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kid-watching-tvAs hinted in the Bullets this morning, MLB’s ownership groups were today presented with a massively expanded instant replay program, which was widely accepted by the group. Although the plan will not be formally adopted until November, Commissioner Bud Selig called today “historic,” per USA Today, suggesting that he sees the new replay system as a fait accompli.

Selig is right that, when the changes kick in, the game will be changed by all historic standards. Included in the new replay program (per USA Today – though I think some of the finer details are still being worked out, so this isn’t quite yet gospel):

  • Every play outside of balls and strikes will be subject to review.
  • Managers will be able to initiate a review by “challenging” a play. They will have three challenges per game – one for the first six innings, and then two for the rest of the game.
  • If a manager’s challenge is successful, he doesn’t lose that challenge.
  • Even if all challenges are exhausted, the umpiring crew can, on its own, initiate the review of a home run call.
  • A centralized crew in New York will conduct all reviews and make the final decision.

Reaction?

For me, I’m envisioning lengthened games, particularly those involving managers who make certain to use up all of their challenges every single game (maybe even using them to distract an opposing pitcher or give a little more time for a reliever to warm up). If the manager is correct on a couple, that could be five reviews in a single game from one team. And what’s to stop that manager from coming out to at least argue subsequent calls he doesn’t like?

I like the idea of getting calls right, but I really don’t like “challenge” systems. Just have a centralized hub, monitoring all games, and they buzz the local umpiring crew if they feel a certain call needs to be reviewed further. The game is temporarily paused, the centralized hub conducts the review, and informs the crew of the decision. In theory, it should happen only a handful of times per game, and shouldn’t take much time for each review. Once you inject a layer of partiality – the managers – you’re going to have gamesmanship. Haven’t we seen that already in the NFL? I find the Big Ten’s automatic review system to be far, far preferable.

As I argued to Sahadev on this week’s episode of the podcast, I fear that baseball games are already growing too long to attract/keep the casual fans the sport needs to thrive. This could exacerbate the problem.

  • Brad

    I hope to god if they expand instant replay that they don’t slow the game down. It’s already slow, and when they look at homers on instant replay they are terribly slow at making that call.

  • Brad

    What the MLB really need to enforce to make the game go faster is have the umps make sure the pitcher delivers the pitch faster to the plate. If the pitcher is taking to long then the at bat turns into an automatic walk.

    If a pitcher is working on a no hitter or something historic then the umps would allow the pitcher to take his time.

  • DarthHater

    The game shouldn’t be rushed. Make it like cricket and serve a meal in the middle of the game. ;-)

  • Bill

    Do you know why I’m a little disappointed about this replay news is that now less managers will get tossed from the game. It’s always exciting and energizing when you see managers get tossed out of the game arguing a blown call

  • Bill

    @JimBowdenESPNxm: Time will prove that new MLBInstantReplayFormat will actually speed the game up…not slow it down….eliminates time wasted on arguments

    • Bill

      I personally think seeing the managers argue is entertaining. I’ll miss that part of the game

      • MichiganGoat

        This isn’t going to end the arguing they will still stomp and dance before throwing the “flag.”

        • DarthHater

          Can always throw the flag right at the ump…

  • Bill

    @JimBowdenESPNxm: Tony LaRussa told us that after polling MLB Managers most did NOT want MGR’s to have challenges. Did it anyway because they felt best way

  • Bill

    Poll question? Of Baez, Bryant, Soler, Almora

    How many will become big leaguers?

    How many will become everyday big leaguers?

    How many will make an Allstar?

    How many will become perennial Allstars?

    I won’t even consider asking HOF because that’s just arrogant to ask.

    But honestly I want to gauge people expectations of this players. Please respond.

    • DarthHater

      4, 4, 4, 4, and, even though you didn’t ask, 4. :-D

      • MichiganGoat

        5

        • Oswego chris

          I say 2.5….

          One will bomb, one will be okay…two will be very good

          Baez and Bryant are my very goods

          Toss up on the other two, but hey…I want to be wrong!….all good

    • aaronb

      My guess is that all 4 at least get a cut of coffee in the Bigs. I’d guess that Bryant is the best bet to have a significant career. Simply due to the pedigree of being the College Player of the year.

      Almora, Baez and Soler all have serious question marks in their games. I’d say Almora has the highest bust probability, Due to lacking a plus tool and poor strike zone judgement.

      • X the Cubs Fan

        Soler doesn’t have any “significant question marks”. Bryant, however, has a couple, like will he ever hit for average, or be able to play 3B long term among others.

        • aaronb

          If Soler didn’t get the big contract, would he be thought of as such a big prospect? His numbers have largely been pedestrian. He’s also shown some maturity/make-up and injury issues.

          I certainly don’t think he’s a bust, or even a bad prospect. I just see his upside as something along the lines of Jose Guillen.

    • MichiganGoat

      Oh and Bill this is good question for the message board, hard to do in this forum.

    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

      3,2,2,1 – no Hall of Famers.

      I hope I am wrong, but I am more realistic.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    Tend to agree with Brett. This seems like a bad way to effect a needed change. 3 challenges is a LOT. Maybe a provision whereby an umpire can deny a challenge request if he feels the manager is using gamesmanship; if there is no legitimate concern of having the call wrong. A denied challenge would be a wasted challenge. Maybe the umps have to agree that it’s a wasted challenge. So this would be the process

    1. Manager challenges.
    2. Ump who made the call can accept the challenge or confer with other umps.
    3a. If calling ump approves, it goes to instant replay.
    3b. If calling ump confers, the umps can make a quick collective decision to approve or deny.
    4a. If consensus of umpires at conference is that it is a frivolous challenge, the challenge is lost
    4b. If consensus of umpires at conference is that there is some merit to the challenge, it goes to instant replay.

    While I prefer Brett’s idea, this might be a workable solution. It would drastically cut down on gamesmanship. There’s the off-chance that umps might deny a worthy challenge, but the number of right calls would still go way up over our current system.

  • Die hard

    Slowing the game down sells more beer🎌🎌🎌

  • Seth Majewski

    Baez HR !!! 2-3, Double, HR, BB, SB. Line up to .288(for TEN) and 30 HR

  • MNeuman

    So legitimately where does everyone think Baez will rank at the beginning of next year? Does he have a shot at top 5? I mean he is really making a statement in Tenneessee!

    • X the Cubs Fan

      No shot at the 5 because every ranker is going to make a bigger deal out of his K’s then they should. I mean striking out 25+% of the time isn’t good, but its not terrible considering he’s 20 and destroying AA.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      Between 10-15 unless he KILLS it in the AFL.
      Position players:
      Buxton, Taveras*, Lindor, Correa, Sano*, then Baez. (with a great finish, Baez could overtake those with an *).

      • X the Cubs Fan

        Baez is passed Correa in my book.

        • The Magicman

          Probably Lindor as well. Lindor is the safer bet, has a slick glove and doesn’t K alot, but Baez’s power is just unreal. Baez’s offense potential is very very high. Lindor has more of a elvis andrus ceiling.

          • Jp3

            I didn’t know it would be possible but the FO is going to have a hard time keeping him out of the Majors next year in April if he continues this through the end of the season and destroys it in ST… I just don’t see how they can say we’re trying to win every year and running Ransom/Valbuena combo out every day. When you’ve got a stud like Baez hitting the way he is I just don’t see how you can say with a straight face you’re better off with player X.

            • X the Cubs Fan

              I don’t think its about being better off playing journeymen utility players its about being better off letting the players develop and adjust completely and not rushing anything.

              • Kyle

                How much adjusting can a player do when he’s out-talenting the league he’s playing in by a wide margin.

                if Baez needs a challenge to develop, there may be only one professional league in the world that can give it to him.

                • X the Cubs Fan

                  They want to see him take more walks and lower the k%.

                  • Kyle

                    And letting him tee off on pitching he’s too good for may not be the best way to do that. If you want to teach him patience, put him at a level where it’s sink or swim on it.

                    And he is doing that, anyway. Just for arbitrary endpoints fun, since July 29th, he has 77 PAs with 14 Ks and 7 BBs, or an 18.2% K rate and a 9.1% BB rate.

        • Mr. B. Patient

          Guys, I answered to what I thought he’d end up. K/BB ratio is huge to all the talent ‘gurus’.
          Now ask me my opinion (biased as it is), I put Baez after Buxton, but just by a little. So I would put him in the top 5, but don’t expect him to end up there.

          • Kyle

            I think you are underselling what the prospect guys will see.

            Their opinions are sometimes slow to change during the season. Then, during the offseason when they go over all the different organizations and reports, it catches up.

            They are going to stop and look at Baez’s AA numbers, then talk to scouts about his improved defense and approach, and they are going to lose their ish over him.

            • Mr. B. Patient

              I agree that they should take a second look at him as a top TOP guy, but I still think they value (overvalue?) k/bb ratio more than power.

              It seems (please don’t draw and quarter me) that they put all these players stats into a WAR like formula, and if they did Baez would come up a bit short of the others.

              If they just looked at ceiling, they would have a hard time not putting him 1st or 2nd. He could be that good.

              Oh, my apologies to Xander Bogaerts, he belongs in the conversation.

    • Kyle

      I think he absolutely has a shot at top five. The only prospect I’m completely convinced is better is Buxton. After him, there’s a tier of about eight guys that Baez is in.

      • another JP

        He might not end up a consensus top five but there’ll be plenty of analysts that put him there. With the exception of Buxton and Taveras no minor leaguer has put up a better season than Baez. Scary part is he’s still getting better.

        • Hawkeye

          Taveres? He hasn’t been better than Baez.

      • another JP

        And another thing…. this Edwards kid is an animal. He might turn out to be the equivalent of Baez as far as our pitchers are concerned.

        • Jp3

          Edwards has been lights out over his 1st 2 seasons. I wonder where he and Pierce start next year?

          • willis

            AA. Have to…they are throwing too well in Daytona not to earn that promotion IMO.

            • X the Cubs Fan

              I think Pineyro and Corey Black

              • X the Cubs Fan

                … move with them as well

          • another JP

            I’d think both are ticketed for AA to start 2014. They’ll have extra playoff games to pitch this season, so they should be able to handle the Southern League by then.

            • JeffR

              I’m wondering how many more innings each will throw. Don’t want to tax those young arms too much.

  • Die hard

    Second guessing the umps days later is part of the fun of baseball– to take that away might as well eliminate umpiring and script each game with tape delay — like the soap opera it will become

  • JeffR

    Give Hendry credit for drafting Baez, but it’s hard to see Baez taking these steps working on his approach under the old regime.

    • another JP

      So true… the work that they Smokies manager has done with Javy is astounding. His BB rate is approaching 10%, and if he keeps the K rate to 20-22% (where it’s been the last ten games or so) his numbers will be amazing. PCL pitchers are going to hate facing this guy.

      • jay

        The Smokies hitting coach is 6 ft. 7 in. Desi Wilson who is a friend. He has been with the Cubs for several years.

        • another JP

          I heard they’ve been working on getting Javy to hit line drives and use all fields. Great work by Wilson and the staff on all the Smokies hitters.

          • Danny Ballgame

            Double and an HR tonight

            • willis

              And a walk. Another great game for him. He’s turning into a monster.

  • Kramden

    Dillon Maples getting it done again at Boise tonite.

    It seems like suddenly the Cubs have some viable pitching prospects in their system who can legitimately be considered to be part of a future Cub rotation.

    Just need that one stud pitcher (like every other team) now

    • Kyle

      We’re seeing a ton of our prospects put it together well as the season wears on. Maybe this is some of that “development” thing that I’ve heard so much about. If this can continue on a yearly basis, Epstein’s organization will have proven itself out (still think we didn’t need to tank 2012 to do it…)

      • hansman1982

        If Bryant becomes the 80 power beast of legend. F%$K 2012.

    • another JP

      Maples isn’t the only guy getting it done in Boise… team ERA of 3.04 and WHIP of 1.21 lead the league. Usually Boise is around 4.50 ERA & 1.45 WHIP, so the influx of college arms is really showing results thus far. Crazy pitching depth on that team.

  • Kramden

    Tanking in 2012 was the move to make. I can only imagine what could’ve been had Dempster not royally screwed the Cubs and their fans over and what other options Hoystein had other than deciding to trade for an injured pitcher.

    Furthermore, I think in a few years we’ll all be crowing what a brilliant move the whiz kids made vis a vis the international draft, going full tilt and devil may care about the monetary penalties or the limitations in next year’s draft.

    • Bwa

      We got Hendricks and Villanueva for dempster. Both have been really solid. Not a bad trade.

  • Kramden

    Bottom line is that I think Hoystein hijacked the International Draft, took it hostage and made it into their own playground.

    If it all works out, baseball will be talking about that strategy for years.

    • Kyle

      And if it doesn’t?

      The history of the international draft is very hit and miss for the top-rated guys. It’s only been five years since Michael Ynoa was the best IFA pitcher since Felix Hernandez.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        If it doesn’t people may still be talking about it for years, only a different group of people and in a different context.

  • Joepoe321

    Edwards with another solid outing… Has he given up a hit since joining the cubs!?

    • Danny Ballgame

      He has been stingy as hell

  • indy0314

    If the owners can agree so easily on this, why can’t they resolve the DH issue once and for all? Why isn’t anyone at least talking about it? Selig should just take a quick poll of the owners. He would probably find out quickly that the National League owners are sick of the disadvantage and just accept the change.

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