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  1. Is this real life?

    Comment by Kyle — May 2, 2012 @ 5:01 pm


    Comment by Albert Lyu — May 2, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

  3. The Colorado screwjob

    Comment by Brandon Warne — May 2, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

  4. Nah, it’s just fantasy. Thank God.

    Comment by Max — May 2, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

  5. Wow, I think that beats out the “not-so-perfect” perfect game call for worst of the decade.

    Comment by Cozar — May 2, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

  6. There is no visual proof here that Hairston touched the bag either. He may have hovered over it.

    Comment by oilcanboy — May 2, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

  7. fake

    Comment by Derek — May 2, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

  8. My favorite part is where David goes “RAWR” and then passes out, more or less.

    Comment by Brandon Warne — May 2, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

  9. No one was as shocked as Todd Helton.

    Comment by JT — May 2, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

  10. Steiner said he was off the bag by a foot. That’s at least two. Curse words!

    Comment by game6ers — May 2, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

  11. Somewhere, Joe West tossed Tim Welke.

    Comment by Navin Vaswani — May 2, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

  12. Why does any individual bad call give more force to the argument for replay? We already knew that occasionally umpires make really bad calls. And yet the game has survived. In fact, it has thrived.

    Unless you can show that bad calls are on the rise, or that replay suddenly is significantly more efficient, faster, and better than it has been in the past, then the arguments stand as they were yesterday and ten years before that.

    Replay is a bad idea. Games already take way too long. In fact, I think the length of a baseball game is the single biggest threat the sport’s popularity. MLB should not conteplate taking any steps to lengthen a game by several minutes so we can correct a ground-ball out in a regular season game.

    Comment by Jonathan — May 2, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

  13. Referee decisions are just part of the game, Dave. Get used to it.

    Comment by FIFA — May 2, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

  14. You should GIF the blown call in last night’s Giants game as well and send this to the MLB. Bottom 9th 2 outs, Ryan Theriot hits a liner right over the 1st base bag, Jerry Meals is in perfect position but maybe his glasses had fogged up or he just wanted to go home and he called it foul. Replays showed it was a pretty routine call- nowhere near as bad as this one, but really we need some replay.

    Comment by KMART — May 2, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

  15. That’s just the ol’ neighborhood play….

    Comment by Brian — May 2, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

  16. Didn’t you hear? The player’s union was concerned about first basemen getting spiked on their non-glove-side ankle by the runner, so MLB has now instituted the neighborhood play for 1b just like they have for 2b.

    Comment by Snowblind — May 2, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

  17. Managers arguing calls as horseshit as this one takes time, too.

    Comment by Marver — May 2, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

  18. Trust me, if you think the games are already too long, the game would be OK without you watching.

    Comment by Brandon Warne — May 2, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

  19. Perhaps I can use this opportunity to throw out my pet idea for how to introduce video replay into baseball. It’s kind of based on football replays. Managers would get one “challenge” of a call per game. If the manager is right, the call is reversed (or corrected.) If the manager is wrong, one designated position player currently on the bench would become ineligible to enter the game. If the manager has no position players left on his bench he could not challenge a call.

    Now get furious with me and call me dumb and stuff.

    Comment by glenstein — May 2, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

  20. Or, you know, lobby publicly for MLB to employ technology that could quickly and painlessly correct those bad calls. Maybe on a baseball website. That works too, Dave.

    Comment by Bowdenball — May 2, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

  21. What the heck is a referee?

    Comment by Dustin — May 2, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

  22. Please for the love of God don’t expand the use of replay, it’s killing football, and unless you need to know if a HR is a HR, I really don’t think it has a place in baseball.

    Comment by Dan S — May 2, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

  23. FIFA? Must be a soccer fan. Adds up.

    Comment by Brandon Warne — May 2, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

  24. Argument Fail…

    Comment by Dustin — May 2, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

  25. The games are not too long for me, Brandon. I am already a baseball fan. I watch many games from start to finish. I think your comment fails to address my point and is quite nearly out of line.

    The point is that the game has to attract and maintain new fans. You know what people don’t go to the ballpark for? To sit around for 3 aimless minutes during a replay review to determine whether a single should be awarded.

    Comment by Jonathan — May 2, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

  26. replace “replay” with “integration” for lolz

    Comment by MC — May 2, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

  27. Improved technology means we can get better and higher-definition looks at close plays. So yes, replay has changed

    Comment by Seth — May 2, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

  28. It’s actually an optical illusion. It’s the pattern on the pants.

    Comment by Coodle — May 2, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

  29. That logic is perfectly sound. Of course, if most people went by that, we’d probably not have any cures for diseases, ’cause hey, they’re just a part of life. Early warning systems for tornadoes and hurricanes? Nah, we’ll just deal with it afterwards.


    Comment by Josh — May 2, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

  30. Football is dying? News to me.

    Comment by Brandon Warne — May 2, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

  31. Argument denied: use of “football” as an example why baseball should do anything at all. We might as well have Todd Helton flop around like fish as Hairston runs by a la soccer style.

    Comment by Dustin — May 2, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

  32. Yeah, I like the idea of replay in baseball, but I want no part of what goes on during NFL games.

    Comment by Logan Burdine — May 2, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

  33. You are thinking like a FIFA fan. Stopping soccer every time a call was wrong would be impractical because of the flow, but in baseball it works because baseball is built on a series of discrete events. Have a challenge system: one per regulation game & one in extra innings, that are only used up if the call is not overturned. We have seen the home run replay work fine, it usually takes between 2 and 3 minutes, which is as long as a break between half-innings. That’s not bad. Umpires should be able to overrule other umpires too. No reason why an umpire can’t and shouldn’t go over to Welke and say: you got it wrong.

    The “human element” excuse was fine when it was the best they could do, but now it clearly isn’t, so upgrade the standards.

    Comment by Alex — May 2, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

  34. Because one game has never determined anything before, right? Ask the 2011 World Series Champion St Louis Cardinals if they would’ve cared about one game in the regular season. These errors don’t always happen at 1st base. They happen at home too. One run can make the difference between watching the playoffs on TV and winning the World Series. I don’t know how any baseball fan can be okay with that being determined by obviously terrible calls at the expense of one or two minutes.

    Comment by Johnny Come Lately — May 2, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

  35. Bullshit call. Might cost us the game.

    Comment by The Frosty — May 2, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

  36. Why are you so convinced Dave is arguing on the basis of this one call?

    Comment by Brandon Warne — May 2, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

  37. Its the pleats… I’m actually going to the cleaners right now to get this taken care of…

    Don’t act like you’re not impressed!

    Comment by Dustin — May 2, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

  38. If that play doesn’t generate enough motivation to expand replay, I don’t know what will.

    Comment by ThundaPC — May 2, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

  39. It’s killing football? Seriously? Football is as close to 100% perfect referee officiating as we’ve ever seen thanks to replay, and it is more than worth the extra time some of the reviews take. Baseball would be well served to implement a similar system ASAP (challenge-based appears to be best imo), and in such clearly blatant blown calls like this, would hardly add any extra time to the game.

    Comment by Michael — May 2, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

  40. Well, if it has changed so much, then why does it often take several minutes to replay a home-run call? I agree we may get it right a slightly higher percentage of the time now than we used to, but it still takes time. Time that is better spent moving on with the game.

    Comment by Jonathan — May 2, 2012 @ 5:14 pm


    Comment by game6ers — May 2, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  42. I’m OK with it because there are competing interests, Johnny. Of coure I would rather every call be correct. That would be fantastic. But that isn’t the question. The question is whether it makes sense to deploy a replay system that may be fraught with its own fairness and timeliness problems in order to try to address the poor calls.

    Comment by Jonathan — May 2, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

  43. It was a joke, boys.

    Comment by Marver — May 2, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

  44. Thats the worst out call at first in the entire history of baseball. To me what is even worse is every ump on the field saw that play and no one went to “help” Welke. Where is your sense of professional pride? It’s the single most obvious missed out call at first ever and you just let it go. Why? to not “showup” your crew memeber? Well he’s going to be roasted for a very long time now and you could have helped the situation. Baseball umps are horrible egomaniacs and care more about themselves and their dinner after the game then with getting the calls right.

    Comment by Kevin — May 2, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

  45. Why does replay have to take longer? Keep a 5th ump in a booth that reviews the plays that need reviewing. His word is final and his word only comes in case of a review. It’s not in the managers’ hands and it’s not up to the umps on the field. 5th ump watches the game and makes the calls with the aid of instant replay. Given the speed of instant replay it shouldn’t take more than 30-45 seconds if that.

    Second option would be to do what hockey does and have a central replay office that the referees defer to in case of a questionable call/play. Either way works.

    And saying that it’s part of the game is a ridiculous argument. “Here’s this thing that doesn’t work, but it’s already here so let’s just leave it.” Same with the “human element” aspect. Oh umpires have made bad decisions and the game survives. Yeah, well, wouldn’t it be better if umpires made the right calls in the first place? Perhaps the game would thrive more. Perhaps not, but why not help them do their job correctly?

    Comment by The Artful Dodger — May 2, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

  46. The arguments for no-replay would be stronger if Umpires would at least overturn their terrible calls. I understand the plate umpire needs to stick to his guns when calling balls and strikes, but it’s absurd that Umpires won’t reverse bad calls.

    This is very likely a case of reflex, the umpire heard the ball hit the glove before he saw the foot touch the bag and called Hairston out. A second later, it probably dawned on him that Helton wasn’t close to the bag, but it was too late, because Umpires are trained to stand by their initial call.

    Comment by Cozar — May 2, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

  47. I think someone made the point that managers arguing takes time, too. If managers could just throw the red flag right away and not run out to argue, how much time would really be lost…if any?

    Comment by Matthias — May 2, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

  48. A replay shouldn’t have been needed. There were 3 other umpires, of which 2 should have seen this play and helped overrule the call at 1B. I’m not sure how he (or anyone that doesn’t use a seeing eye dog) missed it, but there are 3 other guys on the field with the same job who could have easily made this one right.

    Comment by Wally's World — May 2, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

  49. Can you protest a shitty call like that?

    Comment by game6ers — May 2, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

  50. Umpires and referees across sports are generally bad people and should all be put on an island together away from the rest of the world, do you think the surfers would mind if we used Australia again? Any argument against replay is a bad one and based on poor judgement. Making the right call should be paramount. As far as making games longer, there is a simple solution for that. In the NHL there is a central location for calls put up for review, apply a similar thing in baseball and it would take very little time. Such a great sport should not be subjected to games being decided by human error.

    If football is dying someone should let the 60,000 people that show up at every stadium from September to January know so that they can make other plans.

    Comment by yosoyfiesta — May 2, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

  51. The biggest joke isn’t that he was called out (Welke is looking through his body, so you can see why he missed it, even though it’s terrible.). The biggest joke is that NEITHER the home or 3b umps, who could easily see that the call wasn’t even close, went down to make it right. Nobody with that lack of integrity and lack of respect for the game has any business umpiring. Tim Welke may be blind, but Paul Schreiber and Mike Everitt are pure garbage as human beings.

    Comment by Steven — May 2, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

  52. I’m not at all convinced that Dave is making an arugment on the basis of one call. But I do think he is leveraging this one particular bad call to bolster his argument. That’s perfectly fine. It is an effective tactic. I am just pointing out that we already knew bad calls happen from time to time.

    I think the argument for replay boils down to whether MLB can design a system that will yield fairness to both teams and extremely swift results. Now, I don’t believe the NFL has managed to accomplish either goal. You may disagree, of course. I’m just calling it how I see it here. (also, of course, the NFL also has a substantially higher interest in replay because the likelihood of a single key call in a 16-game football season having dramatic playoff implications is very high. This may help to justify their imperfect system). If the NFL hasn’t done it, what faith do I have that MLB and Bud Selig will do it? Very little faith.

    Comment by Jonathan — May 2, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

  53. Don’t forget about this one

    Comment by glassSheets — May 2, 2012 @ 5:26 pm

  54. Way out of line, and out of character, too.

    Comment by BDF — May 2, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

  55. Couldn’t agree more. The football-watching experience has been significantly altered and worsened by replay. All the evidence suggests that replay will do far more to the game than merely “make the right call.”

    Comment by BDF — May 2, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

  56. Yes, Matthias, you make a good point (as did the person above). Arguing takes time. But MLB already bans arguing for balls and strikes. Why does it allow it for other calls? Is it simpler to simply ban arguing, or to devise a complex review systems with challenges and red flags?

    Also, arguing is entertaining. Everyone loves a good argument. We watch replays of them. We make top-10 lists of them. No one makes top-10 replay decision lists. I know that’s not a particularly forceful point, but I’d rather watch an argument than sit around in the 3rd inning of the 23rd game of the season waiting for a replay decision.

    Comment by Jonathan — May 2, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

  57. Sorry Kevin, but this is the worst call ever:

    Welke might’ve had a bad angle, I don’t know, but just look, LOOK at where Cuzzi is standing! As a matter of fact, it’s really difficult to argue that Cuzzi “blew” this call. It is the only call that I have ever considered to possibly be intentionally blown. I know it sounds insane, and I always, always try to be a rationalist, but…I mean, just look at that.

    Comment by Dan — May 2, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

  58. What is that technology? You have a direct line to God? Because football has shown that replay is likely to be neither painless nor quick. Whatever system you propose, all the evidence suggests that the irrefutable desire to “get the call right” will overwhelm the measures we take to make replay quick and painless.

    Comment by BDF — May 2, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

  59. Never change anything because the next system may not be perfect is a poor excuse to prevent the introduction of a system. Umpires are in the game to make correct calls. Due to human involvement they are not infallible. New systems can be introduced to increase the accuracy of their calls? You are against the inclusion of a system to increase the accuracy of the calls in the game because of a potential five – ten minute length addition to the game?

    NFL challenges add maybe five – ten minutes across all of them? Getting potentially game changing calls correct is not worth at most a five percent increase to the length of time of the game?

    Comment by Dr.Rockzo — May 2, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

  60. I think the biggest threat to the game’s popularity is the younger generations asking why so many missed calls in the field and inconsistent calls around the strike zone are considered acceptable. Every single game. Why a fancy toss to get the runner out at second also gets a safe runner out at first- nearly every Web Gems.

    Nobody under the age of 30 cares about “the human element” or “atta boy, they get most of them right” or even “replays making the game longer”. If you can get the calls right then just do it. They will watch a longer game if they think most of the calls are right.

    Comment by chongo — May 2, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

  61. Not true. Football referees call with an eye toward replay. They massage their real-time calls to allow for replay correction if necessary. Then, when a replay correction isn’t available, we’re stuck with a bad call. The same thing would happen in baseball. Every close play would be ruled safe on the theory that it can more easily be corrected, but maybe a player is obscuring the camera (but not the umpire) and we’re stuck with a bad call. It’s nowhere near as white/clean/neat as replay’s proponents want it to be.

    Comment by BDF — May 2, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

  62. Also last night, Bryce Harper threw a guy out at home but the ump blew the call.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — May 2, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

  63. Might be the worst First base non-out call since Don Denkinger (umpire) in the 1985 World Series (game 6) failed to call Jorge Orta, KC Royals out at 1b.

    Comment by Cidron — May 2, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

  64. The answer is no, they are not worth it. Baseball games take place at 7:10 or so most nights in a home market. These days, they often end well after 10:00 or 10:30. I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid I didn’t see the end of too many games. And back then, games were shorter than they are now.

    Baseball seasons last 162 games. Bad BABIP luck and bad HR luck sometimes don’t even out, and, unfortunately, sometimes bad umpire luck probably doesn’t even out. That’s just life. I would love for the calls to always be right. If someone showed me a system that made all the calls right and added very little extra time, I would be very interested. But for several added minutes? For the lingering potential unfairness of having limited challenges and the order in which the bad calls play out affect the outcome? For introducing an unnecessary and time-consuming element of strategy involving the use of challenges that has nothing to do with baseball? I will stay with the current system to avoid those problems.

    Comment by Jonathan — May 2, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

  65. What a thing to give a ‘+’ to.

    Comment by Richie — May 2, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

  66. Games are “too long” because umpires refuse to enforce the rule stipulating that pitchers take no longer than 12 seconds between throws home. I think it’s been pretty well-documented (here on Fangraphs, in fact) that the Red Sox staff is EPICALLY slow. I feel like there’s also a rule about how long batters can stand out of the box between pitches. Why not enforce these even a little? If anything, expanded replay will cut down on managers & players arguing calls and getting ejected, which I guarantee you eats up more time than the 5-10 seconds it would take for an ump in a booth upstairs to cycle through the 2 or 3 camera angles that definitively show whether a call is correct or not.

    Comment by Matt — May 2, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

  67. Jerry Meals doesn’t see anything wrong with that call :shrug:

    Comment by gonfalon — May 2, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

  68. The majority of calls managers argue are correct, yet they still argue away. Has far more to do with stroking their own players, rather than actually protesting a call.

    Comment by Richie — May 2, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

  69. Only the umpire who made a call can overturn it; indeed, the rules specifically prohibit umpires from interfering with another ump’s call:

    9.02(c): If a decision is appealed, the umpire making the decision may ask another umpire for information before making a final decision. No umpire shall criticize, seek to reverse or interfere with another umpire’s decision unless asked to do so by the umpire making it.

    Of course, the umpire who originally made the call is free to ask his mates for help himself, and then overturn his own call based on their information. (N.B. that only the ump can make such a request; players, managers, coaches, etc. can only appeal to the ump who made the call [rule 9.02b].) So if you want to say that Welke should have asked Schrieber (correctly spelled) or Everitt for help, fine. He probably should have, and Mattingly probably asked–or should have asked–that he do so.

    However, Schrieber and Everitt were not just professional but also correct in NOT imposing themselves on Welke’s call, whether or not they saw it differently or not. To call them “pure garbage as human beings” without even understanding, you know, the relevant RULES OF BASEBALL is disgracefully ignorant.

    Comment by flyerdog11 — May 2, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

  70. Safe!!!

    Comment by Smallball — May 2, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

  71. Wow

    Comment by Frag — May 2, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

  72. fangraphs tough guy!!

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — May 2, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

  73. THANK YOU. It’s so hypocritical for anti-replay people to so adamantly protest replay when you see very little opposition to other aspects that delay the game with NO positive benefits, such as pitchers taking longer than their 12 allotted seconds to pitch the ball. Especially considering the clearly positive impact replay would have on the integrity of the game. Factor in the elimination of arguing calls and it is quite easy to eliminate any added time replays would tack on to a game.

    Comment by Michael — May 2, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

  74. Amen, Matt. Also, no more mid-AB catcher/pitcher conferences on the mound. Every single game now features at least a couple of these mini-conferences, and it’s always in a 2-strike count. Why is that allowed? Prepare yourself for the game, and use signs. That’s what they’re for. You shouldn’t just get a Time Out because you want to discuss exactly how to go at a batter. Get up there and get the batter out with whatever stuff you have. I have never heard another soul mention this, but it annoys me to no end. Am I alone on this one?

    Comment by Dan — May 2, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

  75. “painlessly”???

    Comment by Richie — May 2, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

  76. When a joke interferes with my feeling oh-so-much smarter than other people, you telling me that’s funny?!?

    Comment by Richie — May 2, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

  77. The rules explicitly prohibit an umpire from stepping in on another ump’s call:

    9.02(c): If a decision is appealed, the umpire making the decision may ask another umpire for information before making a final decision. No umpire shall criticize, seek to reverse or interfere with another umpire’s decision unless asked to do so by the umpire making it.

    Yes, Tim Welke screwed up this call–but he was the only umpire on the field who did so in any way. Since Welke didn’t ask for their help, Schrieber, Diaz, and Everitt were all correct in NOT going out of their way to correct him.

    So let’s cool it with the “umps are horrible egomaniacs” BS when one ump made a mistake–a terrible one, yes, but certainly not an intentional one–and the other three followed the rules to a T in leaving it alone.

    Better yet, let’s actually bother to understand the effing rules of baseball before criticizing the umpires for not following them.

    Comment by flyerdog11 — May 2, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

  78. Clayton Kershaw just doesn’t know how to win.

    Comment by Rob — May 2, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

  79. It isn’t nearly as absurd as you think. Everything has a cost. We could probably build an incredible early-warning tornado system that would save many lives but would cost billions or even trillions of dollars to research and to develop and to implement. But we don’t do it.

    The reason is because we spend our money elsewhere on other things that we value more. Now, perhaps we are wrong to value those things more. But we do. To call ignore that preference and to profess only a desire for the entirely good thing that you want is to miss the point entirely.

    Replay has costs. It has time costs. It has fairness costs. It has the cost of changing the way the game is played. If you are unwilling to at least engage someone in an argument about weighing those costs, then your opinion cannot have great force.

    Comment by Jonathan — May 2, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

  80. Why? No threat to my self-image in anything there.

    All you’d have to do is charge the organization $500 for every wrong challenge, to go into the general fund, and that would stop the self-evidently foolish ones. Or $1000. Or whatever.

    Really. There are a dozen-and-one ways to try out replay while minimizing the interruption to the game. But given the number of amazing ‘+’s on this thread, clearly for many people the debate’s just a vehicle for self-importance.

    Comment by Richie — May 2, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

  81. And I have just realized that you didn’t reply to me. Apologies. Although my point still sort of stands — though not vis-a-vis FIFA’s trolling ‘argument’…

    Comment by Jonathan — May 2, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

  82. Here’s a gif of this play, btw:

    Comment by Craigary — May 2, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

  83. I could not agree with you more Matt. Excellent point.

    Perhaps some anti-replay advocates are “hypocritical” on this point, but I agree 100% that these things could be limited, and probably should be.

    Comment by Jonathan — May 2, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

  84. of course you can… but you’d lose.

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — May 2, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

  85. Get the call right. It’s that simple. 5th Umpire, manager challenges, robots, dogs, space aliens, I don’t care. Get the call right. Technology today is mind-boggling and amazing. The sport can do better, thus it should do better.

    Comment by sportsczar — May 2, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

  86. in the end it all works out. bad calls happen every year and to every team its just the nature of the beast.

    Comment by michael cano — May 2, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

  87. Same with the “human element” aspect.

    The players are the human element.

    Umpires making errors is not entertaining and won’t bring more fans to baseball.

    Comment by Anon — May 2, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

  88. I am hallucinating this….right?

    Comment by Mat — May 2, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

  89. [citation needed]

    Comment by juan pierres mustache — May 2, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

  90. Did the manager not go out to argue the call?

    Comment by vivalajeter — May 2, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

  91. There’s absolutely no reason replay has to take a lot of time if MLB is dedicated to 1) getting calls correct and 2) keeping the pace of the game from slowing. You just add a fifth man to each crew (presumably a current MiLB ump) who is in a video booth the whole game. He’s on mic to the crew chief. Whenever a call is challenged (and you can make up some challenge rules to prevent overuse if you want) or the crew chief just feels it should be reviewed, he asks the booth ump, who goes through the replay and corrects or upholds the original call. If you’ve ever watched a TV broadcast, you’ll know it takes less than 10 seconds to replay the typical contested call; maybe up to 30 seconds for an extremely close call where multiple angles, slowmo, or freeze frame is required. Overall, it shouldn’t take more than a minute to review calls, so long as you remove the current time sink of having one or more umpires leave and return to the field.

    Comment by Anon21 — May 2, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

  92. No. You can only protest rules interpretations, not judgement calls.

    Comment by RobBob — May 2, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

  93. You take a few steps his way and make it clear you have something to say. He’s not likely to ignore you. He’s really not likely to ignore two of you. And I take back what I said earlier- Welke is just as bad- there’s no reason not to ask for help by default in any situation where somebody could have had a better view. You lose nothing if the call isn’t so awful that it can be overruled with confidence from 90 feet, and you correct a terrible call when it is.

    Comment by Steven — May 2, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

  94. Not only disgracefully ignorant, just simply disgraceful.

    Comment by RobBob — May 2, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

  95. Folks should check out the video over at (on the gameday)

    Helton looked like he did a double take on the call (as if to say ‘Really? Ok….”) and the got off the field quickly.

    Comment by Tom — May 2, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

  96. I doubt this article has any effect.

    Fangraphs is all about data and measurement. You should document every bad call (especially in the postseason) and make them easily accessible on a new website.

    Comment by Anon — May 2, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

  97. I think there should be one umpire on the field and the rest in a booth watching on cameras. There should be a stick with a red and green light behind home plate that calls balls and strikes according to whatever electronic system has been found to do this most effectively. The umpire on the field does nothing except relay calls from the booth to the players on the field.

    I dont watch baseball to see the umpires.

    Comment by Brian Snyder — May 2, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

  98. I don’t get this.

    Replay doesn’t have to be perfect. How’s this: a replay ump has 20 seconds to decide whether to over turn the call on the field. If, after 20 seconds, he cannot do so, the call on the field stand. This would eliminate 80% of bad calls without any delay of game. If the call is so close that it would take more than 20 seconds to review, I’m okay with an inaccurate calls. Inaccurate isn’t the same as bad.

    Comment by philosofool — May 2, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

  99. “us”? What position do you play for the Dodgers?

    Comment by The Rajah — May 2, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

  100. BDF hit the nail on the head – football referees are encouraged to let the play run if it is 50/50 (like say fumble/no fumble) and put the onus on the head coach who may or may not have a challenge.; because if the play is blown dead then you have to deal with predicting the future (who would have recovered the ball, did anyone just stop when they heard the whistle)

    This will be the challenge in baseball…. what happens when Evan Longoria makes a diving stop down the line and the ump yells “foul”. Replay then says fair… do you assume the throw, look at the speed of the runner and determine safe/out? Replay the pitch?

    It gets worse on catch/trap – Ump rules catch with a guy on 1st and 2nd. Replay shows trap on a shallow flyball…. how do you deal with potential force outs?

    Comment by Tom — May 2, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

  101. I didn’t realize the Dodger players had access to McCourt’s Hovercraft slush fund money.

    Comment by ettin — May 2, 2012 @ 6:55 pm

  102. Wow, just wow.

    Comment by MauerPower — May 2, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

  103. Ahh yes, the age old argument that if something is already good then we cannot possibly make it better.

    Comment by GoToWarMissAgnes — May 2, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

  104. Football isn’t dying, just it’s retired players….

    Comment by Metsox — May 2, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

  105. There certainly wouldn’t be a fairness issue. As far as time, it has already been pointed out that with a fifth umpire and quick decisions to look at the replay, the correct call can be made in less time than it takes for a manager to argue a call. There is no top 10 decision list, but there probably have been top 10 worst calls in sports history, or top 10 most blatant mistakes in sports history.

    Again, there is really no reason that you have stated for there not to be replay, time would not be an issue if implemented properly. Time is only currently an issue because umps have to decide whether to review, then go back and review, then come back.

    Comment by Astromets — May 2, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

  106. What evidence do you speak of? Having never been implemented in the most obvious way in baseball (the way hundreds of people have suggested and come up with on their own, the 5th ump idea), we have no idea how well it could work. I would certainly rather get every call right and spend an extra minute making sure of that then have to continue to hear arguments for either side

    Comment by Astromets — May 2, 2012 @ 7:10 pm

  107. My thoughts exactly.

    Comment by Jeremiah — May 2, 2012 @ 7:13 pm

  108. Embrace Your Inner Wrongness… /MLB

    That’s why MLB will be the source of some outrageously funny missed calls in the next decade or two…

    Think about the fact that MLB and defenders on the replay issue care more about the structure of the game than the game itself.

    There will come a time when replay will be virtually instantaneous, and these calls will be reversed. Until then, I fully expect MLB to resist replay, and I will enjoy the idiocy of these arguments…

    Answer this:
    If you care more about the format or structure of the game than the result of the game, how can you root for one team over another?

    Comment by Mark Williams — May 2, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

  109. Congratulations, Brandon. I’ve been reading Fangraphs for a long time, but you’ve convinced me to stop.

    Comment by Mitch — May 2, 2012 @ 7:21 pm

  110. Disregarding technology or otherwise failing to correct obvious errors is asinine.

    Comment by James — May 2, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

  111. Two wrongs does not make a right…

    Comment by BUT ON METH IT DOES — May 2, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

  112. Not sure why this comment is voted down.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — May 2, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

  113. I dunno, even taking a few steps towards Welke could be construed as interfering with his call. There’s a reason 9.02(c) exists–99% of the time, the umpire who makes a call has far and away the best position to do so, so the other umps generally can’t provide any better information than the ump on the call had in the first place. Allowing other umps to step in uninvited simply creates unnecessary controversy and allows legitimately egomaniacal umps–Joe West, anyone?–to undermine the authority of their colleagues. Even intimating that they screwed up through your body language can create problems.

    Of course, in the 1% of cases where the ump on the call DOESN’T have an ideal view of a play, you’d hope he’d realize it and consult with another ump to be as sure as he can about his call. This was one of those cases, and Welke should’ve verified with Schrieber that Helton’s foot was actually on the bag, as there was no way that Welke could have been certain of it from his angle. So Welke’s REAL blunder was failing to realize that he was out of position for one element of the call.

    But Schrieber, Everitt, and Diaz should not have handled the situation any differently than they did.

    Comment by flyerdog11 — May 2, 2012 @ 7:47 pm

  114. For those of you that say it was fake, you’re wrong. I saw the game and I was furious when the ump called it safe. They should seriously extend the replay system.

    Comment by Ryan — May 2, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

  115. The Worst Comment of the Year

    Comment by philkid3 — May 2, 2012 @ 7:53 pm

  116. The amount of comments on this post show bad umpires provide more entertainment than instant replays ever could.

    Comment by Stech36 — May 2, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

  117. Home run calls take so long because baseball is stupid and archaic and thinks the only way to review a play is have every umpire step off the field and watch a silly monitor.

    Should be a replay tech in the booth.

    Comment by philkid3 — May 2, 2012 @ 7:56 pm

  118. “Everyone loves a good argument.”

    Not everyone.

    Comment by philkid3 — May 2, 2012 @ 7:57 pm

  119. I don’t get why the NFL is the only system people can possibly look to when they think of replay in baseball. Even if you completely lack any imagination, there are other sports with replay to look at as examples.

    Comment by philkid3 — May 2, 2012 @ 8:07 pm

  120. I agree there are a thousand and one ways one might incorporate replay. I don’t that offering perspectives here is any more “self-important” than in any other context where people come together to share opinions on stuff. Baseball fans tend to offer opinions frequently.

    Comment by glenstein — May 2, 2012 @ 8:09 pm

  121. Or just get them right in (usually) seconds without a silly “challenge” system that forces managers to try and guess the importance of a call, adds false strategy to the game, and punishes them for extra-bad umpiring.

    Comment by philkid3 — May 2, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

  122. That’s what is silly about this post. There are probably 3 dozen plays a year where the shortstop or secondbaseman is further off the bag than this while turning two. Why should we care so much about whether a firstbaseman is on the bag when we basically altogether ignore whether the middle infielder ever touched second in an attempt to turn two?

    Comment by reillocity — May 2, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

  123. I’d love to see a fangraphs analysis of the effect of blown strike calls. The umpires maintain that they get 95% of them correct. Well, how many blown out calls does say, 15 blown strikes in a single game, add up to. To me, this is the much bigger dent in the game’s integrity. Its not like there’s a machine that tells the 99% of fans watching the game on t.v. exactly, in real time, where the pitch crossed the plate – oh wait, we do. Its tough to take this game seriously sometimes.

    Comment by payroll — May 2, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

  124. If anyone thinks that replays would slow the game down, how about parade of one out relievers from the 7th inning on? I can’t stand the micro-managing of outs that some managers feel they need to do to win the game. This, to me, is what adds an extra hour onto games.

    Comment by Randy Bobandy — May 2, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

  125. Worst call of the year? Hell that maybe the worst call I’ve ever seen. That was absolutely brutal.

    Comment by Matt — May 2, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

  126. Agreed.

    You can argue against replay but I don’t see how you can argue against reversing awful calls on the field.

    Comment by WinTwins — May 2, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

  127. Being fairly new to baseball, < a year, the most confusing aspect by far has been the fact that the Little League World Series has an enjoyable / fair review system in place, whilst MLB have………..

    Comment by DRS2Impress — May 2, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

  128. ” If someone showed me a system that made all the calls right and added very little extra time, I would be very interested.”

    Five or so people have already suggested the fifth umpire idea, which would take about as long as it takes a commentator to point out that the ump blew a call.

    Comment by williams .482 — May 2, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

  129. @payroll: given the huge affect that catcher pitch framing apparently has, apparently a ton.

    Comment by williams .482 — May 2, 2012 @ 9:24 pm

  130. The worst call of the year? How about the worst call in the history of sports?

    Comment by Michael Huber — May 2, 2012 @ 9:25 pm

  131. I’m sure you’ll be missed.

    Comment by sirvlciv — May 2, 2012 @ 9:30 pm

  132. I bet in 30 years this is gonna be how umpiring works. We aren’t anywhere close to that right now, but one day this is going to be it. Can’t say I’m not looking forward to it either.

    Comment by Michael — May 2, 2012 @ 9:37 pm

  133. He was out.

    Comment by Nick Lindner — May 2, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

  134. And I’m completely serious.

    Comment by Nick Lindner — May 2, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

  135. BDF – that is patently false.

    Comment by sirvlciv — May 2, 2012 @ 9:45 pm

  136. Omg, three minutes! Most casual fans at the stadium spend a lot more time than that on their phones while ignoring the game.

    Comment by BlackOps — May 2, 2012 @ 9:46 pm

  137. I apologize Mitch. Usually it’s my articles that chase people away.

    Comment by Brandon Warne — May 2, 2012 @ 9:46 pm

  138. Tom – that’s not what BDF was saying. I agree that that treatment is correct, and how it should be. The official should err with -not- stopping play and correcting a mistake later.

    Comment by sirvlciv — May 2, 2012 @ 9:46 pm

  139. Well played. RiP Junior Seau

    Comment by Brandon Warne — May 2, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

  140. I like arguments, but they’re more fun when you can actually hear what the people are saying.

    Comment by BlackOps — May 2, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

  141. Shorter Brandon Warne “If you don’t like anything about baseball, just stop watching”

    Comment by Ed — May 2, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

  142. A fifth umpire would cost the league about $2 million all told.

    I think they can take that.

    Comment by williams .482 — May 2, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

  143. lol @ the people mad at brandon here, did guys not turn on your sense of humor today?

    Comment by jim — May 2, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

  144. Wrong.

    Comment by BlackOps — May 2, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

  145. You misspelled “wasted”

    Comment by williams .482 — May 2, 2012 @ 10:09 pm

  146. Hey Jonathan, is the earth still flat? Why change it right?

    Comment by longbeachyo — May 2, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

  147. For this reason I don’t watch Yankees-Red Sox games. Though I would not really consider that baseball. More like an ESPN Soap Opera.

    Comment by Jack — May 2, 2012 @ 11:19 pm

  148. i skipped most of the last posts, so if someone mentioned this before, i apologize. but why do we even need umpires? let questech or whatever call balls and strikes and have an official in a booth call outs and other on-field calls. that would speed up the game by REMOVING replay, and by eliminating the arguing by managers. and while we’re at it, can the managers NOT wear uniforms? they look ridiculous.

    Comment by deathstar — May 3, 2012 @ 12:05 am

  149. Being near the bag at second only helps prevent injury / the other player breaking up a double play. I don’t like the rule, but I understand it. Here he walked about 5% of the way to the fielder throwing the ball, so it is a much more significant advantage.

    Comment by monkey business — May 3, 2012 @ 12:06 am

  150. Disagree… the official/ump/ref should call it as they see it, the refs are encouraged to let the play run in football and not blow the whistle.

    There is an obvious bias to not calling a player down (so the fumble recovery proceeds), same thing on a QB fumble/incomplete pass. or lateral/forward pass… but the replays are not always conclusive (pile up of bodies preventing down/not down from being seen, bad angle to see forward/backward pass, etc…). Or if the play is close and not incontrovertible, the umps call may not be correct but since it is not incontrovertible it stands.

    With the challenge system in football, the opposing coach may be out of timeouts or not want to risk burning a timeout. Even without a challenge system the officiating still has an inherent bias on the close calls (not a bias to one team or another just how the game is officiated)

    And in baseball where you have something like trap/not trap when there is no obvious let the play run scenario… barring a 3rd out both outcomes don’t end the play if there are men on base. This is also true on tag plays which aren’t a 3rd out…. On fair/foul you can default close plays to fair so the end outcome is understood (and then correct if foul)… and this is what will happen.

    Comment by Tom — May 3, 2012 @ 12:10 am

  151. why is this getting thumbs down?

    Comment by Tom — May 3, 2012 @ 12:13 am

  152. If you make that fifth ump do the scoring, too, you can get consistent scorekeeping and replay for minimal extra cost because you’re replacing an existing job.

    Comment by Tim — May 3, 2012 @ 12:20 am

  153. Add replay. Remove “God Bless America.” You’d probably come out ahead.

    Comment by Tim — May 3, 2012 @ 12:25 am

  154. People think they want replay, and I was kind of on the bandwagon until I actually experienced replay during a major college football game. Admittedly, it was a hot day, but when the crowd bursts out in boos for yet another replay that actually would have helped the home team you know the system isn’t servicing a need. It really is a different experience when you don’t have announcers talking over different camera angles reshowing the play in slow motion, or at least young people being overly enthused about fast food or beer.

    Bad calls happen, and over the course of a season they will average out. I get that really high impact plays (such as home runs or throws to the plate) might merit it, but a blanket “get all calls right” mandate will make the game less enjoyable watch. MLB should try to find ways to make the game quicker (which doesn’t necessarily mean shorter). The NFL can get away with being a TV show that still sellouts stadiums thanks to having only 8 homegames. Baseball needs an entertaining product for people in the stadium, and getting the calls 99.5% right instead of 99% doesn’t necessarily help that.

    Comment by OmicronWarrior — May 3, 2012 @ 12:44 am

  155. but manager’s arguing calls is entertaining…watching umpires huddle around a screen is not.

    Comment by ausmax — May 3, 2012 @ 12:52 am

  156. i don’t think you need replay for a call this bad. what i don’t understand is why the other three guys wearing black do not conference with the ump who blew it and overturn it right there. that’s the real problem. i’m sure i’m wrong but i’ve never seen a call changed. what is the home plate umpire looking at on this play? was morganna running onto the field?

    the only way replay would ever work is having a guy in the booth full time to replay in real time. that’s how cricket does it. otherwise it will be painful.

    Comment by Youppi! — May 3, 2012 @ 12:54 am

  157. Manager-Ump arguments ARe entertaining though, that counts for something.

    Comment by Chuck — May 3, 2012 @ 12:54 am

  158. Yeah, that all sounds good on paper but look how long it takes the NFL to review a play–longer than it should. NFL football can afford these extra few minutes; baseball cannot.

    Comment by bstar — May 3, 2012 @ 12:57 am

  159. Thoughts on technology makes strike/ball calls?

    Comment by Chuck — May 3, 2012 @ 1:00 am

  160. Because if you’re a true fan, you refer to your team as “we” and “us”.

    Comment by bstar — May 3, 2012 @ 1:07 am

  161. You’re right, but what baseball needs to do before they address replay is to quicken the game. Get rid of multiple non-pitching change visits to the mound in one inning, reduce time between pitches by enforcing 12-second rule for pitchers and also prohibit batters from stepping out of the box before every pitch, make mid-inning huddles between teammates on the mound illegal(or maybe just one per inning), etc, etc.

    Get that stuff straight first and then let’s talk replay.

    Comment by bstar — May 3, 2012 @ 1:24 am

  162. Thank you.

    Comment by bstar — May 3, 2012 @ 1:28 am

  163. Bad calls are a part of baseball. It’s the way the game is. Whatever. A call is a call. An umpire misses a strike, a close play is called out. This game isn’t based on technical input. It’s based on an umpires mind and what he thinks. If everything is under replay in the MLB, the games would probably last close to 7 hours. How many double plays are actually double plays? And ps, every first basemen pulls.

    Comment by David — May 3, 2012 @ 1:42 am

  164. Aren’t there 5 umps to a crew anyways? In case one gets injured? Why can’t that ump be the designated replay guy for the game? If he sees a call on the bases that he think is incorrect he can overturn it at his discretion, without any coaches or umps on the field telling him to do so.

    Comment by Matt — May 3, 2012 @ 1:45 am

  165. Are they caught in a landslide?

    Comment by jorgath — May 3, 2012 @ 1:54 am

  166. They don’t. But The Hairston Brothers (does that sound like a ’60s band or what?) have access to mystical knowledge passed down from their father. Levitation is just one of their many tricks.

    Comment by jorgath — May 3, 2012 @ 1:56 am

  167. I rather like philosophool’s idea.

    Comment by jorgath — May 3, 2012 @ 2:03 am

  168. Cuzzi is an awful umpire.

    Comment by eastsider — May 3, 2012 @ 2:16 am

  169. Seriously? We’re still doing that thinking it’s hilarious?

    Comment by CamFrye — May 3, 2012 @ 2:27 am

  170. You can have you own opinion without actually seeing the play. That’s fine by me. But if you actually watch the whole play, the 3rd baseman picked the ball in the air. He then threw it over to 1st base just to make sure he was out.

    The umpire called the out on the catch.

    Comment by Nick Lindner — May 3, 2012 @ 3:02 am

  171. Just kidding! It does kind of look like it though if you pretend that the ball doesn’t bounce a foot in front of the plate.

    Comment by Nick Lindner — May 3, 2012 @ 3:10 am

  172. It seems to me that Welke was in an absolutely terrible position to make the call. Is that where he should have been?

    Comment by hipeter1987 — May 3, 2012 @ 3:51 am

  173. Reading through the comments (yeah, I’m bored) it seems that every reasons that have been given against instant-replays (ir) have been countered:
    IR takes to long –> 5th ump or setting a fixed amount of challenges for each manager (or both)
    The games are already too long –> while the games are indeed 3+ hours long and more delay in the flow of the game would make it last longer, I still find this a selfish reason to rule against IR’s. Besides the pro (making the game as fair as possible for both parties) certainly outweighs the con
    It’s part of the game –> Just downright foolish. Tell this to the players. And I wonder if you’ll use this argument when the call is made against the team your rooting for in an important game….

    Now this isn’t to say that all these proposed solutions will work, that’s something we can prove until it has been implanted in the game. The same can be said on the flip side, why shouldn’t these solutions work. It’s a shame that baseball has so many chances to try these things out (spring training, Rookie leagues etc etc.) but still aren’t willing to even give it a chance.

    Comment by Qwerty — May 3, 2012 @ 5:28 am

  174. Comparisons to NFL replay are misleading. Anyone who’s watched both sports knows that replays in baseball are easier to interpret than in football. There are no obscuring bodies of other players in baseball, as is often the case in football (e.g., a fumble in traffic). And on average there are fewer elements to look at in baseball — at most two (player reaching bag versus ball reaching glove / tag being made) and often one (fair or foul, trap or clean catch, swipe tag getting body or not, HBP or not). Single-element plays in football are less common (QB arm coming forward or not on pass / fumble, hands underneath ball on catch or not) and there’s nothing in baseball as complicated as a sideline catch with the receiver juggling the ball, where the hands and both feet all need to be looked at.

    Comment by Eric M. Van — May 3, 2012 @ 6:02 am

  175. Replay is stupid just because it’s stupid. That argument is as inherently logical as ones like Dave Cameron’s here — i.e., “Here is a bad call. Thus we need instant replay.” A bad call here and there doesn’t justify such a dramatic change to the game. If you want to watch pro football, watch pro football. Don’t screw up my game.

    Comment by Marty — May 3, 2012 @ 7:37 am

  176. You honestly think this call should stand?

    At the very least, the 1B umpire should have asked the home plate ump for help.

    Comment by chuckb — May 3, 2012 @ 7:48 am

  177. I’m sure Armando Galarraga agrees with you…that it’s “your game.”

    Comment by chuckb — May 3, 2012 @ 7:49 am

  178. While the length of SOME games may be a threat to the game’s popularity, another simply has to be the lack of credibility of the umpiring in the face of substantial, incontrovertible evidence that outrageous mistakes are allowed to stand simply because traditionalists prefer “the human element.” Replays don’t need to take long at all. How long would it take an official in the replay booth with 1 replay — they wouldn’t need many angles to see this mistake — to overturn calls like this? I guarantee it’ll be overturned faster than Don Mattingly can run his old ass out to first base.

    Comment by chuckb — May 3, 2012 @ 7:55 am

  179. College football’s replay system is close to perfect. The NFL’s is ridiculous. Of course, at least they have one and have conceded the fact that its officials may not be divined by God and, therefore, unquestionably perfect.

    Comment by chuckb — May 3, 2012 @ 7:57 am

  180. All of the gifs and links provided here by commenters are why there needs to be instant replay. The increased use of technology threatens umpires’ and, in turn, the game’s credibility. If technology leads average fans to the conclusion that “the game’s fixed”, or that umpires can’t be trusted, the game’s future is in jeopardy.

    Comment by chuckb — May 3, 2012 @ 8:01 am

  181. Cameron’s argument is:

    1) This error is egregious.
    2) The benefits of eradicating this error via replay are greater than the cost to do so [in my opinion].
    3) Thus we should have replay.

    This argument is absolutely airtight. You can only challenge the premises: the error isn’t that bad; the cost of fixing it via replay is greater than the benefit derived. You might be right. Who knows?

    Comment by CJ — May 3, 2012 @ 8:10 am

  182. Bowdenball:Joke::Welke:Call

    Comment by Jon — May 3, 2012 @ 9:20 am

  183. Primary issue, perhaps already mentioned, is the EGO of an average MLB umpire.

    I’m sure at least one of the other umps saw how ridiculously un-close Helton was to the out. The fact they can’t raise a hand and say “he was safe” is sad.

    I’d be interested to hear from some retired umpires about how many wrong calls they witnessed on the field and for whatever reason didn’t voluntarily correct.

    Comment by Jimbo — May 3, 2012 @ 9:37 am

  184. I agree with David here, while this call is blatant what do we do about the closer ones? The other night in the Nats-D’Backs game there was a really close one that the ump missed ( should that have been reviewed? What about all the times a game at first or second where there are close plays with either the defender missing the bag or the runner beating the ball?

    Calls are missed, it’s part of the game. It’s part of any competition. Balls and strikes are a much bigger deal and have a much higher frequency of misses, imagine going to instant replay 45 times a game?

    Comment by Brandon H — May 3, 2012 @ 9:46 am

  185. To be clear, I’m not apologizing for what I said. I’m sorry he won’t read FanGraphs anymore, and hope he’ll reconsider.

    However, 10 minutes worth of replay — which would be way more an aberration or blip on the radar than a regular occurrence in my view — would be 5.5 percent of a three-hour game. I’m really not that worried about it.

    The game can’t/shouldn’t coddle the fans any more than it already does with kiss cams, t-shirt guns, and hot dog races*. They already get their home runs, RBI, and batting average displayed on the screen. By speeding up the games, and catering to the ‘baseball is boring’ crowd, baseball again chooses the lowest common denominator. I’m not asking for wOBA to be on television overlays….just please don’t further cater to the ‘baseball is boring’ crowd.

    *I’ll admit, I like that one. Still, only Milwaukee and only Washington w/ the presidents. No one else is allowed.

    Comment by Brandon Warne — May 3, 2012 @ 9:49 am

  186. CJ

    Are you saying that missed calls like this (which happen what, up to two times a ballgame?) are more damaging to the game then the terrible strike zone of the average umpire? We can go over image after image of where balls were way out of the strike zone and called strikes or strikes that were in the zone called balls. I would gather some 20-30 a game (I forget the actually questec data).

    Given the data we understand on how hitters perform in certain counts, this area is much more of a pressing need then what Outside the Lines confirmed as “1.3 calls per game”.

    There is no argument here. This was a comical play and a head scratcher.

    Comment by Brandon H — May 3, 2012 @ 10:01 am

  187. Cather framing, pitcher reputation, hitter reputation, compensation calls teeter tottering across several innings, the merciful umpire” effect, the “ruthless umpire” effect. Some argue that race even plays a role still. MLB could clear all that out of the game with one clean move.

    Comment by payroll — May 3, 2012 @ 10:02 am

  188. Then there is just plain poor vision. I mean, it takes decades before an umpire gets to the bigs, and at that, it seems to be because he has only mastered defending his poor calls when a manager gets in his face about them.

    Comment by payroll — May 3, 2012 @ 10:03 am

  189. “Close to perfect”?

    We must have a different definition of perfection (

    Comment by Brandon H — May 3, 2012 @ 10:05 am

  190. Oh c’mon,

    This is just a simple “in the vicinity” call that established veteran players get.

    It’s no big deal.

    I mean Helton’s foot was probably on the base at some point during the play, doesn’t that count at all?


    On a serious note, showing it on the jumbotron or in the replay booth would be quick. On this play, they could just ask the guy rom section 271 in the second deck in LF … as he clearly sae Helton’s foot off the bag.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 3, 2012 @ 10:11 am

  191. Does the fact that this was called an out give Helton a UZR boost?

    Comment by Adam W — May 3, 2012 @ 10:12 am

  192. I agree.

    The whole “bad calls are a part of baseball” and “Joe DiMaggio never had replay” or the “they didn’t have replay when I was a kid” type of arguments are non-arguments.

    They’re simply appeals to tradition, which often indicates there are not strong evidence-based reasons to continue them.

    Get the play right. If outs are the “currency” of baseball, then outs should be valued as important enough to attain the highest degree of accuracy.

    No one would accept a “buzzer beater” that was 2 seconds after the 0.0 appeared on the board, just as no one would accept the timekeeper in football allowing 5 extra seconds to “run off” after the QB spiked the ball, and the reason is because “time” is the currency of those sports.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 3, 2012 @ 10:15 am

  193. I bet your blood pressure is too high if that bothered you so much.

    Comment by Derek — May 3, 2012 @ 10:57 am

  194. Do you have access to a camera angle nobody else does? Because nobody knows whether that swing was checked – the best angle we have was on FG from, like, 145 degrees. “Worst call of the decade” might be the worst hyperbole of the decade.

    Comment by Chris K — May 3, 2012 @ 11:06 am

  195. he means the Galarraga game, not the Humber game.

    Comment by mad bum — May 3, 2012 @ 11:09 am

  196. Potential Solution: MLB goes with a 5th umpire in the booth.

    Potential Problem: Tim Welke is that 5th umpire…

    Comment by NEPP — May 3, 2012 @ 11:11 am

  197. No escape from reality.
    Open your eyes!

    Comment by Nevin — May 3, 2012 @ 11:17 am

  198. Here we go again… I understand that the argument for replay is based on more than just this play, but this play, in my mind, is a good example of why replay isn’t necessary. This is a complete breakdown by the umpire in positioning, mechanics, effort and overall professionalism. That is the problem that needs to be solved. It’s not a good idea to look at how umpires have become feeble, fat and fallible and then try to think of ways to allow them to stay that way and work around that to fix things.

    If there is going to be a radical departure in how the game is officiated, the change should be in either getting the umpires’ union to cooperate with an effort to make the umpires more fit and professional or get rid of the union along with the bad umps.

    The game is not uncallable. Umpires have been allowed to be sloppy and lazy and out of position for so long that some don’t even remember what is correct anymore. I watched a Rays game the other night where the umpires rotated improperly so that on a play at first base after a long fly to the outfield, there was no one in the vicinity to make the call.

    The NFL experience should have proven to us that replay is not infallible. How many times have we heard announcers who have looked at every angle of replay insist that a call should go a certain way be proven wrong when the decision actually comes down? It’s not the spending of the time that is the biggest concern, but the spending of the time and still not getting it right at times.

    Let’s fix the umpiring first and then see if there is really enough of a problem to require blowing up the system to fix it.

    Comment by frugalscott — May 3, 2012 @ 11:20 am

  199. why wouldnt a tired, overused, annoying nitpick get a thumbs down?

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — May 3, 2012 @ 11:55 am

  200. Viva, yes, the manager (Don Mattingly) did go out to argue the call, adamantly, for about 5 minutes.

    Comment by Craigary — May 3, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

  201. Technology for the players have gotten better, broadcast technology has gotten better, the games have changed. There is nothing wrong with integrating a system where bad calls like this can be changed. Mabye we start with each manager getting one play call that they can have replayed. We see how long this takes to a game (on a play like this, if you have a replay official and his own hookup – maybe a handfull of minutes.) Do that for a season – and see if we really affect the pacing of baseball (a game that allows two different pitchers to work at two different paces and affects game speed in inordinate ways). If it that is as far as it goes – something like this would have preserved the no hitter last year – fixed this very aggregious call – AND think about the time this REMOVES from a manager running in and arguing with an umpire. They just hit their review button, let the play get reviewed, and then they stay in the dugout – and don’t have to worry about the argument or getting tossed. There is just in my opinion nothing wrong with putting in a system that allows for bad calls to be fixed.

    Comment by Garrett — May 3, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

  202. That tornado system point you made is the most blatant straw man I’ve ever seen. Atrocious.

    Comment by George — May 3, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

  203. The above replies betray a misunderstanding of the NFL review system. Certainly, on a borderline call, a referee is encourage to swallow his whistle and let the play finish. However, after the play finishes, the referee is not bound by his letting play proceed to a call of, for instance, fumble vs. incomplete pass.

    Similarly, a baseball umpire could let a foul ball, again by way of example, “play out” and then call foul after the play is completed, setting the appropriate default without creating the need for potential counterfactuals.

    Of course, there are instances where both sides of the call result in live balls – for example, catch vs. trap where a runner is tagging up (although in this example either way, the runner needs to beat the tag) – whereunder the crew just has to do its best, or use replay and then rely on a counterfactual (as they do regularly, sans replay, with fan interference).

    Comment by Brandon T — May 3, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

  204. Maybe it’s just being a Pat’s fan, but watching CBS take out 30 seconds every time we score to ‘confirm’ what is blatently a score is killing it.

    I get this this was an awful call, but where does it stop? How is this much different from a called 3rd strike that’s clearly out of the zone?

    Comment by Dan S — May 3, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

  205. Most people who don’t watch baseball say they do so because the games move too slowly, not that the games take too long. There is a big difference.
    By the former, they mean that there is too much time between pitches and too much time with visits to the mound/change of pitchers. Heck, I turn off or sleep thru a game where the pitchers work slowly or the manager changes pitchers for each batter.
    I would gladly watch or fast forward thru a game that has a few minutes added to overturn the umpires’ most egregious errors.
    The one that is shown in this post should take only a few seconds to overturn.

    Comment by Baltar — May 3, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

  206. This is exactly what I think. Are you sure you’re not me?

    Comment by Baltar — May 3, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

  207. Right on all counts.

    Comment by Baltar — May 3, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

  208. the 33 of you sycophants.who gave that needless attack a thumbs up are pieces of shit who should be ashamed. this guy calmly makes an argument, a valid one, games ARE too long. imo replayshould be expanded. what makes the game too long is the amount of time between pitches. a fifteen second clock should be used. two replay challenges per team no replays on balls and strikes. then everyone is happy.

    and back to my point. you people suck. so now this site exists to come here and shout “I AGREE. YOU AND I ARE BOTH SO VERY SMART!! hooray”
    check. got it.

    Comment by bpdelia — May 3, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

  209. Brandon, the custom strike zones of the umpires is the worst problem in the game (except the excessive time illegally taken between pitches).
    However, that doesn’t mean that other problems shouldn’t be addressed, also.
    Umpires should undergo extensive re-training during ST, when the games could easily be played half-staffed with no harm. Then, they should be penalized and even fired if they continuously flaunt the rules or make a lot of atrocious calls during the season.

    Comment by Baltar — May 3, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

  210. This one’s for you, Chuck:

    Comment by Matt — May 3, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

  211. “NFL football can afford these extra few minutes; baseball cannot.”

    He’s right of course. Why, that 3 hours, 19 minute game just *flew* right by! But 3 hours, 20 minutes? F*** that, I’m deserting this sport forever…

    Comment by Jason B — May 3, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

  212. “Replay has costs. It has time costs. It has fairness costs.”

    Jonathan – you raised the fairness issue on several occasions throughout the discussion thread. What are the “fairness costs” exactly? Seems to me like expanding replay is more fair, in that the plays are called correctly more often than not, and are hence decided by the players on the field rather than an error in judgment on the part of the umpires.

    Are you saying it’s unfair to the team that has benefitted from an erroneous call, in that the call may now go against them despite the initial ruling in their favor by the umpire? I think most of us would be willing to live with that; I would prefer the call be right (even if that may work against the team I’m rooting for on occasion) rather than just go along with whatever is called first, whether or not its correct.

    I think a replay system could only be rightly termed “unfair” if by its nature it adversely impacted a team or teams disproportionately over time, not just that (for instance) 3 out of 3 replay calls went against one particular team in one particular game. And even if you got to the end of the season and, say, 62% of replay calls for that season went against team X, or 64% favored team Y, who cares? The system isn’t designed to benefit or penalize one team, its designed to get the calls correct, regardless of the teams involved.

    Comment by Jason B — May 3, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

  213. Then where do baby first basemen come from?

    Comment by Brian — May 3, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

  214. @jonathan the second time. You may enjoy an argument, but do you enjoy it when a bullshit call like this is made against your team, and then the umpires don’t change it?

    Comment by radicalhenri — May 3, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

  215. @dan, i don’t agree at all. As a pitcher I would hate if that was illegal. This will probably get some thumbs down, but baseball is a game of suspense. The excitement doesn’t come from watching great, athletic plays every second, like in football and basketball, it comes from looking through your fingers at the TV with the bases loaded, waiting for the pitch to come. I want to see the best players can be, and if that means taking a few extra seconds to calm yourself on the mound, so be it.

    Comment by radicalhenri — May 3, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

  216. this is a baseball website FIFA, “Umpires.”

    Comment by radicalhenri — May 3, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

  217. agh, a mechanical umpire is just too weird for me. I realize the players are “the human element”, but having a machine making the calls is just too much for me.

    Comment by radicalhenri — May 3, 2012 @ 6:37 pm

  218. whoosh.

    Comment by Synovia — May 3, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

  219. Two words: Robot umpires

    Comment by Theron — May 3, 2012 @ 7:28 pm

  220. Installing a fifth umpire in the booth with a video feed is no exactly “blowing up the system.”

    Comment by williams .482 — May 3, 2012 @ 7:32 pm

  221. Anywhere close?

    The technology is there to have it set up in an hour.

    Comment by Synovia — May 3, 2012 @ 7:44 pm

  222. The NFL may not be dying but the Bucs have sure had difficulty drawing anything close to 60k of fans to see them play for a couple of years now. Even worse is the “devil” Rays averaging less than 2/3 the crowd that the worst team in “our” division…and attendance is up dramatically. Scroll down for my Op on replay.

    Comment by TBGeorge — May 3, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

  223. As a child playing Little League and watching MLB games I was led to believe that once an umpire made a call, that decision was final. I continued to beleive that for over 25 years, and often commented on how rediculous it was for a call to be argued. I have since seen this to be inaccurate. The first came on a home run by Gregg Vaughn (Devil Rays, early 2000′s) that was overruled as being foul, without replay.

    Don Mattingly had an outstanding career as a player but I bet he would trade it all for just a shot at a World Series title. My point here is that calls are missed all the time and many are insignificant. What happens if it’s made during game 162, 163, or game 7 of an LCS?

    I absolutely agree that the umpiring could and very much should be improved in practice, but some calls just shouldn’t be left to chance. I feel a well-trained appointed replay booth umpire could be revolutionary to the game. Sorry hockey fans but I couldn’t bear to leave the decision of a call to some cannuck in Toronto.

    As far as slowing down the game? What happens if an ump misses the call in the 15th inning of a game that takes 5 hours? I’m all for enforcement of rules that are already in place to speed up the pace of the game but the game, the game itself, should and does take as long as it takes. Again hockey fans, I’m sorry but there’s no tying in baseball.

    With a trained video official, a limit to the number of reviews per game, a reasonable rule to what plays are reviewable, I think it would work. However, this is all up to the owners. As fans it is our responsibility, even our duty to argue issues such as this. Times have changed, technology has changed, albeit the same the game itself is ever-changing.

    Comment by TBGeorge — May 3, 2012 @ 11:46 pm

  224. That’s definitely an out-of-zone play.

    Comment by Tim — May 4, 2012 @ 12:06 am

  225. I am 22 and I care about the so called human element. Dispite all the pro-replay scoffing, blown calls are part of the game. However, one can argue if blow calls are good or bad for the game. Personally I think a certain percentage of blown calls makes for a more interesting and entertaining game. Sports are all about entertainment; I am more entertained without ANY instant replay in baseball.

    Comment by adohaj — May 6, 2012 @ 2:57 am

  226. Dude, that call wasn’t even close

    Comment by AA — May 29, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

  227. Clearly he was safe, stop hating!!!

    Comment by jd theisen — May 3, 2014 @ 11:24 pm

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