Keeping track of replay

Red(s)HawksFan

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Savin Hillbilly said:
 
In fairness to wolfe, I think DDB's quote completely and emphatically confirms his point, and if you want to say the phrase "unwritten rule" doesn't apply to what's described there I think you're arguing semantics. The gist of the quote is that umpires have traditionally called plays based primarily on what they see, but additionally and importantly on what they know about the expectations of the participants. Since the rule book says nothing about this latter part, it's certainly an unwritten something or other....call it an "unwritten secondary criterion" if you want, but let's stop talking as if wolfe is just making up shit, because a pretty good authority has just been quoted resoundingly to the contrary.
 
DDB's quote also strongly implies that the practice is one of a fall-back nature based on positioning and an umpire's ability to see the actual outcome of a play.  It is not nor was it ever a tacit approval to make incorrect calls based solely on the execution of one aspect of the play as wolfe tried to frame it.  If the umpire is in position to see that the runner successfully avoided the tag, then he's going to call the runner safe based on that fact.  Wolfe would have you believe that the runner is supposed to be called out regardless of whether the tag was applied at all, solely on the basis of the ball arriving in time.
 

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
 
DDB's quote also strongly implies that the practice is one of a fall-back nature based on positioning and an umpire's ability to see the actual outcome of a play.  It is not nor was it ever a tacit approval to make incorrect calls based solely on the execution of one aspect of the play as wolfe tried to frame it.  If the umpire is in position to see that the runner successfully avoided the tag, then he's going to call the runner safe based on that fact.  Wolfe would have you believe that the runner is supposed to be called out regardless of whether the tag was applied at all, solely on the basis of the ball arriving in time.
 
What you're saying here is not really logically compatible with this part of DDB's quote:
 
 
Where you get the arguments is when you don't make the expected call, even if you're right in doing so. And because baseball is putting more and more cameras at all angles in the ballparks, and because of the expected expansion of instant replay, you will see more and more of these expected calls not be called.
Now, a tag of the runner, whether he's trying to avoid the tag or not, is required. Touching the base on the front end of the double play at second is required. Staying on the base at first is required. With umpires being scrutinized more and more, these are the calls you will see increasingly made.
 
Think about it. If the presence of cameras is going to change calls, that means that the umps are making calls that they think are most likely incorrect, because that's the "expected call." If umpires are never doing this, then why would the cameras or the being "scrutinized" change anything? I can't make sense of that.
 
I'm not necessarily criticizing umpires, and I think DDB makes good points about remembering the realities of their work environment and that they have a game to manage as well as judgments of fact to make. I'm just saying that I can't read that quote without interpreting it to mean that umps will let expectations override their judgment unless they are extremely sure of that judgment. And that's really not significantly different from talking about an unwritten rule.
 

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Savin Hillbilly said:
 
What you're saying here is not really logically compatible with this part of DDB's quote:
 
 
Think about it. If the presence of cameras is going to change calls, that means that the umps are making calls that they think are most likely incorrect, because that's the "expected call." If umpires are never doing this, then why would the cameras or the being "scrutinized" change anything? I can't make sense of that.
 
I'm not necessarily criticizing umpires, and I think DDB makes good points about remembering the realities of their work environment and that they have a game to manage as well as judgments of fact to make. I'm just saying that I can't read that quote without interpreting it to mean that umps will let expectations override their judgment unless they are extremely sure of that judgment. And that's really not significantly different from talking about an unwritten rule.
 
This is where we disagree. I think it's completely different, as do many here.
 
An unwritten rule is the Neighborhood Play where, because it's an unwritten rule, it doesn't matter if the second baseman touches the bag because it's the unwritten rule to let him slide over to prevent injuries due to runners trying to take out the fielder. What we're discussing here is more of an expedient due to the difficulties in calling the game, but it is exceedingly clear that if the umpire was certain he saw the tag miss, he would call the runner safe; as such, there is by definition no unwritten rule that a throw beating the runner is called out. That's a huge difference.
 
One of the many awesome points in DDB post is how replay may influence umps to be more willing to call it by the book rather than avoiding controversy. But that underscores the fact that calling the runner out in those close/indefinite cases is an expedient and not an unwritten rule like the Neighborhood Play.
 
In effect, Rice is indicating that replay is opening the door for the umps to try harder to get the call correct. That's fascinating.
 

terrisus

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Or, if one consequence of instant replay is that fielders have to actually catch a ball, or actually touch second base on a double play, or keep their foot on first base while they are waiting for the throw, or tag a runner even if a shoe might scratch their pinky, then it's all a good thing.
 
Wasn't it decided that the fielder not actually being on the bag with the ball (aka "the neighborhood play") was not reviewable?
 
 
The fact that certain plays were deemed "non-reviewable" was absurd to me from the start.
If a call is wrong, it should be identified as wrong and corrected.
 

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terrisus said:
 
Wasn't it decided that the fielder not actually being on the bag with the ball (aka "the neighborhood play") was not reviewable?
 
 
The fact that certain plays were deemed "non-reviewable" was absurd to me from the start.
If a call is wrong, it should be identified as wrong and corrected.
 
Yep.  Because it's an unwritten rule that you don't actually have to touch the base, so reviewing would break this "rule".
 
Which is pretty ludicrous--change the written rules if you're going to change how the game is played--but it is what it is, I guess.
 

JimBoSox9

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That's also one of those things that could be solved in reverse by getting rid of the unwritten rule and also seriously cutting the bullshit with takeout slides.  You want an unwritten rule for umpires; a runner's got to seriously spike a guy to get called out for that.  If you really made guys keep inside the bag when sliding, middle infielders would take that predictable path and figure how not to really need the neighborhood rule on 95% of plays.
 
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Yep.  Because it's an unwritten rule that you don't actually have to touch the base, so reviewing would break this "rule".
 
Which is pretty ludicrous--change the written rules if you're going to change how the game is played--but it is what it is, I guess.
 
I actually disagree, though I'll admit it's a tough decision with solid arguments on both sides.  The way the neighborhood play is actually called, if a fielder receives a ball way too far away from the base to give rise to the idea that he's just "trying to avoid injury", umps can (and we've all seen them) call the runner safe.  So there are limits to umps' willingness to cut slack.  The real problem is that there's no hard standard you could reasonably apply for "how far is too far" off the base, or whether the fielder has crossed the bag but didn't actually land or stay on the bag with the ball in his possession - basically, there's a lot of gray area.  So by leaving it an unwritten rule, umps are basically insisting that this play is one of the ambiguous areas of judgment in sports (see also: the NFL's "did he make a football move?" monstrosity), which requires a Justice Stewart-esque "I know it when I see it" standard.
 
Essentially, the game is likely more fair, and fairly called, with an unwritten rule, than it would be with an explicit one.  But there are very few instances where this is true.  I'm glad they changed the home-plate collisions rule, despite there being an unwritten rule that obstruction would not be called there, because the calculus simply wasn't there to justify an unwritten rule.  Maybe it was Buster Posey who unwittingly drove that change.  My point is this: it is possible to have a justifiably unwritten rule, and that I think the Neighborhood Play is one of them, but the frequency of that being true is low and oft-overstated.  Certainly, as you explained, it doesn't extend to "ball beat the runner but runner beat the tag" situations.
 

Norm Siebern

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Just saw the Pedroia at the plate replay. Sure looked safe to me. The Red Sox seem to be getting more than their fair share of blown calls against them early this year. Can't wait for it to start evening out, which it will eventually.
 

Ed Hillel

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I mean his foot is on the ground, it's clear he's touching home plate. Yet, because we can't actually see that due to the dirt kicking up, we apparently have to pretend it's not conclusive. Inane.
 
I'm not saying the Sox hit well, they had the same problem today they've been having all year not converting runners into runs, but that's a separate issue. Regardless of how the Sox played, replay was created to fix those kinds of issues and the same bad result occurred.
 

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Interesting that Farrell in his post-game presser says their video people had a conclusive view that Pedroia was safe.  Did he have that info before he challenged?  Because he was out of the dugout and asking for the review pretty damn fast.  Can't imagine he had anything to go on at that point other than Pedroia and Butter's reactions.
 
And if they had a conclusive view, why didn't the umps see it?  Does the team have replay angles that the umps don't?
 

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
Interesting that Farrell in his post-game presser says their video people had a conclusive view that Pedroia was safe.  Did he have that info before he challenged?  Because he was out of the dugout and asking for the review pretty damn fast.  Can't imagine he had anything to go on at that point other than Pedroia and Butter's reactions.
 
And if they had a conclusive view, why didn't the umps see it?  Does the team have replay angles that the umps don't?
 
We've been down this road before..
 

Ed Hillel

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Here's the pic. Gee, I wonder if he was touching home. I can't see the front of that guy's jersey tagging him either, maybe that's just a fan?
 

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He could just be interpreting the angles we saw on TV the same way I (and many others) did.  I think it was conclusive that he touched home before being tagged.  Enough people disagree that I'm not going to get into a slap fight over it, though.
 
Edit: Regarding Farrell's comment.
 

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Sox Players are not a fan of replay (reading the post game quotes after this game) 
 

kieckeredinthehead

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Rasputin said:
 
But it wasn't clear he's touching the plate.
 
Unless God moved the plate while the dirt was on top of it, and then put it back when the dust settled, he touched the plate. Or, of course, there's always the possibility that we're all just a bunch of brains in vats being kept alive to support an alien race, and there never was a home plate to touch. Forget lawyers, maybe these umpires need an intro philosophy class.
 

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Rasputin said:
 
But it wasn't clear he's touching the plate.
 
To me, it looked like he went over the area where the tip of the plate was. On each angle there was something in the way from a clear view (glove, umpire, etc.), but based on the angles, it looked like he did. In addition, the home plate umpire never even suggested he didn't touch the plate, as far as I can tell. The call appeared to be based on the fact that the tag beat him. So if the umpire who made the call had reviewed the call, I think he would have ended up calling him safe. That would have been interesting to see.
 

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Ed Hillel said:
 
When you combine the replays, it was clear. He went over the area where home plate was. In addition, the home plate umpire never even suggested he didn't touch the plate, as far as I can tell. The call appeared to be based on the fact that the tag beat him. So if the umpire who made the call had reviewed the call, I think he would have ended up calling him safe.
 
This is an excellent point . If the original call was he was tagged in time, which it appeared to be, then the evidence they needed was all in the timing of the tag.  They were reviewing the call, not making a new one from scratch.  Either way, I think he was safe, but looking at it through this lens makes it even more frustrating.
 

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I'd be fine if they just scrapped the wholereplay system and go back to just being used for boundary plays like last year. It's bad enough when an ump blows the call at home plate like he didtoday, but it's infuriating when they look at it on replay and still get it wrong. I can live with the former but not with the latter.
 

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Smiling Joe Hesketh said:
I'd be fine if they just scrapped the wholereplay system and go back to just being used for boundary plays like last year. It's bad enough when an ump blows the call at home plate like he didtoday, but it's infuriating when they look at it on replay and still get it wrong. I can live with the former but not with the latter.
 
I'd rather they fix the system.  Even if they don't, a chance at getting it right the second time is better than no chance at getting it right after the original call.
 

mattymatty

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I didn't 'see' him touch the plate from either of the angles. It looked like he probably did, but 'probably did' is different than 'did.' And when the call on the field is out, I would think there needs to be something on the replay showing that call was incorrect to overturn the call. 
 
As to whether or not he was tagged in time, I didn't get the sense that was the original call. It looked like the umpire was watching DP's foot and didn't make the call until he saw the tag had been applied, implying the plate hadn't yet been tagged. 
 
Just my two cents. I could be wrong about all of that. 
 

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The way to "fix" replay is to add transparency to it.  Especially with the challenge system, do it like the NFL does and announce publicly a) what is being reviewed and b) what the result of the review is when they're done.  No more leaving the announcers and the crowd guessing on what is being looked at.  Get on the PA and tell us what's going on.
 
Maybe just the act of putting the words together to explain what the review is for will better crystallize what it is the replay ump is supposed to be looking for.  Because based on some of the review results, it doesn't seem like the reviewer is looking at the same thing as the rest of us.
 

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
The way to "fix" replay is to add transparency to it.  Especially with the challenge system, do it like the NFL does and announce publicly a) what is being reviewed and b) what the result of the review is when they're done.  No more leaving the announcers and the crowd guessing on what is being looked at.  Get on the PA and tell us what's going on.
 
Maybe just the act of putting the words together to explain what the review is for will better crystallize what it is the replay ump is supposed to be looking for.  Because based on some of the review results, it doesn't seem like the reviewer is looking at the same thing as the rest of us.
 
I'm pretty sure the NFL also has recently added a feature where the actual video being reviewed by the ref is piped into the broadcast, so that we see EXACTLY what the reviewer is seeing (including rewinds, slo-mos, etc).
 
I should say, one of the most interesting about the strange state of baseball replay is that the description of the system I received by the guy whose company developed it seems so backwards compared to what they're actually doing. I went into the season quite concerned about replay, was completely assured when I met Hawkins, and things have really only gotten worse as the season has progressed.
 
Edit: Just to flesh out this last point, when I met Hawkins at Sloan (was on his panel), he was showing us some videos of the system in action before our panel. Basically, the system was designed so that in near-real-time, an off-field official could be making decisions based on multiple camera angles, and they would be actively reviewing EVERY play, so that almost instantaneously after the challenge process was initiated, a call could be relayed back to the umpires. Instead, what we have is a review by a disconnected third party that only appears to get video after the challenge process has been initiated. Maybe I misunderstood and he was describing the review process for sports other than baseball that his company has also been developing, but it seemed like a very clever system, and so I don't know why they wouldn't use it.
 

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kieckeredinthehead said:
 
Unless God moved the plate while the dirt was on top of it, and then put it back when the dust settled, he touched the plate. Or, of course, there's always the possibility that we're all just a bunch of brains in vats being kept alive to support an alien race, and there never was a home plate to touch. Forget lawyers, maybe these umpires need an intro philosophy class.
 
Or, ya know, his foot wasn't actually on the ground.
 

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Snodgrass'Muff said:
 
I'd rather they fix the system. 
 
The system isn't broken. The people who can look at a replay that is clear as day and not make the right call are the problem.
 
Actually, I take that back.
 
Managers need to stop getting replays on every single fucking thing that might be close. 
 

Jnai

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Rasputin said:
 
The system isn't broken. The people who can look at a replay that is clear as day and not make the right call are the problem.
 
Actually, I take that back.
 
Managers need to stop getting replays on every single fucking thing that might be close. 
 
Why would they do that? That's clearly the optimal strategy.
 

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Put me down as probably safe but not sure. I think the idea of defining "conclusive" in more lawyerly terminology might help a lot. It seems to me that some people think conclusive means, "preponderance of the evidence", like in civil cases, others think it's a "beyond a"reasonable doubt" standard like in criminal cases, and the people in the replay center for MLB are treating it as "borderline malpractice" like in the criminal appeal process.
 

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The "conclusive" standard (100%) makes replay about as potent as my neutered cat. The system is not designed to correct every call - only the truly egregious ones. And there are very few of those - I think only one every 6.4 games per the MLB study done using last year's data.

Yet human nature is such that fans, players, and managers still want a reviewed call to be adjudicated using more of a preponderance of the evidence standard (say 75%). And as we are seeing, there are a lot of those calls.

It's a recipe for frustration and a lot of wasted time.
 

mattymatty

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terrisus said:
But did you see him touching the ground where the plate was/his foot being on the ground as it passed over where the plate was?
Do you feel that the plate moved, or ceased to exist, during that time?
 
I'm going to ignore your second question except to say I'm not sure what you're trying to say, but whatever it is, it comes off as insulting. As to your first question, I couldn't tell if his foot was touching the plate or was above the plate, or for that matter, right next to the plate. I think it's likely his foot touched the plate, but I can't be sure from the replay whether it did or not and I'm guessing that's the reason the call on the field stood, and that's the reason I'm okay with the call, even though I don't like the end result.
 

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terrisus said:
Not specifically trying to come across as insulting. But, if we know where the plate is, if we see something cross where we know the plate is, the fact that we didn't actually have a specific view of the foot on the plate doesn't invalidate that the foot was where we know the plate is. The plate doesn't cease to exist where we know it is just because we can't see it. Object permanence and all that.
 
You grasp that his foot could have been in the air as it crossed where the plate is known to be, right?  That's Matty's point, that there's no replay angle that definitively showed Pedroia's foot making contact with the plate.  That the replay showed his foot passing over the space while the plate itself is obscured by dirt (even if we know the plate is there) tells us nothing.
 

Rasputin

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Jnai said:
 
Why would they do that? That's clearly the optimal strategy.
 
If you only have one replay request a game, you shouldn't be using it unless the play under review is clearly a key play, at least not in the early innings. 
 

Savin Hillbilly

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absintheofmalaise said:
I couldn't tell if he touched the plate before the tag from the replays I saw. Too much dirt was kicked up.
 
Agreed. It was certainly extremely close, but none of the replays I've seen--I wasn't watching in real time--make it clear that he touched the plate (or didn't). In that sense I think the replay call was exactly right. 
 

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Savin Hillbilly said:
 
Agreed. It was certainly extremely close, but none of the replays I've seen--I wasn't watching in real time--make it clear that he touched the plate (or didn't). In that sense I think the replay call was exactly right. 
 
Agreed.
 

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Rasputin said:
 
I'm not a subscriber so I'm just going to sit here and give you a dirty look.
 
Sorry. The gist is that the likelihood of an overturnable play worth a substantial amount of value before the seventh inning is actually very low, and so the expected value of holding a challenge is very low. Because the expected value of holding the challenge is so low (less than turning a single ball into a strike) and there is no additional penalty for being incorrect, if there's a close call on the field in front of you, it's probably worth it to challenge that close call the majority of the time.
 
With the pre-challenge system that has been defacto accepted by MLB, which is essentially than the manager can walk out on to the field and have his video guys look at the play to determine if it's even worth a shot, that reduces the threshold for stopping the game even further.
 
Anyway, the bottom line is that the most advantageous way to use the challenge (barring the social consequences of pissing the fuck out of fans, players, umpires, etc) is to challenge the first chance you reasonably have to win, even if it's not a particularly important seeming play.
 

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Jnai said:
 
Sorry. The gist is that the likelihood of an overturnable play worth a substantial amount of value before the seventh inning is actually very low, and so the expected value of holding a challenge is very low. Because the expected value of holding the challenge is so low (less than turning a single ball into a strike) and there is no additional penalty for being incorrect, if there's a close call on the field in front of you, it's probably worth it to challenge that close call the majority of the time.
 
With the pre-challenge system that has been defacto accepted by MLB, which is essentially than the manager can walk out on to the field and have his video guys look at the play to determine if it's even worth a shot, that reduces the threshold for stopping the game even further.
 
Anyway, the bottom line is that the most advantageous way to use the challenge (barring the social consequences of pissing the fuck out of fans, players, umpires, etc) is to challenge the first chance you reasonably have to win, even if it's not a particularly important seeming play.
 
I hate it when the facts are against me so I'm just gonna keep on giving you a dirty look.
 

vintage'67

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I think there is a chance that the accuracy of the results could be improved if the umpire who made the call were able to participate in the replay review (see the replays on a high-def. decent size TV and talk to the replay center in NYC). I don't know if the ump who made last night's call, for example, explains it to the crew chief, who then explains it to the reviewers in New York.  Last night, was the call based on Pedroia not touching the plate or the ump thinking the tag was before he touched the plate?   Even if there is some communication of the call from the ump who made it, to the crew chief, to the reviewers in NY, something must get lost.  If the ump who made the call could watch it and talk to the reviewers,  he could explain what he saw (or thought he saw) as they watch the replays and really talk it through.  I know this take longer in some cases, but it might improve accuracy and allow the result of the review to be explained too.