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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Pinch hitting: Jason Whitman

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 01, 2010 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Next up in the Pinch Hitters series is Jason Whitman, who has seen blown calls in baseball, but hr still thinks instant replay would be a move in the wrong direction.

Married and living in Binghamton, Jason is the Chief Photographer for a local television station. Watching his hero Rickey Henderson be inducted into the Hall of Fame ranks as one of his favorite baseball moments. Jason’s father raised him to be a Yankees fan, but his mother and brother cheer for the Red Sox.

“I love them despite their faults,” Jason wrote.

———

Let’s get right to my point. There should not be instant replay in baseball. It would ruin the game.

Having the umpires on the field make the calls is the way that it’s always been. They get most of the calls right and occasionally blow a few. Baseball has managed to survive and thrive this way for over 100 years. Why change it now? Do we really want to see Lou Piniella throw a little red challenge flag, or would we rather see him blow his top and kick dirt on an ump? I know which one I prefer.

One of the greatest plays of all time happened in Game 1 of the 1955 World Series. The Brooklyn Dodgers were trailing the Yankees by 2 late in the game with Jackie Robinson on 3rd. Jackie broke for home with the pitcher in a full windup and slid safely under the glove of Yogi Berra. At least that’s how the home plate umpire saw it.

Whether or not Jackie was safe or not has been debated for over 50 years. Yogi still to this day swears that he was out. It’s a controversial call that has been talked about, over and over again.

This is just one example of what makes baseball so great. A play that happened over 50 years ago is still talked about today. An umpire made a call, one side loved it, and the other hated it. Everyone who has seen it has an opinion. It was the whole play that made it great, the umpire, the call, and the close play that could have gone either way. Yogi argued, screamed, and well, it didn’t matter. There was no changing the call.

Great moments like that will be forgotten sooner because of instant replay. We spend so much time talking about what could make the game better that we forget that it is already a great game. Having an umpire miss a call and watching the players and managers freak out is very much just a part of the game.

With the number of cameras at a game, it’s almost certain that we’ll know exactly what the correct call should be, no matter what the ump says. We have super slow-mo, multiple camera angles, even computer generated strike zones. If an ump gets a call wrong, or even right, we have the definitive answer within seconds. So, while I know that the technology is available, I just wish they would slow it down a notch. It is driving the umpires and tradition right out of the game.

Would instant replay have improved anything about baseball over the last 100 years? Imagine if there were instant replay in 1955. Nobody would still be talking about that stolen base of home, and Yogi wouldn’t still be arguing to this day. Nope, the debate would have ended in the replay booth and we would have only spent a few days talking about how bad the ump was.

That’s because Jackie was out.

 
 

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113 Responses to “Pinch hitting: Jason Whitman”

  1. Tom B February 1st, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Nicely written, but I completely disagree. The “Human element” can accomplish one thing, and one thing only. Blown Calls. They can’t be “more right” or make a “better” call, it can only swing in one direction. In the wrong one.

    If the game being tainted by someone that isn’t actually playing it fits your bill of entertaining sport, I suggest you take up gambling on boxing in vegas.

  2. Evan February 1st, 2010 at 9:39 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XY-XshGhMU

    He was clearly safe.

  3. filthy slider February 1st, 2010 at 9:41 am

    I only agree with one thing in this story, he was OUT!

  4. Guru Man February 1st, 2010 at 9:43 am

    I was someone who was hugely in favor of instant replay in football. If you can get the call right, then use it! After watching it, I think it has hurt football a lot more than helped it. So many artificial things happen now between very long pauses to review (giving teams on their heels a chance to regroup), to teams hurrying up to not give the other team time to review, to the instant replays available (or not) making the decisions, to the wrong call still being made, to only a handful of plays being allowed to being reviewed even though holding and interference calls are just as important, to the quality of the referee ring job simply getting much worse now. Finally, because of instant replay in football we have 2 less drives a game because the clock now starts after out of bounds plays and penalties because the game was taking too long with instant replay.

    Overall, it has not helped the game of football at all, in fact, I think it has hurt it.

    That being said, I could see it being used well for homers and goals (like in hockey). Perhaps at the most a challenge could be allowed on a close play, but I would just leave it as it is, because the home plate umpire influences the outcome of a game more than a few calls in the field anyway.

  5. trisha - OPPC forever - (new lucky picture from last day at the old Stadium) BRING ON THE GHOSTS! February 1st, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Definitely ambivalent on this one. I’ve listened to people talk about how these things all eventually “even out” over the course of a season, but if I were on the 2007 San Diego Padres, I might not be talking about how much better it was that McLelland blew the last call of the last play of their season and sent them home packing as opposed to possibly to the postseason. I’d be satisfied with two days of drama and the umpires getting it right rather than have it talked about as part of the lore and glory of baseball, if you will.

    As I said, I have ambivalence. I don’t want the game to become so automated that it’s robotic. On the other hand, one blown call can lead to the .5 that keeps your team out of the postseason.

  6. Frank February 1st, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Instant replay as we know it in baseball today would not have been used in the Robinson/Berra moment you speak of.

    Nice piece though, and I largely agree with what you’re saying. I’m content with the use of replay MLB is employing now and hope I never see the day when they decide to expand on that very limited use.

  7. Tony C February 1st, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Why not just get rid of the umpires entirely? I’m sure a system could be easily rigged where a pitcher needs to hit a computer calibrated strike zone, and the foul lines can be controlled and monitored by lasers as well as the wall.
    Actually you would need one ump to view a monitor with every conceivable angle in order to call plays at the bases.

    No calls would be missed. The game would be perfect. It would suck!

  8. stuckey February 1st, 2010 at 9:47 am

    The premise of this piece is baseball getting things wrong is good for the game. That errors are charming. The the intent of of rules (for a homerun to be a homerun, or an out to be an out) is less important than a quirk.

    Can’t disagree with this premise any more.

    Baseball can survive and even thrive with the occasional error. But you should do what you can do get things RIGHT.

    There is no virtue to error.

  9. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 1st, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Good topic.

    Guru Man – interesting points.

    I waiver, but I think I could live without instant replay. I think the game would survive without it.

    However, I think the handwriting is on the wall, and we’ll see some extension of instant replay beyond HRs.

    If it does go that route, though, I would hope that it will be done in such a way as to not impede the flow of the game as much as possible. Having an umpire in place at the technology center, and not having to have umpires physically leave the field, review and reappear, would be a start.

  10. Guru Man February 1st, 2010 at 9:48 am

    BTW, Rich in NJ, you had said you were not in favor of the Marte/Nady deal…I was hugely in favor of it at the time. Obviously with both getting injured it didn’t show much until Marte got healthy last year and did what i had expected. the Yankees have needed a lefty very badly in the pen and come playoff time that is of huge importance.

  11. Erin February 1st, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Very nice job Jason. :)

    I’m kind of split on this issue-I can see the benefits of having instant replay, but I understand the other side as well.

  12. GreenBeret7 February 1st, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Two things. Blow-ups and stop-action film show that Robinson was indeed safe. Berra tagged Robinson above the knee just after his foot hit the plate. Berra was two feet further back than he should have been. Even still, the whole situation was exacerbated by Ford using a long and slow wind-up.

    Until umpires either get more pride in their work by being in proper position and stop trying to make up for bad calls, they need all the help they can get. Any umpire that denies that they don’t make calls based on reputation is full of it. Moreso at home plate than any others, but, bad calls are bad calls. You don’t think that Earl Weaver’s, Billy Martin’s, Leo Durocher’s or Lou Pinella’s teams don’t get jobbed because of their reputations?

  13. trisha - OPPC forever - (new lucky picture from last day at the old Stadium) BRING ON THE GHOSTS! February 1st, 2010 at 9:52 am

    I’d actually be interested in hearing where players stack up on this issue.

  14. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 1st, 2010 at 9:53 am

    I think one of the problems is that it at least seems like there are more and more errors made at least in the last couple of seasons. And with more and more television coverage, you are aware of the blown calls in games throughout the leagues.

    I think umpire accountability may do as much to reduce poor calls as anything else. Also, it seems to me that not all umpires are all that quick in getting into the proper position to make calls in the field. And I don’t want to seem rude or intolerant, but it seems to me that the job is at least partly physical in nature and yet many umpires do not appear to be physically fit.

  15. Bill O February 1st, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Whether its allowed to be used in game or not instant replay exists for all of us. There isn’t going to be another situation like the Jackie Robinson play because we’ll all see the replay on our TV and know the answer. There won’t be long drawn out debates anymore simply because the technology exists regardless of whether it is used. Fans will always know when the umpire blows a call, so we might as well let the umps use it and get things right.

    It should be used in moderation though to where the game still moves at a pace that is entertaining, but umps shouldn’t be deciding games. No one wants to win on a blown call and it certainly hurts a lot more to lose that way.

  16. Tom B February 1st, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Why ist he “flow of the game” and everyone’s ADD more important than getting calls right?

    Let the players on the field decide the outcome, not the man behind the mask.

  17. stuckey February 1st, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Just for the record. Speed doesn’t have to be an issue in the game of baseball. The league has allowed the game to become 1/2 hour, 45 minutes longer than it needs to be by letting pitchers and batters essentially take as much time as they wish.

    The league can and should enforce rules to make the pitcher throw the ball and the batter to stay in the box during an AB.

    I think it’s all Mike Hargrove’s fault. And if you’re old enough to have seen him play, you know what I’m talking about.

  18. Yankee Trader February 1st, 2010 at 9:57 am

    GB7-

    I’ve been saving this especially for you and all those good spellers out there:

    Only great minds can read this.

    If you can raed this, you have a sgtrane mnid too

    Can you raed this? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.

    I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it whotuit a pboerlm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

  19. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 1st, 2010 at 9:57 am

    trisha – OPPC forever – (new lucky picture from last day at the old Stadium) BRING ON THE GHOSTS!
    February 1st, 2010 at 9:48 am
    Doreen, as someone who didn’t really want Damon back once Matsui was gone, I can tell you that mine is genuine and has nothing to do with the way the negotiations went. Throughout the negotiations I was clear that I hoped Damon wasn’t brought back. For me, it was all about defense.

    Just stating that for the record. I know you weren’t singling anyone out.

    —–

    Trisha – nah, that was more a reflection on my own postings about Damon. :)

  20. Erin February 1st, 2010 at 9:58 am

    trisha – OPPC forever – (new lucky picture from last day at the old Stadium) BRING ON THE GHOSTS!
    February 1st, 2010 at 9:52 am
    I’d actually be interested in hearing where players stack up on this issue.

    ************************
    trisha, I’d be very interested in that too. I’m thinking they’d be all for having instant replay-I’m just remembering the issues that both Jeter and Alex had with an umpire (I know it was the same guy, I’m drawing a blank on the name).

  21. Guru Man February 1st, 2010 at 9:58 am

    As for Vazquez being clutch or unclutch, I thought we finally squashed those silly thoughts when ARod all of a sudden became clutch? I am sure people are now calling Texiera unclutch because of how poorly he did in the postseason? C’mon people, at the major league level there is very little if any at all clutch ability. Clutch performances, yes, but not clutch ability.

    Against playoff teams last year Vazquez had an ERA of 2.55 in 70.2 innings.

  22. bdog375 February 1st, 2010 at 9:58 am

    The problem is that while having no replay has worked up until this point, there are now high definition cameras that can clearly prove mistakes. The media amplifies any mistake (particularly in the post-season), and puts extreme pressure on MLB to add replay. It is an unfortunate inevitability that replay in baseball will expand. One plus side is that technology will progress fast enough that should allow automated detection of the baseball with respect to boundaries, which would make replay extremely fast.

  23. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 1st, 2010 at 9:59 am

    oaky ynaeke taredr, I tihnk msot of us hvae gtteon the msesgae by now. :lol:

  24. m February 1st, 2010 at 9:59 am

    This is much more readable than some of the stuff you read from renowned writers. :P

    At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the pitcher throwing the ball and hitter trying to hit the ball.

    But I would prefer they get things right. Not comparing tennis to baseball (only because some would get their unis all bunched up in a knot), but I like (and I think the players like) replay in tennis. The spectators seem to enjoy the replay, too.

    Even in basketball, they’ve subtly installed these “under 2 minute” reviews. As far as I know, they never publicized it, but it was brought up as a point in an NBA game yesterday.

    But, yes, I can see how some would prefer that the game stay true to its form. But in this digital world when everyone except the ump can see what’s going on, I don’t see how it can go on for much longer.

    Keep it easy, one challenge per game. Only on the base paths. Seeing as ump errors come in bunches someone will still be mad, but managers won’t grumble for the sake of grumbling. Perhaps they’ll be judicious with their new power. Oh, who am I kidding.

    But few things pizz off a baseball fan more than a blown call on the bases. Especially at home plate!

  25. Mark in Tampa February 1st, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Even with replay, the NFL gets many calls wrong. Also, as Jason said, there are many very important calls that are not reviewable, and MLB would have the same issues.

    In addition, the worst part about NFL replay is the rule changes they have made because of it. The ridiculous catch/no catch rules; with different parameters depending on where it happens on the field; result in some of the worst officiating results I have ever seen, even after dissecting the plays from 4 or 5 angles in stunning HD.

    I wouldn’t want to see something like that happen to baseball, once that line is crossed, history has shown that you never go back.

  26. stuckey February 1st, 2010 at 10:00 am

    btw – Mauer’s non-double last postseason should put this issue to rest. How you can watch that and decide the umpire getting it wrong is charming and part of the fabric of baseball is beyond me.

    That’s was just plain BAD for the game, and if you SHOULD correct that, you have to correct homeruns and whatnot as well.

  27. Cam February 1st, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Nice post, but after careful consideration of this topic for the last 2 years, I have to disagree. I know there are some arguments on here that say it has ruined football, and it many ways it has made it worse. But football is much different. No matter how many angles you have on something, there is so much going on in one instance of a football game that it can be impossible to tell. Like a fumble, for instance, where you have 10 players all in one spot on top of the ball. In baseball, you can almost always get the correct call through instant replay in a matter of seconds, with almost no debate. I think the process would happen much faster.

    And I still think we’d be talking about the Robinson steal. After all, how many times have you seen someone try to steal home during the series, let alone someone as high profiled as Jackie Robinson?

  28. GreenBeret7 February 1st, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Players don’t account for extended playing time of games any more than the 2:30 minute commercial breaks demanded by TV heads. It’s the price of having more televised games.

  29. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 1st, 2010 at 10:02 am

    bdog375 -

    Absolutely. One of the reasons I feel it’s inevitable is because “television” people obviously want it. They go over close plays over and over and over and over again. And if an umpire gets it wrong, they really, really, really push the issue.

  30. Guru Man February 1st, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Why ist he “flow of the game” and everyone’s ADD more important than getting calls right?

    Let the players on the field decide the outcome, not the man behind the mask.
    ======================

    I agree that the flow of the game is not even close to the importance of football. However, the calls behind home plate are more outcome changing than a few calls on the bases. Yes, they blow some calls on the bases, but I have to admit they do a pretty good job on the bases. Behind home plate is where the struggle to me. Homers make sense because they are “final” and the umpires cant train as well for those types of events because of all ballparks being so different

  31. GreenBeret7 February 1st, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Yankee Trader
    February 1st, 2010 at 9:57 am
    GB7-

    I’ve been saving this especially for you and all those good spellers out there:

    Only great minds can read this.

    If you can raed this, you have a sgtrane mnid too

    Can you raed this? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.

    ————————————————————

    Trader, I don’t see the point in this post. It seemed perfectly normal to me.

  32. Yankee Trader February 1st, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I would favor having an umpire in a stadium booth reviewing plays in the field [not balls and strikes]and relaying them to the head umpire if a reversal of call was needed.

    This would speed up the current process.

    Secondly, I’d like to see more uniformity, in calling balls and strikes, and in the quality of umpiring in general.

  33. stuckey February 1st, 2010 at 10:05 am

    “Players don’t account for extended playing time of games any more than the 2:30 minute commercial breaks demanded by TV heads. It’s the price of having more televised games.”

    Understood, but the POINT of professional baseball is revenue. That’s a necessary part of the game.

    Just because there are TWO issues doesn’t mean you shouldn’t correct the ONE you can.

  34. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 1st, 2010 at 10:06 am

    stuckey -

    But you can’t convince me that no other umpire saw that that ball was fair. Why can’t one umpire overrule another umpire? (I know they can, but they don’t often enough.) And it shouldn’t even have to be requested.

    m -

    I agree, plays at the plate gone awry really rev up the demand for replay!

  35. GreenBeret7 February 1st, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Yankee Trader
    February 1st, 2010 at 10:04 am
    I would favor having an umpire in a stadium booth reviewing plays in the field [not balls and strikes]and relaying them to the head umpire if a reversal of call was needed.

    This would speed up the current process.

    Secondly, I’d like to see more uniformity, in calling balls and strikes, and in the quality of umpiring in general.

    ————————————————————

    When you see a Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux pitching with a 26 inch wide strike zone, you definately have a problem.

  36. Yankee Trader February 1st, 2010 at 10:08 am

    GB7-

    Maybe the anesthesia you had corrected your dominant cerebral hemisphere!!!

    Anyway, that was e-mailed to me two days ago, and I’ve been trying to catch you online, so I could expose you-wait that’s not the correct word.

    I always felt you were slightly ABYNORMAL!!!

  37. m February 1st, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Rich,

    From the last thread. Perhaps the Yankees didn’t mention Damon’s calves because they’re not the Red Sox?

    But anyone who’s been paying attention will have noticed that there was nothing for a long time, and then you started hearing stuff about how Cash was concerned about how Damon would react to playing with a pay cut (bogus, but that’s a smoke signal if I’ve ever seen one). Then Cash said clearly and loudly, his priority was to find a RH bat (attention K-mart shoppers). And then there was that bizarro statement through Chad here about “smelling the coffee” and “do they think I’m stupid” followed by “Damon’s abilities exceed our ability to spend”. And then finally, “The book was closed on Johnny Damon a long time ago. Actually!”

    So, it can be argued that Nick Johnson made Damon less attractive and expendable.

    Who knows? If there was a little less take from Boras, there might have been a little more give from Cashman.

    But at the end of the day, Damon’s self-perceived value was just too high. And I’m still convinced that the Yankees were not going to go with Damon as their full-time LF.

  38. pete February 1st, 2010 at 10:09 am

    IMO, umpires only exist out of a once-existent necessity that has, with today’s technology, died out. I don’t believe that there should be a “human element” in the game-calling. Ever. No player or team should ever be falsely rewarded or punished by a bad call. MLB could set up a system wherein advanced camera systems make all of the correct calls, including balls and strikes. In this scenario, there would not only not even be a need for “game-slowing” instant replay, but the game would actually be faster, because nobody would ever bother arguing calls. In the rare instance of a judgement call, an operative in a booth behind home plate could make the call based either on replay or live, if the instance was obvious. I’m sorry but I don’t buy the crap that people go to games or watch them on TV to watch umpires. People watch and follow baseball because they like seeing their teams win and their favorite players succeed. Period. Human umpires can do nothing but get in the way of that.

    Of course, this is probably a pipe dream of mine that has basically no chance of realization until the previous generation of gunsticking stat-hating elitists dies out. But hey, one can dream!

  39. stuckey February 1st, 2010 at 10:10 am

    “Behind home plate is where the struggle to me. ”

    That’s because the umpire is almost always calling the play behind the catcher and therefore his view is blocked.

    This is SOMEWHAT correctable – like umpires should be able to position themselves on throws coming from the outfield. But a player trying to score on a grounder to the infield, umpire is always going to in bad position.

  40. IRememberCelerinoSanchez February 1st, 2010 at 10:12 am

    It’s convenient to bring up the Jackie Robinson play, but what about the plays that are obviously wrong? It’s a shame a World Series turned on, say, the Don Denkinger call on Iorg in the 1985 World Series. One umpire blew a call and handed the other team a World Series title. That is a shame. And that could have been avoided.

    It’s a fair argument (although I don’t agree with it) to say that human error is part of the game and has to be tolerated, whether the call can be proven wrong or not. But your argument, centered on the excitement of the Jackie Robinson call, really doesn’t hold water at all.

  41. Bronx Jeers February 1st, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Has replay harmed football?

    I don’t think it has.

    How about a 1 season trial run in baseball?

    Give managers 1 replay per series. Or even 1 per week.

    Maybe umps will work a little harder.

  42. GreenBeret7 February 1st, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Yankee Trader
    February 1st, 2010 at 10:08 am
    GB7-

    Maybe the anesthesia you had corrected your dominant cerebral hemisphere!!!

    Anyway, that was e-mailed to me two days ago, and I’ve been trying to catch you online, so I could expose you-wait that’s not the correct word.

    I always felt you were slightly ABYNORMAL!!!

    ————————————————————

    LMAO.

    Are you saying that I’m abnormally normal or abnormally abnormal?

  43. Guru Man February 1st, 2010 at 10:14 am

    I will say that reviews are better suited for baseball than football. However, what do you do if an umpire rules a ball down the line is foul but it is really fair? Do you only give the guy a single and everyone moves only one base? The majority of the mistakes are made behind home plate, do you implement questek (or whatever it is called) to let us know strikes and balls? And if you do, is it really adjusted for every player?

    I will say this, the one thing that is kind of absurd in baseball is watching a manager run onto the field and argue a call. I know it is part of baseball, but it sets the wrong example and the umpires gets abused (even if they deserve it). I am not sure why baseball allows the arguments, makes little sense to me. Having replay would help that.

    Finally, one of the things I hate about IR in the NFL is that the celebrations are not as much fun. I like having that immediate rush of excitement/disgust and not have it change later which either way is less exciting.

  44. stuckey February 1st, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Pete, good point, and fans have to realize TECHNOLOGY has been used in professional sports to help the quality of the officiating since their inception.

    What do you think nets in soccer, hockey and basketball do.

    What do you think they put big, white lines of chalk on baseball and football fields? How about first down chain/markers in football?

    All technology to help where the human eye is insufficient by itself.

  45. Matt February 1st, 2010 at 10:16 am

    The human element of having umpires on the field will never change but we’re deep into the high tech era so there’s no point in not using it.
    MLB is heavily conscious into speeding up the game but they don’t take into account how much time is spent with managers and players arguing calls on the field.
    With the present system of reviewing calls of fair/foul or over the fence outfield calls, it’s been proven that it takes little time for a camera review.
    No reason why it can’t be expanded with base calls sometime soon.

  46. stuckey February 1st, 2010 at 10:20 am

    “But you can’t convince me that no other umpire saw that that ball was fair. Why can’t one umpire overrule another umpire? (I know they can, but they don’t often enough.) And it shouldn’t even have to be requested.”

    Don’t disagree with anything you’re saying. That probably could and should have been corrected in any one of several manner. I was just using it to illustrate the overall point that error is not a virtue. It doesn’t add to the game.

    You should correct what you can in whatever reasonable methods are available to you.

  47. Yazman February 1st, 2010 at 10:21 am

    I do think instant reply has changed everything. We DO want the calls to be right.

    The biggest downside is the delay itself, and its corresponding dampening of dramatic moments.

    “Jackie Robinson just stole home!!!!!!!” Don’t get too excited yet, we’ll let you know in a few minutes.

    Safe or out, it’s sad to have the focus on umpires when we find out.

  48. Bob February 1st, 2010 at 10:21 am

    So far, the level of writing from the guest posters has been a significant improvement from years past, as has, to be brutally honest, everything else. Keep it up, gentlemen.

  49. ELKEAL487 February 1st, 2010 at 10:22 am

    We need some sort of instant replay, because the umps of today are getting more and more critical calls wrong. Why, I don’t know, but they seem to be getting worse by the year. The way MLB can really improve the game, is training the umps to get in better position to make calls on the bases, and having them call a better, more consistent strike zone. You don’t need 4 umps running off the field to look at a play, only the umpire -in-chief, or an official off field can review and make the call in less than 2 minutes.

  50. Guru Man February 1st, 2010 at 10:22 am

    stuckey
    February 1st, 2010 at 10:10 am
    “Behind home plate is where the struggle to me. ”

    That’s because the umpire is almost always calling the play behind the catcher and therefore his view is blocked.

    This is SOMEWHAT correctable – like umpires should be able to position themselves on throws coming from the outfield. But a player trying to score on a grounder to the infield, umpire is always going to in bad position.
    =============

    Not really sure where they could stand because behind the pitcher isn’t great either for depth.

    I think it was Pete who stated that we could do everything with IR. In some ways it would be a transformation, but as I said, I like the quick call. I believe behind home plate we could get it right (if the technology could read it correctly – it is obvious that it is not 100%) but on the bases there would always be a pause to get it right on close plays and that delay would be awkward. i do believe between less arguments the game would go a lot quicker.

    However, you would still need some umps because how do you break up fights or disagreements between players or pitchers hitting batters etc…?

  51. Tom B February 1st, 2010 at 10:23 am

    My friends and I have put some thought into this.

    1) A 5th umpire in every stadium on day of game.
    Give him access to all of the replay cameras. Similar to what they do with home run calls, but lets put the monitors in the stadium, not a phone call away in the NY office. No reason for the other 4 umpires to go off under the stadium to review it. It’s the 21st century, we have wireless communications… USE THEM.

    2) Let PitchFX call the strike zone.
    It has been shown to be accurate within 1/4″. I doubt any human umpire can be accurate within 2″ on 90+MPH breaking pitches.

    3) Heads up displays!
    Ump’s behind the plate can have the digital strikezone painted right in front of their face. They can still stand there, making all the “calls” on the field, to keep the purists happy. The only difference is that he won’t have to actually make a decision, he can just tell us if it was a ball or a strike9the only downfall to this i see is umpires becoming “overactors” a la Frank Drebin haha).

    4) Call reversals.
    The umpires on the field are allowed to make an initial call. If it is determined by the 5th umpire that the call was incorrect, he can signal the umps on the field and have the call overturned. There is no reason to have challenge flags or allow the managers to decide when a call is “re-playable”. There is nor eason for 3-4 minute meetings between the umps. Let the 5th ump correct them on the fly. They want to get it right more than we want them to, trust me.

  52. trisha - OPPC forever - (new lucky picture from last day at the old Stadium) BRING ON THE GHOSTS! February 1st, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Doreen – :)

    Erin, I don’t remember the guy you’re talking about but it could have been someone with a connection to the Sux. I’ll try to hunt down the guy’s name.

    I do remember, though, that Angel Hernandez went through a phase where he was apparently not loving the Yankees. I don’t know if he ever got out of it, come to think of it.

  53. Jerry Jersey February 1st, 2010 at 10:23 am

    No, I’m sorry but you are wrong and this whole post was dumb. There is nothing worse than watching a bad call in sports. We have the ability to get them correct. We should use that ability.

  54. Guru Man February 1st, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Yazman
    February 1st, 2010 at 10:21 am
    I do think instant reply has changed everything. We DO want the calls to be right.

    The biggest downside is the delay itself, and its corresponding dampening of dramatic moments.

    “Jackie Robinson just stole home!!!!!!!” Don’t get too excited yet, we’ll let you know in a few minutes.

    Safe or out, it’s sad to have the focus on umpires when we find out.
    =======

    good post!

  55. m February 1st, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I think everyone wants the spirit of the game to remain intact and they would prefer a game not be drawn out.

    But I think the players, managers, fans, umps, and mlb (who have to deal with the umps f-ups) would rather things be right.

  56. Bronx Jeers February 1st, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Putting “ordinary people” on Zambonis is an idea whose time has finally come!

  57. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 1st, 2010 at 10:25 am

    It is really not okay for blatantly wrong calls to go uncorrected. I just wonder if there’s a way to deal with this issue before instituting wholesale instant replay.

    But I think it’s going to happen (replay) sooner than later. So, my main focus would be on them being able to get that right – in other words, make sure whatever system they put in place doesn’t make matters worse.

  58. salty Buggar February 1st, 2010 at 10:26 am

    If you are a slave to technology you’ll want replay. IF THE GAME HAS SURVIVED OVER 100yrs without it, why change a thing leave it out.

  59. TJ February 1st, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Great guest post….whether you agree or don’t.

  60. Jacob February 1st, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I really don’t agree with this piece, and the point(s) that were made were pretty weak. I’m all in favor of keeping the integrity of the game and I love the history of the game, but I’m more in favor of improving the quality of the umpiring. There were several blown calls in the playoffs that were just unbelievable. The foul ball down the left field line in the Yanks-Twins ALDS Game 2, the tag play with Posada and Cano at third base in the ALCS Game 4. Just horrendous umpiring of epic proportions. It’s mind-boggling to think that the umps couldn’t get these calls right even with two extra umps on the field.

    I am only in favor of instant replay being used for home run calls. Anything else should be called on the field. But, to be honest, I could care less about people debating the Jackie Robinson steal of home plate. If I’m a fan of either team involved in a game where a call is blown, I would find more peace in knowing that the correct call was made than feeling cheated.

    You want to talk about keeping the integrity of the game? I’m a Yankees fan, but ask Twins fans how they feel about Game 2 of the ALDS. The Twins very easily could have won that game. Now THAT’S integrity.

  61. Captain Chaos February 1st, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Nice piece; however, have to disagree. You only have to take a look at football to see that even the calls made under the hood can in fact be subjective, and I think you like the subjectivity. I’m more black and white and want to know for sure. I mean look at the strike zones, each umpire seems to have his own and they change throughout the game. They even change per pitcher, a good batter may get a ball on a close call while a good pitcher may earn a strike. Given the weight we baseball fans place on stats, you would think that we would want more precision not less. I mean really, how can we place so much stock in a batting average or ERA when the circumstances surrounding these statistics are so subjective…..

  62. Erin February 1st, 2010 at 10:30 am

    trisha – OPPC forever – (new lucky picture from last day at the old Stadium) BRING ON THE GHOSTS!
    February 1st, 2010 at 10:23 am
    Doreen –

    Erin, I don’t remember the guy you’re talking about but it could have been someone with a connection to the Sux. I’ll try to hunt down the guy’s name.

    ***********************
    Thanks Trisha! I think both of the incidents were at Yankee stadium-the first was when he called Jeter out at third when they were playing the Blue Jays and the second was he called A-Rod out on strikes when the third “strike” was clearly a ball. I can’t remember who they were playing.

  63. Steven February 1st, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Are you seriously saying that just because we remember a controversial call that if it had gone the other way may change the outcome of the entire series is the reason why we shouldn’t have instant replay and the ability to get every call right? That was a terrible argument

  64. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 1st, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Erin, it was Marty Foster:

    http://www.nj.com/yankees/inde.....e_did.html

  65. Yankee Trader February 1st, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Tom B-

    Definitely agree with a 5th umpire located in the stadium with access to slo-mo TV instant replay for calls on the field-relaying the correct call to the head umpire. This would actually speed up the game, in not wasting time arguing calls in the field.

    GB7-

    Just plain “abynormal” like most of us!!!! Actually just saw the play Young Frankenstein phrom wear dat fras kame phrom!!!

  66. NextYankeeDynasty February 1st, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I appreciate the time put into the post, but I couldnt disagree more…..Baseball needs to increase its use of Instant replay….last postseason was a running joke, if its not fixed prior to this postseason it will get even more media attention and will take away from the results on the field….

  67. GreenBeret7 February 1st, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Doreen – Ain’t it Just “Grand”?
    February 1st, 2010 at 10:25 am
    It is really not okay for blatantly wrong calls to go uncorrected. I just wonder if there’s a way to deal with this issue before instituting wholesale instant replay.

    But I think it’s going to happen (replay) sooner than later. So, my main focus would be on them being able to get that right – in other words, make sure whatever system they put in place doesn’t make matters worse.

    ————————————————————

    The technology is there for placing sensory chips in baseballs and bases. Where it really needs to be cleaned up is the ball and strike calls, but base and boundry calls are and issue, too.

    This is a Commissioner’s responsibility. Grade the umpires on correct and missed calls over a season with monthly updates provided to them. If it isn’t cleaned up, it’s time for a minor league refresher course at that league’s salary for umpires. When it starts costing them money, it will bring changes. Teams send players to the minors or eliminate them for continuous mental lapses and non-hustle.

  68. Yazman February 1st, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Thanks, Guru.

    Tom B, most of your suggestions DO preserve baseball’s dramatic moments. Intriguing!

  69. Jacob February 1st, 2010 at 10:37 am

    No, my argument was to improve the quality of the umpiring on the field. If that can’t be done, then I would welcome instant replay for more than just home runs.

  70. trisha - OPPC forever - (new lucky picture from last day at the old Stadium) BRING ON THE GHOSTS! February 1st, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Okay I don’t care how ridiculous this sounds, when the Yankees get the benefit of blown calls, it makes me feel dirty. The only time I am okay with it is when the other team has just gotten the benefit of a blown call too. That happens every once in a great while. Obviously I would rather that there be no blown calls.

  71. 86w183 February 1st, 2010 at 10:38 am

    There are so many fall arguments here. Preserving the “human element” is one of the most bogus. Has anyone proposed letting ROBOTS make the replay ruling? As for the Jackie Robinson play, the replay is inconclusive so the initial call would be upheld.

    Baseball has survived for over 100 years why change it? Well, baseball survived 50+ years of racism so why change that? We already know that technology allows bad calls to be corrected so the only legit argument is when and how to utilize it. Anyone want Alex’ HR in Philly to be a double?

    As for the argument that it’s better to watch a manager act like a spoiled eight year old than getting the call right I can only wonder…..

    The arguments against using replay are the same nonsense spewed by the frauds who insist the BCS is the best way to choose a champ in college football.

  72. stuckey February 1st, 2010 at 10:39 am

    To address the issue of delays in calls and their effect on the game.

    Horse and autoracing are two of the country’s most popular sports but I don’t think ANYONE would argue photo-finishes are bad for either. They are dramatic, tension-filled and exciting their in their own right.

    And someone mentioned how professional tennis gets it right. They don’t need the little graphic display they show to fans to get line calls right. And the whole follow the arc of the shot until it lands display is ALL theater, but fans LOVE it.

    The MLB and NFL need to keep in mind they are putting on a SHOW for fans, and figure out ways to include them in the dramatics of waiting to get the definitive call.

    MLB prohibits stadiums from showing close replies in order not to incite fans against umpires. But if technology allows them to get it right, and fans can plainly see it themselves, that concern is moot. Then it just becomes an issue of the umpires being embarrassed.

  73. GreenBeret7 February 1st, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Yankee Trader
    February 1st, 2010 at 10:34 am
    Tom B-

    Definitely agree with a 5th umpire located in the stadium with access to slo-mo TV instant replay for calls on the field-relaying the correct call to the head umpire. This would actually speed up the game, in not wasting time arguing calls in the field.

    GB7-

    Just plain “abynormal” like most of us!!!! Actually just saw the play Young Frankenstein phrom wear dat fras kame phrom!!!

    ————————————————————

    There were few movie teams better than Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder and Madalyn Kahn. Brooks is just crazy. Funniest mind in comedy. Loved Young Frankenstein (pronounced Fronkensteen)

  74. Tom B February 1st, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Yazman, exactly. The idea is to give the appearance that nothing has changed, yet under the hood all the calls are infinitely more accurate.

  75. trisha - OPPC forever - (new lucky picture from last day at the old Stadium) BRING ON THE GHOSTS! February 1st, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Doreen, good job!

  76. GreenBeret7 February 1st, 2010 at 10:40 am

    “It’s twue. It’s twue.”

  77. Erin February 1st, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Doreen – Ain’t it Just “Grand”?
    February 1st, 2010 at 10:34 am
    Erin, it was Marty Foster:

    http://www.nj.com/yankees/inde…..e_did.html

    *****************
    Thanks Doreen!

  78. Yankee Trader February 1st, 2010 at 10:41 am

    “The technology is there for placing sensory chips in baseballs and bases. Where it really needs to be cleaned up is the ball and strike calls, but base and boundry calls are and issue, too.”
    —————————————————-

    Me thinks computer chip implantation in umpires brains, would solve the problem, especially as Doreen noted with her attached article, for umpire Marty Foster.

  79. 86w183 February 1st, 2010 at 10:42 am

    On the umpire issue…. I agree they should be graded more closely.. AND publicly.

    There’s no reason to have an equal rotation of umpires behind the plate. The system the have guarantees the worst 25 % of home plate umps will work the same number of games as the best 25 %.

    How does that make sense?

  80. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 1st, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Trisha -

    I love this “google” thing they have! :lol:

    I just typed in “Jeter called out at third” and it came up!

  81. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 1st, 2010 at 10:44 am

    86w183 -

    Ball & Strike specialists? I like that idea.

  82. pete February 1st, 2010 at 10:52 am

    yeesh i didn’t realize there were so many baseball aesthetics enthusiasts out there. Personally, I watch baseball because i want to see the yankees win and i want to see A-Rod hit HRs and CC strike guys out and Cano just hit, stuff like that. I guess some people prefer to “soak in” the “aesthetic beauty” of an erring umpire. Not me.

  83. gianthinker February 1st, 2010 at 10:53 am

    LOL! Love the ending. Nice write up. Although MLB Network pretty much proved Jackie was actually safe and it was the right call because Yogi was blocked from getting into the right position. I grew up being taught and saying “He was out!” but my Yankee fandom aside he was safe. Regardless, I agree I don’t like all of the replay and whatnot. I think HR and border calls are important to get right but calls should be calls period. There has to be a human element to a game played by humans otherwise we’d might as well design robots to play or scrap live play all together and make pro franchise baseball video game league. Its getting ridiculous.

  84. Jacob February 1st, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Trisha and 86w183:

    I couldn’t agree more.

  85. JeterJobaCanoFan2010 February 1st, 2010 at 11:00 am

    My favorite Madalyn Kahn line: ” A wed wose, how womantic”. She was precious.

  86. Alan February 1st, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Every TV outlet in the game shows the framed strike zone for almost every pitch. It clearly shows the home plate umpire decisions to be questionable on many calls especially on the inside-outside calls.
    There’s no uniformity from game to game. Some umpires come with reputations of high or low or wide strike zones.
    A CF camera could easily give a green signal for a correct call and a red one for a bad call with the count reversed and changed immediately. As it is, players and managers risk being thrown out of games if they argue balls and strikes.

  87. GreenBeret7 February 1st, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Yankee Trader
    February 1st, 2010 at 10:41 am
    “The technology is there for placing sensory chips in baseballs and bases. Where it really needs to be cleaned up is the ball and strike calls, but base and boundry calls are and issue, too.”
    —————————————————-

    Me thinks computer chip implantation in umpires brains, would solve the problem, especially as Doreen noted with her attached article, for umpire Marty Foster.

    ————————————————————

    Foster gets involved with controversy in games with the Yankees on a yearly basis. In 2007, he was the umpire that called Willie Bloomquit safe in a late inning steal that cost NYYs the game. all replays showed thhe was tagged heavily on the leg 5 feet before Bloomquist ever reached the base.

    I’d advocate that each umpire attends a pre-season refresher course on rules and after that, be unknowingly videotaped and graded during a series of games. Grade on conditioning, positioning and calling of balls, strikes, base plays and ingame comportment (attitude, if you will). There are too many hair-triggered umpires that not only continue arguements, but, in many cases cause the arguements beyond the offending calls.

    95% correction rate is passing. First failure is a one month demotion to the minors at minor league play, 2nd failure is a one year demotion and third failure is dismissal.

  88. stuckey February 1st, 2010 at 11:05 am

    “Ovaltine??” craps me up no matter how many times I see it…

  89. GreenBeret7 February 1st, 2010 at 11:11 am

    stuckey
    February 1st, 2010 at 11:05 am
    “Ovaltine??” craps me up no matter how many times I see it…

    ————————————————————

    That would certainly explain the majority of your posts. Too much Ovaltine.

  90. randy l. February 1st, 2010 at 11:12 am

    ” So, while I know that the technology is available, I just wish they would slow it down a notch. It is driving the umpires and tradition right out of the game.”

    jason whitman-

    on the other hand , when there is an obvious blown call that we all see on tv, that doesn’t make the umpires look good either.

    the replays on tv embarrass the umps sometimes and they have to issue apologies the next day.

    i would think looking at the same replays we are seeing on tv would make it a lot easier to be an umpire.

    put an ump in a booth and have that person watch the same thing everyone else is watching.

    if there’s a really bad call, quickly show the other umps and make a quick call and move on.

    as long as fans know more than an ump from their tvs, umps are going to look bad sometimes.

  91. randy l. February 1st, 2010 at 11:20 am

    ” I just typed in “Jeter called out at third” and it came up!”

    the really great thing is gb7 can type in “Jetar cslled our at thurd” and it still comes up.

  92. NJ Pete February 1st, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Jackie Robinson was obviously out. The umpire was out of position. His view was blocked by Yogi. I’ve heard Yogi tell the story and I believe him. Of course I may be partial.

    Instead of instant replay, I believe more attention should be given to education of umpires. Teach them the proper position to be in to make the correct call and to not make assumptions based on the throw (player is out if the throw beats the runner; the Jeter incident at 3rd base) or where the runner is tagged (the Cano play a 2nd a few years ago where the runner was out by 2 feet but called safe).

    Thanks Jason for a great post and for stirring up some ‘painful’ memories.

  93. Irabu's Son February 1st, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Jason Whitman and I tried out for the Broome Community College baseball team together, back in 1998. He’s a good guy.

  94. m February 1st, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Doesn’t Jason Whitman play pro football for the Cowboys? ;)

  95. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 1st, 2010 at 11:25 am

    randy l -

    You had to know I was going to test that, didn’t you???? :lol:

    Google does not have a superior brain, apparently. LOL

  96. GreenBeret7 February 1st, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Randy is nothing but a troublemaker.

  97. Uncle Ellsworth (Expert textpert choking smokers, don't you think the joker laughs at you) February 1st, 2010 at 11:39 am

    I defer to Yogi.

  98. Shame Spencer February 1st, 2010 at 11:45 am

    To me, the debate over instant replay has always consisted of a difference in a generational philosophy. As a 22 year old, I have never talked to any of my contemporary baseball fans that have thought IR is a bad idea. Not one. We disagree on favorite teams, players, statistics, NL/AL differences, etc, but NEVER have we disagreed on the need for IR in baseball. Meanwhile, my father, uncles, etc, don’t support it’s use. My generation grew up on the internet, so I can’t blame them for not seeing the value in certain types of technology. (Maybe it really isnt an age thing but an experience thing. Like how often or how useful you find new forms of technology in general.. Older posters – if I’m off let me know!)

    I would personally prefer a system that still includes umps, but umps with aides. The strike zone should be uniform. It isnt as if you can’t adjust a strike zone to individual players instantly based on height/weight/lefty/righty. If MLB can have video games that literally utilize the faces and batting stances of every major league player, there is no reason perfecting this technology for every at-bat use should be as difficult as some people make it seem. Keep a home plate ump for safe/out calls, but feed him strike/ball calls from the questech-esque system. The other umps are also still required for foul/fair calls and safe/out calls, but have another ump in front of TVs somewhere at every game (c’mon, tell me these guys wouldnt like to get paid to do even less..) and review the calls along with the likes of Michael Kay. The guy just has to watch the damn game. IF a call happens to be made that he sees is incorrect, each ump (like the home place ump) can have an ear piece and be notified quickly.

    Two irritating aspects of this debate: 1) there is not one thing on this god given earth that could make baseball a longer game. Not even IR would make baseball games last that much longer in the grand scheme of things. Whem Michael Kay and Ken Singleton can get the replays within seconds, there is no reason that cannot translate onto a replay system that works effectively. 2) the “human element” is overrated when it comes to getting it right. the “human element” of baseball I like is watching a guy like Arod come back from hip surgery and hit a homer in his first at bat. Thats the human element, not the umpires. If they get a call wrong, and it can be ammended, it should be.

    The reason its becoming even more necessary is that the clubhouses are also equiped to show replays. A player can walk out of the box and find out if that last call was really a ball or a strike. A manager can check if that guy stealing second was out or safe. The type of conflicts that creates with players/managers and umps needs to be considered. This would make the lives of umpires a lot easier and give players/managers/fans a lot less to complain about.

  99. murphydog February 1st, 2010 at 11:47 am

    OK, performance enhancement in players is wrong because it disrespects the game, is cheating, cheapens the game… etc. In fact, it’s beyond wrong and no defense is possible, quoth Selig and Senator Mitchell. We will only countenance natural talent, natural records, natural accomplishments. Unless….

    Unless of course it comes to a decision by an umpire.

    For as long as anyone can remember, there was a need for arbitration of disputes in Baseball, going back to Alexander Joy Cartwright, the Knickerbockers and Elysian Fields and before.

    If the means of playing the game must be unenhanced and purely natural – and we are willing to conduct witch hunts to “cleanse” the game – why does arbitrating the disputes of such a necessarily natural game need to be otherwise?

    We have become a litigious society that needs some other level of society to settle our disputes. The judicial system is looked upon as the final arbiter of all things social, commercial, religious, political. Yet in reality, most of the time we can agree to disagree and be just fine without the process and procedure, costs, zero-sum strategies and hardening of feelings inherent in allowing strangers to resolves our differences. We would be better off if we were forced to learn again how to settle differences among ourselves instead of going to battle stations over every sideways look, insult perceived or hurt feeling.

    Let the umpires police the game, let the game stay natural. It’s a GAME!

    Or, let the chemicals and machines take over. I can’t see how you can honestly argue so vehemently against steroids and PEDs yet want to have machines or enhanced human judgment take over behind the plate and on the base paths.

  100. Tom B February 1st, 2010 at 11:59 am

    sorry murph. you could have summed up your whole post like this.

    hi, i’m murphydog and i like blown calls.

    see how much easier that was?

  101. Angel Berroa February 1st, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Yogi is never wrong. Ever.

  102. GreenBeret7 February 1st, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Murph, I don’t want a game without umpires. I just want a game that have umpires that care that they get the game calls correct. The other issue is their confrontational attitudes and behavior. 25 years ago, you never saw an umpire rip off his mask and start screaming because a player looked at him with a questioning look. Umpires like Foster and West start the games looking for trouble. Umpires like Bucknor are just bad. This is what needs to be cleaned up and videotaping and grading umpires would fix that. Let the electronics guide the evaluations and not be part of the game….Yet.

  103. murphydog February 1st, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Tom B:

    I’ll be looking for your next great contribution to the debate. Thanks for checking in.

  104. Abe Peterham February 1st, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I hateeeee the pace of NFL games…keep the replay limited!

    Yogi’s always right,,,even when he’s wrong..

    My favorite Yogi’ism..
    His kids told him the guy for the venitian blinds was at the front door, he told the kids “give them some spare change to help”

  105. stuckey February 1st, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Murphy, Tom B, just about summed it up, but you too are relying on the same logical fallacy anyone anti-technology is relying on.

    BASEBALL already USES technology to allow for better officiating in baseball.

    What do you think masks and chest protectors do for home plate umpires? It gives them “unatural” protection allowing them to get closer to the plate.

    Each game they lay down refresh new white foul lines (and use a MACHINE to do it). When I was a kid and played backyard GAMES, we used our eyes and wonderful arguments resulted from it.

    Your argument is drawing a distinction between electronic technology and OTHER technology, which is where it goes wrong.

  106. randyhater February 1st, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Computer chips in balls and electric eyes? Why stop there? Let’s have robot pitchers and runners who fly around the basepaths on rocket scooters, too.

    The human element and the drama involved in seeing how humans respond and react under pressure is what makes the game great. I’d no sooner eliminate Richie Garcia’s Jeffrey Maier home run than I would the ball between Buckner’s legs. For those who prefer video games, try Call of Duty.

    Baseball isn’t broken, stop fixing it.

  107. Shame Spencer February 1st, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    “Or, let the chemicals and machines take over. I can’t see how you can honestly argue so vehemently against steroids and PEDs yet want to have machines or enhanced human judgment take over behind the plate and on the base paths.”

    Murphydog – comparing steroids and instant replay makes very little logical sense. If anything the debate over steriods and the “integrity of the game” lends itself to an argument that supports instant replay rather than opposes it. I agree, it is just a game, after all. But this is a game that generates billions of dollars annually. BILLIONS! If I were playing chess in my house and cheated to beat my little brother, that would be just a game. The two of us wouldn’t be making $25 mill+ a year to swing a piece of wood, there would be no need for IR, or for congress to get itself involved, or for countless media firestorms to produce themselves over and over. Yes.. its just a game.. but look at this blog. Clearly, it means just a little bit more than that to a lot of people. People spend a lot of money on a product. The product should at least TRY to be as flawless as possible. Get the calls right.

  108. murphydog February 1st, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    GB7:

    “Let the electronics guide the evaluations and not be part of the game….Yet.”

    Except for the “yet” I’m with you.

    Oversight and evaluative feedback are important to improving the umpiring substantively. But guys like Joe West need to go because they are damaging the overall perception of umpire integrity and impartiality, even if the substance is still good. Iconic umpires existed before The West Group but were known only to the players and managers. That was fine.

    Now they all have to get their “15 Minutes of Fame.” I count Angel Hernandez in there too. Shameful. The umpires’ game is impartiality, objectivity and excellence and I would like to throw in invisibility. Anybody who can’t meet those demands can go.

  109. Erin February 1st, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    New post: After further review

  110. Sam Borden February 1st, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    New post on a few thoughts to start the week.

  111. GreenBeret7 February 1st, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Murph, you’re correct about the “Yet” to an extent. I put it in there, because without a consequence, there is seldom a reason to improve or change.

  112. Mandible Tunes February 2nd, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I think Jason’s argument is flawed. In the past, we didn’t have the technology we have today. So when an umpire made a controversial call, all we had to compare it against was a split second personal observation and the personal observations of millions of others. This led to the great debates that last for 50 years. But today, in a couple of seconds we see replays of the game from 20 different angles. While not always conclusive, a lot of the time it is immediately obvious if the call was wrong or right. 50 years of charming debate are pointless after we’ve seen the replays at home. We all know what really happened and the collective observations of millions of people become irrelevant. Instead of 50 years of “he was safe, no he was out” arguments, you get either 1) apathy or 2) 50 years of “that ump screwed up that call”. Knowing what really happened but allowing the decision to stand is absurd.

    As for replay ruining the game of football, its not the replay itself, its the implementation. I’ve read suggestions on how to implement replay for baseball that would not disrupt the flow of the game and would work fairly smoothly.

  113. Sports Geek February 2nd, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Let’s keep black and white TV because that’s the way it’s always been…

    Let’s keep AM radio because nobody ever meant for there to be stereo radio (or HD radio, or Internet radio)…

    Let’s not let catchers use those hockey goalie type of masks. Those weren’t designed for baseball. Catchers should use the original kind- that’s the way it’s always been…

    Let’s not allow batters to use ankle guards or ear guards or elbow guards, or batting gloves. Did Babe Ruth use a batting glove?… no he didn’t, they aren’t part of baseball, never have been…

    And umpires should go back to those big bulky chest protectors they had in the 60′s, because that’s the way the sport was meant to be…

    Now, let’s talk about dugouts. They should not have those screens which protect the players from foul balls. Ahh, what a game it is when the catcher dives into the opponent’s dugout to catch a foul ball to end the game! No dugout screens! Because that’s the way the game has always been.

    Let’s not have rules against bean-balls. Let’s not have umpire warnings to the whole team. After all, bean-balls are part of the game, always have been…

    For that matter, we shouldn’t have any rules against performance enhancing drugs. There never have been such rules. We have no idea if players in the 20′s, 30′s, 40′s, 50′s, 60′s ever used any kind of substances. That’s the way the game has always been. We shouldn’t change it now…

    Now, about technology. Forget it! There should be a rule against it. No computers in the locker room or Manager’s or GM’s office. No computers for scouts either. Did Casey Stengel use one? Or Leo Durocher? What about Billy Martin? We should go back to Hits, HRs, Avg and SBs. Forget OBA and OPS and OPS+… Forget BABIP and RC and all those other advanced stats. Baseball was never played that way when I was growing up…

    Well, you get the picture.

    How many incorrect calls were there during the 2009 Playoffs and World Series? Just in the Yankees games there were 10 or more. It makes a bit of a mockery of the game when all of the viewers can see the errors, yet one team is seriously harmed by the bad call. The integrity of the game is damaged. Baseball should use replays, BUT should do it in a way that minimizes disruption to the game. Put some smart baseball minds together with some smart technology minds and let them figure it out.

    Then there is the errors that occur in the calling of balls and strikes. If Roger Clemens or Randy Johnson (avoiding any comment about current pitchers) always got the benefit of the doubt, while “lesser” pitchers did not, what does that say about the game?

    Yes, I am FOR increased use of technology in assisting the umpires. But there are a lot of possibilities, I certainly do not want Instant Replay that causes a 5+ minute delay like they have in the NFL, but the technology is there, and the game looks foolish when we see mistaken call after mistaken call. Let’s not reject it out of hand.. because of tradition or history. Let’s find a way to make the game better, like they have done in tennis using the HawkEye or Cyclops System for in/out calls.

    Come one!! It’s the 21st century. Technology marches on, and baseball should too. Let’s applaud the players for their great plays. And let’s reward them for their success when the replay shows they succeeded.


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