William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

Replay for Baseball

Here's how you do it:

OK, first let's establish that the strike zone is not up for review. That would get ridiculous. Also "did he swing or not?" The fuzziness of that stuff is kind of part of baseball tradition anyway. Unless you want to take away the home plate umpire entirely and use a machine? Yeah, I don't think anybody but me would even entertain that notion for a nanosecond. [Well, actually, people are starting to talk about this now! We have the technology! It'd be cool to see what would happen if balls and strikes were even 95% consistent with the rules, and I don't think they're even close to that now. My hunch is that it would favour the batters.] And how can a machine call a pitcher for a balk? [The answer here is that the computers call balls and strikes, but the officials watch for the other, more qualitative stuff.]

Like the NFL: A challenge system! With limits - let's say each manager gets two.

Not like the NFL: Don't put the head umpire in a little booth behind a curtain.

Instead, like the NHL: The umpire calls a video review headquarters, where a special unit handles the review. Don't make the umpires watch screens - take it out of the ballpark entirely.

Also like the NHL, the general rule is: If not conclusive, the ruling on the field stands.

Also, the umpires should have the power to invoke a review if there are differing opinions among them.

Make a list of what's reviewable and what's not. Safe or out at bases absolutely must be included, as fair / foul will probably be, and home run / not already is.

People are saying it would make baseball games even longer, and while that is nominally true, I sincerely doubt you would see this system abused - it most likely won't even be used every game. Managers won't issue pointless challenges - they probably won't issue any unless a team employee watching the broadcast calls down and lets him know about something the umpires may have gotten wrong.

Now, what happens in cases where play continued / would have continued after the disputed call? This could get messy, but a careful set of rules could take care of most of the permutations. We already have a "ground rule double," where if a ball bounces into the stands off the field, it counts for two bases. Similarly, things could be judged as "that should have been a out / single / double / triple," whatever.

It won't be perfect, and there will still be mistakes. In fact, as it is in the NHL and any sports league, not every game is equally televised - or televised at all! For instance, the net cam in the NHL only comes out in certain games, IIRC. But more often than not, the right calls will be made.
Tags: baseball, sports, video

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