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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," 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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Posted on November 14, 2013 at 10:35 PM by Crazy array Highlight this comment 1

Here is an article from Atlanta Magazine about the struggles faced by the neighborhood around Turner Field, especially on non game days, and how the citizens there have been let down repeatedly by politicians, hollow promises, and a lack of investment. It was published over the summer, before the Braves' Cobb County move came into play.

The Other 284 Days

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 09:54 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 2

That's a great article, Jorge. Thanks for the link.

The promises being made now by Atlanta's mayor about redevelopment of the Turner Field site sound even more dubious knowing that they are just the latest in a long string of unfulfilled promises for the area. But the profile of the neighborhood certainly does make it easier to understand why the Braves might want to leave. Basically, there's no reason to stay. Nothing about the site works to their advantage, and much of it actively works against their interests.

I'm officially convinced that the negotiations with the city of Atlanta are over. For their sake, the Braves have to now be hoping that the Cobb County potential deal holds together. It's hardly a sure thing.

While there are a lot of forces at work at the Turner Field site, the article does highlight the folly of building a stadium in a vacuum. Or maybe that should be: It highlights how building a stadium is sort of like building a big vacuum. Having events only 81 (or 93) days a year creates a certain type of economy in which businesses cannot really thrive. Only parking is actually profitable. We know this very well from the moonscape of surface parking which has surrounded the Metrodome for all these years.

I've never been more sure that the city of Minneapolis is making a huge mistake building another stadium there. The Vikings and their fans won't care. They'll get everything they need. Even the state politicians won't care because they did their job in "saving" the team.

But the city government has made a huge mistake. In their haste to get a deal done, they failed to leverage the vitality of the other side of downtown, including all of the investments already made there (including TF). Even if that Ryan development goes in -- which, thankfully, is looking better and better, though I still think it hinges on a stadium-naming deal which could get dicey -- the long-term success of the whole stadium project will depend on the development which occurs around it. And as this article bluntly points out, talk is easy and cheap, while development is hard and expensive.

Bottom line: When you build a facility which serves only its tenant, the community as a whole loses. People will dutifully shuffle in and out on game days, but what remains on non-game days is a giant sucking of energy from the community.

The site won't turn into the mess in Atlanta, of course. It will just remain perpetually what it is right now: Under-utilized, bleak, and an unnecessary burden on the community.

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 11:34 AM by Rick 3

TF has been put to bed for the winter :(

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 2:20 PM by luke Highlight this comment 4

"Even the state politicians won't care because they did their job in "saving" the team."

If it wasn't for self-serving morons there would be no politicians at all.

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 4:46 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 5

when is the post on the vikings stadium happening

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 5:43 PM by longtimelistener Highlight this comment 6

Great new column from the fishwrap factory, West of the Mississippi reguarding the double boondoggle in Atlanta looking to replace facilities barely 20 years old. I DO NOT want hear about Target Field and new Vikings stadium (if it ever breaks ground) being lobbied for replacements. I'm all for the current Metrodump being replaced because it was cheaply planned in the first place, but replacing 20 year-old stadiums that weren't built on the cheap is INSANE!

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 6:48 PM by gus munger Highlight this comment 7

jesus H christ, it really IS impossible to post images here.
so much for the one I attempted to leave in comment 4...despite using the instructions set forth above :/

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 8:00 PM by luke Highlight this comment 8

From the MSFA website: How the building of the new Vikings Stadium is expected to proceed.

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 8:00 PM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 9

What's that Hawk's owner? 14 year old Philips Arena is obsolete and you need it replaced because to many peasants/little people are attending games. Okey Dokey. And Georgia Tech, you get a new stadium, and Georgia University, you get a new stadium, and Georgia State, you get a new stadium, and you get a new stadium, and you get a new stadium, and you get a new stadium, and 2025 Atlanta Braves, you get a new stadium, and 2026 Atlanta Falcons, you get a new stadium... Georgia is to giving away stadiums like Oprah is to cars.

Posted on November 16, 2013 at 11:42 AM by gus munger Highlight this comment 10

From the MSFA website: How the building of the new Vikings Stadium is expected to proceed.

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 8:00 PM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 11

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 3046 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.

Carew atrium menu part 1

Look closely at the overhang. You'll see the on the right it is flush with the fence, and then it sticks out farther and farther as you move toward center. More fun for Michael Cuddyer.

We'll be packed into the first five rows of section 136. Hey, Wilson! I'm bringing my glove!

Click to enlarge greatly. See yourself?

This is the upper deck in Anaheim

The pouring is taking place at the very bottom of this photo.

Gate 29 "Carew" is at right.

One more time from the third base side.

Reasonable (if not overly generous) leg room

LRT at the ballpark

Staircase entrance. You cannot miss them.

The spruced up triangle really doesn't show much connection with the ballpark.

A new restaurant going in at Fifth Street and Second Avenue

Instrument of evil.

A little more imaginative is the circulation building for Northstar.

Walkway sneak peek

The storage tunnel is barely visible at left behind that guy.

Looking up toward Seventh Street.

The Faithful!

Dan Mehls, Mortenson Construction

Delmon Young getting warmed up

(Click to enlarge greatly)

This looks up Sixth Street from Hennepin. Just imagine what this will look like during a night game!

Shibe Park

Flag poles, fencing, main entrance gates

Clemson Memorial Stadium

Miller Park: Gymnasium with skylight (Source: RP)

Replays on the out-of-town scoreboard!

The view from section 210


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

Complete Bibliography

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