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05-19-2008, 01:16 PM
http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2008/05/19/umpire-admits-he-screwed-up-a-call-that-he-shouldnt-be-given-a/


Umpire Admits He Screwed Up a Call That He Shouldn't Be Given a Chance to Screw Up

Posted May 19th 2008 8:55AM by Josh Alper

Last night's mockery of umpiring at Yankee Stadium was the latest evidence that it's long past time for baseball's powers that be to institute instant replay on home runs. As I said last night, fair and foul balls are a factual matter and shouldn't be subject to the whims of umpires.

Umpires like Bob Davidson who, from home plate, overruled third-base umpire (and umpire in position to make the call) Mike Reilly's fair ruling of Carlos Delgado's shot. After the game, he offered this assessment of a job poorly done.

"I ----ed it up. I'm the one who thought it was a ---- foul ball. I saw it on the replay. I'm the one who ----ed it up so you can put that in your paper. Bolts and nuts, I ----ed up. You've just got to move on. No one feels worse about it than I do."
Perhaps I'm being harsh on Davidson's performance, especially since there's no reason for him to be put in that position. In the time it took for Reilly to make the call, Derek Jeter to protest it, the umpires to confer, Willie Randolph to argue their reversal and, finally, Davidson to eject Mets bench coach Jerry Manuel, they could have just looked at a replay and got the call right.

That's one argument against replay, it would take too long, debunked and the other, it would lead to all kinds of replays, is inane.

smith288
05-19-2008, 01:21 PM
Just have a retired ump sit up in the booth and review and wave a flag out the press box window with the result. Or better yet, like Ceasar, give a thumbs up or down...

dabvu2498
05-19-2008, 01:29 PM
Just have a retired ump sit up in the booth and review and wave a flag out the press box window with the result. Or better yet, like Ceasar, give a thumbs up or down...

And post "Inquiry" on the scoreboard like they do on the toteboard at racetracks.

blumj
05-19-2008, 01:30 PM
It was really funny listening to Joe Morgan argue that using replay for those calls would take too long, about a minute after we'd just watched him take him maybe 20 seconds to watch the replay and determine that it was the wrong call. Why would it have to take umpires any longer than it took him?

Jpup
05-19-2008, 02:06 PM
It was really funny listening to Joe Morgan argue that using replay for those calls would take too long, about a minute after we'd just watched him take him maybe 20 seconds to watch the replay and determine that it was the wrong call. Why would it have to take umpires any longer than it took him?

he said, "because they would be checking every play." That was his reason.

smith288
05-19-2008, 02:09 PM
Morgan is quickly proving himself to be the most well spoken IDIOT of all time i think.

Jpup
05-19-2008, 02:10 PM
Morgan is quickly proving himself to be the most well spoken IDIOT of all time i think.

it pays him well.

redsrule2500
05-19-2008, 02:47 PM
no replay please!

bucksfan2
05-19-2008, 02:49 PM
I am 100% against instant replay. The only replay I like is in college football. My problem with instant replay is where do you draw the line? Is it just fair or foul debates? Do you include out or safe? Do you include fan interference? Do you include disputed ball strike calls or whether a batter was hit by a pitch or now?

smith288
05-19-2008, 02:55 PM
I am 100% against instant replay. The only replay I like is in college football. My problem with instant replay is where do you draw the line? Is it just fair or foul debates? Do you include out or safe? Do you include fan interference? Do you include disputed ball strike calls or whether a batter was hit by a pitch or now?
Have a limited allowance of replays per Mgr (2) and all homers are reviewed if close as determined by the ump. Thats it. D-u-n-n done.

bucksfan2
05-19-2008, 03:07 PM
Have a limited allowance of replays per Mgr (2) and all homers are reviewed if close as determined by the ump. Thats it. D-u-n-n done.

But what is a reviewable play? In the NFL some of the most blatantly botched plays are not reviewable. On a bang bang play how are you going to determine when the fielder has true control of the baseball? Many times a boarderline strike call can be a crucial call in the game but the umpire union wouldn't allow those types of calls to be reviewed.

smith288
05-19-2008, 03:10 PM
Then they wont be reviewed. We have the high definition technology to make this at least somewhat doable for homeruns at a minimum.

registerthis
05-19-2008, 06:09 PM
I've never understood the belief that blown calls and the whims of officials are simply "part of the game". Why should they be? I recall a discussion here last year about the merits of instituting automated ball/strike calls, instead of having the umpire make them. I'll say here what I said then: when technology presents an opportunity to take the "guesses" out of the game and instead make calls on a factual basis, the technology should be used every single time.

A home run is a pretty clearly defined event, deciding whether or not a hit ball qualifies as a "home run" shouldn't be up to the umpire's discretion; either it's a home run or it's not. Why on earth you would argue for the alternative is mystifying to me.

I'll agree that strict parameters should be set regarding what's reviewable (home runs, catches, fair or foul balls) and what is not (ball and strike counts), but once you've identified those, what's the hold up? I don't watch baseball to see a game turn on the whims of an umpire, I want the results to be as true as we can possibly make them. If instituting a replay system helps eliminate some of this "noise" and helps ensure a correct call on at least SOME of the quesationnable plays, then go for it. I don't see why you wouldn't.

SteelSD
05-19-2008, 06:27 PM
Have a limited allowance of replays per Mgr (2) and all homers are reviewed if close as determined by the ump. Thats it. D-u-n-n done.

Yep. Two per game per Manager and limit them to scoring plays and fair/foul ball disputes. Oh, and if a Manager is wrong on the first one, he loses the second. After the disputes are used, only HR and fair/foul players may be reviewed per Ump discretion.

Folks who gripe about reviewing plays forget that MLB already has a "system" in place that already takes time and we see it every time the umps huddle together to discuss a call. Unfortunately, they don't have access to the best possible equipment so you get a ruling based on what may or may not be a consensus of opinion from folks who may or may not have had the best view.

In short, if you're going to review something anyway, might as well get it right.

UKFlounder
05-19-2008, 07:01 PM
But why only two? What if one team suffers from what it believes are three bad calls? If this tool is so great or can make the game better, why limit it so severely?

As for allowing them at "umpire discretion" how is that any different than relying on umpire judgement now? If an umpire believes he made the right call and refuses to review it, what's the recourse?

SteelSD
05-19-2008, 07:21 PM
But why only two? What if one team suffers from what it believes are three bad calls? If this tool is so great or can make the game better, why limit it so severely?

How many questionable HR, bang-bang plays at the plate, and ever-so-close-to-the-line fair/foul balls do you expect to see in a average game? Based on the limitation of potentially reviewable plays, I think 2 review "demands" is more than enough.

And you'd have to limit usage because there is potential for a Manager to abuse it should review demands be unlimited.


As for allowing them at "umpire discretion" how is that any different than relying on umpire judgement now? If an umpire believes he made the right call and refuses to review it, what's the recourse?

Umpires huddle to talk over close plays happen at this point with regularity. With access to a booth review, do you really think Umpires are going to be less willing to discretion to review close plays than they are now? Highly unlikely. I'd actually suggest that they'd be more willing to review plays to ensure they get it right. And frankly, you think any one of those Umps last night didn't want a look at a video replay while standing in their huddle?

REDREAD
05-19-2008, 07:23 PM
I'd be in favor with starting out with giving every manager two chances to dispute either a HR, foul ball, or a caught stealing. Those seem to be botched up the most. I guess I'd also include those plays where they appeal whether a guy misses the base or not (even though those are rare things).

Try it for a year. If it screws up the game or takes too long, remove it.
It wouldn't hurt to give it a one year trial. If it works great, then maybe consider expanding the cases where it could be used or giving the managers more than 2 chances.

smith288
05-19-2008, 07:24 PM
But why only two? What if one team suffers from what it believes are three bad calls? If this tool is so great or can make the game better, why limit it so severely?

As for allowing them at "umpire discretion" how is that any different than relying on umpire judgement now? If an umpire believes he made the right call and refuses to review it, what's the recourse?
Same question could be asked in NFL or NCAA football

reds44
05-19-2008, 07:34 PM
I personally think all reviews should be called for by the "booth" in football, so I would say the same for baseball.

Any ball put in play is reviewable. Balls and strikes are not.

UKFlounder
05-19-2008, 08:26 PM
Same question could be asked in NFL or NCAA football

Exactly - it's wrong in those sports and would be wrong in baseball. If it's such a great tool to improve the game, how come it only works on so few situations and there are so many exceptions?

If we can use it to see if a foot is in or out of bounds, why not use it to see the offensive lineman grabbing a defender's jersey or the cornerback grabbing the receiver mid-route?

If it can determine that a ball was a home run, not a single, how come a pitch six inches off home plate, but called a strike, cannot be changed?

Why limit a supposed tool that can benefit the game to a fraction of its capacity?

I guess I'm not totally opposed to it, but I dont' see any easy or practical way of implementing it without having serious flaws?

(And I'd prefer baseball NOT to copy football and all it's rules.)

Hollcat
05-20-2008, 06:07 AM
Put monitors and operators in each dugout so that when a close play occurs the manager or someone in the dugout can look at it instantly and decide if it is a call that should be overturned. If there is a call the manager wants to review and it isn't overturned eject him from the game, that way they will only challenge calls that were obviously missed, like the HR in the NY/NY game Sunday.

puca
05-20-2008, 07:01 AM
Or just live with the human element and understand that humans are capable of being wrong sometimes.

If the umpiring was flawless, it would give fans one less thing to talk about.

smith288
05-20-2008, 09:50 AM
Or just live with the human element and understand that humans are capable of being wrong sometimes.

If the umpiring was flawless, it would give fans one less thing to talk about.
I will never agree with the "human element" argument to this.

bucksfan2
05-20-2008, 10:09 AM
Or just live with the human element and understand that humans are capable of being wrong sometimes.

If the umpiring was flawless, it would give fans one less thing to talk about.

I want a game played by humans umpired by humans.

The main problem I have with instant replay isn't the time it takes rather what is reviewable or not. Too many times the most important play in a game is not reviewable under the context of the instant replay deal. If you are going to allow fair/foul or HR/No HR then why not allow a strike or ball call to be reviewd? Then something else to take into consideration out of all the baseball games played so far this year only one play has been the subject of an IR review.

smith288
05-20-2008, 10:21 AM
I want a game played by humans umpired by humans.

The main problem I have with instant replay isn't the time it takes rather what is reviewable or not. Too many times the most important play in a game is not reviewable under the context of the instant replay deal. If you are going to allow fair/foul or HR/No HR then why not allow a strike or ball call to be reviewd? Then something else to take into consideration out of all the baseball games played so far this year only one play has been the subject of an IR review.
Because a fair/foul types of deals would fall under the coaches discretion. No balls and strike reviews or tag out reviews.

Obviously the calls in question are the calls umpires have to make from a long distance.

registerthis
05-20-2008, 10:22 AM
Or just live with the human element and understand that humans are capable of being wrong sometimes.

Why live with that when it's rather simple to change it?

Blown calls have only been a "part of the game" because there hasn't been an acceptable alternative. Now, with instant replay available, I simply don't understand why someone would continue to clamor for a continuation of the mistakes, blown calls, and prejudices that you see practically on a daily basis.

George Anderson
05-20-2008, 10:47 AM
I can see replay being used to review a fair/foul homerun call or if a ball was trapped in the outfield or not, but I think you have to be careful and not go overboard and have things like the strike zone reviewed.

I think MLB and the umpires union would be better off having a system where if a umpire continually gets poor reports then he is sent back to AAA just like a player that cannot perform at the MLB level gets sent back to AAA. Under the current system once a umpire reaches MLB then he is set for life and will never see the minors again. It shouldn't be that way.

*BaseClogger*
05-20-2008, 10:53 AM
The Reds should just get rid of all of their players and create a bunch of robots... :rolleyes:

registerthis
05-20-2008, 11:14 AM
The Reds should just get rid of all of their players and create a bunch of robots... :rolleyes:

What a non-sequiter. Who's saying anything about the Reds fielding a team of robots?

Roy Tucker
05-20-2008, 12:09 PM
I could live with the 2 reviewable HR/fair/foul calls per game. Those are fairly cut-and-dried. Like how the NBA uses replay for the buzzer beaters.

But I still think the law of unintended consequences would rise up and bite the game in the rear for automated balls and strikes. Using technology as the primary source of balls and strikes is fraught with pitfalls. Better the devil you know than the one you don't know.

smith288
05-20-2008, 12:16 PM
The Reds should just get rid of all of their players and create a bunch of robots... :rolleyes:
Yea, because using current forms of technology to review HR calls is JUST like replacing all the umps with robots with no emotion and ability to argue with Lou Piniella. :rolleyes:

smith288
05-20-2008, 12:17 PM
I could live with the 2 reviewable HR/fair/foul calls per game. Those are fairly cut-and-dried. Like how the NBA uses replay for the buzzer beaters.

But I still think the law of unintended consequences would rise up and bite the game in the rear for automated balls and strikes. Using technology as the primary source of balls and strikes is fraught with pitfalls. Better the devil you know than the one you don't know.
What are the pitfalls out of curiosity?

blumj
05-20-2008, 12:36 PM
I want a game played by humans umpired by humans.

The main problem I have with instant replay isn't the time it takes rather what is reviewable or not. Too many times the most important play in a game is not reviewable under the context of the instant replay deal. If you are going to allow fair/foul or HR/No HR then why not allow a strike or ball call to be reviewd? Then something else to take into consideration out of all the baseball games played so far this year only one play has been the subject of an IR review.
Because it would take too much time and be too controversial to allow reviews of balls/strikes or safe/out calls, and those are not things that are always clear in the dimensions of video, even when slowed down. Where exactly a ball hits something almost always is.

bucksfan2
05-20-2008, 12:51 PM
Because it would take too much time and be too controversial to allow reviews of balls/strikes or safe/out calls, and those are not things that are always clear in the dimensions of video, even when slowed down. Where exactly a ball hits something almost always is.

I guess my concern is why try and correct one small aspect of the game when you will refuse to correct potentially the bigger problem. How many questionable HR's have been called this year? 1? How many questionable ball strike calls have happened this year? I really think it is pointless to try and review one small small aspect of a game when you fail to review a larger, more decisive aspect of the game.

I don't think balls and strikes should be reviewed but I believe they have far larger impact on a game than one disputed ball over the course of a quarter of a season.

SteelSD
05-20-2008, 01:17 PM
I guess my concern is why try and correct one small aspect of the game when you will refuse to correct potentially the bigger problem. How many questionable HR's have been called this year? 1? How many questionable ball strike calls have happened this year? I really think it is pointless to try and review one small small aspect of a game when you fail to review a larger, more decisive aspect of the game.

I don't think balls and strikes should be reviewed but I believe they have far larger impact on a game than one disputed ball over the course of a quarter of a season.

It's pretty tough to cling to a position of "one review = all review" when you don't want anything reviewed in the first place. And it certainly doesn't hold as a rational argument against correcting at least some of the errors made. Correct even one and it's a step in the right direction.

Sometimes problem solving is like triage. Just because you might not be able to save all the patients, that doesn't mean you should just let everyone die.

blumj
05-20-2008, 02:05 PM
I guess my concern is why try and correct one small aspect of the game when you will refuse to correct potentially the bigger problem. How many questionable HR's have been called this year? 1? How many questionable ball strike calls have happened this year? I really think it is pointless to try and review one small small aspect of a game when you fail to review a larger, more decisive aspect of the game.

I don't think balls and strikes should be reviewed but I believe they have far larger impact on a game than one disputed ball over the course of a quarter of a season.
Yes, balls and strikes have a much greater impact on most games, but that problem doesn't have such a simple solution. If you already have a tool that can help you solve one of your problems, you might as well use it to solve that problem now. What's the point in waiting until you have tools that solve all your problems?

puca
05-20-2008, 02:14 PM
How many bases to you award a 'fair' ball that was called foul? How many bases do the runners advance? Or should umpires just call everything close to the line 'fair' and let the replay sort it out?

It seems to me that safe versus out calls tend to have a much bigger impact on the game than fair/foul calls. So why not include those in review? But then where do you stop? Was a ball trapped or caught? Did the fielder come off the bag. Was a runner out of the baseline? Did he tag up too early? What about if a batter was hit by a pitch? You may be able to correct 80% of those calls with replay. Should you try?

*BaseClogger*
05-20-2008, 02:58 PM
Yea, because using current forms of technology to review HR calls is JUST like replacing all the umps with robots with no emotion and ability to argue with Lou Piniella. :rolleyes:

No, but saying home-plate umpires should be replaced with machines to call balls and strikes is...

Roy Tucker
05-20-2008, 03:24 PM
What are the pitfalls out of curiosity?

I just have a cursory knowledge of Pitch f/x so there may be others here who can point out the answers to my questions. Pitch f/x does a pretty good job of establishing the trajectory and path of the pitch. But I see the establishing of the strike zone as the tricky item. Some questions....

- Remember, this has to be done in real time. Ball strike calls have to be made 1-2 seconds after the ball hits the catchers mitt. No going back in time and retro-fitting a strike zone. As the pitch crosses the plate, the call is made.

- Who establishes the strike zone? A person adjusting cross-hairs or a computer/camera? If its a person, you're going to get considerable griping about where and when they do it and how is it different from umpires now?

- If a computer/camera set-up, we'll have to design algorithms that can recognize a batter's armpit and batter's knees (dirt, mud, pants, socks, anatomy, etc.). Technologically challenging.

- When is the strike zone established? When the batter takes his stance? As the ball crosses the plate? What is to stop a batter from crouching at key times to substantially altering the zone?

- Is the strike zone a 2-D plane at the front of the plate or a 3-D cube (or some spherical shape?)?

From experience in computer/software design of any reasonably complex system, there are usually *lots* of things that pop up where someone (like me) says "I didn't think of that". And umpires are pretty darn accurate now. This system would have to be better.

Pitchers and batters (and coaches and scouts) are very astute in their observations. I just think that instead of the pitcher/batter/umpire triad, the new battleground will be them vs. the acumen and skill of the programmers and engineers of this new system. I can't say what (hence the term unintended consequences), but there shakeout and QA of a system like this will be very challenging.

smith288
05-20-2008, 03:45 PM
No, but saying home-plate umpires should be replaced with machines to call balls and strikes is...
Which is something I, personally, have ever said.

smith288
05-20-2008, 03:51 PM
I just have a cursory knowledge of Pitch f/x so there may be others here who can point out the answers to my questions. Pitch f/x does a pretty good job of establishing the trajectory and path of the pitch. But I see the establishing of the strike zone as the tricky item. Some questions....

- Remember, this has to be done in real time. Ball strike calls have to be made 1-2 seconds after the ball hits the catchers mitt. No going back in time and retro-fitting a strike zone. As the pitch crosses the plate, the call is made.

- Who establishes the strike zone? A person adjusting cross-hairs or a computer/camera? If its a person, you're going to get considerable griping about where and when they do it and how is it different from umpires now?

- If a computer/camera set-up, we'll have to design algorithms that can recognize a batter's armpit and batter's knees (dirt, mud, pants, socks, anatomy, etc.). Technologically challenging.

- When is the strike zone established? When the batter takes his stance? As the ball crosses the plate? What is to stop a batter from crouching at key times to substantially altering the zone?

- Is the strike zone a 2-D plane at the front of the plate or a 3-D cube (or some spherical shape?)?

From experience in computer/software design of any reasonably complex system, there are usually *lots* of things that pop up where someone (like me) says "I didn't think of that". And umpires are pretty darn accurate now. This system would have to be better.

Pitchers and batters (and coaches and scouts) are very astute in their observations. I just think that instead of the pitcher/batter/umpire triad, the new battleground will be them vs. the acumen and skill of the programmers and engineers of this new system. I can't say what (hence the term unintended consequences), but there shakeout and QA of a system like this will be very challenging.
I agree there is many complexities to using such a system but technology has made huge strides in this arena. I expect the next 10 yrs, this would be doable, at least for the spectator.

Roy Tucker
05-20-2008, 04:29 PM
I agree there is many complexities to using such a system but technology has made huge strides in this arena. I expect the next 10 yrs, this would be doable, at least for the spectator.

I agree it is a doable thing and technology is getting there. Being a technogeek, I'd love to give it a shot. But that's a far cry from a done thing.

And in an industry that is very resistant to on-field technology, I just think it's going to be a very tough sell. This system has to be at least 99.999% accurate (miss 1 pitch out of 10000). No power hiccup. No software glitch. No OS crash. No pigeon landing on a camera. Umps aren't going to be making ball-strike calls any more so there is no backup. No do-overs. Let it fail once and the wolves will descend. People are forgiving of human error. People are not forgiving of computer error.

*BaseClogger*
05-20-2008, 05:27 PM
Which is something I, personally, have ever said.

My original post was not directed at you then...

bucksfan2
05-20-2008, 05:33 PM
I agree there is many complexities to using such a system but technology has made huge strides in this arena. I expect the next 10 yrs, this would be doable, at least for the spectator.

I don't know. Every umpire has a different strike zone. Every umpire is unique and you probably can ask any player, manager, gm, or fan and they will just say they want a consistant strike zone. It would be interesting to see if an adapted strike zone could change with each umpire's different zone.

smith288
05-20-2008, 08:34 PM
I agree it is a doable thing and technology is getting there. Being a technogeek, I'd love to give it a shot. But that's a far cry from a done thing.

Agreed.



And in an industry that is very resistant to on-field technology, I just think it's going to be a very tough sell. This system has to be at least 99.999% accurate (miss 1 pitch out of 10000). No power hiccup. No software glitch. No OS crash. No pigeon landing on a camera. Umps aren't going to be making ball-strike calls any more so there is no backup. No do-overs. Let it fail once and the wolves will descend. People are forgiving of human error. People are not forgiving of computer error.


Of course there's a backup... you wouldnt remove the ump. There still needs one back there to call plays at home, foul tips etc etc.

cincinnati chili
05-20-2008, 11:09 PM
The more replay and more use of dependable technology, the better.

I'd prefer automated balls/strikes. But instant replay on home run/foul balls is a no-brainer.

REDREAD
05-21-2008, 06:30 PM
I agree there is many complexities to using such a system but technology has made huge strides in this arena. I expect the next 10 yrs, this would be doable, at least for the spectator.

I'd guess that it's doable now. If MLB decided they wanted a machine to replace umps in 2 years, someone would build it in that timeframe and it would be far more accurate than the umps.

MLB only has to buy 30 of these machines, so cost really isn't a problem. They still need a homeplate ump for plays at the plate who could be a backup to the machine if it was broken.

Hoosier Red
05-21-2008, 06:37 PM
How about have a guy in the booth. Anytime the umpires need to get together to discuss, the guy in the booth tells the crew chief what he sees on replay.

No challenges, no nothing.
If the umpire saw it and doesn't need help from other umpires. No problem.

In fact with the wireless technology in place today, no one would even need to know about it.