Replay It, Baby
November 14, 2013 4:43 PM
Finally, MLB has made a move in the right direction on instant replay. I think they haven't quite gone far enough, but this is way better than nothing.
As you may remember, "far enough" for me would be an ump in the booth right at the stadium, no limits on courtesy reviews by managers (just like check swing appeals), and the right of the booth ump to overrule any call on the field at any time (other than balls and strikes, of course; a boundary system will be needed to improve those). In other words, make it both active and reactive.
I'd also go with hand signals from the booth rather than headsets, but I don't want to seem Luddite about it. Having a headset standing by is probably a good idea just in case consultation is necessary, but just imagine a sequence that looks like this:
1. Questionable call on the field
2. A manager waves from the dugout (maybe just signaling his catcher to ask for review, again like a check swing)
3. If granted, the ump gestures to the booth (similar to current gestures toward the first or third base ump)
4. Moments later (because the booth ump started reviewing the play as soon as it happened) he either signals out or safe through the booth window
5. If necessary, umps on the field reposition runners
Not only does it solve the problem, but it does so more efficiently (no need to "call New York") while also fitting it into the time-honored traditions already part of the game. As an aside, it looks like they will limit managers to two erroneous challenges. But, why two? Why not three? Isn't that the correct baseball number?
Frankly, as mentioned, I don't see any need for limits, especially if it becomes an active system. Knowing that the umps are always watching plays closely from the booth would ease everybody's mind, and managers might never have to make challenges at all. That's probably the best-case scenario, and I think it would be completely achievable. But you need that guy in the booth at the stadium, and nobody within the game seems to want that (probably because of the expense).
So we have to take what we can get, and this sounds pretty good. Most intriguing to me was this little section:
Manfred appeared to indicate that the video being reviewed in New York could be show to fans in stadiums or possibly on television broadcasts.
This is long overdue and most welcome.
Then I got an idea for a brand new dream job:
MLB doesn't want managers to tell players to stall to give team employees time to review video on their own and instruct the dugout whether to use a challenge.
You can believe that every team will now (if they don't already) have a staff member glued to the broadcasts trying to help make the decision on whether the manager should appeal. Ooh! Pick me! Pick me!
Again, For the First Time
I've been working on a site redesign for a couple of years now, and recently discovered that I have about 50 draft posts that never got quite finished, and therefore were never actually published. Many are short, only ideas, but some were more thoroughly developed before being abandoned. Here's one that caught my eye as a relic from a most different age, the winter of 2011. The post was to be entitled The Essence of Randomness:
Pardon me if the following gets too metaphysical or fatalistic for you.
One thing for certain, single game ticket sales have now officially divided Twins Territory in two: the haves and the have-nots (though all are in the have-waited category). In truth, there was no other possible outcome. Without enough tickets for everybody, it was inevitable that some folks would be left out.
But clearly the process by which some fans were excluded was a primary source of frustration. I mean, nothing is worse than following all the directions, waiting patiently in line, getting your number called, racing successfully against the running clock on your screen, and then getting either a mysterious blank white screen, or just dumped from the system, or frozen out at checkout. You feel like an opportunity was given (albeit arbitrarily) and then snatched away (just as arbitrarily).
When selected randomly, it's good news. We're happy. We get a warm feeling.
When rejected randomly, it's bad news. We feel wronged. We remember.
Human nature is funny in that the negative emotions are always stronger and have much longer staying power than the positive ones. I believe that's where feuds come from (maybe even rivalries). And the feeling of being treated unfairly is one of the stickiest emotions of all.
So it's one thing to say, "The system was fair and I just didn't get tickets." And it's something completely different to say, "I didn't get any tickets because the system was unfair." Only one will stick in our craw.
Randomness, by itself, isn't either fair or unfair (I see evidence of this all the time watching late-night poker games on TV). And it must be admitted that server problems represent a form of random -- truly random -- rejection. When a server misbehaves, which users get affected is complete and total chance.
The coverage of this debacle has all included references to the Twins' "ticketing partner Tickets.com," suggesting that the server issues, whatever they were, were owned by the vendor. This makes sense, but most people won't get that far. They were trying to buy Twins tickets, so it's the Twins who screwed up.
Most people who got shut out will remember, and probably punish the team in the inevitable future when times are not quite so good.
Oh, how things have changed. There isn't even late-night poker to watch anymore!
OK, now I'm going to delete that draft, and maybe you'll see some more of these short almost-nearly-flashbacks-of-posts-that-never-were in coming days.
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This page was last modified on November 14, 2013.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
(Click to enlarge greatly)
The Ballpark Wall! (really stunning)
Dancing for the cameras
Ticket window at Gate 29/Carew
Ketchup, mustard, relish, mustard, ketchup
These stairs will go up to the centerfield pavilion.
A closer look at the bridge and walls. You can see where the tracks will be laid.
Is it possible to take a bad picture of this building?
You are forgiven for wondering whether architect Tom Oslund is, in fact, a visitor from the future.
How many times did we water down our field as kids? More times than we played games, that's for sure!
Roped off for the LRT crowd
Looking for some detail
Handshakes all around (there's gonna be a lot of that over the next few weeks)
The back gates at Comerica park, like everything else, a bit overwrought.
That group was working on something very carefully, but I couldn't tell just what it was.
A closer look into the park from down the street. How great will this view be during a game??
No griping here.
This appears to be the floor to the home dugout!
Trees now line Seventh Street
Note reflected sunset (7:30 PM). Could be a worry...
CBP: retro in facade only
The parking bay structure is now clearly visible
This view clearly shows the curve in the left field stands and the relationship of the first row with the playing field (no overhang to speak of in left).
(Click to enlarge.)
Click on this photo to see what it looked like on this spot 101 years ago (I'm not kidding)
The media had some beautiful foliage to use as a background.
Miller Park: Gymnasium with skylight (Source: RP)
This is the LRT bridge under construction as viewed from the east looking west. The ballpark facade would be at the left in this photo.
The glare problem.
Sue Nelson, and her organ, in one of the Twins Pubs
That's my mom. She scored the whole game on her Gameday program (bought for just $1 on the opening night special -- thanks guys!)
August 2001 (a month later we were engaged)
The plaza as seen from the B ramp.
4th inning in the thinning crowd of the Grandstand.
BPM - Ballpark Magic
BRT - Bus Rapid Transit
DSP - Dave St. Peter
FSE - Full Season Equivalent
FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)
HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)
HPB - Home Plate Box
HRP - Home Run Porch
LC - Legends Club
LRT - Light Rail Transit
MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)
MOA - Mall of America
MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)
NYS - New Yankee Stadium
SRO - Standing Room Only
STH - Season Ticket Holder
TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium
TF - Target Field
Selected Bibliography - Analysis
First Edition (1992)
Second Edition (2006)
Selected Bibliography - Surveys
Second Edition (1987)
Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000, large coffee table)
Original edition (2000, round)
Revised edition (2006, round)
(2001, medium coffee table)
(2002, small coffee table)
(2003, medium coffee table)
(2004, very large coffee table)
(2006, very large coffee table)
Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)
Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
Book and six ballpark miniatures