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Changes to official scorers rulings have tripled in recent years

Jul 22, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

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Some weeks back David Ortiz loudly complained about an official scorer’s call that he felt (correctly) cost him a hit, made a point to publicly call out the scorer for not giving him a hometown call and then successfully appealed the call. He received a lot of criticism for that. But based on this story from Murray Chass, Ortiz’s offense against propriety was the public part of it, not the appeal, because he is not at all alone in asking for scoring decisions to be changed. Indeed, those numbers are on the way up since Joe Torre took over that particular bailiwick:

Torre said he didn’t know how many calls he had changed this season.

“Last year I overturned about one-fourth to one-third of the requests,” he said. What about specific numbers? “There were a lot. I’d rather not tell you that. The first year” – 2011 – “it was a workable number. It’s probably tripled.”

Chass spoke to other sources which confirm that one-third-to-one-fourth figure and which say there are probably fifty overturned calls each season, or perhaps as many as three or four a week.

If you can navigate around the introductory and, for him, obligatory old fogeyism, Chass has some interesting nuggets in there, both regarding the number of scoring changes which are made and Major League Baseball’s curiously cagey approach to questions about them. And, most importantly, one suggestion about the reason for the increase in the scoring changes: the MLBPA being pressured by agents to be more proactive in making such appeals.

I tend to agree with Chass here about the early months of the Tony Clark Administration not being all that impressive. I would hope this sort of thing isn’t a big priority for them and that agents’ desires and the interests of some players as opposed to all aren’t what’s running the show.

  1. 18thstreet - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    Even when he’s writing something interesting, NBC style should require you refer to him (on first reference) as Blogger Murray Chass.

  2. blacksables - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    Baseball zero statistics are a zero-sum balance.

    What helps one player hurts another.

    I’ll bet a lot of the changes are star players getting the good numbers, while the lesser players get the bad ones.

    Nice to see the union fighting for the rights of all the players.

  3. blacksables - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    “Baseball statistics are a zero-sum balance.”

    Edit function, please.

  4. baberuthslegs - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    Then why is the scorer called the “official” scorer, if his/her call is not official?

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:52 PM

      Maybe it’s kind of like how Pepsi is the official soft drink of MLB. A hell of a lot of people still drink Coke.

      • baberuthslegs - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        Thanks. I get it now.

  5. scorpiox1960 - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    Maybe MLB should just go to scorers who are at a neutral location. Like replay.

    It is 2014. Should we really have to worry about a hometown” official scorer? Should we really be subjected to Ortiz whining every week?

    • mjdkid100 - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:38 PM

      You ever worked in sales? Ever been paid by your production?

      It’s there right to complain if theyve been screwed out of a legitimate call. You can complain all you want, but getting right is the most important part. Maybe Ortiz has escalators in his contract? Find another soap box somewhere else.

  6. raysfan1 - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    How often do pitchers appeal scorers’ decisions? I saw one game this weekend where the batter grounded to short…the shortstop’s throw to first was and and the first baseman had to take a couple steps off the bag to catch the ball. As a result the runner was safe. For some reason, the scorer called it a hit and not an error on the shortstop. I could see the pitcher not liking having the hit count against him, or the eventual run count as an earned run against him–but I can also see where he might be hesitant to appeal when it would then have an error count against a teammate. (Note: this example was from a AAA game, but I’ve seen similar in MLB games.)

    • moogro - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:09 PM

      The “hits” keep coming.

      • happytwinsfan - Jul 22, 2014 at 5:04 PM

        You just gave me a Casey Kasem flashback. Not sure if that’s bad or good.

    • jmbic - Jul 22, 2014 at 8:21 PM

      I recall, maybe incorrectly, that Curt Schilling got absolutely annihilated in a start, only to have a scoring decision changed in his favor weeks later, and it shaving a run or more off his ERA at the time. A quick glance at game logs shows it could have been 5-22-97 with the Phillies, when he gave up 9 runs (1 earned) in 2.2 innings against the Mets.

      He was great that year, for sure, but it would have looked a lot less great if that had held up.

  7. gloccamorra - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:50 PM

    Local teams hire local writers to be official scorers, so there’s a wide disparity in quality. National online writers like Buster Olney have noticed it, but haven’t suggested a solution: Put an umpire up there! The official records of the teams and MLB should not be left to local part-timers. With umpires, there will be a better chance the scorer knows the rules of the game, and an umpire reviewing video from the scoring table rather than a call to the Commissioner’s office would be faster.

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