Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Don't Praise the Machine

Umpires boycotted a conference call with Major League Baseball regarding instant replay yesterday:
Umpires say they're unhappy that replay equipment is being installed away from the field in nearly all major league ballparks and say MLB wants to limit the number of umpires allowed to review replay monitors.

They also aren't pleased that MLB wants them to discuss the replays with umpire supervisors in New York before making a decision on whether to reverse a call. They claim MLB may not be able to provide replays for some rescheduled games.

That's well and good, but I hope someone with some institutional memory reminds their brethren what happened the last time the umps took a defiant stance with respect to labor issues.


mooseinohio said...

I hope this doesn't turn into the NHL having to contact Toronto on every reviewed goal and causing some serious game delays. Plus the umpires may want to tread carefully as Selig often overcompensates for his failures in dealing with the players union by taking it out on the umpire unions.

Christopher D. Heer said...

I'm not sure I get why the overcomplicated system of contacting a central location is necessary.

Am I oversimplifying things, or does the NFL system make more sense? Just have one of the umps review the replays on-scene. Give him a fixed amount of time to review the footage. If it's not *clear* that the call was wrong, don't overturn the call. The End.

Justin Zeth said...

The "serious game delays" while reviewing an NHL goal/no-goal that mooseinohio describes is still not half as long as the average NFL replay. Plus, the NHL gets it right 90% of the time, whereas the NFL gets it right 50% to 60% of the time. The NFL's system is horrible; the NHL's is what baseball needs.

The umpires basically have no leverage here. They're much more replaceable than players, for all the obvious reasons. Wouldn't be a happy situation to replace all the umpires on the fly, but baseball can go on. They might be able to stop replay from arriving this season if they want to really push hard about it, but that's about as far as I think they can go with it. The Selig won't care a bit of they decide to strike over it; he'll just get new umpires while the lawyers fight it out over the next God knows how many years.

Justin Zeth said...

By the way, in both the NHL and NFL (but ESPECIALLY so in the NFL), the original call on the field almost always stands unless the replay makes it totally brain-dead obvious it was wrong, and I mean REALLY TOTALLY brain-dead obvious.

I have no doubt MLB's replay will be the same.