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Friday, November 12, 2004

Collective Wisdom and Observation vs. Replay

The GMs have decided, for now, to shelve the possibility of using Instant Replay technology to mitigate umpiring decisions in baseball, a decision - for now - I agree with. However, the GMs missed an opportunity to apply the umpiring lessons learned this post-season, namely that mandating every umpiring team to huddle, compare notes, and focus on getting the call right when there is a dispute should be the order of the day.
As it is, it appears to be the decision of the crew chief whether to have umpires compare opinions or observations, and that is wrong. Some crew chiefs are open to discussing calls, some are definitely not; it should be consistent and an open process.
Discussing calls should be the rule.....and while not strictly a "challenge," a manager should have the right to request a review or umpiring discussion for some of the events envisioned for a review by replay (fair/foul HR, basepath issues, etc.)

Today's Associated Press story notes that MLB's Sandy Alderson says that according to the QuesTec computer system, umpires correctly called more than 93 percent of the 120,026 pitches that were either judged balls or strikes. And they said that all 68 umpires met the expected standard of at least 90 percent. And they got the post-season calls mostly correct, without replay.
So, for now, let's go with the collective (not individual) experience and judgment of the umpires and keep baseball replay free.