FanDuel - WFBC

November 06, 2007

Baseball GMs Vote in Favor of Instant Replay.: In a move sure to make at least one former SportsFilter member roll over in his grave/production booth, baseball GMs have voted to propose that MLB adopt instant replay for disputed home run calls.

posted by holden to baseball at 01:23 PM - 42 comments

I think your wording is a little strong, holden.

The collective general managers voted 25-5 during their Tuesday-morning session to at least explore the possibility of using the video technology to help decide disputed home run calls ...
(Emphasis mine.) Just tryin' to respect the glacier that is the evolution of MLB.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 02:06 PM on November 06

I think your wording is a little strong, holden. I just lifted the headline used for the article and then used the "voted to propose" language in the description, but I agree that the wording used in the headline is a bit strong. That said, I suspect this will get done for the 2009 season. Selig's complaint that this will slow down games is a joke considering how little MLB has done to speed up games (like enforcing the 12 second rule for pitchers, allowing Fox to extend commercial breaks during the post-season, etc.) and in light of the fact that a disputed home run occurs what, maybe once every twenty or thirty games at most?

posted by holden at 02:11 PM on November 06

Idea is not reasonable in my opinion. No more changes needed. Hell. if I had it my way, there still be day baseball only, no DH and no divisional series. Why screw with a perfect game that's already been fiddled with to much as it is. These GM's are nutty and need to leave the game alone. Geez..........

posted by brickman at 02:28 PM on November 06

there still be day baseball only Great idea. Especially for those with a 9-5 job. Why screw with a perfect game that's already been fiddled with to much as it is. Enforcing the 12 second rule for pitchers would be a good place to start fiddling.

posted by jmd82 at 02:40 PM on November 06

Games were shorter years past not because of on field play, has more to do with tv rights and stupid commercial. Instant replay is a stupid idea. Period............end of report.

posted by brickman at 02:58 PM on November 06

I'm still waiting for a salient point of why it's a stupid idea.

posted by jmd82 at 03:07 PM on November 06

You're gonna wait a while. Like anything else, used correctly it will improve things. If you love the game as much as you say, brickman, wouldn't you like to see all the calls go the right way? I'd hate for it to break up the pace (such as it is) of baseball, but things like home run calls should be reviewable without much trouble.

posted by yerfatma at 03:26 PM on November 06

Right on, holden. The only way I come out totally against this is if control of replay requests are put in the hands of managers, with delay-of-game penalties for bad requests: i.e. if it becomes a method of strategy, rather than a method of accuracy. NFL-style is not the way to do this. J.P. Ricciardi makes a good point (for once) in the article when he pushes for an NHL-style system. Keep the teams out of it, and I'm fine with it.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 03:35 PM on November 06

Sorry, no amount of suppose reason is going to change my mind. Game will get slower to what already seems a standstill. Ok, slow motion for home runs...good, disputed play at first base.......better, called third strike......give me a break. When you start something like instant replay, it will nudge the snowball rolling down the hill. Then what do you have....I rather watch ice melt then view at baseball game. Leave the game alone with its imperfections. Umpire make mistakes, if they make to many, get rid of them and replace with new. Look, a shortstop making to many errors are replaced, their position is not redefined. The world is not a perfect place. Better we live with the imperfection and accept we are human than try to fix errors into some technological idiotic soup. If is was a matter of life and death-ok, I'm on board, but for Christ sake its a game, not the start of World War 3, where both guys have to insert their key at a missile silo to make sure they get it right.

posted by brickman at 03:50 PM on November 06

I'm still waiting for a salient point of why it's a stupid idea. Well, I'm against the idea, and I don't have a salient point. I'm not against progress, or change. I don't have a strong opinion on the dh and I'm fine with night games. And yes, getting home run calls right would be nice. But I hope it doesn't go much further than that. I'd rather not have umpires under a hood looking at replays except in rare circumstances. I'm ok with a few calls being missed. Then again, I have no problem sitting through a 3 and a half hour game.

posted by justgary at 04:01 PM on November 06

Game will get slower to what already seems a standstill. On average, how many disputed home runs are there in a given game? I suspect the answer is almost zero. The Rockies got robbed three times this year on miscalled home runs -- one of which came in the play-in game against San Diego. If they'd called Garrett Atkins' 6th inning home-run-no-it's-a-double correctly in the first place, the game would never have gone 13 innings and thus never have ended on a controversial play (Holliday's face-first slide). In other words, this rule change would have affected three out of 162 games -- six out of 162 if you assume their opponents got robbed at the same rate -- and in one case it would've substantially shortened the game.

posted by drumdance at 04:07 PM on November 06

I really can't see a review slowing the pace of play much. First off, there are very few occasions in which it would be used. Honestly, how often is a home run disputed, or even a hit along the foul line? Maybe once every ten games or so? With cameras in place at only a few key locations (similar to tennis' replay), the play could be looked at very quickly and a proper judgement made. I know the NFL's system really can slow things down, but there are many more variables at play there (i.e. control of the ball, a "football move") that are subjective. If a ball crosses a line or not isn't subjective at all, so the review shouldn't take much time. That's in theory, of course.

posted by tahoemoj at 04:07 PM on November 06

I have to admit that I think baseball games have become too long. Saying that, I am really for instant replay for the purspose of homeruns. I think it would be an advantage to all teams. I did not realize that baseball had a 12 second rule. I really don't want to offend anyone by naming the ones I know but some pitchers take an extremely long period of time to get the ball to the plate. I think we can all think of some. It drives me crazy to see how many times time is called. A pitcher takes 30 seconds to get the sign and another 20 seconds to set his stance and then low and behold the batter calls for time and it all starts again. This is all well and good until you are an eastern time zoner with a west coast game and you do not get to bed to well after 1pm. Even 8:30 games go past midnight quite often. I don't think the instant replay of homeruns will add much more and the game could actually be quicker if they enforce the 12 second rule.

posted by skydivemom at 04:08 PM on November 06

Ooooh, and it's much nicer to end reports with a little smiley face emoticon than it is with a period. ; )

posted by tahoemoj at 04:10 PM on November 06

When you start something like instant replay, it will nudge the snowball rolling down the hill. Yea, because we have a lot of case studies to prove this point. What other sports have the initial conception of instant replay snowballed? As far as I can tell, the the use of instant replay in the pros has remained relatively unchanged since their initial installation. Game will get slower to what already seems a standstill. You make it sounds like this happens frequently. Alluding to justgary's point, I think this would only be necessary in rare circumstances because it is rare that a homerun is right on the border. Furthermore, it shouldn't very long to see if it was a homerun or not. Football typically takes so long because the rule interpretations are a lot more vague with different angles. Baseball's pretty cut or dry for this. Better we live with the imperfection and accept we are human than try to fix errors into some technological idiotic soup. You look at it one way. I look at it the other, accepting our imperfections, and striving to fix those imperfections where viable. And echoing skydivemom, I'd love to see some enforcement of the 12 second rule.

posted by jmd82 at 04:13 PM on November 06

While not as alarmist as brickman, I agree that this may lead down a slippery slope of reviewing more and more plays. And I definitely don't want to see plays on the base paths (or anything other than home runs) subject to review. But putting that aside, as I and others said above, a disputed home run is a pretty uncommon play, so it's not like this is going to significantly slow down the game on the whole. I would guess that this type of replay would have a negligible effect on the average game length. All of that said, perhaps the rule would best be rolled out for the first year or two in the playoffs only, where the consequences of a blown home run call are greatest. The way I see it, umpiring mistakes even out over the course of a 162 game season, but a blown call in the post season could make the difference between a championship or not. P.S. -- I totally called this in the Padres-Rockies game thread. Here's the pertinent part of the transcript (which also explains the FPP reference).

me: maybe this will stoke sousepaw's traditionalist ire, but i'd be happy for replay in play-off games (or elimination games) [Some talk about killing Derek Jeter's pets] TCS: But since you brought it up -- if they ever introduced replay in any baseball context, I would go postal. [Talk of knocking over a kid in a wheelchair to get photos of the Yankees] me: only for purposes of determining whether a ball was a home run or not or foul or not ... foul only in the case of homers ... seriously -- you couldn't support that one use of replay? TCS: Why support replay? Why is actual reality more important than umpire reality? Umpires are the game. Anything you see is relevant only as it applies to their perception. yerfatma: Listen Plato ... Questech + robot versions of 1927 St Louis Browns

posted by holden at 04:16 PM on November 06

Sorry, no amount of suppose reason is going to change my mind. Game will get slower to what already seems a standstill. Meaning that they'll be backing up? Cool! Seriously, I think it's worth looking at how instant replay/challenges have worked in some other sports -- I'm thinking here of football and tennis. There were plenty of doubters in both cases, but it was well implemented and seems to be working. I'd go so far as to say that it even speeds things up, particularly in tennis -- if you've got an issue with a call, you no longer have an excuse to stand around bellyaching and delaying the match. Challenge the call, and let's see what Hawkeye has to say. But remember, you only get two challenges per set, and if you're wrong, whoops -- you still lose the point, and you lose one challenge. Likewise in football: if your challenge is rejected, you lose a timeout. Both systems provide a means to deal with a bad call, thus greatly reducing how much the officials need to tolerate game-delaying bitching about it, but also create some disincentives to challenging frivolously (especially since, if you challenge and you're wrong, it's very unlikely that you'll win).

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:22 PM on November 06

robot versions of 1927 St Louis Browns I still can't get the uniforms right. Other than that, they're ready to play. I'm thinking here of football and tennis That would be my idea of the best possible implementation, something that fits right into the game, works really well and reduces the amount of arguing and external bs.

posted by yerfatma at 04:24 PM on November 06

jmd82-ok, you assure me no more than home runs are reviewed and I might , mind you, I might change my opinion. However, even though other sports have not embellished the instant replay format, I still feel that baseball will. They probably changed more than any sports has, with that stupid DH rule. One of the most idiotic changes know to mankind. If a sport can make that drastic of a change I believe anything is possible. My opinion, change is bad for baseball if instant reply is adopted.

posted by brickman at 04:34 PM on November 06

However, even though other sports have not embellished the instant replay format, I still feel that baseball will. They probably changed more than any sports has, with that stupid DH rule. I think any sport that's been around a hundred years or more will have changed substantially over that time, but given that you cite the DH rule, that's probably not the time span you're thinking about. Recent decades have seen the development of several sports, MLB among them, as heavily marketed, product-selling, televised events. In that sense, I expect that basketball has changed as much as baseball (3 point rule, anyone?), as has football, as has tennis...can't speak for hockey.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:50 PM on November 06

I agree about not letting instant replay not getting out of hand, otherwise it would be a debacle. However, They [baseball] probably changed more than any sports has I strongly disagree Tennis = Change from wooden raquets. Football = Forward pass and xyz offense. Basketball = Dunking on every third play and three-point line. Hockey = The trap and garmungous goalie pads. NASCAR = Team concept and huge financial backing beyond themselves. Video Games = ok, you get the point. I would contend that baseball has changed relatively little to other sports, in particular basketball and football. McEnroe would vouch for tennis.

posted by jmd82 at 04:55 PM on November 06

Really? Teams still have one guy who does all the pitching and he throws a dead ball underhanded? Fielders still don't use gloves and catchers are crazy enough to go sans masque? Teams are owned by ex-players and managers who throw in with any gambler or operator who can send them a quick buck? If not, at least tell me baseball is still only played by the most lily-white of our Christian heroes.

posted by yerfatma at 05:04 PM on November 06

Rule 8.04 specifies that the pitcher must deliver a pitch within 12 seconds of being in possession of the ball. However, this rule only applies if the bases are unoccupied. Even then, the batter must be within the batter's box and alert to the pitcher. I'm with holden and brickman on this. I fear that if limited replay is introduced, it will be the camel's nose in the tent. Bad calls by umpires are as much a part of the game as errors by fielders or bad swings by batters. They happen; deal with it! If an umpire is making too many bad calls, move him down. The next collective bargaining agreement for umpires should include a more stringent performance clause. There is no substitute for effort and hustle on the part of an umpire.

posted by Howard_T at 05:05 PM on November 06

I think baseball has changed relatively little in the past 80 or so years, particularly in the rules as they stand between the lines. Yes, the DH is a major in-game change and one that I wish hadn't been implemented (but that will never be overturned). The other major innovations in the past 30 years have been more structural -- the division and wild card set-up, the length of play-off series, the stupid ASG winner dictates home field advantage in the WS, scheduling in general (day and night games, double headers, etc.) and so on. I think rules affecting game play have probably been changed less in baseball during the modern era (let's say from the 1920's or so onward) than in any other professional sport. Football by contrast, has changed greatly in the past 30 years -- replay, where kickoffs start, what constitutes a penalty and how many yards are associated with a penalty, where the freaking goalposts are located, etc.

posted by holden at 05:06 PM on November 06

When I said baseball has changed more than other sports, I ment in relative weight toward the outcome in games, not in a number amount of rule changes. Name one rule change that has affected a sport more than that idiotic DH rule? We can argue all you want for the change, but I will never go along with the instant relay for home runs. Not as long as the morons that decided on the DH rule are still in the game. I don't trust them and if opinions are asked for, I won't give them the opportunity to screw the game up anymore than they already have, by writing them ,and giving my displeasure with their stupid instant replay suggestion.

posted by brickman at 05:31 PM on November 06

Ok, we get it. You're bitter about the DH rule. This thread isn't about the DH rule. Name one rule change that has affected a sport more than that idiotic DH rule? I think the 3-point line is comparable.

posted by bender at 06:00 PM on November 06

I think the 3 point rule..... I don't.......

posted by brickman at 06:05 PM on November 06

Name one rule change that has affected a sport more than that idiotic DH rule? I think the 3-point line is comparable. I don't...... It's tough to argue with a logical reasoned argument like you've presented there. Okay, how about when hockey went from 7 players on the ice per team to 6? Don't like that one? How about when hockey decided to allow forward passing? Not good enough? How about when football decided to allow the forward pass? In my opinion, these rule changes changed these games far more dramatically than the DH rule.

posted by tommytrump at 06:30 PM on November 06

Who needs instant replay? They could embed sensors in the ball and judge homers electronically. There could even be a little charge in the ball so as soon as it crosses the plane, it explodes in a whirl of confetti. Perhaps white doves would appear in the flash and fly off to roost by the bullpens, a kind of living scoreboard tallying magic tricks of baseball prowess night after summer night.

posted by Hugh Janus at 07:05 PM on November 06

They could embed sensors in the ball and judge homers electronically Actually, I've always wondered why they don't do something like that for football first downs. It seems like marking of the spot is a total crapshot, as is lining up of the first down. They measure a possible firstdown within chainlinks, but don't measure the initial placement accordingly. And this is wayyy off course.

posted by jmd82 at 07:24 PM on November 06

I am opposed to instant replay in any capacity in baseball. For all of the definitive resolution that instant replay is supposed to provide all that it does is remove the judgement from the on-field view and give it to the television camera's view and ultimately the final arbitar is the same guy who should have been watching the play in the first place he just does it ten minutes later. People have allowed robots and computers (as I sit here typing away) to control entirely to much of our lives. Can't we just let one guy do his job without a computer and a robot looking over his shoulder. I also hate for the record: Challenge Flags in the NFL Questech (sp?) the DH rule 8pm start times and Tim McCarver (althought that has nothing to do with technology).

posted by kyrilmitch_76 at 07:31 PM on November 06

I am opposed to instant replay in any capacity in baseball. For all of the definitive resolution that instant repaly is supposed to provide all that it does is remove the judgement from the on-field view and give it to the television camera's view and ultimately the final arbitar is the same guy who should have been watching the play in the first place he just does it ten minutes later. But that isn't how it's been implemented in either tennis or NFL football. Plays/points get called by judges and referees, and only a small number of challenges to the on-field judgment are allowed. My impression from this year's Grand Slam tournaments is that the players didn't, as a rule, use up even that limited number of challenges. People have allowed robots and computers (as I sit here typing away) to control entirely to much of our lives. Can't we just let one guy do his job without a computer and a robot looking over his shoulder. Unfortunately, not always.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:39 PM on November 06

I agree. Since the line of scrimmage on first down always depends on a human referee's judgment of where the ball was downed ending play, it always seems overwrought when measurements are taken to such lengths; that said, I would love to see footballs vaporize into scores of parachuting hamsters as they flew through the uprights.

posted by Hugh Janus at 07:42 PM on November 06

works really well and reduces the amount of arguing and external bs. Hang on a tick: what is everyone else here for?

posted by Ufez Jones at 07:55 PM on November 06

Well played, sir. I also hate for the record: . . . Questech (sp?) Unless you're an MLB umpire, how is Questech affecting your enjoyment of baseball?

posted by yerfatma at 08:07 PM on November 06

Since only the American League has the designated hitter rule, lets give instant replay only to the National League. In the World Series we can only use it in the National League park.

posted by americanleague at 08:17 PM on November 06

Unless you're an MLB umpire, how is Questech affecting your enjoyment of baseball? posted by yerfatma at For me, it, like replay, is about strangling the umpires abilities to ply their craft, which they do extremely well, all told. (That is way too many commas in a sentence, but at least it's correct grammar and spelling* - I'm looking at you Brickman) If you require every single call to be exactly right every time - play a video game. The umpires are a part of the field. There is a part of sports chat that is about "what if"s on really close calls that is fun - for me anyway. Watching the really close ones on a TV replay and arguing with your buddies over the call of an ump that was right there is... fun. Watching an ump with his head in a replay basket - not so much fun. * I think it is anyway - I'm sure y'all will inform me of my grammatic transgressions...

posted by bobfoot at 10:54 PM on November 06

Questech has no visible impact on the game but to know that the umpire is being directly graded on his abilty to conform to what the computer "sees" has to have an impact on a strike zone. An umpire spends his working career trying to get to the highest level of his profession and when he gets there we tell him that we no longer trust his fundamental judgement in something as basic as calling balls and strikes and the media, fans and ultimately the league will slow down and micro-analyze ever judgement call he makes (safe/out fair/foul etc.). How is it we can accept that David Ortiz struck out 103 times in 549 at bats without question and yet we expect the umpire to be perfect every time? Baseball to me is a historic game reminiscant of a simpler time. The game has certainly changed over the years but instant replay takes just a little bit more of that history away.

posted by kyrilmitch_76 at 05:48 AM on November 07

by the way great post holden, obviously people had a lot of good thoughts that they wanted to get out.

posted by kyrilmitch_76 at 05:52 AM on November 07

How is it we can accept that David Ortiz struck out 103 times in 549 at bats without question and yet we expect the umpire to be perfect every time? The umpire isn't facing a major-league pitcher trying to get him out. For me, it, like replay, is about strangling the umpires abilities to ply their craft, which they do extremely well, all told. You guys must watch a different set of umpires than I do. Remember that Questech was one of the tools MLB used to wrest control back from the umpire's union. It adds some accountability and I feel that's a good thing. Even with Questech in place, the umpires' strike zones are still maddeningly inconsistent, not just from umpire to umpire, but for the same umpire in the same game. The Red Sox/ Cleveland series and the World Series both had some poor strike zones, and at least in the case of games 1 and 2 of the Cleveland series, I though it had an effect on the results: Sabathia got squeezed in spite of being such a big fellow and while Cleveland won game 2, the strike zone was part of Carmona's ineffectiveness.

posted by yerfatma at 06:14 AM on November 07

I think that the instant replay can definitely be useful. First, in that Cleveland Sox Postseason Series, how can they prove that Manny did not hit a home run in Cleveland. Also, with Lofton out at second, what was up with that. A play that I will never forget that I am still very angry about happened when the Red Sox were facing someone who I forget the team of. JD Drew hit a home run, it was over the line. But, no, the stupid umpires ruled it still in play. WTF was with that. Also, they can use the replay for close plays, or stolen bases, or even fan interference.

posted by funebune at 08:27 AM on November 07

You just reinforced my opinion. Instant replay may/will be used for other controversial plays and slow the game to a snail like pace. After thinking about it for a couple of days-home runs only would be ok, however I guess I just hate change when it comes to baseball. Other sports- I really could care less.

posted by brickman at 06:15 PM on November 08

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