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Comment: why a challenge system for replay would be terrible

Oct 1, 2010, 11:30 AM EDT

My biggest objection to a challenge system has long been based on the fact that that’s what the NFL uses in its repay system, and the NFL is wrong about everything, so there.  But there are baseball arguments against it as well, as reader Shimoda pointed out this morning:

The first time LaRussa or some other manager challenges a call that was so obviously correct in the first place just to give a relief pitcher
more time to warm up in the bullpen you will realize how terrible of an
idea the challenge system would be for baseball.

Bingo.  I want managers thinking about bullpen usage and outfield depth and telling pitchers when to throw at the opposition because of some perceived slight from, like, four months ago.  The last thing we need is for some wrinkle that allows for some new bullcrap layer of gamesmanship.

A layer on which you just know that La Russa or whoever fills his annoying shoes would corner the market.

  1. The Steve Jeltz Experiment - Oct 1, 2010 at 11:50 AM

    I guess you could penalize LaRussa or whomever for failed challenges — perhaps by eliminating their ability to make a pitching change for the next three hitters or something — but I agree that that would further bastardize the game. Craig’s earlier idea of a replay ump in the booth (sort of like the chair umpire in tennis) strikes me as a better idea.

  2. okobojicat - Oct 1, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    Thanks Craig. I was thinking this, but couldn’t figure out how to say it, so I just called Phillie Fan #1 an idiot. It still fits, but I meant to say this as well.

  3. Mr. Heyward - Oct 1, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    Two additional umps in the booth who can override specified calls on the field. No challenges, instead it would be more similar to the final two minutes or OT in a football game. Except do it faster than football, which should be easy with less craziness in a “play” of baseball than a play in football. I’m sure this was said already somewhere and it will invoke argument, but it’s Friday so bring on the dissenters…

  4. John_Michael - Oct 1, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    I think Craig said this before, but to reiterate, replay should be about getting the calls right. It’s that simple. It should not be about adding another element of strategy into the game for the exact reason Shimonda provided.

  5. easports82 - Oct 1, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    Great form from Jim Mora there. However, that throw only went 3 feet.

  6. imabigdog - Oct 1, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    College Football has it right! Every play is reviews IN THE PRESS BOX, not on the field. Why can’t baseball do that? Football has the 40 (25) second clock and their able to do it, base ball does not have a clock. Put a buzzer on the balls of the umpire and have the press box review official zap the umpire when they are reviewing a play.

  7. hammer351 - Oct 1, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    But on the bright side: no inverted W.

  8. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 1, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    Challenges are the best way because they put thing in the hands of the team as opposed to some third party up in a booth. You guys are all giving your examples of how bad challenges are…now here’s my example of how the booth review would be an issue…
    “Pujols hits a bomb, that looks fair, but ump calls it foul. Pitcher gets ball back and is quickly trying to throw pitch, but Pujols is standing outside the batter’s box. He wants the booth review…is waiting for it. Pitcher wants to throw the ball. Umpire tells Pujols to get in the box. Pujols says “Ouch, some f’ing bug just flew in my eye. I need a second”” Now we have the hitter stalling for a review. Don’t say it will never happen. It will. Jeter’s acting like he got hit should prove that anyone will do anything to gain an advantage. At least with the challenges, you limit it to two and only two and you force the team to make the call.
    Maybe challenges aren;t good…maybe booth review isn’t good…maybe NOTHING is good. Maybe they should leave stuff as-is. Who knows? But either way, if they implement something, it will have its advantages and disadvantages. Neither side is an “idiot”.

  9. skipperxc - Oct 1, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    The booth review isn’t a third party though, it’s just another umpire watching the game on TV. He’d know the call was wrong at the same time all of us would. He gets on his headset, calls down to the home plate ump, the game moves on.

  10. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 1, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    If only it were that easy…how many times does it take 3 or 4 looks at the same play to determine the result? Sometimes you need another angle. Either way, you are putting the booth guy under alot of pressure to always beep the umpire for a review. I’m not saying booth review is 100% wrong…I just think it is pretty stupid to label challenges as “idiotic” when any form of replay is going to have its warts.

  11. RichardInBigD - Oct 1, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    I am in favor of team challenges, and would like to see no limit to how many could be made. Until you are wrong. Then you are done. With a 5th ump watching TV in a separate room, time would not be much of a factor. The calls would be right or they would be corrected. The umpires could be held accountable in a numeric fashion. And the teams would be exceptionally careful not to be wrong, so they could still challenge again alter when it might be even MORE important than it is at that moment.

  12. Jonny5 - Oct 1, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    You guys sound like Selig and his 15 personalities trying to figure out what to “fix” next. This is when he throws his hands up, gives up on it, then checks the ratings for last nights games.

  13. Kevin S. - Oct 1, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    But again, it doesn’t take all that long to figure out whether or not it’s close enough to warrant further review. There wouldn’t be all that stalling, because the booth umpire would have already signaled he was reviewing it or it would have been blatantly obvious.

  14. ralf80 - Oct 1, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    I think the challenge system is a terrible idea. However, it would be easy to prevent managers using it as extra warm-up time for pitchers simply by making a rule that everyone in the bullpen has to be sitting down while a play is reviewed.
    I like the idea of another umpire in the booth watching video. Most of the benefits have already been discussed, but there’s one argument for it that I don’t think has been made: there are a lot of old, fat umpires who know the game but can’t get around the field like they should. Put these guys upstairs with the video monitors. Bring up some young guys from the minors to do the running around. That alone might reduce the number of bad calls on the field.

  15. Kevin S. - Oct 1, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    Bullshit. I see two inverted Ws in Jim Mora.

  16. Kevin S. - Oct 1, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    What’s the over-under on the number of games before Joe West overturns a correct call, just because he can?

  17. RickyB - Oct 1, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    I disagree with Craig on this. If LaRussa or someone else wanted to use this type of gamesmanship, they could without a challenge system — they simply have to come out of the dugout and argue and keep arguing until they are either tossed from the game or satisfied that their pitcher has had enough time to warm up. I like the fifth umpire in the booth, give each team two challenges per game, and each time they’re wrong, they lose a challenge. One extra challenge per three extra innings. If a manager is out of challenges, they are not allowed to come out of the dugout to argue any call or it is grounds for immediate ejection. A challenge is issued any time a manager comes out to argue a call. Period. No throwing a flag or something stupid like that. Manager comes out to argue, fifth umpire reviews quickly, signals back down to the field, the call is either upheld or overturned, the manager immediately goes back to the dugout.

  18. walk - Oct 1, 2010 at 9:55 PM

    I see the challenge system as a valid use of time. It would probably take less time than the tirade after a manager gets ejected. For those worrying about challenge being used to warm up a pitcher just treat the challengte as a mound visit.

  19. walk - Oct 1, 2010 at 10:15 PM

    I see the challenge system as a valid use of time. It would probably take less time than the tirade after a manager gets ejected. For those worrying about challenge being used to warm up a pitcher just treat the challenge as a mound visit.

  20. RichardInBigD - Oct 3, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    I like the addition of treating a challenge as a mound visit, but only if the call is upheld. There really shouldn’t be any penalty if the challenge is legit.

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