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 Post subject: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strikes
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 11:28 am 
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In theory, great. No one can argue with the premise that you want to get all of the calls right, all of the time.

But . . . fair question to ask: at what cost?

How long are we going to allow a replay official to review a call of a stolen base? How many camera angles will need to be examined to ascertain whether the runner's foot hit the bag before he was tagged? Is every close call at first base going to be reviewed by the replay official?

Ryan Howard's run two nights ago is a great example. I've seen numerous replays and I have no idea whether the Reds' catcher blocked the plate or whether Howard got his hand in. I can envision it taking 4-5 minutes for a replay official to fully analyze the multiple angles.

What's the pitcher to do in those 5 minutes? Play catch with the first baseman to keep his arm warmed up?

I like the theory but wonder how effective it is going to be in its implementation. I'll keep an open mind but I'm dubious.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 1:12 pm 
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My question is, "What good does replay do if the reviewing umpires are just as likely to blow the call as the on-field umpires?" The Travis Snider home run and the Adam Rosales home run are the two easiest examples.

Further, in watching the NFL, I have seen several examples of the replay booth reversing a proper call and implementing a blown call.


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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 2:00 pm 
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I'm old school. Human error is part of the game. They still get most calls right. Some of the umpires should be replaced, which they need to make it easier to do. But not replaced by replay. Lastly, as you guys said, there are too many hiccups created by replay.


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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 4:52 pm 
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How long would the replay booth have looked at the 8th inning play where Sanchez stretched for Alvarez's throw? After several viewings, I don't know. What triggers a review? Does a manager ask for one? Is it automatic?

FWIW, the single in Trout's cycle looks to be erroneously called. Out by an eyelash.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 5:00 pm 
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All of these concerns were brought up about using replay in the NFL, and it has turned out generally very good.

How many plays a game would take longer than half a second for somebody upstairs to say, yeah, no need to review that? The large, large majority? It would take one second looking at the Alvarez-to-Sanchez play to see that it did not need reviewed.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 5:51 pm 
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SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
All of these concerns were brought up about using replay in the NFL, and it has turned out generally very good.

How many plays a game would take longer than half a second for somebody upstairs to say, yeah, no need to review that? The large, large majority? It would take one second looking at the Alvarez-to-Sanchez play to see that it did not need reviewed.


NFL has a limited challenge system. It is not devoted to getting every single call correct. If it was, any play would be reviewable. And I've gotten into more than a fair share of friendly debates over what is "incontrovertible."

If you think that the reviewers would not interrupt game play by taking time to figure out the exact frame where the runner's foot hit the bag and whether the ball was in the mitt or trying to ascertain when Sanchez had control and whether there was simultaneous contact with the bag, I disagree.

MLB must establish set rules for what happens on overturned calls. Does umpire have discretion to award bases? Or, is it like a book rule double? Where do you place runners on overturned calls? Is that subject to review?

And, if the vast majority of calls are correct, is there a pressing need to change?

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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 6:16 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
All of these concerns were brought up about using replay in the NFL, and it has turned out generally very good.

How many plays a game would take longer than half a second for somebody upstairs to say, yeah, no need to review that? The large, large majority? It would take one second looking at the Alvarez-to-Sanchez play to see that it did not need reviewed.


NFL has a limited challenge system. It is not devoted to getting every single call correct. If it was, any play would be reviewable. And I've gotten into more than a fair share of friendly debates over what is "incontrovertible."

If you think that the reviewers would not interrupt game play by taking time to figure out the exact frame where the runner's foot hit the bag and whether the ball was in the mitt or trying to ascertain when Sanchez had control and whether there was simultaneous contact with the bag, I disagree.

MLB must establish set rules for what happens on overturned calls. Does umpire have discretion to award bases? Or, is it like a book rule double? Where do you place runners on overturned calls? Is that subject to review?

And, if the vast majority of calls are correct, is there a pressing need to change?



I'm not going to say that the anti-replay folks are wrong. I just disagree that it would add all that much time to a game. I look at the Alvarez-Sanchez play and in 2 seconds of slow-mo replay (which would not be done by umpires, I would have to imagine) I see that the call is fine.

Of course there would be a need for ground rules. That much I agree and that's another argument. I don't even have an opinion to share on that at this point, as far as what should the rules be.

As to your last point, I disagree that a majority of calls being correct eliminates a need for replay. Yeah, generally there is not much of a problem. But why not get every call right if you can? I understand your argument about football but, while there still are some plays they bungle, there seems to be far far less bad calls now than there were before replay and I think football is better for it. And I think baseball, if replay is implemented properly, could also be better for it.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 6:49 pm 
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SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
And I think baseball, if replay is implemented properly, could also be better for it.


Which goes to the heart of my original question ... how do you implement it "properly?". Limited challenges? Like NFL football? Like tennis? Unlimited challenges? Booth reviews on everything? What discretion exists for umpires to award bases or outs after a call is reversed? If a right fielder is ruled to trap the ball and the base runner advances to third on the play BUT the call is reversed, is the runner sent back to first or is there a determination made on whether the runner would have been doubled off? Does the speed of the runner come into play? What about arm strength of fielder? Probably better to get a potion of call correct and re-set the situation even though it doesn't perfectly mirror reality had a catch been called correctly.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 6:53 pm 
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The difference between strike zones of Umpires is too great for my taste. It effects each individual batter's approach at the plate depending on what the tendencies of each Home Plate Umpire is.

Last night, the Home Plate Umpire called the first two pitches against Tabata which were inside and off the plate (at least by two inches according to the digital graphic) as strikes. Both pitches were clearly balls inside and off the plate. Instead of Tabata starting his AB 2-0, he was down in the count immediately 0-2.

This happens all of the time.

This inconsistency of calling balls and strikes in MLB should be changed. There should be a standardized strike zone for every pitcher and every batter period end of sentence.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 7:00 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
And I think baseball, if replay is implemented properly, could also be better for it.


Which goes to the heart of my original question ... how do you implement it "properly?". Limited challenges? Like NFL football? Like tennis? Unlimited challenges? Booth reviews on everything? What discretion exists for umpires to award bases or outs after a call is reversed? If a right fielder is ruled to trap the ball and the base runner advances to third on the play BUT the call is reversed, is the runner sent back to first or is there a determination made on whether the runner would have been doubled off? Does the speed of the runner come into play? What about arm strength of fielder? Probably better to get a potion of call correct and re-set the situation even though it doesn't perfectly mirror reality had a catch been called correctly.



Those are good questions. I'd think the rules would state that the runner automatically goes back to first in the case of a trap. OR you can make a rule that in situations like that where you don't know what to do with the runner, that the play is not reviewable.

I actually think manager challenges, while I hate the concept in football, would be awesome in baseball. Not that I agree it's the best way to go about doing it, but it would be entertaining.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 7:00 pm 
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bassoondirector wrote:
The difference between strike zones of Umpires is too great for my taste. It effects each individual batter's approach at the plate depending on what the tendencies of each Home Plate Umpire is.

Last night, the Home Plate Umpire called the first two pitches against Tabata which were inside and off the plate (at least by two inches according to the digital graphic) as strikes. Both pitches were clearly balls inside and off the plate. Instead of Tabata starting his AB 2-0, he was down in the count immediately 0-2.

This happens all of the time.

This inconsistency of calling balls and strikes in MLB should be changed. There should be a standardized strike zone for every pitcher and every batter period end of sentence.



Was thinking the same exact thing on that at bat. The third pitch was in the same spot, but the umpire decided that this was a ball on 0-2 counts.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 7:01 pm 
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Maybe you could limit ball and strike replay to a certain distance from the plate? Like in football, you can't challenge every single ball spot, but the egregious ones can be challenged.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 7:53 pm 
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Implement slow change(s).

Start with 'robot umpires' and HR 'challenges' and once the league 'gets those down' move on to 'challenging' other types of plays (SB's, traps, out calls, etc.).

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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 10:23 am 
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I'd undoubtedly do an automated strike zone. There was a Fangraphs article earlier which stated umpires are getting 88% of ball/strike calls correct. That's absolutely terrible and adds in way too much human error into a game. You're talking about a blown call every 2 batters or so (assuming ~6 pitches per batter)

For other replays, maybe do what the NHL does. You have a central replay area with guys who are trained professionals in instant replay. Each of them monitors a game and if they see something that needs looked at they'll just buzz in to stop the game and do a quick review. Hockey is very efficient with it, no reason baseball can't do the same. Definitely don't like the way baseball does it now where umps essentially go "under the hood".

If you need to placate people who want the human element, allow for blown calls at the bases. But having a guy who can do home runs, fair/foul, and whether a ball is trapped or not should be a pretty solid base to build on in addition to an automated strike zone.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 10:25 am 
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Now that the Pirates have a good pitch-framing catcher, that 88% doesn't look too shabby to me. Exploiting inefficiencies in baseball is how teams with lower payrolls can compete with teams with higher payrolls.


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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 11:31 am 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
I'd undoubtedly do an automated strike zone. There was a Fangraphs article earlier which stated umpires are getting 88% of ball/strike calls correct. That's absolutely terrible and adds in way too much human error into a game. You're talking about a blown call every 2 batters or so (assuming ~6 pitches per batter)

For other replays, maybe do what the NHL does. You have a central replay area with guys who are trained professionals in instant replay. Each of them monitors a game and if they see something that needs looked at they'll just buzz in to stop the game and do a quick review. Hockey is very efficient with it, no reason baseball can't do the same. Definitely don't like the way baseball does it now where umps essentially go "under the hood".

If you need to placate people who want the human element, allow for blown calls at the bases. But having a guy who can do home runs, fair/foul, and whether a ball is trapped or not should be a pretty solid base to build on in addition to an automated strike zone.

I kind of like a coaches challenge type system for fair/foul, HR, and base calls. They could do it similar to football where if you lose a challenge then you lose your other chance to use a challenge later in the game.

As for the 88%, that can be misleading. An umpire may be consistently calling pitches an inch or two off the plate a strike and it registers as incorrect(which it technically is). However if he is cosistent and the hitters/pitchers know it then it is fine. That is part of the game...learning each umpire's strike zone. The poor umpires are the ones who are inconsistent and their strike zone changes throughout the game. I've said before that they need to make it easier to replace poor umpires. If there was more of a threat of that you may see some improvement from some of these guys.


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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 12:17 pm 
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The problem is, a strike zone isn't arbitrary. It's clearly defined. A referee who consistently calls icing if a team shoots from behind the blue line instead of the red line isn't doing a good job because he's consistent. A ref in basketball who gives credit for a 3 pointer if a player has one foot inside the line isn't a good ref if he does it consistently. The strike zone isn't a judgment call. The plate is a clear indicator of the width of the strike zone. The batter tells the height. It's a static area.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 12:28 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
I'd undoubtedly do an automated strike zone. There was a Fangraphs article earlier which stated umpires are getting 88% of ball/strike calls correct. That's absolutely terrible and adds in way too much human error into a game. You're talking about a blown call every 2 batters or so (assuming ~6 pitches per batter)

For other replays, maybe do what the NHL does. You have a central replay area with guys who are trained professionals in instant replay. Each of them monitors a game and if they see something that needs looked at they'll just buzz in to stop the game and do a quick review. Hockey is very efficient with it, no reason baseball can't do the same. Definitely don't like the way baseball does it now where umps essentially go "under the hood".


1. Before I'm willing to sign off on Pitchf/x being the "all knowing, infallible wizard," I'd like to see some more information about how it works and also to see a 3D representation of the strike zone instead of it being in 2D.
2. So . . . a replay official sitting in NY will decide whether a play at first should be reviewed and he'll buzz the home plate umpire? What's going to be considered close enough for review? TV broadcasts get replays shown very quickly but they often show a replay after the next pitch has been thrown. Will the replay official review calls to see if a second basemen is actually on the bag when he catches the ball to start a double play? Will the replay official review pick off attempts if it was close? How about stolen base attempts? You are now instituting review in the middle of at-bats which will have an incredibly disruptive effect on the game.

Again, not opposed to getting all calls right. Just opposed to potentially ridiculous implementation of replay. College basketball this year was, in my opinion, a farce at the end of games. There was hardly a bucket made in the final 30 seconds when the officials didn't run to the monitor to ensure that the time was correct on the clock. It hasd the effect of giving a time out after every made bucket in the final 30 seconds.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 12:45 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
Now that the Pirates have a good pitch-framing catcher, that 88% doesn't look too shabby to me. Exploiting inefficiencies in baseball is how teams with lower payrolls can compete with teams with higher payrolls.

Pitch handling and catcher skill plays a huge role in the operative strike zone for a team, no doubt, and Martin has benefitted the Pirates pitching staff. Agreed 1000%.

But the reputation of the hitter and the pitcher also play a role - veteran, proven pitchers get close pitches and veteran, proven hitters get the benefit of the doubt on close pitches.

That is why Halladay got close calls, and why a David Wright or Miguel Cabrera is given a pitch right on the edge on a 2-2 count. Other than McCutchen, whom do the Pirates have who might get this benefit?

The problem is that the Pirates are not designed to keep those proven players for more than a few seasons. The players (pitchers and hitters both) build up a reputation for 3 seasons, earn the benefit of the doubt from the umpires, but are then gone not long thereafter.

So I don't see how a tight-budget team can compete on an even scale with that factor.


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 Post subject: Re: Review of all calls - with exception of balls and strike
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 2:43 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
The problem is, a strike zone isn't arbitrary. It's clearly defined. A referee who consistently calls icing if a team shoots from behind the blue line instead of the red line isn't doing a good job because he's consistent. A ref in basketball who gives credit for a 3 pointer if a player has one foot inside the line isn't a good ref if he does it consistently. The strike zone isn't a judgment call. The plate is a clear indicator of the width of the strike zone. The batter tells the height. It's a static area.

Thank you. Too much is made of the umpire with a "consistent" strike zone. I'd prefer one with an accurate strike zone.

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