Thursday, October 22, 2009

RaysSpeak: Umpiring in the World Series

ESPN is reporting that for the World Series, they are going to break tradition and only use experienced umpires for the seven-game set.

Usually, there is at least one umpire working the World Series for the first time. There are a number of other rules in the bargaining agreement - including that umpires cannot work the World Series if they worked the LCS (cannot work consecutive playoff series.)

The purpose of the change? To ensure the least amount of blown calls in the World Series, given that there have been a number of mistakes in the first two rounds of the playoffs so far. Which makes sense - you want to have the most fair and correct game possible. But why not take it a step further and actually use the technology we already use for home-run calls? Why not use Instant Replay?

The main concern is time - people don't want to wait around while the umpires run off the field, into the booth, and then back out. We've had home-run calls that have taken upwards of 8 minutes to decide...these sorts of times are detrimental to the speed and flow of the game.

However, here's my idea - for the playoffs we have 2 additional umpires in left and right field, as backups for the usual 4. But even then we've had an issue this year with a ball that was incorrectly called "Foul" when it hit the line right in front of the umpire...I believe it was Chase Utley at the plate in the NLDS.

Why not have those 2 extra umpires in a booth upstairs watching the game with all necessary replays? That way these decisions can be made in real-time...they're already watching the replays. No running on and off the field. A signal to the umps upstairs, and a signal back with the correct call. I don't see this taking any more than 1 minute at a time to correctly identify a safe/out call, a catch/trap call, etc. Why not make the game as accurate as possible?

What do you think?

Link: Missed calls cause ump switch

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