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wilburaga
10-21-2009, 10:58 AM
While admitting that it did not impact the final result of the ALCS game, I think that double tag play at third base last night constitutes a stunning indictment of the state of the umpiring today. I understand that umps are going to blow calls, and that it's part of the game. The bad calls involving Swisher are examples of this.

But when everyone watching, including the five other umps, can see with the naked eye that the ump has unquestionably blown the call, and there is no attempt to remedy the situation, something is terribly wrong. Better to let a rotten call stand than to embarrass a fellow ump. I don't get it.

W

Balfanman
10-21-2009, 11:43 AM
When the umpires were on strike several years ago, I forget exactly when, didn't MLB eventually break the umpires union to the point that they had to make several major concessions? I seem to remember that several prominent umpires lost their jobs because of it. When they settled the issue, with many new umpires, I thought that the umpiring was much better for a few years as umpires were more in the background again, not thinking of themselves as the show. Again I could be wrong here, feel free (I know most of you do) to correct me if I'm not rememberiong correctly.

Has the umpires union become strong again? Is that why we are starting to once again see umpires who think that they are the reason people buy tickets to see MLB?

It seems to me that there are a few umpires who have bigger egos than some of the players.

voodoochile
10-21-2009, 11:56 AM
When the umpires were on strike several years ago, I forget exactly when, didn't MLB eventually break the umpires union to the point that they had to make several major concessions? I seem to remember that several prominent umpires lost their jobs because of it. When they settled the issue, with many new umpires, I thought that the umpiring was much better for a few years as umpires were more in the background again, not thinking of themselves as the show. Again I could be wrong here, feel free (I know most of you do) to correct me if I'm not rememberiong correctly.

Has the umpires union become strong again? Is that why we are starting to once again see umpires who think that they are the reason people buy tickets to see MLB?

It seems to me that there are a few umpires who have bigger egos than some of the players.

Your memory is correct. The Umps tried to do a mass resignation to force MLB to give in to their demands. MLB brought in new umps and then when the regular umps returned MLB selectively accepted several of the resignations from some umps who were deemed trouble makers or having big egos. I think it was only 4 or so umps who ended up getting the axe, but it definitely was a major win for MLB.

I think last nights incident was simply a brainfart by the ump in question. He mentally gave up on the play, assumed one would be safe and one would be out and made that call not paying attention to the actual situation, similar to the phantom double play and the "ball beats runner, runner is out" mentality.

Balfanman
10-21-2009, 12:07 PM
Yes, I do agree that last nights play was simply a brain fart by the umpire. There have however, been problems the last few seasons with umpires trying to be the show, some incidents involving our beloved White Sox. I just wonder if the umpires union is becoming strong once again.

I also think that a sign of having a big ego is the fact that the umpiring crew did not correct an obvious wrong call, not wanting to look bad. Personally, I would have much more respect for the umpire had he asked his mates for help, admitting to them that he may have missed the play, instead of just standing there like he could not have been wrong.

Does the umpire in question have to ask for help before the other umpires offer their view, or can the other umpires approach the umpire in question first?

asindc
10-21-2009, 12:09 PM
While admitting that it did not impact the final result of the ALCS game, I think that double tag play at third base last night constitutes a stunning indictment of the state of the umpiring today. I understand that umps are going to blow calls, and that it's part of the game. The bad calls involving Swisher are examples of this.

But when everyone watching, including the five other umps, can see with the naked eye that the ump has unquestionably blown the call, and there is no attempt to remedy the situation, something is terribly wrong. Better to let a rotten call stand than to embarrass a fellow ump. I don't get it.

W

This is the thing I find most egregious. Getting it wrong happens, but when the others can clearly see that it was called wrong and they would rather let it stand than embarass a colleague, I call BS. **** your colleague's feelings... get the call right!

dickallen15
10-21-2009, 07:32 PM
While admitting that it did not impact the final result of the ALCS game, I think that double tag play at third base last night constitutes a stunning indictment of the state of the umpiring today. I understand that umps are going to blow calls, and that it's part of the game. The bad calls involving Swisher are examples of this.

But when everyone watching, including the five other umps, can see with the naked eye that the ump has unquestionably blown the call, and there is no attempt to remedy the situation, something is terribly wrong. Better to let a rotten call stand than to embarrass a fellow ump. I don't get it.

W

There were 2 other awful calls that game. Swisher was out by a significant margin getting picked off earlier. McClennan made up for it when he said Swisher left early on a SF. The replay not only showed he did not leave early, it also showed the umpire not even looking at the runner. There have been so many blown calls in the playoffs on plays that weren't even close.

doublem23
10-21-2009, 07:40 PM
The obvious answer is to just put umpires through extensive testing every year to make sure they're still on their game. No guaranteed placement, no "old boys club," every MLB umpire has to prove he can handle his job or he is replaced... every year. This is inexcusable.

dickallen15
10-21-2009, 07:45 PM
The obvious answer is to just put umpires through extensive testing every year to make sure they're still on their game. No guaranteed placement, no "old boys club," every MLB umpire has to prove he can handle his job or he is replaced... every year. This is inexcusable.

At least in the playoffs they should have someone up in the booth watching every replay, and change the calls if he has to. Not on balls and strikes, but everything else. If they questioned every play and the Yankees didn't make the playoffs, the games would still be an hour shorter than they are this year.

DumpJerry
10-21-2009, 07:54 PM
One solution the guys in my office have come up with is taking the duty of calling balls and strikes away from the umps and having Quastec or some other sensing device call balls and strikes (after all, when we watch nationally televised games, they graphically show us what the call should be). This would eliminate the aggravating inconsistent Strike Zone. The Home Plate Ump would be there to call foul balls, HBP and plays at the Plate. This would also help pitchers like, oh say, Buehrle and Peavy because then they can nibble the corners and get the correct calls.

We also felt that the Strike Zone was more consistent when each League had its own roster of umps instead of sharing. One league (I think it was the NL) tended be a low strike zone while the other tended to be a high one.

dickallen15
10-21-2009, 08:13 PM
One solution the guys in my office have come up with is taking the duty of calling balls and strikes away from the umps and having Quastec or some other sensing device call balls and strikes (after all, when we watch nationally televised games, they graphically show us what the call should be). This would eliminate the aggravating inconsistent Strike Zone. The Home Plate Ump would be there to call foul balls, HBP and plays at the Plate. This would also help pitchers like, oh say, Buehrle and Peavy because then they can nibble the corners and get the correct calls.

We also felt that the Strike Zone was more consistent when each League had its own roster of umps instead of sharing. One league (I think it was the NL) tended be a low strike zone while the other tended to be a high one.

The differences in leagues was mostly from the AL umpires using the old balloons. They have been integrated long enough to where that shouldn't be an issue anymore. All umpires will have at least a slightly different zone, and they umps are scouted just like the players. The teams know the umpires tendancies. I would love to have that thing they use call all the pitches. I don't know how it would be relayed, maybe a beep for a strike like in tennis, but we know if it happens it will be years. I don't know what it is this year, but the calls missed haven't necessarily been on close plays. Some plays you can look at a replay 5 times in super slow motion and still not be able to tell, but most of these, the guy who is complaining about every call in the 30th row in the right field corner behind a post would have had them all correct.

russ99
10-21-2009, 08:14 PM
My only comment is that the guys working the playoffs are supposed to be the best as measured by whatever monitoring systems they use to judge ump performance.

So what happened? Is this just a fluke year where we're seeing a lot of blown calls? Or is this sort of thing happening more frequently, and it took the playoffs to bring it to the forefront...

I'm generally opposed to replay, since it would remove the human element of umpiring to some extent, which has been a big part of the game since it's inception. But they have to change something after this.

dickallen15
10-21-2009, 08:22 PM
My only comment is that the guys working the playoffs are supposed to be the best as measured by whatever monitoring systems they use to judge ump performance.

So what happened? Is this just a fluke year where we're seeing a lot of blown calls? Or is this sort of thing happening more frequently, and it took the playoffs to bring it to the forefront...

I'm generally opposed to replay, since it would remove the human element of umpiring to some extent, which has been a big part of the game since it's inception. But they have to change something after this.

I could be wrong, but I don't think the guys that graded out the highest necessarily get the playoff gigs anymore. I think they get spread out as evenly as possible. I used to be against replay, but ever since the NFL and College Football have been using it, I've become a fan. With what's at stake anymore, its more important IMO to get the call right than to have the sentimental human element. They get most of them right anyway. It may be easier on them in the long run. I'm sure a lot of these guys after they find out they blow a call and especially if it costs the team a game don't sleep very well. They are proud guys. The first thing they do after a game with a controversial call is check the replay.

twentywontowin
10-21-2009, 08:49 PM
One solution the guys in my office have come up with is taking the duty of calling balls and strikes away from the umps and having Quastec or some other sensing device call balls and strikes (after all, when we watch nationally televised games, they graphically show us what the call should be). This would eliminate the aggravating inconsistent Strike Zone. The Home Plate Ump would be there to call foul balls, HBP and plays at the Plate. This would also help pitchers like, oh say, Buehrle and Peavy because then they can nibble the corners and get the correct calls.


I am all for this. With technology, you can put an RFID chip inside of everything and not at all change its weight to where it would be noticeable.

Put one inside of the balls, and then create what is essentially a netting of RFID zones in what would be fair and foul territories. If the ball lands on the ground in a fair RFID zone or goes over the fence in a fair RFID zone, it's a fair ball. If it hits the foul zones, it's a foul ball. All of this data can be transmitted real time.

You could potentially put RFID chips or tags in the gloves of players and shoes to determine safe/foul calls.

I proposed a similar idea with hockey pucks to determine if the puck actually goes across the goal line. The technology is there, it's just a matter of putting it to use.

chisox616
10-21-2009, 09:39 PM
I am all for this. With technology, you can put an RFID chip inside of everything and not at all change its weight to where it would be noticeable.

Put one inside of the balls, and then create what is essentially a netting of RFID zones in what would be fair and foul territories. If the ball lands on the ground in a fair RFID zone or goes over the fence in a fair RFID zone, it's a fair ball. If it hits the foul zones, it's a foul ball. All of this data can be transmitted real time.

You could potentially put RFID chips or tags in the gloves of players and shoes to determine safe/foul calls.

I proposed a similar idea with hockey pucks to determine if the puck actually goes across the goal line. The technology is there, it's just a matter of putting it to use.

Wouldn't that be insanely expensive? I mean, think about how many balls are wasted in a single game.

twentywontowin
10-21-2009, 09:47 PM
Wouldn't that be insanely expensive? I mean, think about how many balls are wasted in a single game.

Tags are cheap, pennies a piece. They can be printed out on a printer. You place the tag inside the ball when its first created. They weigh fractions of an ounce so you wouldn't know they are even in there.

The actual equipment in each stadium to create RFID zones would probably run $1 million. In the grand scheme of things, that's nothing with the revenue they bring in.

Brian26
10-21-2009, 10:02 PM
McClelland is a pretty good ump who made a rare blown call.

The umps generally have been congregating on plays like this over the past five years to correct obvious mistakes, something they never used to do.

Call me crazy, but I like the human element of the game.

slavko
10-21-2009, 10:18 PM
Tags are cheap, pennies a piece. They can be printed out on a printer. You place the tag inside the ball when its first created. They weigh fractions of an ounce so you wouldn't know they are even in there.

The actual equipment in each stadium to create RFID zones would probably run $1 million. In the grand scheme of things, that's nothing with the revenue they bring in.

It would have to be centered perfectly in each ball to have the desired effect. Is that possible? Correct me if I'm wrong and I might be.

tacosalbarojas
10-22-2009, 12:03 AM
McClelland to hear Hawk tell it is the greatest ump alive...that alone should tell you to double check McClelland's skills. McClelland was the man on the call for the Matt Holliday slide in the tiebreaker game between the Rocks and Pads and he made the pine tar call that got overturned. So he has had his share of prime time controversies.

peridot
10-22-2009, 01:32 AM
Call me crazy, but I like the human element of the game.
The human element I like is the players playing baseball. The umpires detract from that when they rewrite how it was played. Replay and an automated zone can put the game back into the hands of the players where it belongs.

voodoochile
10-22-2009, 02:16 AM
The human element I like is the players playing baseball. The umpires detract from that when they rewrite how it was played. Replay and an automated zone can put the game back into the hands of the players where it belongs.


Replay needs to be very selectively used only in incidences where the ball is dead at the end of the play as it is with HR and GRD. Baseball is too dynamic of a game for it to be used regularly.

Say the play in question happened at 2B instead of at third and meanwhile the guy who had been on third scampered home during the commotion. Now you go to replay and decide both players are out. How do you determine if the runner scored first or not?

That's just one example, but since unlike other sports the offensive players are not in control of the ball and are free to advance or even try to score at their risk at any moment the game is not in a time out, it ruins the continuity and dynamic nature of the game to use replay regularly.

peridot
10-22-2009, 09:30 AM
Say the play in question happened at 2B instead of at third and meanwhile the guy who had been on third scampered home during the commotion. Now you go to replay and decide both players are out. How do you determine if the runner scored first or not?
Same way that they can go back and see with synced cameras that Nick Swisher did not leave early. Have all cameras timed together, so when you go back in one you can simultaneously go back in others by the exact same rate.

it ruins the continuity and dynamic nature of the game to use replay regularly.
I'm not sure it does; I've never watched a game with replay to be able to determine that. There are chunks of time used up by managers going out to argue calls as it is, sometimes huge chunks. The NFL takes forever to go over replays but there's no reason why MLB should if it has intelligent camera placement. Most plays that are extremely difficult to call on the field are easy to see on replay, and with any that are ambiguous you just defer to the original call.

My feeling is that fair/ foul, tags, force-outs, and tagging up should all be reviewable from a booth in a quick, clean fashion.

voodoochile
10-22-2009, 10:01 AM
Same way that they can go back and see with synced cameras that Nick Swisher did not leave early. Have all cameras timed together, so when you go back in one you can simultaneously go back in others by the exact same rate.


I'm not sure it does; I've never watched a game with replay to be able to determine that. There are chunks of time used up by managers going out to argue calls as it is, sometimes huge chunks. The NFL takes forever to go over replays but there's no reason why MLB should if it has intelligent camera placement. Most plays that are extremely difficult to call on the field are easy to see on replay, and with any that are ambiguous you just defer to the original call.

My feeling is that fair/ foul, tags, force-outs, and tagging up should all be reviewable from a booth in a quick, clean fashion.

It's not a time issue, it's a where you put the runners issue.

An example: A runner is on first with two outs when the batter hits a line drive down the RF line which is called foul. The ball girl scoops up the ball and tosses it to a fan. The right-fielder never touches it. On review the ball is actually fair. Where do you decide to put the two runners?

What if the RF was playing closer to the line and has a good arm?

What if the guy on first is really fast or really slow?

What if there's no runner? Where does the batter end up? What if he is really fast and the RF was shading toward CF?

That's what I mean by talking about disrupting the dynamic flow of the game.

asindc
10-22-2009, 10:07 AM
It's not a time issue, it's a where you put the runners issue.

An example: A runner is on first with two outs when the batter hits a line drive down the RF line which is called foul. The ball girl scoops up the ball and tosses it to a fan. The right-fielder never touches it. On review the ball is actually fair. Where do you decide to put the two runners?

What if the RF was playing closer to the line and has a good arm?

What if the guy on first is really fast or really slow?

What if there's no runner? Where does the batter end up? What if he is really fast and the RF was shading toward CF?

That's what I mean by talking about disrupting the dynamic flow of the game.

You would put them where am ump would put the runners in that situation without the benefit of replay. In other words, if the ball girl does the same thing in a case where the ump had in fact called it fair, then the ump would have to make a judgment call anyway, replay or no replay.

voodoochile
10-22-2009, 10:12 AM
You would put them where am ump would put the runners in that situation without the benefit of replay. In other words, if the ball girl does the same thing in a case where the ump had in fact called it fair, then the ump would have to make a judgment call anyway, replay or no replay.

Hate it...

What happens if the ball girl doesn't get to the ball and it trickles all the way to the corner. The RF stops running hard, jogs over picks it up and hands it to a fan or tosses it toward the dugout. Now what?

asindc
10-22-2009, 10:20 AM
Hate it...

What happens if the ball girl doesn't get to the ball and it trickles all the way to the corner. The RF stops running hard, jogs over picks it up and hands it to a fan or tosses it toward the dugout. Now what?

Same thing, the ump has a judgment call to make, replay or no replay.

thedudeabides
10-22-2009, 10:31 AM
It's not a time issue, it's a where you put the runners issue.

An example: A runner is on first with two outs when the batter hits a line drive down the RF line which is called foul. The ball girl scoops up the ball and tosses it to a fan. The right-fielder never touches it. On review the ball is actually fair. Where do you decide to put the two runners?

What if the RF was playing closer to the line and has a good arm?

What if the guy on first is really fast or really slow?

What if there's no runner? Where does the batter end up? What if he is really fast and the RF was shading toward CF?

That's what I mean by talking about disrupting the dynamic flow of the game.

I am for replay in certain situations, but you're right, it doesn't always work. If a ball is called foul, like Maur's in the first round, the play is dead. There is no way to correct that. You can't put baserunners in arbitrary situations. I think that's what makes it tough. You can correct foul balls being fair, but no way to correct fair balls being called foul.

asindc
10-22-2009, 10:50 AM
I am for replay in certain situations, but you're right, it doesn't always work. If a ball is called foul, like Maur's in the first round, the play is dead. There is no way to correct that. You can't put baserunners in arbitrary situations. I think that's what makes it tough. You can correct foul balls being fair, but no way to correct fair balls being called foul.

If I am Minny in that situation, I would much rather have Mauer be awarded 1st base at least, than have to rely on his 38% chance of reaching base otherwise.

voodoochile
10-22-2009, 10:57 AM
If I am Minny in that situation, I would much rather have Mauer be awarded 1st base at least, than have to rely on his 38% chance of reaching base otherwise.

A lot of fans would disagree with seeing their best hitter have the bat taken out of their hand in a crucial situation for a routine single.

The horrible call on the foul ball in that NY/MIN series actually would fit the criteria of having a dead ball result because it ended up in the stands and would have been a GRD regardless. They just haven't added it to the list of reviewable plays though they could quite simply.

asindc
10-22-2009, 11:07 AM
A lot of fans would disagree with seeing their best hitter have the bat taken out of their hand in a crucial situation for a routine single.

The horrible call on the foul ball in that NY/MIN series actually would fit the criteria of having a dead ball result because it ended up in the stands and would have been a GRD regardless. They just haven't added it to the list of reviewable plays though they could quite simply.

I have heard that argument over the years, but disagree. A 100% chance of the runner reaching base without making an out is much better than a 38% percent chance of him doing so IMO. I'm no mathematician, but the 100% chance seems like better odds to me. I think some people forget that in that case even the best hitter in the league will fail to reach base 62% of the time. No thank you. I'll take first base guaranteed and go from there.

voodoochile
10-22-2009, 11:11 AM
I have heard that argument over the years, but disagree. A 100% chance of the runner reaching base without making an out is much better than a 38% percent chance of him doing so IMO. I'm no mathematician, but the 100% chance seems like better odds to me. I think some people forget that in that case even the best hitter in the league will fail to reach base 62% of the time. No thank you. I'll take first base guaranteed and go from there.

Yes, but there's also an 8% chance the best hitters will hits a home run and a 15% chance they will get an XBH. No one pays to see Jim Thome get awarded first base on a screwed up call...

asindc
10-22-2009, 11:19 AM
Yes, but there's also an 8% chance the best hitters will hits a home run and a 15% chance they will get an XBH. No one pays to see Jim Thome get awarded first base on a screwed up call...

No one pays to see that, true, but as a Sox fan I would welcome it in a tight playoff game over the 8% chance of a HR or 15% chance of an XBH. Especially late innings, as this was, since you can pinch-run for Thome. Mauer runs well enough that you don't have to pinch run for him and he is a threat to steal 2nd (a higher % play than playing for an XBH). It's like the old Let's Make A Deal show. I'll take what's in hand every time. Others might want to go for what's behind Door #2.

Nellie_Fox
10-22-2009, 11:44 AM
If I am Minny in that situation, I would much rather have Mauer be awarded 1st base at least, than have to rely on his 38% chance of reaching base otherwise.Actually, a 44% chance.

dickallen15
10-22-2009, 12:42 PM
Awarding a player a base on a wronged call even if it may have been different than the actual outcome is no different than many GRD situations, some where a runner clearly would have scored but is sent back to third, and some where it is the umpire's discretion where he would have wound up. These blown calls need to stop. I'm all for the human element, but when easy ones are being blown at the incredible rate they have been blown during the playoffs, something needs to be done. Take the guys off the line. Make them booth umpires and they can call down whenever a play is screwed up.

thomas35forever
10-22-2009, 10:56 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/playoffs/2009/news/story?id=4586645

Balfanman
10-23-2009, 11:49 AM
It looks like MLB is going with an all veteran crew for the World Series.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/chi-23-share-alcsnotes,0,1280039.story

I just don't understand their logic. It was veterans like McClelland that have been screrwing up calls so far in the playoffs. I still think that the problem is more of the Prima Donna attitude rather than experience.

jdm2662
10-23-2009, 02:12 PM
It looks like MLB is going with an all veteran crew for the World Series.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/chi-23-share-alcsnotes,0,1280039.story

I just don't understand their logic. It was veterans like McClelland that have been screrwing up calls so far in the playoffs. I still think that the problem is more of the Prima Donna attitude rather than experience.

All sports use their best officials for games, as well it should be. Baseball seemed to be the only sport to give their younger umps a chance to work high profile games just for the hell of it. I reffed IHSA soccer for a few years. I got a lot of high grades when I was graded. However, because I only had a couple of years experience, I didn't get assigned to any playoff games.

To note, there was a graphic on the ESPN ticker one of the umps that missed calls was a first time in the playoffs.

Balfanman
10-23-2009, 03:06 PM
All sports use their best officials for games, as well it should be. Baseball seemed to be the only sport to give their younger umps a chance to work high profile games just for the hell of it. I reffed IHSA soccer for a few years. I got a lot of high grades when I was graded. However, because I only had a couple of years experience, I didn't get assigned to any playoff games.

I guess the problem comes in then on what the definition of "best" is. If you mean best as the most experienced then that is exactly what is happening in this years world series. If by best you mean the highest graded umpires then we as fans are getting the short end of the stick, as you did in your example.

VMSNS
10-23-2009, 03:34 PM
Let's just hope there won't be any plays at the plate for Joe West to completely **** up.

raul12
10-23-2009, 05:29 PM
It's not a time issue, it's a where you put the runners issue.

An example: A runner is on first with two outs when the batter hits a line drive down the RF line which is called foul. The ball girl scoops up the ball and tosses it to a fan. The right-fielder never touches it. On review the ball is actually fair. Where do you decide to put the two runners?

What if the RF was playing closer to the line and has a good arm?

What if the guy on first is really fast or really slow?

What if there's no runner? Where does the batter end up? What if he is really fast and the RF was shading toward CF?

That's what I mean by talking about disrupting the dynamic flow of the game.

Couldn't you deal with this scenario by getting across to the players that in anything that's close, you play on even if the ump rules it's foul (and tell the ball girls similarly, don't touch it if it's close)?

You can also make the same argument about football being dynamic, but despite some of its shortcomings, I'm really glad they focus on getting the calls right.

voodoochile
10-23-2009, 11:59 PM
Couldn't you deal with this scenario by getting across to the players that in anything that's close, you play on even if the ump rules it's foul (and tell the ball girls similarly, don't touch it if it's close)?

You can also make the same argument about football being dynamic, but despite some of its shortcomings, I'm really glad they focus on getting the calls right.

So every single close play gets reviewed?

I don't think that's even a remotely feasible concept. You're telling the players to ignore the umps. I think that leads to a lot of headaches.