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Replay, Finally

January 18, 2014 1:15 AM

In case you missed it, here are all the details on the replay rules.

This one caught my eye:

Once the manager has exhausted his ability to challenge plays during the game and after the beginning of the seventh inning, the crew chief may choose to invoke instant replay on any reviewable call. In that circumstance, the crew chief is not obligated to invoke instant replay if requested by the manager.

It's unclear whether the umps can themselves request a review prior to the seventh inning, or if they must wait for a manager to request it. That would seem to need some clarification (although maybe the assumption is that the umps would never do that on their own).

The key thing is that they are compelled to review a play as long as a manager has his challenge left and it's before the seventh inning. After that point, the umps are not compelled to do what the manager asks, but clearly the manager could still ask for a review, and it could still be granted. And the umps could make the call themselves (without a request) at that point.

Using the seventh inning as a cut-off point seems sort of arbitrary. I suppose the fear is that managers might use frivolous challenges to allow a reliever more time to warm up or something like that. But blown calls (or potentially blown calls) are just as likely in the ninth as any other time. And if the game is on the line, replay review is just as important then as ever.

And I wonder about extra-inning games. Shouldn't the challenges reset at some point?

Of course, what I don't like about these new rules is that the umps are ever forced to do something. It would make more sense to me if these late-inning rules were actually always the rules. But it's easy to see that the managers would object to taking away their right to force something. That's actually a small victory for the managers, who throughout the history of the game have never actually been able to force an ump to do anything.

In fact, that may be the defining element of this rule change. The dynamic between umps and managers is modified, to a degree yet to be determined (albeit probably pretty subtle).

Sadly, that little bit of control may actually reduce the number of times we get to see Gardy throw his hat and kick dirt and chew out an ump. I guess there will always be balls and strikes to argue over... (Somewhere, Lou Piniella is spinning in his grave. What? Still alive? OK, he'll be spinning in his chair in a broadcast booth somewhere.)

Two other things look interesting:

Clubs will now have the right to show replays of all close plays on its ballpark scoreboard, regardless of whether the play is reviewed.

This will surely be the greatest gain in the rule change for fans in the stands. It's long overdue, and I'm convinced that the only reason the old policy was ever adopted in the first place was as a face-saving measure for the umpires. I never bought the line that teams don't want to rile up the fans. We've always known that that's exactly what teams want to do.

The question remains whether they will show replays which will go against the home team. I hope they always show them.

No monitors or additional electronic equipment will be permitted in the dugout.

When, oh, when will MLB get over this? Technology really isn't the enemy. These are modern tools. Why forbid their use? It really makes no sense.

This rule change is, in itself, an admission that technology is now a friend of the game. It's time to let the managers and coaches watch the replays whenever and however they want to for decision-making. (It's probably fueled by fears about stealing signs or something crazy like that.)

But, no, instead we get this anachronism:

To determine whether to challenge a play, personnel in the dugout will be permitted to communicate with a video specialist in the clubhouse who has access to the same video that is available to replay officials. This communication will occur via the dugout phone.

"Yeah, Gardy, that guy was safe. Go challenge."

OK, it's an anachronism, but what a great gig. Hey, Dave St. Peter! I want this job!


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Hey Rick, with Target field going into its fourth season, any sort of overall type of review of the place coming since the "new car smell" has worn off? - Thanks, Long time reader, very infrequent commenter.

Posted on January 18, 2014 at 02:43 AM by wisco Highlight this comment 1

Actually, 2014 starts TF's FIFTH season.
2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 were the previous ones.

Posted on January 18, 2014 at 08:53 AM by luke Highlight this comment 2

This seems like a boondoggle from the beginning. As I said on the other post is the only good thing to come of this is showing all replays on the main screen. Other than that, other things (more umps, different ump positioning, umpire discipline for blowing really bad calls, better training for umps) could have been tried first. How many times do you see a catcher call for an appeal on a blantantly check swing in which the batter went, and they go to the ump who clearly wasn't paying attention, just to give out the obligatory safe sign. When's the last time any of us have heard of a umpire being disclplined for repeated bad calls? I can't recall one.

Now that it is here, it should be just like college football. Any close play should be reviewed by indepentent umpires, just for the sake of getting the call right. If the sole purpose of this is to get the calls right, there should be no arbitrary challenges.

Posted on January 18, 2014 at 08:54 AM by Duffman Highlight this comment 3

No more big white puffy thing on the east side of downtown.

Posted on January 18, 2014 at 10:19 AM by wisco Highlight this comment 4

With all the replays on the main screen, there better be some PSA about the "neighborhood play" at second base. I will probably go postal after sitting at my seat and hearing for the umpteenth time dopes around me point at the screen and bitch about how second base wasn't touched.

Posted on January 18, 2014 at 3:11 PM by TheTruthHurts Highlight this comment 5

It's quite something that the "neighborhood play" is specifically mentioned in this rule change, and excluded from review.

This appears to be a case of an unwritten rule suddenly becoming a written one -- another extraordinary impact of this change.

I mean, after this, why even bother to try and touch second when starting a DP?

Posted on January 18, 2014 at 5:04 PM by Rick 6


I do hope to do such a thing soon!

Posted on January 18, 2014 at 11:46 PM by Rick 7

Here's a fun slideshow from ESPN called "The Last Gasps of Ballparks We've Lost."

I guess that's what the Metrodome did today: take its last gasp.

Posted on January 18, 2014 at 11:50 PM by Rick 8

Nice slide show. I looked at many of them that were imploded that seemed to be in the same if not closer proximity to surrounding buildings and they were still imploded. I know we mentioned the RCA Dome in Indy...which was imploded, and it was attached to the Indianapolis Convention center. Oh well...

Posted on January 19, 2014 at 2:09 PM by luke Highlight this comment 9

Looks like the Twins are a interested in teaming up with Minnesota United Football Club to get MLS soccer here. Separate soccer specific stadium by Target Field

Posted on January 19, 2014 at 5:53 PM by Brandon Highlight this comment 10

Cool time-lapse of the doom roof deflating:

Posted on January 19, 2014 at 01:46 AM by Excited Highlight this comment 11

Pretty cool video. They wasted no time, aerial web cam shows they are already removing panels from the roof.

Posted on January 19, 2014 at 9:31 PM by luke Highlight this comment 12

I guess I am one of those dopes TTH is talking about. The "neighborhood rule" is bullshit. Always has been, always will be. They should force them to touch the bag. It changes the way the player throws the ball, and effects game play. There is plenty of ways for the shortstop to touch the bag without getting injured, by the runner. If you are going to bend the rules there, why not bend there rules else where for safety reasons?

Posted on January 20, 2014 at 12:27 AM by Duffman Highlight this comment 13

My dream of the Dome getting turned into a huge indoor swimming pool / water park is coming to an end.

Posted on January 20, 2014 at 09:14 AM by Dave Highlight this comment 14

Just make everyone go head first into second base. That would stop a lot of the nasty break ups. Runners would think again about going so hard into the base.

Posted on January 20, 2014 at 10:15 PM by DreDogg Highlight this comment 15

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