained yet again in my last comment why I raised the Questec point. And your holier-than-thou “it doesn’t sserve the debate well” is frankly more than a little insulting. You are not the arbiter of what does and does not serve well. We’d need an all-knowing baseball umpire to serve that role…

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 11:46 am
  • this is just where I am at with this sport.
    Fair enough, IH. I’m not saying you’re wrong for feeling that way or trying to belittle that aspect of the debate at all. I hope it didn’t come across that way.

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 11:48 am
  • I have no idea how much Morris does or does not know about sports; that’s irrelevant. What he, and Edward Tufte, do know about is visual evidence, and how deceptive it can be. Indeed, that it can be MOST deceptive when it seems to be most revealing.
    Let’s take Sam’s point for starters: the idea that technology can actually take care of all of the umpiring in the game: this is utterly, utterly, wrong. Technology is pretty flawed, and even then only as useful as the human being interpreting it.
    But let’s take up this “home run fair/foul” call that SF suggests instituting as the sample replay subject. I really can’t think of a call LESS suited to replay. Think about the circumstances: A tiny projectile moving at high speed toward a barrier that is often interrupted by fan/player movement or visual clutter. This seen by a (probably moving) camera that is almost certainly set at an angle to the action, and from up to several hundred feet away, thus reproducing 3-dimensional, real-time action in a blurry, 2-dimensional time-stop. It’s a system DESIGNED for failure.

    YF October 2, 2007, 11:49 am
  • Who said anything about cyborgs calling balls and strikes? You simply display them as you do now – on the scoreboard – and every makes note of them as they’re called. No histronics in voice or gestures. No bitching from the dugout. No smirks from the hitters or snide looks from the pitchers. You simply have batters trying to hit the ball.
    Leave the arguments for the plays at the base. Let the umps get together on those and see if anyone had a better angle. And let the manager come out and scream and kick dirt when the call goes against his team.

    Pete October 2, 2007, 11:50 am
  • SF: I DON’T think limited replay usage is likely to lead to robots, cyborgs, Cybergen becoming self-aware, Arnold Schwarzenegger appearing naked in a biker-bar and demanding clothes, or Linda Hamilton becoming a resistance fighter.
    I am opposed to ANY machination of the game because I hold on more tightly to the nostalgia of the game and the full and complete role of its officials more in baseball than in any other sport. I am not asking you to agree with me, but could you please stop painting my argument as something it expressly is not?
    Paul seems to understand what I am saying while strongly disagreeing with me. Can you and I not just leave it at the same??

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 11:51 am
  • IH:
    I totally get the romantic thing, I do. I feel the same way you do about baseball: it’s easily the sport I most romanticize. But I agree with Paul – asking about the possibility of using replay to look at foul/fair homers, and not much more, is being met with a kind of extremism here. I am not even proposing anything but testing this system in meaningless games, yet there’s a leap to ask about automation, and I find that to be a polarizing response.
    Personally, I might take replay or leave it, but part of me wants to know how it might work, and whether it will be for the better of the game. I honestly don’t know how it will work, and I find it strange that some people KNOW it will not work (or simply don’t want to find out), despite never having seen it employed.

    SF October 2, 2007, 11:54 am
  • What he, and Edward Tufte, do know about is visual evidence, and how deceptive it can be. Indeed, that it can be MOST deceptive when it seems to be most revealing.
    I am all for intellectualization, but man you are WAY overintellectualizing this.

    SF October 2, 2007, 11:55 am
  • YF –
    On the homerun calls, the cameras can cover a longer distance faster than an ump turning and running down the line or toward the stands to “see” a play. I think it’s a tradeoff. At bases you have a short distance but two players plus the ump obstructing camera angles. It’s a fixed locate with three people and the ball converging. That’s very tough to get a clean shot of the action. Someone in the middle of the action has the better chance, or another up maybe fifteen feet away and moving freely to get a better view.
    However, on the foul/homerun calls there’s just too much ground to cover for the one person closest to the play. There you can easily have three cameras with mostly unobstructed views showing the action as it develops.
    BTW: I’m willing to bet that TBS had fewer cameras last night than a typical playoff game. It just seemed like they were missing shots (directly overhead, down the lines. etc.)

    Pete October 2, 2007, 11:56 am
  • But let’s take up this “home run fair/foul” call that SF suggests instituting as the sample replay subject. I really can’t think of a call LESS suited to replay. Think about the circumstances: A tiny projectile moving at high speed toward a barrier that is often interrupted by fan/player movement or visual clutter. This seen by a (probably moving) camera that is almost certainly set at an angle to the action, and from up to several hundred feet away, thus reproducing 3-dimensional, real-time action in a blurry, 2-dimensional time-stop. It’s a system DESIGNED for failure.
    See, this is (I hestitate to use the word) NUTS. There are plenty of ways to measure the fairness or foulness through replay, those which are not deceiving, particularly with the advent of HD broadcasting.

    SF October 2, 2007, 11:57 am
  • SF: Fair enough. Thanks. But when the cyborgs come to eat our young, I will be pointing to/hiding behind you…(JOKING)

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 11:58 am
  • How do you know I am not a cyborg, IH?
    (albeit a bald, weight-gaining cyborg…)

    SF October 2, 2007, 12:01 pm
  • Okay, while you guys argue with each other I got it all figured out. Each of you will be happy and upset to an extent. Thus it’s an ideal solution.
    1) Four umpires on the field.
    2) Balls and strikes automated. Scoreboard displays the call. Checked swings called by the 1B and 3B umps.
    3) Fouls and homeruns called by an umpire in the booth. Call made in under thirty seconds. No argument or further review possible.
    4) Umpires call plays at their base. Can request help from other umpires.
    5) Homeplate umpire keeps scorecard and general order (breaks up mound conferences, issues warnings, etc.)
    See. Everyone happy and unhappy? Perfect!

    Pete October 2, 2007, 12:02 pm
  • The hardest calls to see are when the ball travels OVER the pole. Camera angles are incredibly inconclusive there.
    The theory of the inadequacies of 2-D visualization vs. 3-D perception I would think breaks down when confronted with the specific situations for which replay would be used. I agree that fair/foul is often the most inconclusive situation when looking at replay. Plays at the plate would be much easier, and I think would be appropriate were MLB to go the route of allowing replay under limited, specific circumstances.

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 12:02 pm
  • I think we should equip the Yankee stadium squirrel with a head-cam. All fair/foul calls down the 1st base line could therefore be reviewed. This would accomplish what review-advocates want while maintaining the variability, humanity – or squirrelishnes anyway – of the game.
    Incidentally, a broader thread topic re: innovations that we do/don’t think have been good for the game might be interesting some day. Other than night-games and international recruiting I am pressed to think of many. And the playoff system and then WC innovations are a whole different world – where things within them look great, but the mega-move toward them is I think a mixed bag. Anyway, back on topic…the WOPR is playing a baseball game and hasn’t figured out that you can never win…everyone get to your bomb-shelters.

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 12:05 pm
  • I don’t think it’s nuts at all. If you fail to understand the limitations, intellectual and physical, of what you’re suggesting–well, you can call that what you will.
    Also, let me raise another problematic issue. Time factor for the replay referee. Not only is the visual evidence always, always, always, going to be dubious, but the person/persons doing the reviewing are under pressure to conclude their review.
    How many times have you seen a replay where you’re like, “he’s so out” and then 2 minutes later there’s another replay and you think, “hah! he got ’em.” Happens ALL THE TIME. And the thing with replay is, you don’t ALWAYS have that second/third/fourth view.

    YF October 2, 2007, 12:07 pm
  • “Nothing is so obvious that it’s obvious. When someone says that something is obvious, it seems almost certain that it is anything but obvious….”—Errol Morris

    YF October 2, 2007, 12:09 pm
  • whoops: this “hah! he got ’em.” should have been “he was safe all along!”

    YF October 2, 2007, 12:10 pm
  • YF –
    The reviews get a clock. Thirty second countdown and that’s it. Homeruns and foul calls only.
    Balls and strikes would be immediate. Even faster than now.

    Pete October 2, 2007, 12:12 pm
  • And umps have to make the calls at the base because how can you judge a tie from camera angles?
    Last night seemed to be a tie, until the ball popped out. Then I thought he was obviously safe. And no video evidence could ever exist to over rule that call. It’s impossible to predict the perfect camera angle you’d need.

    Anonymous October 2, 2007, 12:15 pm
  • Has anyone hear every made the drive from New York/NJ/CT to Cleveland? I know it’s like 8 hours, but want to know if it’s an awful 8 hours. Anyone?

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 12:16 pm
  • Not only is the visual evidence always, always, always, going to be dubious
    No way. Not “always”. “Sometimes”. Your view is completely extreme. And when it IS dubious, then nothing should be changed. I would like to know a good reason why replay shouldn’t even be given a test look – this is all I have proposed at the moment. Saying “because it won’t work” isn’t a good reason, either, since the person saying that has no more knowledge than I do about whether it will work. Why is limited test deployment in spring training games unworthy? What is it costing any of us to see how it works or doesn’t work?
    As an aside, this is a great debate in general, and these types of discussions are, I think, why YF and I started this site.

    SF October 2, 2007, 12:16 pm
  • Watching the game, that home umpire was so bad, or at least he was very slow for some reason. Right off the bat, I thought it was a game winner, especially about a second later, when the throw looked awful (high). But somehow it was right online and it really made it close..
    Is it just me or was Holliday slow? (Somehow he did leg out a triple though..)

    Lar October 2, 2007, 12:16 pm
  • John – I just looked at the Stubhub prices, and ya, I was considering flying down myself, though unlikely at this point..

    Lar October 2, 2007, 12:19 pm
  • Me.
    What we need is camera angles and their range shown on a chart (or 3D simulation would be fantastic). That would also show their limitations. For instance, at first base isn’t it usually the 3B camera? And last night, wasn’t one of the angles from 3B too? 1B would have been blocked by the catcher. etc.

    Pete October 2, 2007, 12:19 pm
  • Trisk: I’ve done it. One over-arching thing to keep in mind:
    Pennsylvania is a wwiiiiiiiiiiiiiidddddddddeeeeee state leading to a lllloooooooonnnnnggggg and boring drive. It feels like it takes forever to get through and no, there is absolutely nothing interesting along the way (hope this doesn’t offend anyone…my wife is from Pennsylvania) (and is also a cyborg by the way).

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 12:20 pm
  • I’m firmly in the no replay under any circumstances camp. I used to think that they would plausibly be good at least for determining home runs, but now I think that even in that event it is more trouble than it is worth. Live with the call on the field.

    attackgerbil October 2, 2007, 12:20 pm
  • The unanswered question: Since the Sox take after the Patriots, they got a camera trained on the opposing dugout?

    Pete October 2, 2007, 12:21 pm
  • And, the cops in Pennsylvania are notoriously difficult. Stay near the speed limit…

    SF October 2, 2007, 12:22 pm
  • A PA cop pulled over me and another driver once at the same time. Got in front of me and behind them. I tried to drive off, after slowing down, and he came after me while telling the other person to stay where they were.

    Pete October 2, 2007, 12:24 pm
  • The prices for tickets at the Jake are sooooo reasonable. I am going to Sunday’s game at the Stadium, but I am giving serious though to going out to Cleveland.
    Thanks for all your input guys.
    Lar, is flying affordable?

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 12:24 pm
  • Am I right that we have a Yanks-fans-vs.-review and a Sox-fans-for-review breakdown here?

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 12:25 pm
  • Pete, unfortunately I beat that story. I was once pulled over by a cop standing on the side of the road. I was driving to Fitchburg State in MA and a cop pointed and made me pull over…Me being the law abiding citizen I pulled over. To this day I wonder what would have happened if I kept going…

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 12:26 pm
  • > is Holliday slow? (Somehow he did leg out a triple though..
    He’s not slow, but he’s big and tall and looks kind of gangly when he runs. And that was one of the ugliest face plant slides I’ve seen in a long time.
    Giles played the ball horribly off that funky wall. The Padres were absolute butchers in the outfield last night. BUTCHERS. And the throws coming in were just not accurate. Holliday tagged from first to second in the first inning when Todd Helton hit it to Brady Clark in center. His throws were positively Damon-esque.

    attackgerbil October 2, 2007, 12:30 pm
  • To be fair, Gerb, that is a big park.

    Pete October 2, 2007, 12:38 pm
  • AG: totally agree on the outfield play last night. Unbelieveably bad. Even worse than Giles was the ball the centerfielder (Clark I think it was?) escorted all the way back to the wall – and then turned around and chased back after it ricocheted off seemingly at 90 mph.
    But I gave more props to Giles, who did an Aaron Rowand full-speed facial on Holliday’s triple making a legit try for the ball though without the glory of actually catching it.

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 12:39 pm
  • Am I right that we have a Yanks-fans-vs.-review and a Sox-fans-for-review breakdown here?
    No! I am not necessarily in favor of it, but rather in favor of testing it out in limited fashion. I have reservations, but am not unwilling to see if it could help.

    SF October 2, 2007, 12:39 pm
  • “Fine – fine…it’s just that he was on my mind today
    Dude… first your leather and lace handle and now this? Come now, I really object to this internet trolling by you – for me. I am straight, really. Honest to god.

    BostonRAW October 2, 2007, 12:52 pm
  • > I have reservations, but am not unwilling
    There’s like 2.5 negatives in that sentence, which I consider a good thing when talking about something so potentially expensive, distracting, and quite possibly pointless. If there is to be limited testing, I would need to see quantifiable results for it to stick around.
    And the only circumstance I can see a play being reviewable is to grant a home run, not take one away, which makes the whole thing seem like just another benefit to the hitter.

    attackgerbil October 2, 2007, 12:53 pm
  • I’m totally against replay, I like the human element of the game.
    Plus, the games are long enough, I really don’t want them to run to 4+ hours every game because of replay.
    Speaking of painfully slow, the amount of ads on Monday Night Football last night had me pulling my hair out.

    LocklandSF October 2, 2007, 1:09 pm
  • I hope these points haven’t already been beaten to death since I’m jumping in here late but even after watching last night’s game (and I’m glad I did!) I understand the desire for introducing replay, and yet I still can’t support having it.
    It isn’t out of any sense of purity or whatnot; I usually enjoy seeing things change to improve. But to me replay is a system of diminishing returns, but one that is difficult abandon once it’s introduced.
    I say diminishing returns because once we (sports fans) get it in our minds that a miscalled play should be corrected, there’s no natural line to draw discerning what can and can’t be replayed. Say it’s only home runs first, but then it can be scoring plays, or inning-ending plays, and so on.
    Replay in football is ultimately unsatisfying for this reason. Refs still make mistakes, but now they make them on the molecular level which is somehow more frustrating when it goes against your team. If my team is going to get screwed by a bad call, I’d rather be able to ultimately say, “Well that play was outside the margin of human perception” instead of, “He had access to a scanning tunneling microscope and he STILL blew the call!?”

    FenSheaParkway October 2, 2007, 1:09 pm
  • Vegas odds favor NY tomorrow. Close but they’re still favored.
    That has got to be one of the most moronic lines I have ever seen. What will happen: NY gets crunched. Probably shut out, but if not, no more than 2, while whomever they decide to start will get hammered.
    Cleveland in 5 after going 2 up to start.

    BostonRAW October 2, 2007, 1:11 pm
  • Oops! Wrong thread for Yank bashing. Sorry, my bad.

    BostonRAW October 2, 2007, 1:15 pm
  • FenShea. Instant Replay would be able to correct more calls than under the current system, umpire meeting for review (which delays games too!). You imply you are against it because it would lead fans to strive for perfection which is the reason why it should be used in the first place. And if you rather be able to blame it on the human element you will have to do it way more often. Say 20 bad calls due to humans compared to the lesser number, say 5 blamed on indadaquete replay footage.

    Seth October 2, 2007, 1:20 pm
  • FSP: I think you pretty much nailed it.

    attackgerbil October 2, 2007, 1:21 pm
  • Ironic that a blog should be so filled with luddites.

    SF October 2, 2007, 1:32 pm
  • Yup SF, I am in disbelief.

    Seth October 2, 2007, 1:36 pm
  • SF: Shall we play a game?
    -The WOPR

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 1:38 pm
  • John – not at all. =) About 200$, though I have some family down there. Maybe if it was during the weekend I would’ve justified it by actually visiting and stuff, but it’s too late for me to ask for a 5 day weekend at work..

    Lar October 2, 2007, 1:43 pm
  • SF: To me, the entire nature of video evidence is flawed. Horribly flawed. I suspect there are VERY few incidences where evidence for a homerun situation call reversal might be described as incontrovertible, but that number is so small that it’s not worth the price you’d pay for implementation. The cost-benefit analysis, to me, is always going to be a loser. And it’s a zero-sum game. I don’t think you can have a “we test it in spring training” scenario, because (a) there’s such a small sample (b) the games are effectively meaningless (c) there are FAR fewer cameras around and the stadiums are different (d) there would be no pressure for the insidious “creep” that is a justifiable concern. To me, it’s just a bad idea for baseball. It’s bad intellectually, I don’t think it’s feasible from a technical standpoint, and I don’t think it will end up resolving much in the long run. We’re never going to escape human error. Better to understand that and work with the umps to avoid it, then to institute a system that is designed for failure, and will undermine their position.

    YF October 2, 2007, 1:46 pm
  • SF, there are certain areas where technological advances are necessary and welcomed. For example the IPhone, IPod, etc… But I believe Terrance Mann said it best when he said “The one constant through all the years, SF, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, SF. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again.”

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 1:55 pm
  • Couple of points:
    Paul: I’d say the game as played 100 years ago is remarkably similar to what we have today.
    On the luddite issue: I’m agnostic on technology. I wrote my graduate school thesis on Buckminster Fuller, who believed technology would make our lives dandy. But if there is any lesson to be learned from the 20th century, it’s that technology, used improperly, is a very dangerous thing. Technology is only as good as the human’s employing it, and sometimes not even that good. On the otherhand, we’d be lost without our modern tools. This blog is a product of advanced technology. I’m happy we have it. But it’s only as good as the people who write on it. Sometimes we do a great job. Sometimes…..

    YF October 2, 2007, 2:06 pm
  • I don’t think history is inevitable but it sure seems that one of these days instant replay is going to be tried out in baseball. In other words, it’s inevitable that we’re going to be one day talking about the instant replay mechanism that either ruined or saved our day. Really, in this light I agree with SF, that baseball should have a kind of humanist (for lack of a better word) and reasonable approach to implementing instant replay.
    However, I lean toward YF’s and AG’s view of things when I think in platonic terms. Baseball is nothing without its mess-ups and flaws and bitching fanbases and humanity. I will be sad when we are all implanted with micro-chips that carry each play of every game around the world…but it’s going to happen.

    Nick-YF October 2, 2007, 2:08 pm
  • Better to understand that and work with the umps to avoid it, then to institute a system that is designed for failure, and will undermine their position.
    This is a great point. But I have about as much faith in MLB’s ability to get the umps to focus on the rules as you do in the utility of instant replay. How about taking some more of the money generated by MLB and hiring LF/RF umps for all games? How do you actually get umpires to do better at staying consistent within the strike zone? How do you get the umpires to actually enforce time rules?
    In general, the umpires do a great job. They get more difficult calls right than in any other sport I watch. But they have flaws, and if MLB could do something about the most glaring flaws I would be happy to banish the idea of instant replay to the scrap heap. I don’t look at IR as a band-aid, though, just to be clear. It might be able to help. It might not. Why not find out? The cost to us as fans is nothing.

    SF October 2, 2007, 2:09 pm
  • YF places the elipses perfectly introducing my sub-par commentary!

    Nick-YF October 2, 2007, 2:09 pm
  • However, I lean toward YF’s and AG’s view of things when I think in platonic terms. Baseball is nothing without its mess-ups and flaws and bitching fanbases and humanity.
    I do too. That’s the odd thing, to me. That the idea that instant replay might be of some use, even minimal, is illegitimate. I don’t understand the closemindedness on this. I grew up reading and loving Kinsella, scouring the Baseball Encyclopedia on a summer-nightly basis looking for idiosyncratic entries, crazy bolded numbers, etc. I love watching baseball uninterrupted by umpires under a blanket watching a replay. But I also think that there is some merit in not allowing a blown call to define a team’s season, in not allowing 25 hard-working players to sit limply in a dugout after 9 months of excruciatingly hard work because an umpire made a mistake. I know that this kind of scenario is fabulist and extreme, but we all know that baseball seasons can turn on exactly this kind of situation. Why should we allow this kind of injustice to happen? Because we’re romantics?

    SF October 2, 2007, 2:16 pm
  • SF: the best romantics die for their passions…sitting limply in the dugout is not such a terrible outcome. (This is the Tom Glavine approach to the issue, for those who didn’t catch his underwhelming post-game interview Sunday.)

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 2:21 pm
  • In other words, the players should suffer injustices so the lore of the game grows, so that we romantic fans don’t have to lose those ignominious moments from the grand continuum that is baseball.
    I find this a weak justification. Those moments of ignominy and history will still happen, and often. Just look at the Mets: no help needed from the umps or from a replay.
    My guess is that players don’t look at things quite as romantically as we do. This is quite an imposition, IH, you realize, putting the fans’ sense of history and romance above justice for the players?

    SF October 2, 2007, 2:25 pm
  • I don’t think that’s the issue SF. The point is that the marginal potential benefit is not worth the enormous cost. At least for me. There’s a perception that replay can be some kind of panacea, and that’s grossly inaccurate, in my estimation.
    Careful what you wish for.

    YF October 2, 2007, 2:34 pm
  • the enormous cost
    What’s the cost? In dollars? Or in sentimentality?
    Mind you, I am not wishing for anything. I am firmly in the “prefer no replay” camp. But I am not in the “replay? NEVER!” camp.

    SF October 2, 2007, 2:37 pm
  • I dont buy the whole romantics argument. Equipement has changed. Mound size has changed. Fields change sizes. The fields are in much better shape (maybe not Wrigley). I really do not understand the many of the negatives of instant replay besides cost and there is enough money to do it.

    Seth October 2, 2007, 2:39 pm
  • Sox first round roster, no Wake.
    Jason Varitek
    Kevin Youkilis
    Dustin Pedroia
    Julio Lugo
    Mike Lowell
    J.D. Drew
    Coco Crisp
    Manny Ramirez
    David Ortiz
    Eric Hinske
    Alex Cora
    Jacoby Ellsbury
    Bobby Kielty
    Doug Mirabelli
    Kevin Cash
    Josh Beckett
    Daisuke Matsuzaka
    Curt Schilling
    Jon Lester
    Jonathan Papelbon
    Eric Gagne
    Hideki Okajima
    Mike Timlin
    Manny Delcarmen
    Javier Lopez

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 3:18 pm
  • Kevin Cash? Really?
    10 pitchers?

    Sam-YF October 2, 2007, 3:22 pm
  • So the fact that instant replay would be used sparsely is a strike AGAINST it? It seems that’s the biggest argument in favor of it. Under my proposition, IR would be used for three classes of calls (and this is wider than any other proposal I’ve heard today): Home runs, plays at the plate and run-determining plays at other bases. Even then, I would argue that one team would seek a review no more than five to 10 times per season — or roughly one-fifth of 1 percent of all the plays seen in a game (including strikeouts, etc. And that’s using the absurdly low estimate of 30 at-bats per game for a season). That would make usage of IR extremely limited, which would in turn make its use on such plays more desirable, I would think. There would be very little danger of lengthening games or introducing the possibility of a fully automated arbiter. Such arguments just don’t strike me as fair.

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 3:29 pm
  • Or Snyder, or Taverez.
    Obviously, Tito is a firm beliver in his starters, as he should be. Only Beckett, Dice and Schill, at that. But that said, there should be another long reliever besides Lester because if he fails who else will eat innings?
    I do not understand their priority of 3 catchers over another long reliever. But I also understand, unlike most here, that they know a hell of a lot more about their players than we do.
    Play ball!

    BostonRAW October 2, 2007, 3:33 pm
  • Why the hell do we have 3 catchers?

    LocklandSF October 2, 2007, 3:34 pm
  • I’d rather have Bryan Corey than Javier Lopez, but otherwise I don’t have any real qualms with the roster. Keeping three catchers on the roster is smart (though smarter for a seven-game series), and Jon Lester and Tim Wakefield would be redundant. Wake’s knuckler just isn’t reliable enough for bullpen work, and Lester’s looked good this season — good enough to handle three or four innings in relief, if need be, I think.
    I do wish they’d get off their fascination with Lopez. Francona keeps using him as a LOOGY, when he’s actually a ROOGY who sucks against lefties.

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 3:35 pm
  • If the Sox are in a position where they need both Lester AND Wakefield in the series, they’re probably not advancing anyway… :-P

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 3:36 pm
  • They are saying Wakefield isn’t/wasn’t available and might not be added unless there is improvement to his back.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 3:38 pm
  • Lopez IS a LOOGY, as the “L” refers to the throwing arm of the pitcher, not side of the batter.

    Anonymous October 2, 2007, 3:39 pm
  • Might not be added for ALDS or WS, is what I meant.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 3:40 pm
  • Paul: Wow. Honestly, I think your proposal is the worst of all possible worlds. Brings into question a preposterously high percentage of calls. The technology is deceptive, and subject to the wild vaguaries of interpretation and context. Use of replay becomes a strategic decision for the manager (leaving the possibility that it doesn’t even solve the problem of a late-year “blown call” that’s created the desire for replay in the first place!!!) You’ll end up with continued arguments (but now over the replays), delays, and undermined officiating crews. Yeesh. It’s a PROFOUNDLY HORRENDOUS proposal.

    YF October 2, 2007, 3:44 pm
  • I personally have never witnessed him excel in the role, but Lopez does have excellent numbers against righties. I must have missed a lot of games this year.

    BostonRAW October 2, 2007, 3:45 pm
  • Profoundly horrendous? That’s impressive!
    I can take any proposed idea and say it will lead to mass chaos, the end of the world and the blotting out of the sun, too, but what good would that do? It would inflame the conversation, but it wouldn’t add much. Let me suffice it to say that if we do not enact instant replay, George Bush will be elected to a third term. I win.
    Unless you’ve misunderstood what I said, I can conceive of no possible way for managers to strategize their arguments since there is no way that I know of no way to schedule controversial plays that directly affect whether or not a run scores. You say it would be a “preposterously high” percentage, but give no rationale for what you would consider “preposterously high.” Is less than half a percent, as I demonstrated, too high for you? In football, I would guess there are one to two challenges per game. Based on my criteria, I think you’d get even less than that in baseball. Teams see maybe one close play at the plate every three or four games. Maybe one of every four or five of those is a disputable call.
    The one flaw in introducing IR practically (taking away nostalgia and all that) is that there is no penalty for wrongly contesting a call. I think you need that, but I’m not sure what you could use.

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 3:54 pm
  • We should have seen this coming with Wakefield — Francona, IIRC, didn’t ever say: “Wakefield is coming out of the bullpen.” He said: “He won’t be starting.” The media ran with it because that’s what Francona wanted them to think, but the phrasing struck me as odd when I first read it…

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 4:03 pm
  • paul: you’re misreading me (or, i guess i wasn’t clear–so my fault). what is preposterously high would not be the raw number of appealed plays (though it would be far, far too high for my tastes, given your criteria), but the percentage of plays that could be subject to review in the first place. sf suggests just homerun calls/noncalls. that, at least, is a limited scope. your scope is much wider. and strategy does come into play if you limit the number of “challenges” (and the very idea makes me cringe); should a manager appeal in april, or does he hold out until august? the whole idea of “challenge” is ridiculous. will there be punishment for incorrect “challenge.” the goal, it seems to me, is to get the call right, ALWAYS, or to be precise, as close to always as humanly possible. let’s figure out how to do that.
    In any case, I think we could all agree that a little instant replay with those florida ballots would be fine.

    YF October 2, 2007, 4:11 pm
  • Request to manglement:
    Will you please kill this moot thread of how MLB will ever talk the umpires union into instant replay, and start up a SOX thread?
    JFC, it’s like reading a bunch of grandma’s whine about their teeth.
    SOX thread!

    BostonRAW October 2, 2007, 4:17 pm
  • YF –
    Yes, there will be punishment for a failed challenge – Loss of timeout.

    FenSheaParkway October 2, 2007, 4:29 pm
  • Gladly changing subjects, this is Amalie Benjamin, assessing the presence of three catchers:
    “…it’s essentially about having the flexibility to run for people, and to pinch hit. More flexibility, certainly, than would be provided by someone like Brandon Moss.”
    I understand what is being said there, but doesn’t that strategy seem sort of backwards? Especially the ‘someone like Brandon Moss’ part, as if he’s riddled with leprosy, whereas Kevin Cash is a totally flexible, awesome, unbeatable presence in the lineup.

    FenSheaParkway October 2, 2007, 4:35 pm
  • I just read that and wondered what she was smoking before she wrote it. Since when does Belli and Cash equate to more flexability than someone like Moss?
    a) They cannot pinch hit for Tek because nobody on the bench, sans Ellsbury, can hit worth a damn.
    b) Belli and Cash will most certainly not be called on to “pinch run”. Hell, I hope they never are called on to pinch hit, never mind run.
    Which brings us back to ‘a’; you cannot pinch hit for Tek in a playoff series against a bunch of rabbits.
    So what’s the point, Tito?

    BostonRAW October 2, 2007, 4:41 pm
  • Never mind. Their roster is NOT set.
    “Sox GM Theo Epstein was asked if he had spoken to the players about the ALDS roster.
    “We did a little bit of it earlier, we’ll finish it up later today,” Epstein said this morning on sports radio WEEI. “We’re not 100 percent sure we’re going to announce it [roster] today. It depends. I’ll get with the Angels, if they’re ready to announce, then we’ll both announce it at the same time but if not, it’s not technically due until 10 a.m. tomorrow, so we don’t want to tip our hand unless the other team does as well.”

    From what I can find in the past 60 seconds the Angels have not yet set their roster.

    BostonRAW October 2, 2007, 4:49 pm
  • I get it now, basically, they want to pinch run Jacoby for Tek any possible time and not worry about having a catcher to replace him.

    LocklandSF October 2, 2007, 4:50 pm
  • (C) Pinch Running for Varitek in a game where a run means a W or a L.
    (D) After pinch running for Varitek with Ellsbury, Ellsbury can then go play the OF OR they can just sub in Mirabelli.
    (E) When Mirabelli’s spot comes up again, it allows you to pinch him once again knowing you have Cash on the bench.
    (F) You never want to be short a C due to an unexpected injury. Many players can fill in at other positions, who’s going to catch? Doesn’t work.
    I truly wish the Yankees had 3, it’s a nice luxury.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 4:51 pm
  • Yeah, I’m off the bridge on this, it does make sense.

    LocklandSF October 2, 2007, 4:53 pm
  • Trisk/Lock –
    I get the strategy fine; I was just confounded/amused at the pretzel logic that came out of explaining it.

    FenSheaParkway October 2, 2007, 5:00 pm
  • John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 5:01 pm
  • “Ironic that a blog should be so filled with luddites.”
    And I gotta say I agree with YF. For the vast majority of plays at bases, replay only adds another angle and not necessarily a better one. I think Paul just isn’t grasping how camera angles are acquired and affected by what happens on the field. On any play at a base, every camera angle could be easily blocked by the three people converging on the play (runner, fielder, ump). Choosing between one or two camera angles versus one or two umps adds exactly nothing to the review except time. Unless there is going to be twenty to thirty cameras covering the action (quadrupling production costs for every single game), there’s no way to make those replays work better than what we already have. Indeed, for all the cameras covering last night’s game we still don’t have a great view of what happened at the plate. Given that, it’s actually shocking anyone would think replay would have helped last night.
    That said, as I’ve stated, replays could do better than humans on homerun and foul calls. That would play to the strengths of cameras – multiple unimpeded angles that converge faster than one ump running toward where the ball is about to land. And you’d need no appeals – one ump in a booth is automatically charged with making those calls. No complaints form the umpires unions either because you’re creating more jobs. Indeed, the fat bastards who could no longer squat and run could pull a Clemens and sit up in a booth all game.

    Pete October 2, 2007, 5:04 pm
  • And can I just say how f%cking fantastic it is that perhaps the best arm in the organization (you know, the one that threw a no-hitter in his second major league start) will be sitting home because the organization couldn’t properly manage his innings. That’s f$cking brilliant!
    And why do I have a bad feeling about Matsuzaka starting a deciding game? And without Wake to back him up? F#cking awesome.

    Pete October 2, 2007, 5:09 pm
  • Before any YF’s get excited, by “pull a Clemens” I meant extend their careers. Then maybe John McSherry doesn’t die on the field as he was umpiring a game at close to 400 lbs.

    Pete October 2, 2007, 5:13 pm
  • Lester would back him up, Pete. I don’t think that’s the issue. I still take issue with having Javier Lopez for Terry Francona to misuse…

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 6:22 pm
  • Sorry, Lester doesn’t make me feel better, especially with his 50:31 K:BB and 1.46 WHIP in 63 IP.
    Oh, Clay, where oh where could you be?

    Pete October 2, 2007, 6:35 pm
  • especially with his 50:31 K:BB and 1.46 WHIP in 63 IP.
    Both of which are better than Wakefield this season — with Wakefield performing worse than those numbers in September and Lester performing better.

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 8:39 pm
  • “Both of which are better than Wakefield this season”
    They are?
    Wake = 1.35 WHIP < Lester = 1.46 WHIP Wake - 1.66 K:BB > Lester = 1.45 K:BB
    That second one is very surprising since Wake isn’t supposed to strike out anyone AND is supposed to walk a ton.
    No, can’t say I’m comforted by Lester, and not in a big game.
    Bucky though…

    Pete October 2, 2007, 10:48 pm
  • Oops, you’re right. Not sure if I looked at the wrong line or what. :-P Ah well…

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 11:54 pm

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