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  1. bottom of the 19th inning*

    Comment by pbjsandwich — July 28, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

  2. We only wish it was the 9th, those of us still running a sleep deficit from that nutty game.

    Comment by Anon21 — July 28, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

  3. Hah, thanks. Fixed.

    Comment by Alex Remington — July 28, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

  4. hell man I was having a ton of fun watching that game. Lots of great defense, the little girl screaming her heart out, the guys with the huge stack of cups. McCutchen was pitching great too. It just broke my heart when that call was made

    Comment by pbjsandwich — July 28, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

  5. “Proctor grounded the ball to third and stumbled coming out of the box.”

    Oh, that’s a very polite way of putting it. Well done.

    Comment by Anon21 — July 28, 2011 @ 4:43 pm

  6. I had a ton of fun, too, but my reaction to the game-ending play was to dissolve into hysterical laughter for two minutes. I like to think I’d have had the same reaction as a Pirates fan. I mean, obviously the call was blown, but in a ri-goddamn-diculous game like that, what more appropriate way to end it?

    Comment by Anon21 — July 28, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

  7. The very next game, the ump at 1st base blew a call that was also pretty obvious in favor of the other team… HMMMM.

    Comment by SC2GG — July 28, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

  8. Keep in mind, when (if?) replay is introduced in baseball, players will begin to become accustomed to continuing the play, just in case a ruling is overturned, much as they are learning to do in the NFL. If McKenry had thrown the ball to first after the safe call and clearly beaten the runner, Option 2 becomes the obvious one.

    Comment by Dave — July 28, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

  9. I still want to know if Martin Prado had got another at bat (he was up next) and went 0-10, if it would have been some sort of record.

    Comment by SC2GG — July 28, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

  10. Couldn’t there be a principle similar to football that the play continues unless it was clearly declared dead, since in the case of a replay you can always roll it back. If the catcher knew replay was possible, he would then have gone ahead and made the throw to first, resolving the problem.

    Comment by Bryce — July 28, 2011 @ 4:52 pm

  11. If I was the ump, after that much baseball my brain would have been fried. I am not saying he blew the call to get home, I’m saying that after that long, he wasn’t firing on all cylenders.

    Rather than instant replay, there should 100% be a rule that after every 9 innings, the home plate ump should switch with another guy. In this way fatigue will be less likely to play a part in a losey ending to a game.

    Comment by Dan in Philly — July 28, 2011 @ 4:53 pm

  12. I might be missing something, but the Pine Tar Game does not sound like precedent for #1. They didn’t do Brett’s AB over; they counted it as a HR.

    Comment by Person — July 28, 2011 @ 4:53 pm

  13. He’s no fun, he fell right over.

    Comment by Alex Remington — July 28, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

  14. @SC2GG it’s not that hard to find out

    Comment by Person — July 28, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

  15. The Braves announcers felt that Meals was killing the Braves with the strike zone all night — before he handed them the game, of course. I think he was disappointing everyone.

    Comment by Alex Remington — July 28, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

  16. Sigh, traditionalism. Get over it, grandpas of baseball.

    Comment by grilledcheese — July 28, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

  17. I can promise that all of the other umps did NOT give him a hard time for calling the runner safe. Heh Heh.

    They had just enough time to shower, change, and get to strip clubs.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — July 28, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

  18. This has been a problem in the past, when players have decided to start arguing with the umpire about a bang-bang play at first — while the play is still live.

    I’m sure you’ve all seen a few plays like that. Wasn’t Chuck Knoblauch involved in something like that, several years back?

    Comment by Alex Remington — July 28, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

  19. True. But they did the end of the game over.

    Comment by Alex Remington — July 28, 2011 @ 5:00 pm

  20. I assume that you could also have a scenario where the catcher knows the play will be reviewed, he ignores the safe call and throws to first to get the hitter, relieving the umpire of having to “assume” the double play. It would really take a heads up play to do that as most players will be stopped in their tracks with a “wait, what?” and start arguing on the spot. In fact, even on this play the catcher looked at the umpire to watch the out call, then looked at third and never did turn to first once he realized the game was over. So maybe he wouldn’t have completed the DP.

    They kind of do that in hockey, playing on to the next stoppage then resetting the clock if something is overturned but it creates problems when there is a score or a penalty in that wiped-out time.

    Comment by MikeS — July 28, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

  21. Amend the rules to create a small box, in front of home plate but adjacent to the line, where a catcher can position himself and not be interfered with by the runner. Place a camera in center field looking directly at the point of contact and allow the umpire to keep his natural position.

    This way, the runner has clear path to home plate. The catcher can position himself to make a swipe tag without fear of a collision. The umpire has the benefit of making the call, but if there’s doubt the camera in centerfield can overrule the call.

    Comment by Andrew — July 28, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

  22. This is a very good point- one that I hope is not lost on Selig et al.

    Comment by hairball — July 28, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

  23. This is what I was thinking. Even with the game purportedly over, the possibility of a reversal would have motivated the catcher to throw to 1st anyway. He turned and argued because the game was over.

    The one problem here, if we use football as our example, is that some plays have no continuation. A football play ends with a ref’s whistle, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it later. Some refs have learned to err on the side of not blowing the whistle – leaning on replay, in a sense – but the point remains the same: a dead ball ends the possibility for continuation. Baseball would have many more instances of this. Players would have to learn to play, and umps would have to make calls, through the end of innings and games.

    Comment by Adam — July 28, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

  24. This is both brilliant and completely unrealistic in a sport as tradition-centric as baseball.

    Comment by hairball — July 28, 2011 @ 5:13 pm

  25. Thanks, Person – I actually didn’t realize that B-R had that super awesome searching tool there (I don’t go to the main page much.. or recently..). Awesome!

    Our winner: Charlie Pick
    This game, from 1920:

    Cute notes:
    Both pitchers threw 26 inning complete games. Must have been keeping the bullpen back just in case, to get a save.
    The entire game lasted 3hr50mins, as in, less than a 9 inning Yanks – BoSox game today, despite 3* the innings.
    No one won the game, it was a 1-1 draw.
    Another hitter, Chuck Ward, went 0-10 in the same game. His entire team went 9-85.

    As far as post-war, 0-10 has happened only twice, in the same game:
    The Amazin’ Mets booted a ground ball in the bottom of the 24th to lose 1-0 on an error.

    Martin Prado, you could have been famous!

    Comment by SC2GG — July 28, 2011 @ 5:20 pm

  26. It looks like he had a pretty big zone but it benefited Pittsburgh more.

    There are quite a few pitches thrown in a 19 inning game.

    Comment by don — July 28, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

  27. Thanks, don. And yes. There were 609 pitches thrown total.

    Comment by Alex Remington — July 28, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

  28. Don’t the third and second options go hand in hand? How can you be for one and against the other?

    Comment by Pat — July 28, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

  29. How about: no run can score once the catcher has the ball in his glove and has touched the plate – and if the runner then touches home plate, they are out (they can try to return to 3rd, so it’s not a force play). An exception would be required to keep the double steal (of 2nd & home) in order.

    Comment by Aaron — July 28, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

  30. Because there is literally no example in baseball of an umpire awarding a force out to a team that didn’t actually record it.

    Comment by Alex Remington — July 28, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

  31. I find it hilarious that, at an intelligent “stat-head” site, this one infrequent occurrence (blown call at plate) is deemed “important”… because it “decided the outcome”.

    But umps blow calls constantly on balls and strikes… which, in total, are far more impactful… and far easier get right 100% of the time…. with no delay or review.

    But getting that right is not important?

    Comment by Dave S — July 28, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

  32. I am of the opinion that an instant replay system as intrusive as the one mentioned in this article should be first tested at the minor league level. Baseball is a crazy game, every once in a while you witness something that you’ve never seen before, even if you have followed the game for your life time. What do you do when there is A LOT of action that happens after the overturned call? The idea of positioning runners after the fact on an overturned call is still somewhat unsettling to me.
    vr, Xei

    Comment by Xeifrank — July 28, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

  33. Someone said grandpas of baseball… guess what, I AM a grandpa. And I would gladly cede tag out calls and all the other trivial nonsense that umps need to call… for 100% accurate balls and strikes!

    Balls and strikes are the core of this game.

    Wake up you young whipper-snappers! Pick the right battle! (I thought you guys were super-smart?)


    Comment by Dave S — July 28, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

  34. For now… screw replay for anything except HR calls. Give me “Hawk-Eye” for 100% accurate balls and strikes. THEN we deal with instant replay for the other stuff.

    and really, after 19 innings… I’m calling the guy safe too.

    Comment by Dave S — July 28, 2011 @ 6:43 pm

  35. I think option three is the best one, considering the aforementioned possibility that the players would continue to play due to the fact of their knowledge of instant replay. I think that if instant replay is introduced there should be some kind of rule with it where the umpire has to declare the ball is dead or something like that

    Comment by William — July 28, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

  36. Of course balls and strikes are important. And, hell, yes, I’m the sort of young turk who wouldn’t mind seeing the balls and strikes be called correctly — even if you had to call ‘em by robot.

    But baseball is only improved by increments, and calling for expansion of instant replay to apply to game-ending plays ought to be a no-brainer. Balls and strikes are a ways off yet.

    Comment by Alex Remington — July 28, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

  37. Instant replay would have to be invoked after the play. It couldn’t happen during it. The umpire’s not going to call the ball dead while runners are still running the bases.

    Comment by Alex Remington — July 28, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

  38. Well, overall it was fair: unfair in a positive way for the Braves; unfair in a equally negative way for the Pirates.
    In the long run, it’s all fair.
    And in the long run, we’re all dead.

    Call was blown. Big effin’ deal. If this kills the Pirates for the rest of the season, too bad for their fragile sensitivities. Play harder, and win earlier.

    Game is not that important anyway.

    Comment by SOB — July 28, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

  39. That’s basically what Merkle’s boner was all about ( ). Everybody thought the game was over, but Evers found an ump who was still paying attention and touched second, forcing Merkle out and rendering the winning run void.

    Back then they had the option of declaring the game over on account of darkness, but assuming they could gain control of the rioters, I don’t think there’s any reason they couldn’t have kept playing.

    Comment by fang2415 — July 28, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

  40. Well, gee, if that’s your attitude, why have umpires at all? Why not just let the players call the balls and strikes like they did in the 1840s?

    Comment by Alex Remington — July 28, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

  41. A good point, but it could get sloppy in plays where one team knows the play is over and the other thinks it could be overturned.

    Comment by Hoof — July 28, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

  42. But at what point do the runners stop then? Would we be looking at a situation where after what should be the 3rd out of every inning the players just keep playing? How would we ever know that a play was over? Do the umps need whistles?

    Comment by JohnnyComeLately — July 28, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

  43. If we had replay and it was anything like the NFL replay system, that call has a good chance of standing.

    Comment by Anonymous — July 28, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

  44. if that’s his/her attitude.. why bother to follow baseball at all.

    Comment by Dave S — July 28, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

  45. You see… this is where we disagree. Yes, I understand, change isnlt easy, and you need to pick your battles.

    I understand that this blown call makes it an “easy to understand” battle.

    But you are a Sabrmetrician. You are not about what is easy. You are about what is right. What is correct. What is TRUE.


    So… fight for what is TRUE.

    Comment by Dave S — July 28, 2011 @ 8:12 pm

  46. Balls and strikes are the CRUX of this game.

    To have the ability to get this “perfect”… and ignore it… and choose to mess it up… OFTEN… is a travesty.

    It is easily, and transparently, fixable.

    Why leave it broken?

    Truly, this “tag out” issue is insignificant compared to the variable strike zone we endure. 609 times in that game. Any ONE of them could have changed the outcome. You think he got 609 correct?

    This issue has been handled in tennis, cricket, billiards, etc.

    It’s not some crazy new technology.

    Comment by Dave S — July 28, 2011 @ 8:24 pm

  47. I agree. If there was some time constraint, and you needed “incontrovertible” video evidence… not sure it gets overturned.

    Comment by Dave S — July 28, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

  48. Instant replay in baseball mostly can’t work like football.
    Baseball is like cricket… not football. (Duh.)

    In cricket, where is is video used?

    During “bowling” (“pitching” in baseball parlance)

    The English are AHEAD of us in this regard. That alone should make us wake the heck up!!!! LOL

    Comment by Dave S — July 28, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

  49. Continuation can have some interesting consequences. Take the most appealable of plays: the phantom double play, when it occurs with one out and the bases loaded. Runner on second continues home while fielding team high fives until the appeal occurs (sometimes he might just continue home for the heck of it, but let’s have him cross the plate). After the replay, how many runs scored?

    Comment by Breadbaker — July 28, 2011 @ 8:57 pm

  50. “The chief arguments against replay are tradition and delay of game, and both are easily solved…”

    Rob Neyer is being an apologist… Because (as an example) this brings almost every double play that has ever been turned involving a second base foot swipe into question. How many of them actually involve a middle infielder that makes direct contact with the base???? There are several types of plays in baseball that go assumed “as is” if events fall into place as expected (not that it’s the right way to go about a situation), and unfortunately Meals sensed an opportunity to end the game which he succumbed to. Meals making this incorrect call is a brutally hypocritical issue involving umpires. If they want to nitpick the nature of contact, then they need to do it all across the board.

    In my opinion, the whole instant replay thought is a slippery slope so it has to be handled carefully. I think for one, it would have to start with some sort of hierarchy that involves the crew chief per instant replay decision not being the umpire that made the original call. It’s really the nature of umpiring behavior that’s in question for this situation because the instant replay reviews could have still been deemed as inconclusive.

    On a side note, McKenry should have gone to first no matter what, so there shouldn’t be a problem with the call “as is” at first base.

    Comment by baty — July 28, 2011 @ 9:01 pm

  51. My apology… in response to the initial quote I copied, I’m only saying that disturbing the habits in traditional player behavior cues that initiate how an umpire decides to make a call is what will make instant replay on a larger scale a total mess. If that makes any sense… Ways of umpiring need to be cleaned up, first and foremost, if you want to make it happen.

    Comment by baty — July 28, 2011 @ 9:09 pm

  52. Sorry, that didn’t make total sense either, haha… McKenry should have not assumed the player was out with the umpire not yet making a call…

    Comment by baty — July 28, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

  53. No replay in the regular season

    162 games

    The Braves will get the call back in another game. It evens out.

    It doesn’t even out in a 16 game NFL season, hence the extensive replay option

    Comment by srriley84 — July 28, 2011 @ 10:14 pm

  54. There is always the possibility, with replay already instated, that the catcher still throws down to first after the home plate umpire makes the safe call to show that the out would be made. Players could be told to finish a play, even if they disagree with a call. In that case, if the catcher stands at home with the ball in his hands, Proctor could make it to first safely – or even 2B if he was willing to risk it.

    Comment by astromets — July 28, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

  55. Here we go again (still). Everyone here loves baseball, but fails miserably sometimes to understand it fully. We believe that ‘instant replay’ will solve a multitude of ills, but we have no idea how it will work and, as such, we have no idea (in reality) IF it will work. We have our experience with football to draw from, yet we fail to recognize that football’s replay system fails to ‘get it right’ in a fair number of instances for various reasons.

    You can’t just implement a system and ‘see if it works’. If it turns out not to work, there is no going back (I cite the DH).

    We’re looking at replay to be a band-aid on the serious wound that is umpiring in the game today. What is really needed is a way to deal with the umpires and their union so that guys hustle, get in position and take pride in their work. When they don’t they should be disciplined, just like the players when they don’t do as well as they should and just like you and me when we don’t do our jobs the way we should (unless we also have powerful unions- I’m looking at you, teachers).

    Bottom lines- a)there are people looking to try to solve the problem one way or another as there is now limited replay and there is a hint that it will be expanded; there is also, little by little, the hint that umpires are being held at least a bit more accountable by the league and b)any currently understood form of replay would likely not have overturned this particular call as there is no universal agreement even now by the thousands of people who have reviewed this play thousands of times.

    Comment by frugalscott — July 28, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

  56. There is almost no way he would have been out at first. Before Meals calls him safe, the catcher is already turning to look at third. He wasn’t even thinking about going to first base. To say he would have clearly been out is absurd.

    frugalscott- I’m not exactly sure how replay “wouldn’t work”. How wouldn’t it work? You’re not going to get the call more wrong, and some you will clearly get right. Even if you want to insist that this play isn’t clear cut, how about the blown call in Armando Galarraga’s perfect game* last year? That clearly would have been overturned. What about Joe Mauer’s hit in the playoffs in 2009 that was CLEARLY fair? Tell me how this wouldn’t work in these cases?

    Comment by Scott G — July 28, 2011 @ 11:19 pm

  57. Three things:

    1. Despite all the video, I’m not sure there is enough evidence to overturn the call. It looks like he might have tagged him… the throw certainly beat him. But the sweep tag is the toughest to spot, unless the glove gets visibly jostled when contact with the runner’s body occurs. I certainly don’t see that on the replay. The ump was in the best position in the house to see if he tagged him, and he didn’t see the tag applied. Frankly, that he says the replay may show a tag is irrelevant – in order for a replay system to work, it has to show incontrovertible evidence to overturn a call.

    2. One comment mentioned ‘lack of hustle’ or poor positioning by the umps as a factor in blown calls. Well, I can’t remember a controversial ‘blown call’ in which the ump was out of position. What I have seen in many blown calls are cases like Tuesday’s: as the play develops, it appears to be going one way – i.e., the throw beat the runner by a mile, the guy will be out – and suddenly gets called another way.
    Davidson’s fair ball call last year was the same kind of thing. He had the best position in the house to make the call. The ball looked like it could go only foul, and he called it fair. Only a camera directly over the baseline could have shown conclusively he was wrong.

    3. Why on earth would anyone trust a mechanized system to call balls and strikes? What happens when it screws up – either fails completely, or starts spitting out wonky results? And that will happen!
    And where do we introduce it? Majors? Minors? College? What level? Who pays for it to be installed and maintained in hundreds of ballparks?
    The current system has helped umpires call a more consistent strike zone, and that’s good for the game. I don’t think taking the human element out completely will ever help the game.
    Yes, sometimes umps make egregiously bad calls. Sometimes they determine outcomes.
    And Bill Buckner cost a team a world championship on a ball my granny could have played.
    Shit happens. Deal with it.

    Comment by MichaelPat — July 28, 2011 @ 11:30 pm

  58. Yes indeed the swipe tag was barely a brush, it was nearly a whiff. However, Lugo himself REACHES OUT AND TOUCHES McHenry on his glove arm right after the sweep and definitely before stepping on the plate. Even if contact was initiated by the runner, doesn’t that still make him out? Or, am I completely wrong here?

    Comment by Dustin — July 28, 2011 @ 11:30 pm

  59. Dustin,

    I believe the rule book states that significant contact between the catcher and a runner shall be deemed a tag. In my opinion, that was significant enough contact. It’s pretty vague though.

    Comment by Scott G — July 28, 2011 @ 11:33 pm

  60. I saw where some speculated that Meals had to pee REAL BAD!

    Comment by NMark — July 29, 2011 @ 12:12 am

  61. I don’t think the glove touched Lugo, though. And the glove/hand with the ball is the only thing that can make a tag. You can’t tag someone with your right hand if the ball is in your left, so I don’t think you can tag someone with your arm if the ball is in your hand.

    Comment by Sitting Curveball — July 29, 2011 @ 12:43 am

  62. I actually saw one replay of a HR this year where the umpires got it wrong. I think it was Red Sox at Fenway and the Red Sox announcers thought it would be ruled a HR before the umps came out, and it was not ruled a HR (which was good for the Red Sox).

    As long as umpires are not biased, I can live with missed calls. Some of these calls are too close to call, especially with regard to tags since anything close looks like a tag even if it may not have been. I mean, so many people have seen the replay and still have a different idea. Inconclusive I guess.

    So I say no to more replays.

    Comment by pft — July 29, 2011 @ 1:00 am

  63. The Posey point is the real take away from this. The swipe tag is all about Posey and Ryan Doumit who got injured in a similar play this season. Plays at the plate are very dangerous due to the nature of the base.

    While it is a travesty there is not replay yet, it similarly is a travesty that baseball does not even consider looking into changing the rules for tag plays at the plate. Maybe all plays at the plate should be force outs like at first base. ‘

    That is, all the catcher has to do get the runner out is catch the ball and step on the plate instead of positioning himself to block the plate. I would think this would be even more difficult to get an out on throws from the outfield because the throw would have to be more on line. This makes the play safer and easier to call for umpires.

    Comment by KJG520 — July 29, 2011 @ 1:18 am

  64. If there was replay, what would you find to complain about?

    Comment by shthar — July 29, 2011 @ 2:01 am

  65. I’m not quite sure why all of this talk of instant replay has sprung up from this call. If anything, this play should be seen as an argument against it. While it did initially look like an out was recorded, after looking at every angle it is quite clear that none of the views provide definitive proof.

    If instant replay did exist (what should have happened) – about five minutes would have been spent deciding if the tag really was applied or not. When no proof could be found, the call would have stood and the Pirates still would have lost.

    If instant replay did exist (what might have happened) – about five minutes later the call would have been overturned even though there was no definitive proof (but it sure as hell looked like an out). Today we’d all be complaining about the replay that overturned a call without conclusive evidence.

    In either scenario replay would have been a negative. It either prolonged a game that didn’t need to be prolonged or it took a call away from the one person that was in the optimal position to make the call.

    What I pray, is that baseball replay never follows the path of college football. 1) numerous stoppages on unimportant calls (i.e. safe at first with no body on and two outs in the 2nd inning) and 2) overturns of calls that are inconclusive (i.e. did his foot really leave the bag early while turning the double play)

    While I don’t necessarily disagree that there might be a place for replay, I just hope that people stop and think what could happen if it were implemented. I believe the transition would be much more rocky than smooth.

    Comment by Spartan 37 — July 29, 2011 @ 2:26 am

  66. The neighborhood play is pretty well policed by umpires and managers right now: Umpires give the middle infielders lee-way, allowing them to be near the bag while turning the DP, so long as there is a good throw. I don’t imagine much would change under replay–especially if a system like the NFL’s was used in which managers had a limited number of challenges–since the neighborhood play benefits both teams equally.

    Comment by Liem — July 29, 2011 @ 2:38 am

  67. You could easily set a time limit on the review process. I believe NFL is 2 minutes. You also could make it so that inconclusive calls aren’t overturned. It’s not difficult. How can one “inconclusive” play be a reason for not instituting replay?

    Comment by Scott G — July 29, 2011 @ 6:49 am

  68. If you want to use replay for tags, you’d use HotSpot like they do in cricket.

    It looks for heat signatures, and the friction caused by the tag should show up pretty clear on the runner.

    Comment by NickC — July 29, 2011 @ 6:51 am

  69. I can’t stand the neighborhood play. The second baseman should have to touch the base. If replay forces them to do this, it’s a benefit.

    Comment by Bill — July 29, 2011 @ 8:35 am

  70. What happens if that exact scenario occurred at the end of game 7 of the world series? They would have to review it. No way would anyone let such a game end on a controversial play like that.

    Comment by Shaun — July 29, 2011 @ 8:39 am

  71. But at least we wouldnt have to read articles about the pros and cons of instant replay after a game like this

    Comment by doug K — July 29, 2011 @ 9:27 am

  72. The reason he would have been out at first is that he fell flat on his face running to first base and the catcher had a LONG long time to finally find that out.

    Comment by doug K — July 29, 2011 @ 9:29 am

  73. Sure they would.

    Comment by RC — July 29, 2011 @ 9:40 am

  74. The neighborhood play is not enforced uniformly. Just a week ago, Ryan Theriot got tossed(and later suspended) for arguing a neighborhood play that was clearly an out when he even touched 2B.

    Comment by Jason — July 29, 2011 @ 10:19 am

  75. I never said it wouldn’t work. I said we don’t know how it can work so we don’t know if it can work. In this play, it likely would not have changed the outcome. Yes, there are plays that could easily be overturned, but there are those that are inconclusive after numerous replays. What would the system look like? Is it a ‘red flag’ system like football? If so, how many challenges do you get and on what kinds of plays? Do you realize how many questionable plays there are in the course or a single game? Depending on the type pf plays you allow replay on there is a real possibility that a team would have no challenges left by the time crunch time arrives unless there is another type pf system you have in mind. The question remains- how will it work…

    Comment by frugalscott — July 29, 2011 @ 10:22 am

  76. I agree that if instanty replay was actually instituted in a manner similar to this, it has the potential to be very successful. This just happened to be a call where having access to replay would have resulted in no positive outcomes.

    As long as the number and length of replays are limited and no calls are made that aren’t “inconclusive” I don’t see why replay wouldn’t work. Unfortunatley, I don’t trust that this would be the case.

    Comment by Spartan 37 — July 29, 2011 @ 10:30 am

  77. I’m not sure you understand proper positioning for umpires. Both the Joyce and Denkinger calls were blown by guys who were not in the proper position to see the play accurately. Had Joyce taken a quick step or two to his right as the throw was on its way to Gallarraga, he would have had a much better angle and Denkinger just got himself all out of sync by putting himself on almost a 180 degree angle with the play. You need to keep your feet moving to create an angle to see the most aspects of the play. Umpires at home plate rarely do this anymore. Guys rarely hustle out to get close enough or a good enough angle on traps and fair/foul calls. If you really think theses guys are doing all they can, you are not watching the same game the rest of us are.

    Comment by frugalscott — July 29, 2011 @ 10:31 am

  78. Out of curiosity, if things “even out” in 162 games but not in 16, what’s the magical number of games where things magically even out? I’m thinking its 73.44178, but I may have forgotten to carry the one. *pushes coke-bottle glasses up the bridge of my nose*

    Comment by Jason B — July 29, 2011 @ 10:31 am

  79. #6 org! Duh!

    Comment by Snarky McSnideremarks — July 29, 2011 @ 10:34 am

  80. Concur with RC. Hopefully given the gravity of the situation, you would hope the umpire would at least confer with the others, or the others would step in if there was a pretty clear error made.

    Comment by Jason B — July 29, 2011 @ 10:36 am

  81. Really simple: continue the play (every play?) as if nothing happened. Tag at the plate, blown call, throw to first, done. It’s an extra 5 seconds of physical activity, and it solves all of the problems.

    Comment by Sean O — July 29, 2011 @ 10:56 am

  82. How has no one noted that replay wouldn’t fix this particular call? No version of a replay rule I know of (including the “clear and convincing” rule used for HR calls) would overturn a call with this little evidence. The replay is way too ambiguous (as noted by Rob Neyer, Jonah Keri, and Jack Moore).

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — July 29, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

  83. Great point. Thank you.

    Comment by Alex Remington — July 29, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

  84. I totally agree with you and have actually argued that elsewhere.

    Comment by Alex Remington — July 29, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

  85. Once the runners reached a base safely the ump could declare a dead ball to give time for replay. It really wouldn’t take more than a minute in most cases — about as long as Steve Trachsel used to take between pitches.

    Comment by Alex Remington — July 29, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

  86. We’re not just looking at football any more. Instant replay exists in baseball on homer calls. And it has been quite successful.

    Comment by Alex Remington — July 29, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

  87. Jerry Meals saw enough to overturn the call when he looked at the replay. So did Joe Torre in the league office. It wasn’t inconclusive for them. I think Scott’s idea of a time limit is a good one.

    Comment by Alex Remington — July 29, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

  88. In this play, that makes sense. What if you’re not sure if a fielder caught the ball? What if its not the 3rd out?

    My first responce to this was: “Julio Lugo still plays in the MLB?”

    Comment by RC — July 29, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

  89. “Had Joyce taken a quick step or two to his right as the throw was on its way to Gallarraga”

    Nowhere else have I seen any reference to Joyce being in the wrong position to make the call. He just missed it… like Buckner in ’86.
    Exactly how long was that throw in the air? You’re not talking quick steps, you’re talking lightning steps.
    The absolute toughest call for an ump to make is when he is moving. Accuracy is far better when you are able to set yourself.

    The biggest problem I see on that play is that Cabrera cut off the second baseman. I maintain the best way to make that play is for the 2B to charge the grounder – I saw the play made that way three times in a recent Northland league game (basically, college ball).
    Cabrera should not have chased down that ball.

    On the Meals call, what do you believe was wrong with his positioning?

    How about Davidson’s (last year, Phillies Marlins)?

    I have umpired. I’ve studied proper positioning for umpires, and I rarely see an umpire dogging it, or getting caught in the wrong position in an MLB game.

    If you can really document this claim of umpires being out of position or dogging it, I’ve loved to see it…

    Comment by MichaelPat — July 29, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

  90. Like what?

    Besides, this is extremely simpleto solve: if an event not covered by these replay rules occurs, the ruling on the field stands.

    Comment by philosofool — July 29, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

  91. Don’t they award the “force out” at first base (which is what you’re talking about) when the runner at second base interferes with a fielder trying to turn a double play?

    Comment by Dale — July 29, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

  92. Instant replay doesn’t have to be one hundred percent accurate to be a one hundred percent improvement.

    Comment by philosofool — July 29, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

  93. Sean O,

    If an outfielder traps the ball and the ump rules “catch” and replay shows that the call was blown, where do you put the batter and what do you with the runners who were already on base, who presumably retreated to their original bases?

    Or on the flip side, the outfielder makes a legit catch and the ump rules that it was trapped. The runner 2nd goes halfway to the next base, sees the “no catch” call and scores on the play. Replay proves that the ball was caught. Now what do you do with the runner? Is he out because he never tagged up? Do you put him back at 2nd and assume that there wasn’t going to be a play to double him off? What if it was deep enough where the runner could have tagged and advanced to third?

    Comment by Darren — July 29, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

  94. Option #2 is ridiculous. You can’t just make a judgment call and call the batter out. The catcher could have thrown the ball into right field. He could have thrown it in the dirt and it wasn’t picked by the 1st baseman. If that was the 1st out, he could have tried making a play at third base instead of first base.

    Option #3 is ridiculous for the exact same reason. You can’t assume that the runner would have been safe either, since he was lying flat on his face halfway down the line.

    Option #1…a do-over? Really?

    Comment by Darren — July 29, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

  95. Nineteen years later, Sid Bream laughs…

    Comment by JEG — July 29, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

  96. How would you like a “do-over” because the ump blew the call at 3rd base after your batter hit a bases-loaded triple?

    Or a “do-over” after your team just made the first two outs of a triple play but the ump screwed up the third out call?

    Comment by Darren — July 29, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

  97. @MichaelPat: I have umpired as well. At the time I was doing it, the accepted position was as close as you could get to a 45 degree angle from the throw. On tag plays, it is necessary to determine where the throw is and get to a position where you can see as well as possible the most logical area where a tag might be applied. Joyce hesitated right on the line as he waited for the play to unfold and he never tried to adjust his position so he wound up with a poor angle to see all of the elements of that particular play.

    Umpires at home plate often put themselves in a position to be screened by the runner, catcher or some combination of the two and simply fail as a result to get the call right.

    If you really believe that MLB umpires hustle as a rule on balls to the OF, whether possible traps or fair/foul, you are simply not paying attention.

    These are not just my opinions. They are ones I have run by guys who work games in HS, NCAA Div I and II and a few minor league umps I have friendships with. They all agree.

    Comment by frugalscott — July 29, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

  98. Because those kinds of calls are a controlled environment. There are still mistakes made, though, just as there are still mistakes made in football. How do you implement a rule in MLB? What kinds of plays are included? What is to stop a team from simply bringing the game to a stop every time there is the slightest question about a call? There are no time outs to lose as there are in football.

    In baseball, it is customary at times for the manager to come out and argue a call. What is to stop the manager from coming on to the field in every slightly questionable instance so bench coaches have time to look at the replay and possibly ask for a replay?

    I don’t think anyone who clamors for replay has really stopped to consider what kind of wild anarchy that could open up in the game.

    Lets just do something to make the umpires work a little more efficiently and let the people who understand the game and what these changes might mean work to make improvements gradually and efficiently.

    Comment by frugalscott — July 29, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

  99. “Wild anarchy” could also be used to describe what happens when multiple players and coaches come out to scream until they’re blue in the face to protest a bad call; it delays the game for minutes on end, particularly as the managers tend to stay on the field to get their money’s worth for a good while after they’ve been tossed. Actually using an instant replay would take far less time than most manager arguments.

    To address the rest of your issues:

    1) No timeouts to lose
    You certainly could limit the number of challenges permitted each manager, as in football, if you wanted. Remember, managers are already limited to just two mound visits an inning before they have to replace the pitcher.

    2) What kind of plays are included?
    That’s what we’re currently discussing. Right now I’m only advocating replay for game-ending judgment calls. I’m not yet advocating that every play on the field should be subject to review. Remember, the rulebook already specifies certain categories of plays and calls that may be argued or appealed, and certain categories of plays and calls that may not be argued or appealed.

    3) What is to stop a team from simply bringing the game to a stop every time there is the slightest question about a call?
    Under the present rules, they can already bring the game to a stop, as discussed above. Arguments take more time than replay review. And baseball could declare that replay review is unappealable — any coach who challenges the decision made AFTER replay could be automatically ejected. (Arguing balls and strikes is already supposed to lead to automatic ejection, per the rules.)

    Comment by Alex Remington — July 30, 2011 @ 11:18 am

  100. doug K…

    NOTHING is preventing you from avoiding reading articles about the pros and cons of instant replay (or anything else) RIGHT NOW.

    So, if that’s your problem… why are you here?

    Why did you click to read this thread… which was labelled and CLEARLY about replay?

    Then, beyond that, why comment?

    Comment by Dave S — July 30, 2011 @ 11:34 pm

  101. These are certainly some of the tougher situations that can present themselves regarding allowing replay to overturn a call. Unfortunately, there’s probably no way to deal with these situations perfectly, BUT we can end up with a more fair result than if we just let a blown call stand.

    In your first scenario, if the outfielder trapped the ball, you can just rule it a single and all runners advance one base. At least the hitting team isn’t robbed of an out, even if one or more runners could have advanced more than one base if the ump got it right in the first place.

    In your second scenario, if the OF caught the ball, you can just say it’s an out and all the runners return to their original bases. Yes the fielding team could have been robbed of a DP opportunity, but at least they get the out, rather than one less out and one more baserunner if the blown call is allowed to stand.

    Comment by David K — August 2, 2011 @ 11:01 am

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