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Joe Maddon has a good replay idea

May 5, 2011, 2:32 PM EDT

Posey steal NLDS

Joe Maddon was understandably upset at the Joe West nonsense last night, so it’s not surprising that he said after the game that there should be more instant replay in baseball.  Speaking to reporters after a good night’s sleep, however, he had a pretty good idea:

“If you really want to be intelligent about it, technology is a part of our game. The fact that replay is already utilized, those are moments that you can review at the end of the season. Log them all and then see if there is any kind of common thread and say, ‘Now this should be reviewable.'”

It’s cool and radical so baseball will never do it, but why not start up a review pilot program. Or a shadow program or whatever you want to call it. They can do it via TV monitors back at Major League Baseball headquarters if they want. Just have a guy pretending to be that eye in the sky I’m always going on about. Figure out how many times he’d call down to the crew chief to overturn a call. Figure out how long it would take him to make a different call than the umps on the field and make his phony call.  Log which calls would be most frequently subject to it and how many total calls replay would overturn a year.

Doing such a thing would, at the very least be instructive. If certain patterns were found it would help train umpires.  If replay is ultimately expanded into other areas, you’d have some factual findings which could head off pushback and criticism from umpires and players and whoever else may be inclined to knock the idea.

Knowledge is power, right?

  1. Lukehart80 - May 5, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    Joe Maddon may be too bright for Major League Baseball.

    • indaburg - May 5, 2011 at 11:37 PM

      Joe Maddon for President. But he may be too bright for that too.

  2. oikosjeremy - May 5, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    Makes total sense. And as long as we’re dreaming, I’d like my free pony to be a palomino.

    • lardin - May 5, 2011 at 2:53 PM

      Thats why it will never happen, It just makes to much sense for MLB to actually do something. So instead of doing stuff that makes sense you end up with an exhibition game deciding home field advantage for the World Series…

  3. trevorb06 - May 5, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    Why not take this a step farther and when reviewing the replays at the end of the season find out which umps are making the most bad calls and try to rectify the situation. Umping is their job. Obviously 0% errors isn’t going to happen but there should be a like of acceptibility with how many blowns calls are OKAY and some umps needs to be help accountable for doing a poor job.

    • bobulated - May 5, 2011 at 2:53 PM

      The ump union would never go for actually reprimanding guys for being crummy umps. It’s much easier to let them be crummy umps for 20 years then let them retire.

    • Joe - May 5, 2011 at 3:31 PM

      Like Joe Maddon said, “see if there is any kind of common thread.”

  4. Jonny 5 - May 5, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    “Figure out how long it would take him to make a different call than the umps on the field and make his phony call. Log which calls would be most frequently subject to it and how many total calls replay would overturn a year.”

    Why go through all that? I mean the networks all show a close up of the play right away, they only need to see that really, and pick up their walkie talkie. “Hello walkie talkie? psshhh yes? That was a bad call, dude was safe by a half step, over. pssshhh okay, out. It would speed the game because the Mgr. wouldn’t need to come out and argue. It wouldn’t hold up a game at all really. Maybe 1 or 2 bad calls a game isn’t going to make it longer.

  5. watchesbaseball - May 5, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    Hey Craig,

    I work at Baseball Info Solutions and we actually track umpire errors already going back a few years.

    I could check in on some trends.

    • trevorb06 - May 5, 2011 at 3:01 PM

      Get some of those numbers and post. You’ll have about 50 commenters hailing you a hero.

      • Joe - May 5, 2011 at 3:33 PM

        I bet the information is proprietary.

    • jamie54 - May 5, 2011 at 3:43 PM

      Dude if that stuff is free for viewing, please post the link.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - May 5, 2011 at 4:00 PM

      I want Joe West’s numbers!!!!! Does he have more errors as an ump or fans as a country singer?

  6. jamie54 - May 5, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    ” If certain patterns were found it would help train umpires.” Yes, like statistically the pattern of disputed calls was higher in Joe West games than any others. Therefore, he needs more training. Well, that ain’t going to happen and the umpire’s union would never allow that either, to say one of their longest tenured people needs training? I agree with it, more utilization of technology the better to a certain degree, but there’s some obstacles to climb before that happens.

  7. bleedgreen - May 5, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    Why do they need training? They all KNOW how to umpire. You can’t train someone to see something faster or train someone to make the right ‘subjective’ call. There’s only 2 scenarios. The guy was safe, or the guy was out. Training isn’t going to change what the ump see or thinks he sees.

  8. dudebrosday - May 5, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    That picture still haunts my dreams. Thanks, Craig.

  9. halladaysbiceps - May 5, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    Replay does not belong in baseball, period. The sport is 140 years old and never needed it before. The human element is what makes baseball so great. Also, it’s 162 games. This is not a 16 game schedule.

    If replay is what you want, stick with football. Not my game of baseball.

    • ngearhart1981 - May 5, 2011 at 3:23 PM

      Sheesh. What do you mean “never needed it before”? You mean, never available/never was implemented? Because it’s always needed it, same as any sport.
      You know what else wasn’t around when baseball started 140 years ago? Mitts. Night games. Television. Black baseball players.

      • halladaysbiceps - May 5, 2011 at 3:29 PM

        Your clueless. “Black baseball players.” Where the hell did that come from? What does that have to do with replay, simpleton?

        Baseball and replay does not go well together. They did a poll sometime ago between players and managers and the conclusion was that they did not want it, period. It slows down the game of play. What has worked for 140+ years is good enough for me.

        Rebut that, generous.

      • heyblueyoustink - May 5, 2011 at 3:34 PM

        Hard to rebutt *generous*

        And if one wanted to be biceps, wouldn’t they wanna be, oh, I dunno, like Howard’s biceps, or Gant’s biceps…..that dude was a walking gun show

      • Joe - May 5, 2011 at 3:38 PM

        “Rebut that, generous.”

        That actually made me laugh out loud.

        So arguing, throwing caps, kicking dirt, kicking out players, kicking out managers – and then maybe doing it all again if there is an umpire conference that reverses the call – all that takes less time than having a fifth umpire in the booth call down and say, “he was safe”?

      • b7p19 - May 5, 2011 at 3:50 PM

        Wow biceps. Wow. I don’t even know what to say. I can only hope that you are TRYING to be as clueless as possible when you write comments. I’m going to ignore the first sentence that comes from you not being able to comprehend a simple path of logic and move to paragraph 2:

        I think Luke Scott is proof enough that players cannot be trusted to make decisions like this. They are athletes. Thats it. I mean, should football stop caring about concussions because James Harrison thinks so?

    • ngearhart1981 - May 5, 2011 at 3:24 PM

      Oh, and please explain what “it’s 162 games. This is not a 16 game schedule” has to do with replay.

      • halladaysbiceps - May 5, 2011 at 3:32 PM

        Because it’s baseball. In football, because they play a limited amount of games, replay is crucial to that sport because one game can make or break you. 16 games. Do the math. However, over the course of a baseball season, bad/good calls even out.

        That’s logic. That’s baseball.

      • Jonny 5 - May 5, 2011 at 3:34 PM

        In all fairness biceps, the picture above is a prime example of why that logic is wrong. And it isn’t the first time a bad call has ended a season for a team.

      • halladaysbiceps - May 5, 2011 at 3:38 PM

        Jonny 5, that’s baseball. Because of some blown calls, it happens. That doesn’t mean that we institute replay because the umpires are human.

        But, with this younger generation BS wanting to make the game into another sport like football, replay will eventually happen. Just like they want another wildcard team in each league.


        Leave the game alone. It’s fine the way it is.

      • Joe - May 5, 2011 at 3:41 PM

        I’m in favor of replay, but it’s not because I want to turn baseball into football. It’s because I want to turn it into basketball or maybe hockey, because those guys have replay as well.

        Or better yet, we could turn baseball into baseball, which is another sport that currently uses replay to get calls right.

      • halladaysbiceps - May 5, 2011 at 3:45 PM


        You lost me. I don’t understand a word of what you said.

      • Jonny 5 - May 5, 2011 at 3:45 PM

        Yeah, it is baseball, and I’m usually a “traditionalist” as far as the playoffs and DH, but IMO a wrong call should not be accepted. Because it’s wrong. I know the call is bad from my living room in New Jersey within seconds of the play happening. Now, just because you don’t agree, that doesn’t mean everyone else is clueless, it just means they want every call to be correct. That’s it. They don’t want to change the game, replay doesn’t do that, it makes it more accurate. And it’s fine if you like it the old way too, you aren’t the only one.

      • cur68 - May 5, 2011 at 3:48 PM

        I am sick of Joe West, Scott Barry, Angel Hernadez and the rest of the “I’m more important than the players” d-bags that are the cause of so many controversial or stupid calls.

        Instant replay gives us all a chance to enjoy less of their crap, celebrate a perfect game (yes I do mean the Galaraga no-no; how does the course of a season even that out?), reward the players for playing great and vindicate the umps for getting it right more often than they get it wrong.

        If West had a booth ump to go to he’d have been a hero on that call at first last night and looked like a competent ump for once (as opposed to an over fed a$$, which is what he looks like most nights).

        The whole “tradition” thing holds no water in my view. Traditional games involved plays and rules that bear little resemblance to the way the game has evolved to now. Let baseball continue to evolve and it will get better IMO.

      • heyblueyoustink - May 5, 2011 at 3:50 PM

        Maybe you should go with “methuselah’s biceps” ……and if you’re all for the old world game and thrash against the idea of getting the call right….recall the bat and glove technology, catchers helmets that protect better, cold beer at stadiums, radar guns, and the schmitter too

      • Jonny 5 - May 5, 2011 at 3:53 PM

        “GASP!” Anything but the Schmitter!!!

      • rebarratige - May 5, 2011 at 3:54 PM

        I think it’s time to really embrace tradition in baseball, and eliminate the American League and the World Series.

        I mean, really. Baseball was just fine without them.

      • halladaysbiceps - May 5, 2011 at 3:55 PM

        Jonny 5,

        I respect your opinion that you want the call to be right. I truly understand this. However, where does the replay end, balls/strikes, check swings, every fair/foul ball, etc. You cannot do it uniformly in baseball, period. Where does it end.

        For the love of go, I don’t want this bastard of a commissioner to institute replay. He has done enough to do that.

        Once again: 162 games, human element is good, replay bad.

        Here is another thought: If a team, thought the course of a 162 season, relies on (1) or (2) plays to make their season, they probably were not good enough to make the playoffs.

      • Jonny 5 - May 5, 2011 at 4:01 PM

        Teams have been out of the playoffs by one game before, probably had a couple of games go bad from blown calls too. Playoff games where it counts for real? I’d say quite a few have had the same issue too. Fair is fair. I honestly think the replay should be used everywhere besides home plate. And it doesn’t have to be a big production like football either, just have a guy on a walkie talkie call in to the field and state the facts. Done. It will speed up the game if the manager or player don’t need to argue about it anymore I think. And yes Selig is a bastard.

      • CJ - May 5, 2011 at 4:04 PM

        So biceps, since 162 games is considerably more than 16, replay is not needed, correct?

        You stated that because you agree 16 games would increase the need for replay since each game carries so much more weight, right? That is what you said.

        So of course, using your impeccable logic and math skills you are aware that 16 is more than 7 (or 5). So you certainly believe (correct, I might add) that instant replay should be used in baseball for the playoffs. I’m glad we agree on something.

      • halladaysbiceps - May 5, 2011 at 4:18 PM


        No. Not even playoff games, do I want replay. Playoff games are no different than regular season games, rule wise.

    • ngearhart1981 - May 5, 2011 at 3:51 PM

      When you say “The sport is 140 years old and never needed it before.” you’re implying that progress and baseball don’t mix. You’re going to deny that’s what you mean, but it’s what you said. Progress gave us all the things I listed above. I think they’re good for baseball. I also think getting calls right would be good for baseball. Do you really want baseball played the way it was 140 years ago? ‘Cause it had problems.
      Also, I bet if you took a poll of fans and employees of baseball, “the human element” as you imply it (we all screw up sometimes, deal with it) would not be the most chosen “what makes baseball so great” answer. Just a hunch.

      Generously rebutted.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - May 5, 2011 at 4:06 PM

        Hally, what about the playoffs? Replay cool there b/c the sample size is smaller and the games more meaningful? They do some replay now, but should it be extended to cover other sorts of plays? Would that be overly generous or overly genius?

    • cktai - May 6, 2011 at 2:53 AM

      “The sport is 140 years old and never needed it before.” “Also, it’s 162 games. This is not a 16 game schedule.”

      The sport needed it before, such as in the Galarraga near-perfect game. And the playoffs are not 162 games, so blown calls such as the lack of fan interference in the 1997 ALCS or the missed out in the 1985 world series are pretty consequential for who can win it all.

      And the age thing doesn’t work either. Cricket was over 400 years old when they decided to add the video referee.

      “The human element is what makes baseball so great.”

      This is the same argument which is always used in soccer against the replay, and it is as stupid here as it is there.

      The human element is in the players, not the umpire. If they started throwing out robot pitchers against computerized batters, then I’ll agree with you that it ruins the human element. But the umpires are not supposed to have an a influential role in the game. Instead they have to make sure the other humans, the players, the guys you pay to watch, play according to the rules.

  10. jamie54 - May 5, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    “Rebut that, generous.” Generous? Generous? Or did you sarcastically mean ‘genius?’ See. Big boy word there. Almost as good as changing one’s name from halladaysbicepts to halladaysbiceps. But all in good fun, that’s what sites like this are good for. All for the love of this game. Lots of fun.

    • halladaysbiceps - May 5, 2011 at 3:43 PM

      Spellcheck mistake. I think you know what I meant. Great observation.

      Now, what can you add to the replay debate?

      • rebarratige - May 5, 2011 at 4:05 PM

        Biceps –

        There just isn’t much beef to your argument. It’s an appeal to tradition. Tradition is nice (it makes for lots of warm, fuzzy feelings), but it is not made for rational discussion. In fact, traditionalism is probably the quickest way to abdicate our responsibility for rationalism.

  11. halladaysbiceps - May 5, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    This is amazing. I feel like I’m on a site with children that have no idea what baseball is. Weren’t you ever taught by your fathers what baseball means? The game is beautiful as played? No changes need to be made?

    Why bastardize the game with replay? Extra teams in the playoffs? As a baseball purist (the media has told you that liking the game as it stands is bad, I get it), I don’t like it.

    • ngearhart1981 - May 5, 2011 at 4:06 PM

      Do not go gentle into that good night,
      Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
      Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

      Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
      Because their words had forked no lightning they
      Do not go gentle into that good night.

      Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
      Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
      Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

      Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
      And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
      Do not go gentle into that good night.

      Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
      Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
      Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

      And you, my father, there on the sad height,
      Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
      Do not go gentle into that good night.
      Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

      • halladaysbiceps - May 5, 2011 at 4:13 PM

        Thank you, Dylan Thomas.

        Now, what does this have to do with the baseball topic at hand, which is replay.

        Is this the best debate that you can provide?

      • cur68 - May 5, 2011 at 5:32 PM

        ngearhart1981; brilliantly chosen and utterly appropriate. It is the purview of the aging to rail against change. That’s when you know you’re getting old BTW; that first appeal to tradition and “I like it the way it was”. Might as well buy the suspenders and hike the trousers up to your tits right now halladaysbicapts; you sound like my dad. He’s 79.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - May 5, 2011 at 4:10 PM

      I, for one, am dying to know how replay can make baseball be a child born from parents out of wedlock. Explain to me how that works and I’ll agree with everything you say from now on, mmmkay?

      You do realize that in your short lifetime, baseball has already added playoff teams? They added playoff replay review as well. I think they even changed the drug testing policy and punishments. Hell, they even added teams! How dare they change our good ‘ol game!

      • rebarratige - May 5, 2011 at 4:13 PM

        Today’s old guy yelling on about the importance of his generation’s traditions is just yesterday’s young guy getting yelled at about the importance of the previous generation’s traditions.

        It’s a cycle, and it will repeat. Again, and again. Best to just enjoy the show, I guess.

      • halladaysbiceps - May 5, 2011 at 4:14 PM

        Exactly! For once, I agree with you El Bravo. No change to my game.

      • Jonny 5 - May 5, 2011 at 4:16 PM

        It is true that we don’t know who the daddy or mother is though. So baseball is already a bastard isn’t it? Always has been…. EGADS!!!

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - May 5, 2011 at 4:22 PM

        I’m truly at a loss for words. I’m sure you’re all happy now.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - May 5, 2011 at 4:24 PM

        Actually baseball was born through immaculate inception. No, that is not a typo. Think about it. Think deeper. There ya go.

      • Alex K - May 5, 2011 at 5:02 PM

        Halladaysbiceps- Should drug testing be taken away? And I’m not even talking about steroids…I’m talking “greenies”. The baseball you remember from your childhood had a very large amount of players taking speed.

        Replay can only help baseball. It means the players decide who wins the game, not the umps.

      • halladaysbiceps - May 5, 2011 at 5:12 PM

        Alex K,

        I’m not sure how speed/greenies fits into this debate about replay.

        I will say this. speed/greenies were taken by ballplayers because of the long season. This was a given. They did it to last 162 game season. Speed is not=PED’s. They don’t make you bigger or stronger. They just make you more alert.

        Replay has nothing to with the things you stated. Stick to Craig’s topic for this thread, with is replay.

      • Alex K - May 5, 2011 at 8:57 PM

        It has everything to do with the discussion. Drug testing changed baseball, just like replay would change baseball. You stated that baseball didn’t need to change because it had been fine for 140 years, so you must want drug testing to go away.

        How is a drug making you more alert not enhancing your performance? You said they did it to last the whole season, do you honestly not see how you contradicted yourself?

  12. paperlions - May 5, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    Craig, you realize that this is how the NFL has done things for decades, right? Indeed, they review every play, every season with respect to the performance of every referee’s responsibilities to evaluate performance. They give officials feedback on a weekly basis, telling them what they miss (if anything) and what they should call a little looser (if anything). They even do this crazy thing where they fire guys that suck at officiating based on the leagues evaluations of their performance.

  13. kingjoe1 - May 5, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    Joe West has been one of the worst umpires in baseball for 20 years yet because of unions, he just keeps getting paid. It is a joke. Bad teachers, bad cops and bad umpires all protected by the wretched unions.

    The umpires union probably has more to do with keeping replays out of baseball than anything.

    • paperlions - May 5, 2011 at 5:21 PM

      You know who else unions protect? Good teachers, good cops, and good umpires….just saying. If you think you hate unions, try getting fair pay without them.

      • borderline1988 - May 5, 2011 at 11:54 PM

        This is a baseball blog, so I’ll try to keep this non-political.

        But how exactly do unions protect good umpires? In fact, logic would say that the better umpires would be better protected and compensated, whereas the weaker umps would be hung out to dry (if there were no union).
        The union simply standardizes the whole system, where all umps receive similar compensation and job security regardless of performance.
        The better umpires stand to lose from unions, and the worse umpires gain. Isn’t that obvious?

  14. dfensfelix - May 5, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    Thumbs up if you hope halladaysbicepts (sic) never, ever has children. The gene pool is shallow enough already.

    • halladaysbiceps - May 5, 2011 at 5:54 PM

      Do you talk anything about baseball? What is your opinion of replay?

      • dfensfelix - May 5, 2011 at 5:59 PM

        My opinion of replay is that you’re an idiot. Wakka wakka wakka…

      • ditto65 - May 5, 2011 at 6:14 PM

        I think halladaysbicepts (I used the original spelling because I am a traditionalist) only motivation for posting is to contradict and set the record for thumbs down.

        I hope they add replay just so halladaysbicepts stops watching (and commenting).

    • halladaysbiceps - May 5, 2011 at 6:21 PM


      Sound kind of personal. The reason I post is to contradict? NO! You are an idiot. It’s to give my opinion, which I don’t think you have anything of.

      Craig’s column has to do with replay. Why don’t you talk about what you think, instead of focusing on me?

      • ditto65 - May 5, 2011 at 8:17 PM

        Here we go: I do not believe the forefathers of baseball meant for the people officiating ball games to make mistakes. I also believe that if they could, they would put in place mechanisms to correct those mistakes and allow the play on the field decide the fate of the teams, rather than the pompous actions of seemingly self-promoting windbags that provide the “umpiring” of the games.

        Of course, you are probably already taking off your “bloomers” and filling your “chamber pot” since you still live in the 19th century. I am still confused how you have gained access to the internet, since it uses technology that did not exist when baseball was invented.

        Am I the only one that questions halladaysbicepts true intent here?

    • kopy - May 5, 2011 at 6:24 PM

      I’m holding out hope for the day when he breaks character and says, “I’m just kidding, you guys. I just wanted to troll everybody for lulz.”

      • indaburg - May 5, 2011 at 11:50 PM

        I agree kopy. It’s pretty amusing. Sometimes I wonder if he is actually one of the bloggers in disguise, trying to provoke a reaction (and hits) by posting inflammatory, negative comments.
        (That’s right, Craig, I’m on to you…)

  15. halladaysbiceps - May 5, 2011 at 6:17 PM


    What does that mean? Talk baseball. We are on a baseball blog. An idiot? Really? Why? Where’s your baseball knowledge?

    • smarterthangirardi - May 10, 2011 at 11:35 PM

      dude you have 4 thumbs up on this whole column. Obviously everyone thinks you are stupid and your opinion has no beef. go home,

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