Bud Selig believes baseball needs more instant replay and less champagne

Bud Selig would like to see some changes in his game in 2013, one of which I imagine will be well-received while the other will result in him being called a Scrooge. For starters, Selig wants expanded instant replay. He made that clear during a recent Q & A with Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.

“I think we’ll have it for sure,” he said when asked about instant replay. “They’re working on cameras in all the ballparks. We need the right cameras. Should we have them by next year? We’d better.”

If the man in charge says we are probably going to see instant replay next season, it’s probably safe to assume it’s coming. What makes Selig’s comments particularly interesting is that it was only a few months ago that he said baseball didn’t need expanded replay because attendance numbers were fine. Perhaps he now realizes that was a dumb thing to say, or maybe he knows horrible calls like this one shouldn’t be affecting the outcome of playoff games.

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Nate McLouth barely misses out on home run off foul pole (Video)

The Orioles missed tying Game 5 of the ALDS against the Yankees by inches when umpires ruled that a fly ball hit by left fielder Nate McLouth was foul.

McLouth was batting in the top of the sixth with the Orioles down 1-0 went he blasted a 3-1 pitch deep down the right field line. The ball seemed to be foul, but then it started curving toward the pole at the last second.

The initial call by the right field umpire was that the ball was foul. The umpires gathered to review the play using instant replay, and let the original call on the field stand. McLouth struck out on the next pitch.

Later in the game, TBS sideline reporter Craig Sager says he spoke with an usher who believed the ball “nicked” the foul pole.

Replays were inconclusive, but after seeing zoomed-in, spot-shadowed looks on TBS, I believe it did touch the pole. The trajectory of the ball changed as it got to the pole.

Instead of being tied 1-1, the Orioles remained down 1-0 and didn’t get on the board until the eighth inning. They lost the game 3-1, and the Yankees advanced to the ALCS.

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Michael Morse mimes grand slam after call is overturned (Video)

The Nationals’ Michael Morse was asked to mime a grand slam in the first inning of the Nationals-Cardinals game on Saturday after a call was overturned, leading to an odd, albeit hilarious, situation at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Morse hit a fly ball to right field with the bases loaded in the first inning off Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse. The ball bounced off the second wall in right field and back onto the field, so right fielder Carlos Beltran played it like a live ball. Beltran threw the ball into the infield, and second baseman Skip Schumaker chased down Morse and tagged him out. At that point, Morse would have been credited with an RBI single to put the Nats up 1-0.

The umpires decided to review the call and, after looking at replays, determined that the ball bounced into play after hitting the second wall, which is considered a home run.

The umpires re-set the runners on the bases, and they asked Morse to return to home plate (after touching first base on his way back) to mime a grand slam.

Morse happily obliged, and he was credited with his fourth career grand slam to give the Nats a 4-0 lead. Washington won the game 6-4 in 10 innings to reduce their magic number to clinch the NL East to one.

Even though it was odd seeing the umpires recreate the situation, the important thing is that they got the call right. The Nationals have been jobbed several times this year on bad calls by the umpires, but thanks to replay, this call was corrected.

H/T The Nats Enquirer

Bud Selig says MLB doesn’t need expanded replay because attendance is good

Typically there are two schools of thought regarding expanded replay in baseball. One one side, you have people like the LBS crew who believe Major League Baseball needs to take advantage of the available technology to prevent horrible calls like this one from affecting the outcome of games or rewriting the history books. On the other side, you have people like Jim Leyland who cherish the all-important human element of the game and are against replay.

Then, there’s Bud Selig. Here is what the commissioner had to say about expanded instant replay on Monday according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“People in our sport don’t want any more. Given our attendance and everything we’re doing, we’re in the right place with instant replay.”

That statement is absurd on so many levels. For starters, how do the attendance numbers have anything to do with whether or not the game needs instant replay? Attendance is up across baseball this season, but are we supposed to believe that spike is due in part to the fact that the “human element” is still fully intact? In addition, a rule change in the game shouldn’t have anything to do with attendance. Selig is basically saying that whether the lack of replay is wrong or not, enough people are still coming to games so it doesn’t matter.

We know Selig is an old timer who wants nothing to do with instant replay, but this is officially the worst line of reasoning we’ve ever heard on the topic. If a bridge is unsafe but plenty of people still drive across it, I suppose the bridge doesn’t need to be repaired.

H/T Hardball Talk
Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Bobby Valentine not opposed to automated balls and strikes, says umpires can’t do it

The Red Sox are sliding once again, and Bobby Valentine has decided to take his frustration out on the league’s umpires. Valentine was unhappy with a number of calls during Boston’s series against Miami over the weekend, and he was ejected on Sunday for arguing balls and strikes. On Monday, he sounded off on the umpiring and came awfully close to calling for an automated balls and strikes system.

“When I did the Little League World Series (for ESPN), I thought it was the most criminal thing I ever saw, I wanted to cry, when a kid, in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and his team down by one run, was called out on a strike three that was six inches outside,” Valentine said according to CSNNE.com. “He couldn’t reach it with his bat. I cried for him. And that kid is scarred for life, playing our game, by an injustice.

“And then someone says the most ridiculous words that I ever hear: ‘But we like the human factor.’ It was criminal that we allow our game to scar a young person like that. And then it continues on. I think, in 2012, it should not be part of the process. I don’t think it should be.”

Valentine was reminded that humans make mistakes and stopped just barely short of saying that umpires should be removed in favor of an automated system of calling balls and strikes.

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Cal Ripken Jr. says baseball needs a secret replay umpire in a booth

With every blown call we witness in Major League Baseball comes outrage over the lack of instant replay. Many argue that it’s ridiculous to not take advantage of the technology we have in place, while others believe expanding instant replay in baseball removes the human element from the game. There is a growing list of people involved with the game who believe baseball is behind the times. One of the greatest players of all time can now be added to that list. Here is Cal Ripken Jr’s take on instant replay.

“I think the answer going forward is to have some sort of umpire in the booth,” Ripken said during an interview with the Sports Junkies according to D.C. Sports Bog. “And if you have the four guys down on the field, and it doesn’t even have to be sold that way. If somebody has the ability to watch the technology, and when Leyland comes out to argue or when somebody comes out, they huddle together.

“If you had the ability to communicate within that group, like if you were an umpire in a booth, and then while they’re getting together, asking for help, saying ‘Okay, I’m not sure about that,’ and then you have a chance to see a quick replay and say definitively, ‘Yeah, he caught that.’ If you could communicate that message to the group and nobody would know about it. You could just say ‘Hey, it was clear that he caught the ball.’ So then they come back as a group and say ‘Okay, the consensus is, yes he caught the ball in the air.’”

Bingo. I’m not sure that the replay official would need to be hidden, but Ripken’s idea makes sense in that no umpire would have to feel like they’re being undermined. The bottom line is that there are certain plays umpires miss or physically cannot see. That has always been the case, but we have not always had the technology to fix it. We do now, and people like Jim Leyland go on epic rants over blown calls but take a stance against instant replay. It makes absolutely no sense, so it’s refreshing to hear one of the game’s legends speak reasonably about it.

H/T The Big Lead
Photo credit: Alan Maglaque-US PRESSWIRE

Matt Holliday Missed Call by Umpires Leads to Big Inning for Cardinals

The umpires missed a call during the fourth inning of Game 3 of the World Series Saturday night that led to a big inning for the Cardinals. With Albert Pujols at first, Matt Holliday grounded a ball to short. Elvis Andrus made the putout by flipping to Ian Kinsler at second, who threw to first for the double play. Kinsler’s throw pulled Mike Napoli off the bag, but the first baseman managed to tag Holliday.

One problem: Umpire Ron Kulpa didn’t see the tag and called Holliday safe.

The Cards ended up with a runner on first and one out instead of nobody on and two outs.

The next five batters reached base (one on a throwing error by Napoli), and the Cardinals scored four runs. You can say that the Rangers made plenty of mistakes after the blown call, but it’s extremely difficult to have outs taken away when you’re in the World Series.

As we’ve said many times before, baseball needs instant replay so they can review plays like this to ensure accuracy.

Pic via @Jose3030