Get Ready for Expanded Instant Replay and Other Bullets

I’m mighty tired this morning for reasons both professional and personal, which doesn’t bode well for the upcoming 30-hour Blogathon. More on that, later today. Until then, Bullets …

  • With Matt Garza now not pitching on Monday, the Cubs are expected to start Justin Germano in that slot. Germano, who has pitched in long relief so far, was obviously picked up by the Cubs in anticipation that one or both of Ryan Dempster or Matt Garza would be dealt, and the Cubs would need a starter. Randy Wells went down with elbow surgery, and Chris Volstad (last night notwithstanding) hasn’t looked like a guy you want to give a rotation spot. Why not take a flyer on Germano, a guy who was at least killing it as a starter in AAA for the Red Sox? I still really like the move, and I look forward to seeing if he might be able to show up as a reasonable 5th starter option going into 2013.
  • (Interesting aside on Garza not starting: although the stated reason for him not starting is the fluid remaining in his triceps, it appears that his wife hasn’t yet given birth, and is scheduled to be induced early next week – I can’t help but wonder if that factored in the decision to hold him out, also. If so, good for them, God bless, and I hope all goes well. And I hope the Cubs hint that to interested teams.)
  • Dale Sveum offered some nonspecific thoughts on the Ryan Dempster Saga: “For whatever reason, people just don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes and all the reasons why you accept and why you don’t. It’s one of those unfortunate things that you jump to conclusions, but he’s one of the most class guys you’ll ever be around and obviously very productive when he goes out there every five days, too.” I have no doubt that we don’t know exactly what’s going on behind the scenes.
  • We’ve been expecting this for some time now, but Bud Selig made is more or less official yesterday: instant replay in baseball will be expanded. Presently, only home run calls are included, but Selig intends to expand replay to include fair/foul calls, and trapped/caught calls. I keep going back and forth on instant replay in my head. I want the calls to be correct, but I look at that David DeJesus home run (not) the other day in Pittsburgh, and I think, “that took 10 minutes, and they didn’t even get it right AFTER watching the replay.” That certainly doesn’t make me crazy about adding additional layers of review. That said, fair/foul and trapped/caught don’t actually come up all that often. I guess I’m just extra sensitive about extending the lengths of games that are, in my opinion, already too long to hold the average fan’s interest. For now, though I’m open to being persuaded, I would not support expanding replay to include calls on the base paths (I’d be easier to convince on balls and strikes, but only if you went to full on robo-umpires behind the plate, because there would be no change in the speed of play).
  • Travis Wood offered a relatively simple explanation for his terrible day yesterday, which resulted in a record home run in each of the first five innings. In short, he missed his spots, and the Cardinals didn’t miss those mistakes. I’d much rather he was getting blasted on mistakes than on pitches he thought he threw well.
  • Sveum says he doesn’t want to know about trade talks until/unless there’s a finalized deal. That’s an interesting perspective, because surely the front office would like him to know about where talks stand – it could impact playing decisions.
  • Reed Johnson writes about how he deals with trade rumors. The short version is: ignore everything until Jed tells you you’ve been dealt.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

80 responses to “Get Ready for Expanded Instant Replay and Other Bullets”

  1. Barry

    Good morning all. Just having my coffee and looking forward to my daily fix of Dempster BS. Can’t wait…

    1. Jason

      Yes, it should be fun. I’m thinking a deal gets done today.

    2. Brad

      That is EXACTLY the same I am doing.

  2. hansman1982

    All right ill get the debate started I waffle on instant replay. On one hand I want them to get it right but they won’t always do that. Poor camera angles and general human error means it won’t always be right. Also what to do with base runners on a changed play?

    1. Bill In Plainfield

      I would agree with your argument about camera angles, but today the cameras have gotten so outstanding, that they can pick up a piece of paper the size of a quarter on the grill of a race car doing 195mph amongst a pack of 8-10 cars at Daytona. Cameras are better, they are able to fly cameras over a field from one side of a stadium to another like they do in the NFL, and with the invention of smaller cameras, and more sophisticated cameras it’s easier to get angles. Hell I bet they could put small cameras on the hats of the base pad umpires, that look at what he is seeing. Wouldn’t that be something if there was a play in the World Series where an umpire called someone out or safe at a base in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs during the World Series, and a review of the umpires hat camera would be of a set of Hooters in the seats above the 3rd base dug out.

  3. Diesel

    Well i figured this was coming. Most of the blown calls this year were intentional for the intention of expanding replay. Replay in baseball would be best operated with an umpire in a booth at each game and if he sees something then he buzzes down to the crew cheif and they review it sort of the way the last 2 minutes of a football game go. That way you don’t have managers abusing replay to get their relievers extra time to warm up or a lot of wasted time when a manager wants to review everything.

    1. Jason

      I agree with having an ump in the booth. They can’t have every review call consist of the umps huddling together, and then half-jogging down to the replay area, wherever that is. There needs to be one guy reviewing all close calls, and if he sees something, he just calls timeout while reviewing. If he (she) is reviewing it immediately after the play ends, there’s about a minute before the next pitch is thrown, and it’s possible to have a resolution by then, so there really wouldn’t be much of a time delay. These ballparks also need to add cameras along the outfield walls so that we have a good angle on those close homeruns. The DeJesus homerun was close, but we only had a vertical angle, and not a horizontal one.

    2. Bill In Plainfield

      If people are worried so much about delaying the game for pitchers to have more time to warm up, then they got more problems than replay wasting time. Maybe they should go back to the days where batters had to keep one foot in the batter’s box, and pitchers had to take less time between pitches. Today a pitcher can bounce a rosin bag, wipe sweat off his brow, take in 20 deep breaths, shake off the catcher’s signs, and batters can go all out Nomar with the batting gloves, step out of the box put the bat behind his back and stretch, take some practice cuts, spend 3 minutes looking at the 3rd base coach for signs, and check out nice racks sitting in the stands between pitches. Give a pitcher 20 seconds to start his delivery motion from the time the catcher catches the ball, so the catcher has to throw it back. Then tell the batter if your gloves are loose, your but better get use to them being loose, because that next pitch is coming.

  4. djriz

    Question: Would a player and/or manager get thrown out of a game for arguing balls and strikes with a ‘full on robo-umpire’?

    1. hansman1982

      Can we program the robo-pire to have an oversized ego and think the game is about them?

      1. djriz

        Like Joe West? I’m sure that can be arranged.

      2. DocPeterWimsey

        Bender umps!!!

  5. thejackal

    right now i dnt give a rats butt about a instant replay or an extra 20 min in a game i NEEEEED demp to get traded with other players as well llol

  6. Matthew Paulish

    Dempster needs to get real .

    1. Scotti

      Of all of the characters in this play, Dempster is the one who has been dealing with reality from the start–he would like to help the Cubs get a good return but he will make the decision on where, and when, he is willing to go.

      By ALL accounts, there was never a done deal because Dempster never signed off on it. But it was leaked as a done deal. By ALL accounts, Dempster has always included the gact that HE would make the final decision (as is his right) every time he mentioned a desire to help the team (he simply NEVER SAID, “Whatever Theo wants to do…” or, “Whatever is best for the Cubs…”).

      The media, fans, Braves and possibly the Cubs have all gotten ahead of reality on this but Dempster has not. The only reason that I say “possibly” the Cubs (and not certainly) is that it is possible that Theo (and it is Theo, not Jed, working the strings on this) has always know what the reality is here but that he has allowed perceptions to get ahead of reality in order to try to make the best deal.

      I have no problems with Dempster and I’m grateful that he’s busted his butt for the Cubs his entire career including this year (which makes him a trade commodity in the first place). I’m grateful that he’s willing to be traded even if to only one team. He doesn’t have to do that.

      1. hcs

        This is one of the more rational opinions I’ve seen since this whole debacle started, sound and not reactionary. In other words, cut it out.

        1. Scotti

          Sorry… ;-)

          1. hcs

            You’re making the rest of us reactionary jerks look bad.

            1. Scotti

              I’ll drop a few F-bombs next time…

              1. hcs

                Totally fair. Don’t forget the suicidal despair and idle threats towards his grandparents for spawning his parents. These things are necessary for coping in these difficult times. It’s just how adults cope with things.

                1. Scotti

                  I heard a recent report on the health of folks who post really negative stuff on the Internet. Turns out that they are literally killing themselves with a near never-ending toxic release of stress hormones that only perpetuates their spite and anger. Really is a sad situation but what can you do about it?

                  1. DocPeterWimsey

                    Sounds like it is self-correcting!

                    1. hcs


      2. JoeyCollins

        Good call… I still like dempster even after all of this. I’m not to happy with the situation and maybe a little disappointed in how he has handled the trade, but he is still one of my favorite cubs.

        1. Scotti

          My guess is that Dempster and Theo have been on the same page with this all along. Wren through a wrench into the works by letting this get out (by accident or on purpose).

      3. josh2

        agree 100% scotti

      4. Kevin

        I have been trying to understand what went wrong with the Dempster trade situation. I came up with one scenario that makes some sense. Remember, please read with an open mind and let’s not forget Dempster has been nothing but a class act until this trade situation got ugly and everybody, including myself, jumped to conclusions without knowing all the facts.

        1) Maybe the Cubs asked Dempster to include Atlanta as a possible destination to help their leverage with the Dodgers.
        2) Maybe Dempster agreed ” to say” he was open to be traded to the Braves with absolutely no intention of ever agreeing to be traded there.
        3) Maybe the Cubs FO pulled a fast one and agreed to trade Dempster to Atlanta without his consent.
        4) Maybe the Cubs FO put Dempster in a corner by making him look bad if he didnt agree to be traded to the Braves.

        I would hate to think that Dempster is covering up a mistake made by the FO.

        1. art

          we still don’t know all the facts. maybe demp mislead the FO.

          1. Kevin

            I’m sure that’s exactly what the FO wants you to believe.

      5. Bill In Plainfield

        The Cubs pulled a Mike McCaskey signing Dave McGuiness deal. Plus Dempster has earned his right to take the time to think about if a move is right for his family or not. Demp has been a model citizen for this team. He has done whatever the Cubs have asked of him as a pitcher whether it’s a reliever or a starter. Dempster has done more for this team than Carlos Marmol ever has.

  7. Oswego chris

    What I didn’t realize until the DeJesus play…was that the guy who made the call on the field…Joe West…was the one to watch the replay and uphold the decision….

    Other than their personalized strike zones, I think MLB umps are very good, but the older guys have egos…

    For those of you not familiar with hockey, they get replay right…ALL of the games are monitored from one command center in Toronto, and they make all of the calls, usually pretty quickly..

    MLB umps probably would not like that…

    1. djriz

      you’re right chris. hockey has the best system. i’m also liking the review all touchdowns in football rule.

      1. Turn Two

        I think that is all great for football, but baseball is different. Football is the modern sport for many reasons. Baseball has its strengths in very different principles. Instant replay has very little place in a game. The only area where I think a lot of help is needed is in the strike zone calls (and you can’t fix that without electronic strike zone checks (which also can’t tell where the ball was when it crosses the plate)), the rest of the game the umpires are accurate enough to keep the game the way it is.

    2. ColoCubFan

      I wasn’t at all surprised that Joe West wouldn’t turn over his decision, right or wrong. His ego is HUGE, and I’ve seen him screw with the Cubs on other calls over the years. I’ll be glad to see his name on the retired list.

  8. Fearbobafett

    I have to say this dempster situation is giving me déjà vu back to the Roberts saga when all I want to do is keep reading until something is finalized.

  9. Kyle

    The problem I have Is dempster said he wanted to go to LA and Atlanta was his second choice. The cubs tried LA but got a better deal from his second choice. Dempster said he would try and help the cubs. However, he only ever wanted to go to one place. He pulled a fast one on the cubs and because of that they have lost all leverage. Don’t say one thing and do another. Not classy

    1. Scotti

      Kyle, you are basing all of this on media speculation. Even Dempster’s own, very limited, comments could have been him trying to give the Cubs more leverage. In FACT, we know that they have been! Has he EVER openly stated that he prefers LA? No. Why? Nothing stops him other than getting the Cubs a better deal.

      1. Scotti

        By the way and for what it’s worth, in Boston Theo had two contract issues of his own. In one he left with a year on his contract (and came here) and in the other he flat out went on stike in the heat of a busy off-season (the monkey suit year). This Dempster situation is NOTHING like either of those situations–Dempster is HELPING the Cubs.

      2. Kyle

        Not the same Kyle as previously, but “media speculation” and “media reports” are not the same thing. We have more than speculation.

        1. Jack Weiland

          My problem with your stance, Scotti, is you have to bend over backwards to ignore almost everything that’s been reported on this to view Dempster in the best possible light. It’s not like these reports/speculation (I do agree with Kyle that there’s a difference) are coming from one place. They’re coming from everywhere, and mostly telling a similar story: the Cubs told Dempster they were working on a trade with LA and Atlanta, he was aware of that, and the Cubs were led to believe he’d accept a deal to either place.

          He changed his mind, decided he preferred LA, and that’s his right … but that doesn’t absolve him of fault. That doesn’t make him a horrible person, but it more than justifies Cubs FO and fans’ annoyance with him right now.

        2. Jack Weiland

          My thoughts on Dempster: at best, it was a misunderstanding between the Cubs and Dempster and the Braves. All involved share blame for that.

          1. quintz

            I think that’s a fair assessment Jack. Fans are going to react wildly different to this. Some people think he’s a horrible person, will never forgive him and others are not bothered at all. There is no “correct” reaction. I’m personally not really that emotional about it because this didn’t surprise me (it’s what rich guys with power do…..use it), but I can understand why others are pissed. He came out and said one thing and then changed his mind, that can be annoying.

          2. Scotti

            It’s pretty tough to misunderstand, “I’ll need some time to process through any trade so give me some time.” My guess is that this is a typical deal where Theo attempted to use the Braves as leverage but the Braves, having put out a good offer, didn’t want to help the Cubs to get LA to out-bid them. That, to me, seems more likely (again, because A) it’s hard to see how someone could get confused on something so simple and B) getting teams to bid eachother up is often a part of the GM game).

        3. Scotti

          The media “reports” on this use “sources” that all come from the Cubs in origin. *The Braves tell the ATL media what the Cubs tell the Braves–Dempster is interested in the Braves. They never talked TO Dempster (by MLB rule, they can’t even talk ABOUT him). *Same with LA. *What the Cubs tell the media obviously comes from the Cubs.

          And Jack, I have no interest in seeing Dempster in the best light. I’m only interested in understanding the facts as we know them and not rumors that change in the winds. And the facts are as I have stated them. Dempster has simply ALWAYS stated that he controls his 10-5 rights and he has never said (to the press) anything about only going to LA (which would hurt the Cub’s leverage). And ALL sources, including Dempster, agree–Dempster never agreed to the ATL trade. We know this is true because Dempster would have been a Brave if he had.

          Again, this isn’t about veiwing Dempster favorably. It’s about veiwing this even-handedly and not allowing emotions to cloud judgement. They guy has 10-5 rights. He’s never waived them. He’s always said he’d use them to help himself and his family. He’s also said he has an interest in helping the club maximize return within the context of using his 10-5 rights.

          The Braves, on the other hand, have zero interest in seeing LA up their deal so, they call the deal off–sort of. Now LA is either thinking they have no competition or Theo/Dempster have been using the Braves all along and LA has never had any competition from the begining.

          1. mudge

            Scotti, thanks for presenting and defending a sane point of view. Tolstoy said that the closer we are to a situation, the harder it is to judge. All the hatin’ on here makes me feel dirty. I make a point of not saying things about people on the net that I wouldn’t say to that person’s face.

            1. Scotti

              Mudge, if everyone felt as you do we would all be taking more showers to clean off the filth. If everyone acted the way you do we’d either all have broken noses (from saying crap to people) or the comment sections on all Internet destinations would be troll free. I would love to live in that world!

              1. DarthHater

                I’d like to live in a world free of self-righteous windbags with an apparently endless capacity for listening to themselves.

                1. mudge

                  We should always be listening to ouselves, “hater”. -sfw

                2. Scotti

                  Funny, it doesn’t come accross that way. It SEEMS like you just like to fire off hateful posts attacking other posters…

                  1. quintz

                    Not only do I listen to myself, I talk to myself…..constantly…..I’ve said too much….shut up…, you shut up….

                    1. Scotti

                      I’d listen to myself but I’m hard of hearing. Mostly I just read myself…

                    2. Scotti

                      And I edit myself too. Just not here… ;-)

                    3. calicubsfan007

                      Quintz: That hilarious! Haha!

                  2. DarthHater

                    Actually, I mostly post good-natured jokes. I only attack nauseating bloviators.

                    1. mudge

                      Well bless your little heart.

    2. Bill In Plainfield

      HORSECRAP! That is why the players put 10-5 rights in the CBA. You want to go back to the days when baseball players were treated like plantation workers? When they were truly owned and were at the whim of their owners.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        Sadly, a lot of people probably do want baseball to go back to the mythical “good old days” where the owners did treat them, in the words of one player, worse than their race horses…..

  10. David

    I don’t think the fair/foul replay is going to be all that great: let’s say someone hits a ball that lands on the line but the ump calls it foul, immediately stopping the play. If it’s determined fair via instant replay, how will they figure out who should end up on which base, who would’ve scored, etc? Too much power in the umpires’ hands for me, especially after some of the calls we’ve seen in the past few years.

    1. Falselife

      I imagine they will treat it like the NFL treats fumbles.

      They will hopefully call anything that is at all questionable fair, and then take a look. It won’t be perfect, as the NFL still messes some up, but I imagine that will be the approach.

    2. Bill In Plainfield

      That’s very easy to answer. Ball hits the line, the ump says foul and the booth says it is fair; dead ball runner gets 1st all other players advance one base. Then play from there. In the NFL when they overturn a fumble call, the ball is spotted at the spot of the fumble, not where the recovering player ended up when the whistle blew the play dead.

  11. cubmig

    On the Dempster sag: We need to follow Reed’s way of dealing with rumors. “…ignore everything until Jed tells you you’ve been dealt.” [interpreted by Brett] We’ll know when we’ll know.

  12. Ben

    I think our only hope with Garza now is the Rangers. Hopefully the Greinke deal makes them a little irrational, and they are willing to deal with the Cubs. At this point, something along the lines of Olt, Gentry, and pieces for Garza, Camp, Johnson, and whatever else they want would work for me. If we keep Garza into the offseason, his value will plummet. If the Marlins can get what they did for Sanchez, then the Cubs should be able to get a decent package for Garza, even with the injury risk.

    1. Whiteflag

      You on board with Olt.

      1. Njriv

        Olt, Buckel and Grimm I think would be an acceptable return, especially with the Angels signing Grienke and the fact the Rangers are probably in the highest win now state that you can get since they’ve been to the WS twice in back to back years with no victory.

        1. Ben

          I’d be happy with that too. Just not sure how far we can push with Garza being “injured.” As long as we got a high impact guy (like Olt), I’d take it.

  13. Whiteflag

    * You had me on board with Olt. I miss the edit button

  14. Spriggs

    Instant replay just adds another layer of opportunity to fix games. Look at the NFL. Even announcers along with their expert analysts have no idea how a review will turn out. Sure they get some obvious ones right, but half of their decisions are as controversial and as unclear as the ref’s call.

    The DeJesus call is a great example. They got the call wrong and it took way longer than the 1 minute argument that Svuem would have staged without it. A wasted nine minutes and they still got it wrong. Ultimately still comes down to some human with his own biases or influences.

  15. someday...2015?

    Hey Bud, how about replay for 1st base calls? Those seem to go wrong more then anything… Other then balls and strikes that is.

    1. calicubsfan007

      What about the foul ball catches someday…2015? Did you see the Yanks game where the outfielder jumps over the fence to catch the ball, misses it, a fan gets the ball and holds it up right next to the umps face, yet the ump still calls the batter out?

      1. Spriggs

        So what? Players make errors too. So, let’s just put a bunch of robot players out there while were at it. No errors possible. Everyone can feel safe and secure that you won’t get cheated or have to watch some shortstop boot a ground ball.

  16. calicubsfan007

    90 percent of umpires in this league are good guys who are really trying to make the right call, they are human, they will make mistakes. Others, a la Mr. West (never been a big fan of him), make calls (whether right or wrong) and refuse to ever admit their mistake whole heartedly because that would damage their “fragile” egos. Sorry, one of my pet peeves is when officials take over the game and influence the outcome of the game unecessarily.

    1. calicubsfan007

      Edit: “When they make a mistake” insert before “refuse to ever admit”. Sorry about that.

  17. OCCubFan

    Mike Scosia of the Angels is the absolute best at getting calls changed. He gets the umpires to ask for help from the other umpires. It is amazing how often the umps agree to confer and, frequently, change the call. This is so much better than the typical case where the manager shouts and argues and pleads, but doesn’t get one call in a hundred changed.

    1. calicubsfan007

      Scosia probably doesn’t insult the umpires as much, compared to Cox or Pinella (still loved them though, they were entertaining as hell). Everyone knew Pinella was giving up on us when he didn’t really argue with the umps anymore in the end of his Chicago gig.

  18. Bill In Plainfield

    If there ever was a good fight that falls on the expansion of instant replay it absolutely would be today, when Starlin Castro clearly beat out a throw to first with bases loaded. The Cubs lost out on a run with Rizzo on deck and Sveum got ejected for fighting for Castro and questioning the call. The ball was about 1-2 feet away from Berkman’s glove when Castro’s foot hit the bag.

    1. Spriggs

      And what makes you so sure it would have been overturned? They didn’t overturn the obvious DeJesus home run. In football replays – how many times have you heard the announcers/analysts be wrong saying stuff like “there is no way this call will stand”, etc… only to be wrong.