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Is it a good idea to show close plays on the jumbotron?

Jan 17, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT

Ben Revere, Bob Davidson AP

Along with the announcement of the ratification of instant replay yesterday came word that ballparks will now be able to show close plays on the jumbotron. Something which, out of custom or rule, it’s not entirely clear, has not been the case for years and years at the old ballgame.

I and just about everyone else applauded that development. But Rob Neyer is not so sure that the development is 100% positive and isn’t so sure that it will last. As part of his argument he looks back at the incident at Yankee Stadium that led to the now-defunct custom. I’d never heard this story. It’s definitely a product of the 1970s.

  1. phantomspaceman - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    I can’t speak for all 30 ballparks, but the Yankee Stadium crowd has been about as dull as they come over the past few years. There might be some noise made at an obviously bad call but I don’t think there will be much to be worried about.

    • ctony1216 - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      Agreed. Yankees fans aren’t nearly as rowdy as they were in the ’70s.

      Besides, with the new replay rules, the person getting booed will be either the manager, for not asking for a replay, or the official at the Replay Command Center, who’s well out of bottle-throwing range.

      • bendover09 - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:13 PM

        Let’s ask Cliff Lee wife about Yankee stadium

      • ctony1216 - Jan 17, 2014 at 4:09 PM

        It was still worse in ’70s, even in the ’90s. My wife will confirm that.
        Today it’s like a church, by comparison. There are still some goofballs, but not so rowdy like it used to be. Tickets cost too much to get yourself thrown out for acting like a jerk.

  2. slclions - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    Let’s see, you can go to the stadium and deal with drunks traffic and high beer prices, and now no replays or stay home cheap food and beer and all the HD replays I want. When the Blue Jays stop showing replays then it’s better to stay home

    • tfbuckfutter - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      When the Blue Jays start playing baseball it’s better to stay home.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:58 PM

        Dude, that was so dirty harry of you. You can do better.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:28 PM

        It’s the Blue Jays.

        I’m not wasting A-material on the Blue Jays.

        The Blue Jays don’t even waste A-material on the Blue Jays.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:39 PM

        I’m not wasting A-material on the Blue Jays.

        ouch, somewhere cur and PC slowly shed a tear…

  3. rbj1 - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    If it’s a close play, how many thousands of fans are going to go to their smartphones and review the play anyway and/or listen to broadcasters on the phones.

    The genie is out of the bottle.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      Hmmmm, maybe the lousy wifi signal at ballparks is intentional…

  4. jya87 - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Pretty sure there will be a backlash from the umpire’s union once ballclubs start looping replays of a bad call when the managers are out of appeals.

    That said, there aren’t THAT many bad safe/out calls. Maybe 1 or 2 within a game, but the umpires are for the most part competent there. The challenge system should take care of those anomalies.

    For fair/foul calls, who else would be tickled to see a ball-tracking system similar to tennis’ Hawkeye?

  5. Marty McKee - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:35 AM


    Next question.

  6. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    Wow Rob Neyer takes a contrarian opinion from everyone else, I’m shocked I say, shocked!

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      And btw, if we’re are deciding on whether or not to do something based on how a bunch of morons are going to react, we might as well shut everything down.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:02 PM

        I am outraged at your suggestion!

      • natstowngreg - Jan 17, 2014 at 4:49 PM

        I am outraged at your outrage.

  7. bigtunany - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    The anecdote about Yankee Stadium is utter hogwash. The scoreboard in those days could put up simple phrases like “Charge!” or “Enjoy Eddie Layton on his Hammond organ”. And that was it. If there was a specific incident that started the policy, it wasn’t the one described, despite all the details given.

    • tfbuckfutter - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      “Remember (or let me tell you, since I was around way back then), there weren’t any JumboTrons in 1976. As I recall, a “video board” was essentially a scoreboard with a bunch of light bulbs that could be programmed to show video, but it was very difficult to actually see anything. I’m actually sort of amazed that anyone at Yankee Stadium could see enough to boo the umpires; granted, it probably wouldn’t have taken much to whip a 1976 Yankee Stadium crowd into a frenzy.”

      • bigtunany - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        Ugh. I hate being wrong. Apparently, the board was instant replay capable. The first of it’s kind.

  8. gerryb323 - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    I was thinking they would only show replays on plays where the play is being reviewed. It would obviously be inflammatory to show an incorrect call that couldn’t be challenged…

  9. slystone111 - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:04 PM

    Neyer has really turned into a bitter old crank in the last five years.

  10. rockthered1286 - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    I debated whether or not to draw the football comparison and despite the fear of backlash… I’m going all in.

    NFL games have instant replay. NFL games show the replays on the jumbotrons. Why do they show them? To get the fans more engage and more outraged. Assume they call a touchdown and receiver was clearly out. Before it even gets to replay (sometimes before the coach even throws the flag for a challenge) they have a zoomed in shot of the guys feet showing a bum call. The result is a resounding response from the fans- whether it be in booing fashion or general jeers. BUT overall it’s used to get the fans into the game, not as a means to start a riot. And I can say from all of the games in the NFL that I’ve watched and attended, I’ve never seen a thing thrown at the players or refs after a poor or missed call, nor have a seen a brawl ensue as a result (usually the skirmishes start when some drunk guy… does pretty much anything). With that said, I see a similar effect in baseball. If Crush Davis drives a ball over the scoreboard at OPACY and they call it foul… then replay on the jumbo shows fair? The fans will go crazy. Not like the homeless guy on the corner waving his junk at the Amtrak as it goes by crazy, but the good kind of crazy that comes with going all in to support your team. I personally think it changes the game day experience for the best.

    • stoutfiles - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:25 PM

      The Cleveland Browns would like to have a word:

      And you’ve never been to an Eagles game I imagine.

  11. natstowngreg - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    NFL stadia show replays of close calls. Mass rioting by drunken football fans does not ensue. At least, not normally.

    After a close play, a coach will look at the replay on the scoreboard, to help him decide whether to challenge. The coach also has assistants looking at the TV replay. This can lead to lengthy waits for challenges (sometimes, as the next play is about to start).

    Looks like MLB managers will have similar capabilities to view plays, and similar opportunities for delay. Just one reason not to like the challenge system.

    • rockthered1286 - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      True… BUT in football the refs don’t wait on the coaches to watch replay on questionable calls- the speed of the game is dictated by the players. Same for baseball. Let’s say a homerun was mistakenly called foul. It really shouldn’t take the coaches any longer than his guy stepping out of the box once to determine whether or not it’s worth a challenge. And we really cannot compare the challenge process to the NFL where they have the ‘on field officials’ review the play. MLB is actually following NHL guidelines with a central hub to make the call on challenges, and being an avid hockey fan I can tell you that it’s a MUCH quicker process than the NFL. The NFL challenge may take roughly 3-5 minutes (followed by a TV timeout for another few minutes), while NHL is usually 30 seconds to 1 minute. Not too shabby.

      • natstowngreg - Jan 17, 2014 at 5:01 PM

        I wasn’t referring to how the play is actually reviewed, but the process of challenging. The challenge process doesn’t look all that much different from the NFL process, except MLB managers won’t have as many challenges.

        My point was, a lot of the delay in the NFL process comes from the time the coach takes to challenge a call. (This doesn’t count the calls that are reviewed automatically — touchdowns, turnovers — and challenges initiated by the replay fficial at the end of each half.) Some of that delay will happen in MLB as well.

        I agree that the NHL process for doing the actual review is a good one, and like that MLB is adopting it. You don’t need to have up to 15 extra umpires in up to 15 ballparks on any given day. You just need a group uf umpires somewhere who get the TV feed for every game.

        BTW, note that very little gets reviewed in the NHL. Mostly calls of goal or no goal. They don’t review offsides and icing calls, for example. Saving time isn’t just about the lack of a challenge system; it’s also about not being able to review most calls.

  12. anxovies - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    I don’t think there is much risk in showing the replays at the ballpark. In the 1970s the populace was still in the civil disobedience mode of the 60s, and were willing to challenge authority. The herd of sheep that today we call citizens pee in a cup whenever anybody tells them to, permits the government and any anybody else to conduct 24 hour surveillance on their activities, and lets the NSA read their personal correspondence without rising en masse and burning the government down. People were made of sterner stuff then, but now they will give out a couple of boos and then settle back down in their seats to text their friends and read their emails.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      It’s been making the rounds, so I might as well slap it up here.

  13. billybawl - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    I think showing the replays will actually help keep things calm at the stadium since fans will want to know why a challenge was upheld or denied:

    “Another wrinkle of the new rules will allow clubs to show replays of controversial plays in the stadium for the first time. Teams would be able to air up to two replays at regular speed. Then, once the review is completed, fans in the park will be shown an additional replay that demonstrates why the call was overturned, or upheld.”

    • billybawl - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      Also, not clear to me whether in-stadium replays will be limited to calls under review, or generally available to all close calls.

  14. savocabol1 - Jan 17, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    Wait, the article says the umps got booed and thats it? That’s the reason why all these years there is no replay? Wow

  15. jkcalhoun - Jan 17, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    Craig could have heard of The Gene Locklear Story, since I posted a link to it here back in September.

    But I won’t take it personally. I’ve got people standing in line to ignore me.

  16. watchfullhose - Jan 18, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    Why don’t they just block of the view of the game entirely, so that people can’t see it (and they won’t get upset). Everyone who attends a game in person can listen to the radio broadcast in person and just imagine they were actually watching ….actually, why broadcast the game at all…everyone can just sit in silence and think about what they’ve done.

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