Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Torre Talks Umpires, Replays, Wendelstedt Joins High Heat

Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt and MLB Executive VP of Baseball Operations Joe Torre, soon to be Chief Baseball Officer, joined two MLB Network shows to discuss umpires and expanded instant replay review while promoting Friday evening's The Third Team umpiring special on MLB Network. Wendelstedt joined High Heat's Chris Russo while Joe Torre joined the crew at MLB Tonight.

In his interview with "Mad Dog" Russo, Wendelstedt discussed his plate job during Game 5 of the World Series: "You haven't accomplished everything until you work home plate in the World Series...I was nervous that it was going to be a sweep and I needed Game 5 just to make sure I worked the plate."

Regarding getting wrapped up with a dominant pitcher like Madison Bumgarner, "As an umpire, you have to take your time and focus."

Regarding a pitcher tipping his cap upon exiting the game, "When they come out and they let you know they respect the job you've just done, that makes you feel proud...It's nice to be recognized every once in a while."

Video: Hunter Wendelstedt talks World Series during Third Team promo interview with Russo

Meanwhile in San Diego, Torre positively reviewed the replay system and praised younger umpires in New York overturning veteran officials' calls throughout the system as a sign that "they're all in on it." The UEFL's Instant Replay database for 2014 shows that, on the average, veteran umpires and crew chiefs experienced a greater incidence of overturned calls than younger full-time MLB umpires: the correlation between years of MLB service and % of overturned calls was decidedly positive.

Torre agreed that managers exiting the dugout to stand with the umpire while the video coordinator and bench coach make their decision was an unnecessary component of the process, noting, "we'll probably make an adjustment there...and several other things."

Regarding the pitch clock experiment during the Arizona Fall League: "I thought it worked. It picked up the pace of game." As I wrote in the September 2014 edition of The Left Field Corner, "time between pitches is the single-largest hurdle to MLB reducing its pace of game quotient."

Video: Greg Amsinger leads MLB Tonight's interview with EVP Torre at the Winter Meetings


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