Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Polls: Instant Replay

With the Little League World Series underway, we have seen several plays determined via instant replay. Safe/Out (time/tag), Fair/Foul, HBP/Batted Ball: these issues have all been decided this LLWS by coach's challenge and instant replay, the outcome of which is determined solely by a replay official (7th official... LLWS uses a six man crew, which can cause problems when the 3B Umpire calls a ball "foul" and the LF Umpire calls the same ball "fair"). Over the past few years, Little League has certainly expanded replay at the World Series level.

Previous Poll (Toughest Calls) Results: Our previous poll, Polls: Toughest Calls, asked what is the toughest call to make in baseball. Combining your votes on the blog and on our Facebook page, we see a few popular answers. For the purposes of which level of ball these ejections occur in, we refer to Polls: Umpiring Experience, in which most UEFL'ers umpire organized youth (including High School) leagues (Total Votes: 251):
  • Balls/Strikes: Check Swing - 26% - With so many different codes calling for so many different interpretations of what it means to attempt to strike a baseball, it's no wonder "check swing" lands in the top spot.
  • Balk - 15% - If a double play is a pitcher's best friend, a balk is his rival. From the slightest start-stop-flinch to the failure to step directly towards a base, the balk call is the second toughest to make.
  • Safe/Out: Tagging the Runner - 14% - When a fielder has to contort himself to attempt to tag out a runner who himself is trying to avoid this contact, angles often are destroyed. With no surefire way to tell where a tag is coming from, safe/out: tagging the runner is the third toughest call in the game.
  • Safe/Out: Lob to Base - 10% - On a routine safe/out throw to first base, umpires generally get into a position with an optimum angle, listen for the glove/base, and render a verdict. Like tagging the runner, a lob to a base has the potential for throwing off the angle, surely takes away any sound clues, and quite often occurs on the opposite side of the fielder, making the lob a tough call to make.
  • Interference/Obstruction - 10% - In many other team ball/puck sports (basketball, football, hockey), an official must train to routinely watch off ball activity. In baseball, this is the exception as most calls are made on the ball rather than on the player. Judging who impeded whom is therefore another tough call in baseball.
  • Safe/Out: Foot Race, Force Out - 6% - Which foot belongs to which player? Once this is established, this tough call becomes a whole lot easier.
  • Balls/Strikes: Pitched Ball - 5% - This most commonly made call in a game is not always an easy one, especially when establishing a new vertical zone for each pitch and keeping track of that outer edge of home plate.
  • The Least Difficult Call: HR/No HR - 1% - When MLB introduced instant replay, they confined it to determining HR/Boundary calls. According to this poll, HR/No HR calls are the easiest calls to make in baseball (or more accurately, the HR/No HR call is easier to make than any other on this list). Then again, most of our respondents' stadiums likely don't have sharp angles and spectators sitting within inches of and on top of the outfield fence.
Current Poll: What should be reviewable under MLB Instant Replay? And how? As mentioned above, Little League has expanded replay to encompass many different types of plays. Should MLB follow suit partially or fully, why, and how? Select all options that apply, including options that indicate how instant replay should be handled (procedures, administration, etc.) in MLB. The top options include various types of plays. The bottom options include various procedural and administrative options. Feel free to comment as well if you have more detail to add.

What should be reviewable under MLB Instant Replay? And how should replay be conducted (if applicable)?


Anonymous said...

The difference is little league guys are volunteers, you get what you pay for, and they're going to miss calls, that's why you have replay.

At the major league level, you'd hope those umps get their calls right. That's why replay in the big leagues is not as extensive as the little league replay.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 522, I see what you mean. The 1B ump in tonight's game proceeded to completely botch an interference/obstruction call by declaring "I've got interference" and awarding the BR the base on what I only can assume was obstruction by a fielder making a play on a batted ball who was interfered with by the BR running outside of the lane...

Anonymous said...

Who cares whether the runner was in the lane? The lane only applies to a fielder receiving a throw at first base.

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