Selig against expanding replay


Before last night’s World Series game, before the bottom of the 7th ended with a controversial call and the top of the 8th ended with a flat-out wrong call, Bud Selig spoke to reporters about the state of baseball. Generally, he feels the game is strong, and fifteen years after a crippling labor strike, it is. He also addressed the increased use of technology in the game, and it is here that the Commissioner took a stance.

As Jim Caple reports:

MLB commissioner Bud Selig said he has been soliciting outside opinion from managers and general managers over the past few weeks and said no one offered a good explanation why the umpiring was so bad in the first rounds of the postseason.

He also declined to call for further use of replay. “The more baseball people I talk to, there is a lot of trepidation about it and I think their trepidation is fair,” Selig told reporters before Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday. “I’ve spent a lot of time [on this] over the past month and will spend a lot of time in the ensuing months as well. I don’t want to overreact. You can make light of that but when you start to think you’re going to have more intrusions — and even if their good intrusions — it’s something that you have to be very careful about. Affecting the game on the field is not something I really want to do.”

Selig has not been quick to embrace new technology over baseball tradition, in part due to worries about the pace of games. “Life is changing and I understand that,” he said. “I do like the human element and I think the human element for the last 130 years has worked pretty well. There have been controversies but there are controversies in every sport.”

Let’s take the 7th inning last night. With two on and one out, Johnny Damon hit a sinking line drive toward Ryan Howard. The Phillies’ first baseman either scooped the ball on a short hop or caught it above the ground on a fly. The first base umpire, standing behind the play, hesitated and that signaled that Damon was out on a line drive. Howard, though, had already thrown to second, seemingly as if to start a double play. Replays seemed to show that the ball kicked up some dirt into Howard’s glove, but even under a fine microscope, it was an inconclusive review.

Here, the call wasn’t the first base umpire’s to make. Blocked by Ryan Howard, he couldn’t see the ball hit the ground or Howard’s glove. At least the umps conferred about the play and upheld the call. On the calls Joe explored a few weeks ago, those ranging from obvious to atrocious, there are no answers. The umpires were in position to make the right calls and simply did not.

I’ve long called for increased instant replay, and last night’s game showed a need for it. I hear Selig’s concerns, but in Game 1 the umpires conferred about the Robinson Cano double play. A video review of Howard’s scoop would have taken the same amount of time. The human element, as Selig called it, has been a part of the game because video replay technological was not available for much of baseball history. Now that it is, Major League Baseball should embrace it to an extent reasonable. When everyone sees the correct call 10 or 15 times on broadcasts and highlights reels, the game is doing itself no favors if it eschews the opportunity to get it right the first time.

Categories : Musings


  1. Mike HC says:

    There is no reason not to use instant replay. It takes longer for the manager to come out on the field, argue, then have the umps huddle up for five minutes before making a call. The longer Selig comes out against it, the more he seems detached from reality.

    • dabney says:

      Disagree 100%. There’s no simple way to effectively use it in baseball. The delays would drive fans insane and stretch 4 hour marathons far into the 5 hour realm. Baseball is fundamentally built on the human element. To further weave something like intant replay into the game leaves me pondering where it would end? The more you open instant replay up, the closer you get to someday using it on every pitch of the game or elminating umpires entirely. Instant replay works great for sports like hockey, football, and basketball due to the inherrent subjective nature of those sport. It’s either a goal, 3 pointer, touchdown, etc or it’s not. The objective nture of baseball would become trivialized and marginalilazed through use of instant replay IMO, and it would no longer be “baseball”.

      There is no instant replay in life and there is no instant replay in baseball. You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.

  2. Rose says:

    I understand both sides. If you have the technology…people want to use it. But it does take a away from the “America’s Past Time” aspect of the game. Who doesn’t like seeing managers and players argue and get thrown out of the game?? Who doesn’t like getting a call their way every once in a while?

    The only reason it’s an issue is because of the High Definition camera’s and the super-slow motion technology that can show it over and over again. I don’t think there are any more mistakes than there ever were before. People just have access to seeing them up close more and more each year…and because of that…it’s a major issue.

    The “Ostrich Syndrome”…what you don’t see might not exist.

    • Chris says:

      In fact, there are probably far fewer mistakes than there ever have been in the past.

      • … which still does not mean that we should not keep trying to reduce that number from “a lot” to “fewer” to “none”.

      • toad says:

        Why do you think that?

        • Chris says:

          Because now an umpire can go home and sees on Sportscenter every single call that he missed. There is greater incentive to improve, as well as better understanding of what calls are missed which can be used to improve positioning, etc. The biggest difference between now and 15+ years ago is how technology has impacted out ability to see the errors they’re making.

          All that being said, baseball should still implement instant replay. If I can know before the next pitch that a call was bad, so should the umps on the field.

          • Klemy says:

            I don’t think incentive to improve necessarily means an improvement though. Some people are just bad at what they do or don’t care, incentive may not do a thing for them. At least that would be my thought.

            • Chris says:

              But MLB can better identify good and bad umps. Sure the improvements will be slow and there will be better years and worse years, but in the end the quality will be trending up – just like the talent on the field improves over time.

    • Who doesn’t like seeing managers and players argue and get thrown out of the game??

      I love that. Not as much as I love accuracy, though. Oh, and FWIW, the NBA has instant replay, and NBA coaches argue and get thrown out of the game all the time too.

      Who doesn’t like getting a call their way every once in a while?

      That love is shortlived when there’s a call that goes against you the next inning.

      The only reason it’s an issue is because of the High Definition camera’s and the super-slow motion technology that can show it over and over again. I don’t think there are any more mistakes than there ever were before. People just have access to seeing them up close more and more each year…and because of that…it’s a major issue.

      Irrelevant. The fact that we didn’t know that our fucked up diet was the cause of our obesity and diabetes until modern medical research was able to confirm that fact does not mean that we should shake our fist at modern medical research for pointing that out and then proceed to shovel transfats and sugars down our morbidly obese piehole, precipitating our own deaths because we have a grudge against the modern explosion of more accurate knowledge.

  3. A.D. says:

    I look forward to the day Selig is no longer Commish

  4. It doesn’t help that the current replay system is absolutely ridiculous. There is absolutely no reason for the umpires to leave the field. As I said last night:

    –HP ump is replaced by Pitch F/X.
    –HP ump instead sits in a replay booth somewhere in the stadium, watching the game on TV and obviously has replay access. When something is wrong, he contacts the umpires on the field, tells them, and they reverse the call.

    • A.D. says:

      Without removing the HP ump, they can just do what College Football does and have a 5th ump in a TV booth, essentially watching and reviewing and questionable call. Calls down to home plate ump, tells if there’s an issue and what the call should be. If it’s not particularly conclusive, i.e. Howard catch last night, then call on the field stands.

  5. A.D. says:

    “I do like the human element and I think the human element for the last 130 years has worked pretty well. There have been controversies but there are controversies in every sport.”

    This is the classic just because this is the way they’ve done it forever argument. Which is a terrible argument, if you’ve done something wrong or sub-optimally forever, it doesn’t make it correct. What we have here is MLB failing to innovate.

    • Rose says:

      It’s part of the game though. Why have an umpire behind home plate then?? We could probably do without one with the technology we have…but it would take away a lot from the game.

      It’s the way it’s been for over a hundred years…controversy is part of why it’s so exciting. It adds to the character of the players and the game.

      A game run by machines and robots isn’t the same. It’s boring.

      This is just my opinion. Like I said, I understand both sides…I just like the “old school” styles a lot more than integrating technology to it. It’s a baseball game after all…I just don’t see it as that big of a deal as of right now where I’m outraged…

      • It’s part of the game though. Why have an umpire behind home plate then?? We could probably do without one with the technology we have…but it would take away a lot from the game.

        Would it? I don’t see how it would.

        A game run by machines and robots isn’t the same. It’s boring.

        False. As long as that game is still PLAYED by humans, if it’s officiated by robots who are always right, the game will be every single bit as enjoyable to watch. Scratch that, it would be MORE enjoyable to watch.

        When the umps get every call in a game right, you don’t notice them but you still enjoy the game. When they blow a call, you notice them and it cheapens and tarnishes the game.

      • A.D. says:

        You’re entitled to your opinion, I just fully disagree. I wouldn’t find it boring at all to know that all of the calls in the field and bases are all correct.

        Mainly the outrage is that the MLB leadership is somewhat bull-headed against it, when the fans want it. If MLB came out with a good reason for no reply, or took a slow time to investigate, then at least there’d be something more than “this is how the game has been played”

    • A.D. says:

      And failing to innovate frequently is an issue with monopolies.

  6. Thomas says:

    I have the solution that will satisfy everyone. It will keep the human element in the game and utilize technology to the fullest ensuring the correct call, all while speeding up the games pace.

    One word.


  7. “Affecting the game on the field is not something I really want to do.”

    If the game on the field is broken and flawed, you should want to affect it in a positive fashion, Bud. That’s in your job description.

    You’re not hired to keep baseball the way it is, you’re hired to shepherd the game to a position of maximum strength and health. You’ve shown bold willingness to expand the game against the wishes of the traditionalists before (i.e. the wildcard, interleague play, expanded playoffs, expansion) because it would grow the game for the positive (which it has). Don’t stop now.

    The fans want this. The teams want this. The players want this. The only group that seems to not want this is the umpires, and frankly, fuck them, they’re the ones who are screwing up, they don’t get a say.

  8. Ace says:

    I am against instant replay. How about we take the umpire away from behind the plate and have all balls and strikes called by Fox’s Pitchtracker too? Doesn’t the ump behind the plate make the most calls throughout the evening? Why should he ever call a strike that is a ball or vice versa? Where do you draw the line? I believe human beings are capable of officiating a game. If they get a call wrong here and there, so be it.

    • Rob in CT says:

      Replay is good, if it’s done properly. NOT the way the NFL does it. 1 guy in a booth with a radio that allows him to communicate with the crew chief on the field. That would overturn all but the absolute closest of calls, which is fine. Blatant stuff would get fixed, and that’s what we’re after.

      For balls and strikes, the PitchFX system is the best thing going right now. I’m not sure I want to turn balls & strikes over to that system yet, but they need to really work on some of the umps. There are some guys who really do call a good strikezone. There are outliers, though, and they should get extra training, be removed from calling balls/strikes, and/or be fired & replaced.

    • I believe human beings are capable of officiating a game.

      I agree.

      If they get a call wrong here and there, so be it.

      Fuck that. Fuck that bullshit. Their job is to be right all the time. That’s their job. Be right. All the time. If that is an impossible goal to reach as the game is currently constructed, FIX THE GAME BECAUSE IT’S BROKEN.

    • Rusty says:

      yea if a world series is won or lost on a bad call, so be it.

      instant replay on everything but strikes/balls seems very fair and makes perfect sense. i like the human element of a variable strike zone – to me thats the most ‘human element’ in baseball, interpretations of the zone – some guys are pitchers umps and others are hitters umps, that can certainly be attached to the sport. Everything else thats missed is black and white – its not an interpretation. why not try out a booth umpire for the postseason just to test the concept?

      Nobody wants to win or lose on bad calls – fans and players alike want to win on the merit of their skills and abilities, not on a mistake by an official who is supposed to be judiciously keeping the game fair.

    • Zack says:

      ‘If they get a call wrong here and there, so be it.’

      I dont quiet understand. Sure they fail at their job, who cares? Lets not help them get the call right. Their one and only job is to get the calls correct, if they are not getting the calls correct, how about we give them assistance in making the correct call?

    • Klemy says:

      Tell the Cardinals fans that if a call is blown so be it and let them tell you about 1985.

  9. Zack says:

    The Howard play last night, and the Swisher tag-up on 3rd in the ALCS are 2 great reasons for instant replay:
    There’s no human that can watch Swisher’s foot and the ball going into the glove in CF at the same time. And the 1B ump couldnt see the trap last night, and probably the homeplate ump couldnt see clearly whether it was a trap or not.

    They have rules that are suppose to be enforced but the enforcers are put in a position where its nearly impossible to come to the correct conclusion at first look.(I know some umps just miss calls like the ‘foul ball’ down the LF line in the ALDS, but there are also calls that the umps have no chance to make)

  10. Ace says:

    I can’t tell of you are joking or not. But if you are serious I have to assume you want to remove the ump from behind the plate and let a computer call balls and strikes for every pitch. I can’t waste my time arguing that.

    • Ace says:

      Sorry this was supposed to be a reply to Tommie….

    • But if you are serious I have to assume you want to remove the ump from behind the plate and let a computer call balls and strikes for every pitch.

      I’m not serious, I don’t want a computer calling balls and strikes from behind the plate. I want the umpires trained properly so that they call a consistent zone and there’s no variable bullshit, though.

      That being said, if the umpires are unable or unwilling to be trained properly and they can’t nail down a consistent zone, then abso-fucking-lutely I want them all fired and replaced with computers. Because, the umps are not part of the game. They’re arbiters and judges of the game. They are not PART of the game.

      If the arbiter and judge can do his job properly, which I believe he can, then that’s good. If he can’t, but a robot can, fire that worthless piece of shit and hire the robot. Because the ump is just a judge. If he’s a bad judge, he should be impeached.

        • Phil Simms: CBS welcomes you to it’s broadcast of The NFL on CBS, presented in HD. I’m Phil Simms alongside Dan Deirdorf. It’s November, and we’ve got a heck of a game for you here today, Dan, Jets versus Dolphins, this should be a great rematch.
          Dan Deirdorf: You said it, Phil.
          Simms: What are your keys to victory today, Dan?
          Deirdorf: Well, the officiating crew today is lead by Mike Carey, he’s a 20 year veteran. He calls a notoriously tight end zone, so the Jets and Dolphins are going to want to make sure when they score touchdowns, they try to score right in the middle of the very endzone itself. I’d also stay far away from the left sideline, but feel free to go out of bounds on the right sideline by as much as 5 or 10 yards. That’s the kind of sidelines Carey and his crew like to call.
          Simms: Thanks for that, Dan. Coming up after these messages: Sanchez! Henne! The Wildcat and the Rex Ryan Defense! It’s the NFL on CBS!

          … aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, SCENE!!!

      • I want the umpires trained properly so that they call a consistent zone and there’s no variable bullshit, though.

        One thousand times: this. There is no reason that hitters and pitchers alike should have to guess at what the hell the strike zone is going to be from day to day because the umpire behind the plate is a “hitter’s umpire” or “pitcher’s umpire”. Everything should be equal and uniform when it comes to the strike zone.

  11. TLVP says:

    My opinion is that instand replay is a necessity in the postseason – in the regular season it evens out but in a 5 game or 7 game series it probably won’t (though it did last night)

    The biggest problem is how you act when there is an incorrect call that stops play erroneously – how do you make that right?

    The time aspect is immaterial in the postseason – it will take no longer than 3 minutes and everyone will benefit from less focus on the refs.

    I suggest issuing 2 challenges to each team that are renewed if used correctly. However I would not allow them to be used in any ball strike situation that doesn’t result in either a strike or a walk

    • Doug says:

      “The biggest problem is how you act when there is an incorrect call that stops play erroneously – how do you make that right?”

      exactly. with howard’s play yesterday, what if replay showed that the umpire got it wrong and it was scooped. what happens to the runners? does posada get 2nd base and damon get 1st, just because?

      • Rose says:

        Yes. Howard never touched 1B and Posada was safely standing on 2B when Rollins got the ball. The replay would show that they were both safe…and they would both go back to their respective bases.

        • Doug says:

          okay, what about the mauer play back in the twins series. say that ball didn’t bounce into the stands and replay showed that it was fair. where do you put mauer? 2nd base? is it one of those automatic groundrule doubles? do you leave it to the sole disretion of the replay judge?

          • Chris says:

            I think that’s a simpler case. The umpires already have some discretion on positioning runners on a ball that is touched by a fan. That’s a groundrule double, but a runner on first can be allowed to score if it’s decided that he would have scored in the absence of interference.

            My concern is what do you do if the call made on the field changes the actions of the fielders or runners.

        • Chris says:

          Let’s assume a slightly different scenario. Assume that the ump called that the ball bounced, but after replay it was decided that it was actually caught. Howard took a couple of steps to first because he thought he just needed to tag the base to double off Posada. Once the call is made that the ball bounced he changes his mind and decides to throw to second to get the lead runner and possibly start the DP. That throw pulls Rollins off the base.

          Where do you position runners?

          • In that case, since no play was made at the bag at first, and baseball “never assumes the double play,” you’d call the batter out and move Posada back to first. He can’t retroactively scramble back to first base or anything and if no play was made at the bag, send him back to first with the batter being retired.

        • Klemy says:

          This is exactly what I said to a National League fan at work today who insisted it wouldn’t be possible to change that call with replay.

      • TLVP says:

        Actually i’m not sure that was a big issue – Howard should have known he hadn’t caught it and the runners acted as if it hadn’t been caught so under instant replay its no harm.

        However imagine if the same thing had happened in the outfield and a runner on 3rd saw that the umpire called it caught so he goes back to double up but in reality he shouldn’t have had to? Then he’s thrown out at home?

      • Zack says:

        I’d rather have them fix a bad call and sort out the baserunners than let an incorrect call, that still affects the baserunners, stand.

        • Doug says:

          and depending on the scenario (see tlvp, and chris above), the sorting out the baserunners could take forever

          • Zack says:

            Waiting to get the runners on the correct bases >>>>>>>>>>>>> Inning-ending DP, that wasnt an Inning-ending DP

            • Doug says:

              don’t necessarily disagree, but this is biggest hurdle for instant replay. these types of scenarios. and the lengthy discussions that may ensue about baserunners. this is where anti-replay people will have a field day.

              • Zack says:

                I dont care if they’d have a field day. Pro-replay people have a field day every time an ump blows a call.

                • Doug says:

                  but if you have enough anti-replay people, and this is what would make them anti-replay, then you’ll never get it.

                  i understand your stance, and i don’t necessarily disagree with it, but this is replay’s biggest bottleneck.

                • Zack says:

                  Right, and there was once enough anti-replay people in football too. Opinions change because shit happens, and that shit is bad umpiring.

        • TLVP says:

          I agree – i’m just pointing to the biggest problem as i see it – beacuse it takes away the possibility of errors if the replay umpire rules according to the likeliest outcome

          • Zack says:

            I understand, and I’m not saying I have the answers. That’s why they have competition committees or whatever they’re called, so they can hammer out the details in order to get the play correct.

  12. Let’s play the “One of these things is not like the others” game.

    Statement A:
    The Yankees play Saturday. I’m excited to see if Andy can pitch well and how Cole Hamels looks.

    Statement B:
    The Jets play this Sunday. I’m excited to see if Mark Sanchez can continue improving and hook up with Braylon Edwards.

    Statement C:
    The Knicks play tonight. I’m excited to see if Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari can show some intensity and play smart.

    Statement D:
    There’s a World Series game on Monday. I’m excited to see the human element of whether or not the umps make a bad call or not.

    • TLVP says:

      Statement A is different since i agree with it – all others are equally uninteresting to me

      Furthermore I’m not that interested in Cole Hamels’ looks, but I’m interested in seeing him pitch…


    • Rose says:

      I’d say about 1% of the fans are saying Statement D. If even that. People will watch regardless. They’ll complain when something happens and sit quietly if something goes their way instead. It’s just how it is. If you drop money on the ground and somebody else takes it…you’re enraged and upset. If you find somebody elses money they dropped on the ground…you’re pretty happy about it and feel pretty good. That’s how people are. It doesn’t mean people start refusing to carry cash on them and hide money in shoeboxes in holes dug out in the backyard in fear that it’s always going to happen to them.

      It is what it is. But I’m for whatever they decide regardless.

    • Mike HC says:

      hahaha, funny

      Also, you must remember all those grainy highlights from the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s of all those greatest human element ump calls in baseball history.

      • I love baseball so much, it’s given me so many great memories, like the great performances from that one ump guy, or the other ump guy, or that one ump that did that one thing that I can’t remember at all.

        • Pasqua says:

          Hey, hey, hey. Don’t you remember the little extra “umph” Joe West was giving his strike call on May 13, 1997? Usually, he extends his entire hand out to indicate a strike, but on this day, he was going with the pointer-finger-only call. It was riveting, yet subtle. The man’s an artist.

  13. Eric Solomon says:

    The one place I agree with Bud is to not react too hastily. I think there is a solution to getting the calls right using instant replay, but it’s going to take some thought and iteration to get it right. Better to come up with something in the offseason and try it out in spring training, tinker a bit, and implement when ready than to shoot from the hip and potentially fall prey to the law of unintended consequences.

    • Zack says:

      Wasn’t instant replay for HRs used in the playoffs last year after meetings during the year?

      • Chris says:

        Yes, but it was implemented in August.

        I don’t think there is anything they can do for this season, but they should certainly change it before next season starts.

        • Zack says:

          Obviously its too late for 2009. But they are also dragging their feet on this issue because it’s not something Bud wants.

  14. Rose says:

    So just tie this up as just another “profession” out of that book “The World is Flat” where people are going to be weeded out for cheaper…or in this case…”more accurate” replacements.

    I mean I won’t really care either way…I just like the old-school feel to a “traditional” style played game.

  15. Mike HC says:

    How much more money would it cost to do this. Is this an expensive thing for MLB to do, or would this be as simple as using the TV feed. Would MLB have to pay the tv networks for access to the replays for use during the game? Usually, when things don’t make sense, like being against instant replay, it comes down to money somehow. Not sure what the case is here.

  16. Zack says:

    I wonder what Bud Selig said to those people who were against adding the Wild Card and said it changed the ‘old-time’ feeling of the game?

    • Zack says:

      or interleague play, or making the All-Star game count.

    • Kiko Jones says:


      a) the Wild Card is a necessity borne out of having too many teams, which often rewards undeserving ones in the end;

      b) interleague play has lost its luster from having so many of these games during the season (but is so profitable that there is no incentive to change it);

      c) having the All-Star Game count towards home field advantage in the World Series is definitely a good thing.

      • c) having the All-Star Game count towards home field advantage in the World Series is definitely a good thing.

        Absolutely not.

      • Zack says:

        ‘c) having the All-Star Game count towards home field advantage in the World Series is definitely a good thing.’

        Explain why an exhibition game, in which the fans pick the starters, that affects the WS is a ‘good thing’? What makes it good?

      • leokitty says:

        Regarding the profit made from interleague, it’s actually not really anything now because other than a few teams nobody cares. I read something about how it doesn’t affect ticket sales unless the Yankees (who are so bad for baseball) or ReD Sox are involved.

        Nobody cares about interleague when it’s Arizona-Oakland.

  17. [...] RAB, I came across this ESPN article by Jim Caple about Bud Selig’s reluctance to expand instant [...]

  18. Yankee1010 says:

    I wonder how Bud likes traveling to night games on his horse and watching them play under candle light – you know, under “traditional conditions.”

  19. Kiko Jones says:

    For once Tim McCarver was right: on the Howard play the most telling aspect of it was his throwing to 2B looking for the double play. If he had caught it on a line drive he would’ve instinctually run to 1B to get the double play. No?

    • Rose says:

      Exactly. But the umpire doesn’t exactly have enough time to determine that. He needs to make a call immediately…even BEFORE Howard supposedly decides where he’s throwing.

      • Yankee1010 says:

        I disagree for one because it was obvious right away that Howard didn’t think he caught it. Moreover, what is wrong with, um, you know, actually getting the call right? Do you just submit documents without spell check or revising them?

        • Rose says:

          Me? I’m not sticking up for the umpire…I was just trying to make sense of what happened that’s all. Personally, I believe he got the call wrong…he made assumptions and it backfired in a crucial 2-run game in the World Series.

          Posada was pretty adament he knew what happened…and if he’s running by and knows what’s going on…I don’t see how an umpire who is standing there for this exact reason…is unable to call this properly.

    • Rose says:

      My point of view is…unless you are absolutely SURE of it and you saw it…you can’t ASSUME the ball was caught. Kind of like the “Swisher leaving early from 3B” in the LA game. You can’t just assume things happened. If you didn’t see him catch it…you don’t just assume he did. Especially in a crucial 2-run World Series game.

      • MattG says:

        This is not one of those plays. If you don’t see the ball bounce, you can’t assume it bounced, either.

        • Rose says:

          There’s a big different between assuming it was caught and assuming it bounced though. Why couldn’t they check the ball for dirt or whatever? They do that at home plate if the ball hits the dirt or whatever

    • Chris says:

      I tend to agree, but in game 1 Rollins clearly caught the ball and still went to tag second.

    • Pasqua says:

      Eh. I thought Howard did the right thing, regardless of what he might have “thought.” The play unfolded quickly, he didn’t waste time to see what the ump’s call was, he was trying to ensure his team of as many outs as possible. Better safe than sorry.

  20. Just wrote an article on this with a H/T to RAB. Thanks, Ben!

  21. Mike HC says:

    “Affecting the game on the field is not something I really want to do.”

    – Odd that he didn’t say “Negatively” to start the sentence. Apparently, Selig does not want to positively affect the game on the field either. If that is the case, what is the point of him

  22. Yankee1010 says:

    The “human element” defense is my favorite. I would love to see a “human element” proponent’s reaction the next time they step on an airplane in an overcrowded airspace and the pilot announces, “you know what, no radar today. We’re going with the human element. I’m sticking my head out the window with the goggles on. Let’s just wing it and see how it goes.”

    There are so many people afraid of evolution and technology that it’s kind of disconcerting. The acceptance of easily corrected errors is mind-boggling.

    • Rose says:

      I don’t see the connection. One enhances the safety of everybody’s lives…and the other just makes sure a baseball game is run properly.

      Apples and Oranges to me…

      • Yankee1010 says:

        It’s obvious that nothing will change your mind. The acceptance of “human error” when there is an incredibly easy way to correct it is quite the commentary on society.

  23. KayGee says:

    My biggest issue with the umpiring is this:

    “The objective is to get it right, we asked each other what we had seen and the replay confirmed we got it right,” crew chief Jerry Davis said, according to the Post.

    What replay were they watching? Does replay even guarantee the correct call gets made? In this case, it looks like it would not.

    It was a tough call and I dont think you can kill the guy for missing it. But the explanation he gave is ridiculous.

    Also this

    “On the replay it looked like there was a little bit of ball outside [Mark Teixeira's] glove,” Gorman said, according to the New York Post. “It’s what we call a whacker.”

    Again…what replays are they watching? He looked pretty clearly safe from the replays Ive seen.

    • Chris says:

      Gorman said the same thing. The ball was outside the glove, so the runner was safe.

      • KayGee says:

        What I’m saying is it looked like more than “a little bit of ball” outside the glove…at regular speed, I thought he was safe. The replay just confirmed in..and it didnt look like it was just by a little bit of ball.

  24. MattG says:

    “It takes longer for the manager to come out on the field, argue, then have the umps huddle up for five minutes before making a call.”

    I am tired of seeing this argument. If you actually pay attention to the games, you realize that only a small percentage of bad calls are even argued. Most happen without interrupting the game at all. Both calls yesterday did not interrupt the game for a second (even though Girardi did argue, it was during the inning change). IR will add delay, and that’s the truth to it.

    The idea is to minimize the delay. When IR is installed, it has to be installed in conjunction with a “No arguments” rule. No arguing. Anything. Ever. 5th ref upstairs, who routinely reviews the replays, and communicates to the crew chief.

    Because if arguments are still allowed, now managers will be compelled to argue every single close play. And we can’t have that.

    • During my lifetime, instant replay has been added to football (both professional and college) and basketball (both professional and college).

      It has not lessened my enjoyment of any of those sporting contests one iota. Not one single solitary shred of a subatomic particle’s worth. At all.

      Furthermore, it may have made the games longer. It may have made them shorter. It may have kept them the same length. I really have no idea, because they don’t feel any longer or shorter on the whole. I haven’t noticed. And, I’ve never felt remotely compelled to go find out, because it’s never been noticeable or aggravating or off-putting or any of that.

      Unless instant replay is going to change a game from being 4 hours long to being 6 hours long, we’re never gonna notice. Just fix the damn thing and stop with the ineffectual excuses.

      • Rose says:

        Yeah but those sports don’t really have the same “pastime” feel to it as baseball does. Football may be more popular…but baseball is called “America’s Pastime” for a reason. But that’s my opinion. I understand if people don’t really care about that and want to “get with the times” or whatever.

        • but baseball is called “America’s Pastime” for a reason.

          Yes, and that’s for one reason and one reason only:

          It was first.

          The fact that baseball was first does not give it an exemption to be shitty and suck more than other games that have grown and improved themselves.

          • Rose says:

            So why not make the stadiums bigger and use the aluminum bats?? They didn’t have aluminum bats back then but they do now so why not use them? Or we could even keep the stadiums the same…because if everybody has an aluminum bat it will be fair. The scores of the games might increase…but it should all around and make the game more exciting! People love home runs!

            • Aluminum bats and uniform stadiums are concepts that have pluses and minuses, and should be debated rigorously for inclusion or exclusion from the game.

              Nobody should be taking the side against good umpiring. We all should agree on that.

            • An aluminum bat would not necessarily make the game better. Instant replay would make the game better.

              • Rose says:

                Define “better.” More fun to watch? Technically it is said that the McGuire/Sosa home run race made the game “better”…because of the love of the home run ball.

                I understand what you’re saying…but I’m using an “extreme” analogy as well. If you want to compare saving lives to a baseball game correction…why not compare one form of technology with another?

                • Zack says:

                  “better” = Having the plays on the field called correctly, aluminum bats do not do that

                • Yes.

                  Instant replay would without a doubt, make the game more fun to watch, because it would eliminate or at least drastically reduce the number of times where the players are not accurately rewarded for their athletic accomplishments on the field.

                  Inherent in all sports is a meritocracy. That’s the underpinnings that make it something we enjoy watching. The more you erode the meritocracy and don’t enforce a framework of rules and regulations governing the sport, the less enjoyable the sport becomes.

                  We all will like baseball more when there are fewer blown calls. Without a doubt we will.

                • More runs/more excitement does not always mean better. Using metal bats not only unfairly tips the scales even farther in the direction of the batter but also makes the game incredibly dangerous.

                  Wood bats help even out competition and make for a better game because they make it harder to be a very good player. While aluminum bats do not necessarily make the game better, umpires getting the calls right–or having a crutch onto which to lean–would make the game better.

                • Rose says:

                  “better” = Having the plays on the field called correctly, aluminum bats do not do that

                  Matt ACTY/BBD says:

                  October 30th, 2009 at 12:51 pm An aluminum bat would not necessarily make the game better. Instant replay would make the game better.

                  So let me add this up real quick…

                  An aluminum bat would not necessarily have the plays on the field called correctly. Instant replay would make the game “have the plays on the field called correctly.”

                  Ok. I agree…I was assuming “better” meant something different. lol

            • whozat says:


              We are arguing for changes that cause the rules as written to be called correctly more often. Your attempt to equate this with a change designed to alter the parameters of the pitcher-batter matchup is intellectually dishonest.

              Though it’s not like MLB hasn’t done that before. See: the changing height of the mound over time. That seems, to me, like a MUCH more fundamental change in the game.

              • Rose says:

                We could probably insert chips inside everybody to always know where everybody is at all times…which would decrease crime SIGNIFICANTLY…but because people want “privacy”…basically for doing things they don’t want others to know about…we don’t do this and probably never will.

                This would alter the parameters of the crime/adultery/kidnapping, etc problems and keeping away from this is intellectually dishonest.

            • I’m late to this, but I’m pretty sure aluminum bats would cause more than a few pitcher deaths.

              • Which is why we wouldn’t add them. But, if we took steps to countermand the increased risk with better safety protocols, it’s not per se a bad idea.

                Choosing to not improve umpiring for some reason IS, per se, a bad idea.

                All I’m saying is, the aluminum bat issue is LESS one-sided than the umpiring issue is. Switching to aluminum bats has some potential risks, but it may help the game or it may hurt the game.

                Improving umpiring may also have potential risks, but it’s without a question going to help the game and not hurt the game.

              • Zack says:

                Nah, we replace pitchers with pitching machines that throw straight 90mph fastballs. Baseball should be all about increasing runs and fun for 12 year olds to watch.

        • Just because something is traditional doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be changed.

        • Yankee1010 says:

          They also used to allow only white guys to play as part of the pastime. Should they have not changed that too?

      • MattG says:

        That’s my point–it might make the game intolerably different, because managers will feel compelled to argue everything. (Football doesn’t have arguments because of the 40 second clock.) For IR to work, something needs to be implemented at the same time that dictates appropriate behavior for the teams.

        And it can’t be red flags, or else you’ll just have stalling until someone upstairs gets a good look at the FOX replay.

        No flags, no arguments, and automatic reviews in the flow of the game. That will work, anything else will be miserable.

    • Again, no one has or ever will advocate for unlimited replay. Limited challenges per game work fine, and at most, you would each side use it maybe once in a 9-inning game. Most of the time, the replay review takes about 30 seconds. I’m basing that on actually paying attention to the games when they’re on TV and the amount of time it takes FOX to cue up a replay.

      • MattG says:

        No, limited challenges would not work, because managers will stall after every close play. They will argue everything, until someone gets a look at it, and tells them whether to challenge or not.

        There is no 40 second clock in baseball, and nothing to prevent stalling.

        I am advocating unlimited replay. Let a 5th man sit in the TV booth, and let him look at a replay of every close play in the flow of the game. Let him slow the game down when HE decides it needs a closer look, and make it so the managers can’t argue at all. An argument leads to an automatic ejection, and abortion of any review that may be in progress.

  25. Rose says:

    Nothing is ever going to be 100% perfect. It’s impossible. There will be certain scenario’s where you will have to stop play and decide where to put certain runners that after you watched the replay…could have possibly rounded a base to score or get to another base…but since everything was stopped…somebody has to arbitrarily decide where he will end up. That’s not exactly fair either…but it would happen.

    You can’t please everybody.

    • I’ll gladly trade the runners thing for making sure the call was right.

    • Yankee1010 says:

      So the solution is to just say, “ah screw it, we screwed up, everybody knows it, let’s just keep it this way”?

      • Rose says:

        There are plenty of other professions in the world that a robot or new technology could replace the common worker for…and their mistakes are probably much more common and costly at times. Nobody jumps the gun and throws them out on the street and calls for robots to replace them immediately.

        Either way…I’m for whatever they decide.

        • Nobody jumps the gun and throws them out on the street and calls for robots to replace them immediately.

          Yes they do. They do that all the time.

          • Rose says:

            “ALL” of the time?? Cmon, they’re still printing out newspapers when it’s completely unnecessary. And that’s one of the MAJOR ones that are completely unnecessary too and it’s still there. And even the wild-life extremists aren’t putting up as much of a fuss and baseball fans are about this lol

            • Chris says:

              But there are still people that enjoy reading Newspapers. And the Newspapers are printed by robots – not some guy writing them out by hand.

              • Rose says:

                Yeah, and we watch games on television that is essentially a robot or even made by a robot…I get it. I don’t undertand how somebody’s view on something has to be one extreme or the other on everything that exists.

                • Chris says:

                  I don’t undertand how somebody’s view on something has to be one extreme or the other on everything that exists.

                  Because this is the internet. If you don’t have an extreme opinion, then you generally don’t comment.

                • Rose says:

                  I strongly disagree…although that’s what it seems like on here anyway.

        • Rob H. says:

          And there are plenty of other professions that have done exactly that.

        • Yankee1010 says:

          You’re essentially on a “robot” that is responsible for people losing jobs. Do you want to get rid of your computer too? We can send smoke signals to each other.

    • We’re never going to cure all disease in the world. Therefore, we should stop trying to cure disease altogether. Whatever drugs and vaccines we’ve made thus far, fuck it, that’s all we’re rolling with for the rest of human history.

      • Rose says:

        This is the second time somebody has compared saving lives to correcting a baseball game. I just don’t see how the two are related. Obviously you continue to improve in science with saving lives…I just don’t think calling for everybody’s heads and demanding the robot take-over of certain human beings jobs just yet is necessary. In the future it very well may be…I just don’t think it’s THAT necessary right now.

        • Zack says:

          “In the future it very well may be…I just don’t think it’s THAT necessary right now.”

          So you’d rather let the ‘houes’ fall down in the future instead of fixing the foundation now?

          • Rose says:

            You’re assuming it’s a guarantee. I’m not. That’s the difference. I’m just saying that in the future…more people will be so used to new technology and have absolutely not nostalgic ties to “traditional” anything…where they will just change it.

        • Here’s how they are related:

          Your argument is: We’re never going to be able fully to fix Problem X, therefore we shouldn’t really try to fix it any more than it’s currently fixed.

          The analogies to pharmaceutical research or flying an airplane are reductio ad absurdum arguments to illustrate that that position you are taking is a flawed position. It’s intentionally a more dramatic example of how silly it would be to give up on improving medical research simply because the task is daunting. Similarly, it would be silly to give up on improving the quality of big league umpiring simply because the task may be large or complex, or may be goal that is unattainable to 100% completion.

          We’re trying to show you how the philosophical arguments against expanding replay and improving/leveling the strike zone that umps call are fundamentally flawed arguments, because they trivialize the serious and make serious the trivial.

          • Rose says:

            I understand the purpose of the analogies…I just have a different outlook so they weren’t really comparable to me. And I said “Nothing is ever 100% perfect”…meaning “even using this solution.” And I didn’t ever say we can’t fix it more than it already it. The way everybody was talking was that umpires were to be completely replaced pretty much…and I disagreed with that aspect. I also added that even if instant replay were issued…there will still be people complaining about certain other aspects that will surely happen…which is true. That doesn’t mean I’m going to start rioting against it…it’s just explaining the obvious.

            • whozat says:

              “The way everybody was talking was that umpires were to be completely replaced pretty much…and I disagreed with that aspect”

              Completely false. Show me one workable proposal someone made where umpires would be “completely replaced”. People proposed an eye-in-the-sky, people proposed challenge systems, but no one actually said (without their tongue in cheek) that umpires should be removed from the field.

              “And I didn’t ever say we can’t fix it more than it already it. ”

              You did say that you don’t think they should, and the reason you provided was that it won’t be perfect. That’s not a good reason.

              • Rose says:

                So let me get this straight…everybody is able to use “tongue in cheek” but me. Am I getting this right? lol

                • We weren’t being tongue in cheek. We were using logically instructive allegories. You’ve been using tenuous tangents and strawmen, by and large.

                • whozat says:

                  No, Rose. We weren’t arguing tongue in cheek. I was trying to head off an “argument” from you where you took some comment out of context to try to “prove” that people were — in seriousness — advocating the complete removal of umpires from the field of play and replacing them with actual, honest-to-god, mechanical devices.

                  Instead, you tried a different misleading rhetorical ploy to try and make it seem like you’re being unfairly targeted, or the “rules” of the discussion are being unfairly slanted against you.

                • Rose says:

                  Not really. I’ve fully stated several times how I’m not opposed to either view but I lean towards not doing it for nostalgic reasons. That’s basically it. But people can pretend what they want.

                • Rose says:


                  You need to relax. I don’t think the “rules” are being unfairly used against me. I honestly don’t care all that much because as I’ve said over and over…I see both sides of the argument but I lean towards the former for nostalgic reasons ONLY.

                  But whatever…continue your rampage.

                • whozat says:

                  Oh, Rose. If you think I’m rampaging at you, then you’ve got some kind of persecution complex going on.

                  No one’s angry. Its just that your position is logically indefensible and you can’t even realize it.

                  I _am_ condescending to you now, though. That’s happening, so you can be mad about it if you want.

                • Rose says:

                  I don’t get it. My opinions are logically indefensible?? Ok? lol. I again don’t care. It’s my opinion for a reason. I can go either way on it…and choose to like the traditional way for nostalgia purposes. That may be irrational in your eyes…but in mine it makes perfect sense. And to be honest, that’s all that matters.

        • JMK aka The Overshare says:

          Here’s why you’re wrong:

          http://lh5.ggpht.com/_2VEaTPMR.....an4502.jpg (SAFE)

          /my family hates me

  26. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    I don’t know what was so “inconclusive” about the Ryan Howard short hop. You can see where the ball hit the clay on the replay.

  27. Rusty says:

    I think the human element with balls/strikes is the only real point that baseball purists might have going for them. Hasn’t this always been part of the game, like all the way from little league up through college ball, hitters and pitchers learn to live with that element of baseball? Pitch FX would make it airtight for sure, but i think part of the game is lost. The variable strikezone is just fine with me as long as it is CONSISTENT for both teams, and even with a few maddening exceptions over the course of the season, i feel like it balances itself out. It makes the games interesting in the sense that it sets parameters that might make the same pitching matchup contrast over two different games. Every other call – fair or foul, calls on the bases, etc – gimme a goddam booth ump.

    a major problem is that the umpires union is run by umpires and its a good-ol boys club over there. minimizing excessive variation of the strikezone should be insured through reformed competency evaluations against pitch FX reports, not managers or players – grade them against the computer, but don’t replace them with it.

    As of now it doesn’t seem as if there is a sufficient penalty / reward system in place in terms of grading performance. MLB needs an influx of talent in umpiring and mutual representation that is willing to discuss improvements in the ways they do their jobs. right now it feels as if they treat backroom negotiations the same way they would argue with a barking manager in the middle of the game, absolutely inflexible and aggressively protecting their decision.

    Hell, it doesn’t even seem like there are enough umpires out there to keep them competing for jobs, what was it in the ALDS – a few of the more experienced umps were injured or sick and they had third string guys out there blowing calls left and right, are they that short on good umps? They all seem a little too comfortable out there that they can make a mistake now and again without consequence, and thats fucked up.

  28. TheZack says:

    I don’t see how last night’s game “showed a need for it.” Perhaps it showed a need for better umps, or more conferences. Perhaps it showed that baseball is a flawed game. Perhaps it showed that they should consider replay a bit more, but in the grand scheme of things, last night’s game actually proved once again that that “bad calls” really don’t play that big or common a part. Has this been a relatively bad post season for umps? Yup. It’s all been a really bad postseason for Nick Swisher, should we replace him with a robot (obviously the answer to this is yes).

    The funny part, the umps, having seen replays, are STILL sticking to their view that they made the right call.

    All instant replay has done is slow college football down to an interminable pace and make it so college and pro refs look confused and unsure of how to call things. And that’s in a sport where its far far easier to judge the outcome of a play, something which in baseball gets so much more complicated.

    In football, plays have actually gotten far more scrutinized because of replay and fans demand replay on every single play, always hanging on a built in excuse.

    I can’t believe I agree with Bug on something, but he’s right on the money here

  29. mryankee says:

    These games last to long anyway. The commercial brakes are a joke seems like they last forever. The announcers suck and listening to Buck and Mccarver makes the game seem a lot longer. The only delays I like are when we are putting up big numbers on offense.

    • The way to make the game move as quickly as possible is to change the way replay is done. There is no reason for the umps to leave the field.

    • Zack says:

      “The only delays I like are when we are putting up big numbers on offense.”

      Instant replay would have allowed the Yankees to have bases loaded with 1 out- increasing the chances of Yankees putting up a big number on offense.

      Glad to see you’re in favor of instant replay now.

    • The commercial brakes are a joke seems like they last forever.

      Interesting that we’ve got no problem slowing down the game by an extra 15-30 minutes for every playoff game when it’s slowed down to make more TV money, but we can’t slow down the game to call it correctly.

      That’s very interesting, isn’t it?

      • Zack says:

        Dont worry, they’ll have “This Instant Replay Break is sponsored by _____”

      • MattG says:

        I think you underestimate the potential for slowing down the game. All I am saying is that when you put IR in, put it in so that the managers have no say in the process, because if they have a say, every single close play will result in an unnecessary delay.

        Unnecessary, because most replays are conclusively seen before the next pitch. A 5th unbiased observer can actually monitor the replay in the natural flow of the game, and initiate a delay only when it seems necessary. If you make it part of the game flow, it will be tolerable.

        If you make it part of the manager’s responsibility to force a replay, whether by challenge or any other means of appeal, it will be miserably intolerable.

    • Yankee1010 says:

      Enough with the time issue. Just enough. It takes all of 10-15 seconds after looking at the replay. I’ll even give you up to 30 seconds. Have a guy in the booth radio to the crew chief with the correct call. Instead, we see 4-7 fatass umpires waddle around for a conference followed by a manager arguing with those umpires. It will probably save time.

      Even if it took a few extra minutes over the course of a game, people would prefer incompetence and inaccuracy? This slays me.

      • Again, as I said above, the NFL, NBA, and NCAA have added replay to their sports, and if the games are longer, nobody has noticed.

        The “It’ll make the games too long” argument is bullshit.

        • MattG says:

          In each sport, there are reasons: in the NFL, there is the 40 second clock, so there are 40 seconds between every play anyway. There are not 40 seconds between baseball pitches. Could you imagine?

          In the NBA and NHL, there are simply too view close plays for it to have a big impact.

          Baseball is its own animal. There are dozens of close plays each game. Very few are actually argued. If you make it part of the participants responsibility to request replays, they will argue everything close. If you give them challenges, they will stall until someone on their team gets a look at it. You have to separate the participants from the review process, or you will end up with intolerable delays.

      • Tank Foster says:

        Have a guy in the booth radio to the crew chief with the correct call. Instead, we see 4-7 fatass umpires waddle around for a conference followed by a manager arguing with those umpires. It will probably save time.


        Before Dusty Baker is able to hoist his paunch onto the field to argue with Tim McClelland, the home plate umpire will have been radioed the correct call. Game on…..

  30. Tank Foster says:

    Selig is an idiot. Video replay/review belongs in baseball, much more than it already is used.

    Baseball umpires are a union-ed bunch that have absolutely zero incentive to improve. I’m sorry, but a call such as the one made by Tim McClelland on the Posada/Cano rundown play should never happen. It wasn’t fast. His view wasn’t obscured. The rules in question were not difficult. There have been other, similarly bad calls that shouldn’t happen. Ever. If replay can bring you closer to that “never” ideal, it should be used.

    Baseball owners, or at least those who think like Selig, are drinking some kind of kool-aid when they say they’re worried about delaying baseball games. Baseball is the only sport (well, maybe golf, too) in which the governing bodies have such a fetish-like reverance for the game and its traditions that they refuse to correct obvious problems. Ten or 15 years ago, NFL games were taking too long. The league immediately changed rules, time clocks, replay procedures, etc., and the games now move along. Chances are most of us hardly notice a difference, other than the fact that the games aren’t dragging.

    There are so many things MLB could do to speed up games. For instance (not saying all these are good ideas, but all are reasonable and should be considered):

    1. Umpires stop calling timeout for batters when the pitcher and catcher are flailing around with signs. If a swarm of gnats attacks the batter, we can make an exception. But this constant dance of stepping out of the box should stop.
    2. Stop the throws to first. Simple rule: a pitcher gets 3 unsuccessful throws to first base per inning. Anything over that is a ball on the batter. If you can pick the guy off, it doesn’t count against your 3. This would speed games up a little, and would also encourage more running, which might add some excitement to the game. We do have a rule where the batter takes a base if the pitcher can’t get something accomplished in a reasonable time. This business of throwing to first an unlimited number times to keep a runner close is in some ways no different than banning the base on balls and letting the pitcher toil as long as he wants with a batter.
    3. When a pitcher comes into a ballgame, he gets 3 pitches to test the mound. That’s it. You warm up in the bullpen, not on the field.
    4. Managers get to change pitchers in the middle of an inning ONCE per game. That’s it. This shuffling in and out of pitchers to get the platoon advantage is something of questionable value, and whatever value is there in general applies equally to both teams, meaning it cancels out. It’s rude to make fans sit there while some manager shuffles six new pitchers in the late innings of an important game.
    5. Limit time outs for catchers too–they get one mound visit per inning, that’s it.

    If all of these things were enacted, yet the rules not published for fans, all that would happen is that we’d notice the games were moving along faster, with less interruptions dissipating tension. It would make the game better and more enjoyable to watch. Do all of these things, and you will have a faster moving game in which one or two short delays to accomplish something important, like getting an umpiring call correct will not be a problem.

    The replay would be accomplished by having an umpire/replay official watching every play on a monitor in an isolation booth somewhere in the stadium. In most cases, by the time the manager requested the replay, the official would probably already know the correct call, and would make it. If it eliminated time due to arguments and stupid umpire conferences, replay could conceivably speed up the game.

    Bud Selig needs to retire.

    • Your points are good ones. You can easily offset any extra delay built in to expanding replay by cutting down on the extra time between pitches and mound visits and all that other crap.

      Issue a memo: Step out of the box too much, you’re getting a strike. Refuse to throw the ball over the plate, you’re getting a ball.

      • Ace says:

        It’s not up to the fans to decide how many times a pitcher wants to throw to 1st to keep a runner close. You guys are being ridiculous. How about instead of watching real baseball you just play it on Playstation where the balls and strikes are always right and no player ever does anything that prevents a delay in the game. Stepping out of the box to adjust your batting gloves after every freaking pitch (Jeter) is one thing, checking a runner at first is another (tactical strategy) Good for you for having an opinion though.

        • whozat says:

          Wait…did you actually think they were advocating that those policies be adopted verbatim by MLB?

          They were BRAINSTORMING. Also, there already ARE rules in the book about how much time pitchers are allowed to spend dithering on the mound and stepping off the rubber. The umps just don’t enforce them anymore, because they’re old men who don’t like change and they’ve never really enforced them.

          Great ad-hominem attack at the end, though.

        • Tank Foster says:

          I can guarantee you that if Abner Whatzisname and Cap Anson or whomever had watched some SOB pitcher throw to first base 15 times to hold a runner, and watched them do it any time a fast runner was on, they would have immediately made a rule controlling this in some way. After all, Ace, they DID make a rule to handle the situation when the pitcher can’t get anything accomplished with the batter…it’s called a BASE ON BALLS. And the decision of 4 balls came after some trial and error, way back when.

          Your kind of thinking is absolutely wrong-headed. You operate from the premise that the game is, and that it is “right” the way it is, and we have no entitlement to change it.

          This is the opposite of the truth. The game is ours. If it stinks, even a little, we should change it.

          Dean Smith took advantage of basketball rules in the 1960s and 70s and constructed the 4-corners delay offense for his UNC teams and ate up huge amounts of time, giving his team the advantage and leading to lots of wins. The problem with this was, it wasn’t basketball. It was screwing around and taking advantage of the rules, and avoiding the playing of basketball. The shot clock rule was the NCAA’s way of saying “cut the crap and play basketball.”

          It’s no different in baseball. Certain things have gotten out of hand, and we need to cut the crap and get back to playing baseball. Stepping out of the box helps the batter break the pitcher’s rhythm. Trouble is, both teams can do it, so the effect cancels out. It does nothing except hurt the fans by slowing down the game. Same thing with throwing to first. It works, it keeps runners close. Yet every team can do it, and it’s boring, and it slows the game down. Better to restrict this exploitation of the rules, and encourage running and action.

          The reason nobody is outraged is that all of these practices which slow down the games and dissipate the drama and tension have developed gradually, over decades, such that nobody notices it. But look at the times of ballgames today, and compare it with the 1950s. Baseball is said to not have a clock. Well, for decades, the sun was the clock. Umpires had to keep the games moving along. Today, that has been lost, as has almost any sense by the umpires, managers, and players, that games should move along without delay.

          Baseball is not as popular as it should or could be. It has a strong, tradition-minded following in a few hotbeds in the US; other than that, it’s an unpopular sport, and is blown away by football. Part of the reason is that, for someone not “brought up” on the game, baseball is, in contrast to football, slow and boring, certainly to a novice viewer.

          Baseball’s powers that be are currently drunk with money, riding a huge revenue tsunami. But it’s stupid to think that will go on forever, or that you can count on it continuing without taking care to keep the game interesting.

  31. mryankee says:

    That dude likes to type-Just because instant replay would have loaded the bases does not mean the Yankees would have scored. I like when the Yankees are pounding pitchers and you dont need replay because balls are flying all over the ballpark. Or out of the ballpark, that is something we need to see more of, not instant replay.

  32. JMK aka The Overshare says:

    I beat my kids with golf clubs because my family has been beating our kids with golf clubs for hundreds of years. It’s the tradition of child-rearing. Why should I stop now? Because it’s “wrong”? It can’t be wrong—tradition is never wrong!

    • mryankee says:

      Too much information sir too much information.

      • JMK aka The Overshare says:

        We, as a family, also have the habit of disclosing too much information. Weird. Child Protective Services FTL!

    • Yankee1010 says:

      Hey, the tradition used to be only white guys. Then that damn Jackie Robinson ruined it all. What? That “tradition” isn’t good? Oh, I need the tradition police to let me know which parts of “tradition” are OK.

    • You know what’s really fun?

      Raping your wife and beating your slaves. Mmmmmm mmm, that’s some good ol’ fashioned American fun right there.

    • ShuutoHeat says:

      I make everyone that is under me in the household commit seppuku or dismember themselves when they commit shameful acts such as jay walking or disrespecting other people. It’s the tradition of my people and I see the point you are coming across with traditions.

    • Rose says:

      I don’t know about the golfclubs part…but some discipline wouldn’t hurt a lot of these piece of shit kids these days to be honest. In some families if you yell at the kid they want a divorce.

      • JMK aka The Overshare says:

        Let’s elope. I think we’d really see eye-to-eye on a lot of things (though, probably not baseball-related). What do you say, sweetheart?

        I have at least 20 Crackerjacks boxes and there’s bound to be a ring in one of them!

    • Thomas says:

      I guess the only important question is this: Did you beat them yourself or let robots do it for you? As long as kept the human element in your beatings, I can see no wrong in your action.

      Bud Selig

  33. ShuutoHeat says:

    People want human elements right?
    Pride, cockiness, egos, stubbornness, team bias are all part of the human elements. Yeah, that’s right. People refusing to admit they fucked up or even remotely acknowledge it. These asshats are not being accounted for these horrible mistakes.

    If the plays were close I can understand, but when the umps decide to pull shit out of their ass it’s just fucking mind blowing. I’m not even speaking as a Yankees fan, I’m speaking as someone who loves the sport of baseball. When umps say shiet like “you don’t need to be tagged to be out because the ball beat you” or make crazy calls despite not having their eyes on the friggin play?

    To everyone arguing again the replays, saying it would extend the game too long. We’re not going to allow replays on everything, that’s just plain silly. Keep it out of the strike zone, keep it to plays that are just batshit retarded.

    Another thing that needs to be added is an ACTUAL system where the fucking asshat umps are actually reprimanded. Do you people honestly think these umps get chewed up for making horrible calls? Fuck no. They go into a room with a couch and they joke about how they fucked up some call and how frustrated the fans were when the call was fucked up by them. God bless the human element!

  34. JMK aka The Overshare says:

    I love when the thread becomes an exercise in logical fallacies. Gets me all frisky and shit.

  35. Tubby says:

    If MLB is not going to expand replay, then they need to make these two simple changes:

    1. Re-position the 1st and 3rd base umpires. Despite having a LF and RF ump, the 1st and 3rd base umps are still positioning themselves as if they are responsible for foul line calls and catches in the outfield. They shouldn’t be positioned on the outfield grass. I’m not sure what the optimal position would be (maybe a foot or two in front of the bag in foul territory?), but there has to be a better spot for them.

    2. They should eliminate territorial responsibilities. The resonsiblity for a correct call should belong to the group, not to the ump closest to the play. There have clearly been times when one ump had a better view than the other, but didn’t feel it was his place to overrule the ump who made the call. This needs to change. It works in football, it should work in baseball.

  36. [...] RAB, I came across this ESPN article by Jim Caple about Bud Selig’s reluctance to expand instant [...]

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