Skip to content

Replay and its unintended consequences

Apr 25, 2012, 2:03 PM EST

Angel Hernandez

Over at The Classical, Eric Nusbaum looks at a new instant replay system that has been instituted in pro cricket, and notes how it has changed the way the game is actually being played:

Technology changed the way umpires approached their jobs, which in turn has changed the way players approach theirs. The comparison doesn’t work perfectly, but this is akin to allowing baseball players to appeal balls and strikes to a machine with the intention of creating a more accurate strike zone, and with the unintended result being that pitchers start throwing over the middle more, resulting in more home runs. (Or vice versa: batters become fearful and begin swinging at bad pitches, resulting in more of the weak pop ups to the second baseman that Mets fans have nicknamed “Jason Bays.”)

It’s interesting to think about — all big changes are going to bring unintended consequences — but if anything it bolsters the case for the “fifth umpire” version of replay in baseball as opposed to anything else.

By having the fifth ump in a booth who is part of the on-the-field crew, you limit that us-vs.-them mentality that may cause umpires to do different things than they might otherwise do. And by taking out some sort of appeals process or challenge system, you limit the ability of players and managers to game the system.

Latest Posts
  1. Pablo Sandoval says goodbye to the Giants and their fans on his Instagram account

    Nov 26, 2014, 10:04 PM EST

    sandoval getty Getty Images

    Here’s the farewell Instagram post from third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who signed a five-year, $98 million free agent contract with the Red Sox earlier this week …

  2. Royals acquire infielder Ryan Jackson from Dodgers

    Nov 26, 2014, 8:18 PM EST

    ryan jackson getty Getty Images

    Jackson was limited to 11 minor league games in 2014 due to a right wrist injury that ultimately required surgery.

  3. Padres, Dodgers have discussed a Matt Kemp trade

    Nov 26, 2014, 6:43 PM EST

    matt kemp getty Getty Images

    From FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal comes word that the Padres have shown interest in trading for Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp …

  4. Yasmany Tomas signs a six-year, $68.5 million deal with the Diamondbacks

    Nov 26, 2014, 5:10 PM EST

    yasmany tomas getty Getty Images

    The Dbacks were not in the picture until very recently. But better late than never.

  5. Thought experiment: How many MLB teams would wipe the slate clean?

    Nov 26, 2014, 4:25 PM EST

    CC Sabathia AP AP

    Since there’s no such thing as a stupid question …

  6. The Wrigley Field bleachers may not be ready for Opening Day

    Nov 26, 2014, 3:58 PM EST

    Wrigley Bleachers

    Don’t tell the people who like to hang out in the bleachers. They may not realize it, actually.

  7. Rays designate Sean Rodriguez for assignment

    Nov 26, 2014, 2:14 PM EST

    Sean Rodriguez AP AP

    Rodriguez was projected to make around $2 million via arbitration.

  8. Rays sign Ernesto Frieri to incentive-laden contract

    Nov 26, 2014, 1:40 PM EST

    Chicago White Sox v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Getty Images

    An intriguing scrap-heap pickup for the Rays.

  9. Reds sign Brennan Boesch

    Nov 26, 2014, 1:15 PM EST

    New York Yankees v Colorado Rockies Getty Images

    This year he played at Triple-A for the Angels, hitting .332 with 25 homers and a 1.017 OPS in 95 games.

  10. Texas Rangers prospect involved in a fatal accident in the Dominican Republic

    Nov 26, 2014, 12:59 PM EST

    rangers logo

    Ronald Guzman is the Rangers’ 17th-ranked prospect.

  11. Chris Capuano is considering pitching in Japan

    Nov 26, 2014, 11:19 AM EST

    Chris Capuano Getty Getty Images

    Capuano is 36 years old, so finding a guaranteed big-league job for 2015 could be difficult.

  12. Korean team rejects winning MLB bid for Hyeon-jong Yang

    Nov 26, 2014, 10:15 AM EST

    hyeon-jong yang Getty Images

    Either the Rangers or the Twins had the winning bid.

  13. The Marlins are snooping around Chris Davis and Evan Gattis

    Nov 26, 2014, 9:44 AM EST

    chris davis getty Getty Images

    Need some dingers? I know a guy who can get you some dingers, man.

  14. No, the Red Sox signing Pablo and Hanley is not proof that baseball needs a salary cap

    Nov 26, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

    Hanley Ramirez AP

    It’s like clockwork. A team signs a big free agent or two and someone argues that baseball is doomed without a salary cap. It’s always baloney, of course.

  15. Giants casting “wide net” that includes Max Scherzer

    Nov 25, 2014, 10:12 PM EST

    max scherzer getty Getty Images

    Max Scherzer, a client of Scott Boras, seems comfortable with slow-playing this market. We’ve seen loads of rumors and reports involving the other prominent free agent ace, Jon Lester, but it’s hard to identify which teams are in the running at the moment for Max. The Giants may be one …

  16. Lucas Harrell, Jim Adduci both sign contracts in Korea

    Nov 25, 2014, 8:47 PM EST

    kbo logo

    Via Jeeho Yoo of Seoul’s Yonhap News, right-hander Lucas Harrell and outfielder Jim Adduci both agreed to one-year deals Tuesday in the Korea Baseball Organization — Harrell with the KIA Tigers for $900K and Adduci with the Lotte Giants for $650K.

Featured video

Maddon has high hopes for Cubs
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. P. Sandoval (5287)
  2. H. Ramirez (4016)
  3. Y. Tomas (4016)
  4. J. Lester (3023)
  5. J. Upton (2201)
  1. J. Bruce (2095)
  2. M. Kemp (2016)
  3. C. Headley (1989)
  4. A. LaRoche (1974)
  5. Y. Cespedes (1849)