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Teach
10-13-2017, 08:52 AM
This Has Got To Stop!

The technology exists. There’s no excuse. The heck with tradition. It’ll speed up the game. As harsh as this may sound, let’s get rid of umpires, at least down on the field. Let’s bring in a casino-like: “Eye in the Sky”.

What set me off -- I’m not a Johnny-Come-Lately (I’ve been on this case for years) -- is how the outcome of last night’s game in Washington was affected by human beings, e.g., umpires. Yes, umpires can miss calls; they’re human. Calls that affect the outcome of the game. Calls that can determine who will get into the World Series.

Please understand: I have no rooting interest. I’m neither a Cubs nor Nationals fan. I’m just a baseball fan. Actually a Red Sox fan who saw his first game with my late father in 1949. Further, I have no vested interest. I have no pecuniary interest. But, as a baseball fan, I have a burning interest in fairness. Rectitude.

If you may have missed it, in the 5th inning of last night’s game between the aforementioned teams, there was a play where Javy Baez was at the plate. Baez swung and missed at a third strike. The Max Scherzer pitch got by Nationals catcher, Matt Wieters. Baez took off for first base – and he was safe. Yet, the replay showed that Baez’s bat, on the follow-through, unintentionally struck Wieters in the mask. The MLB rule-book states that the batter it out and further play is “dead”. No runner(s) can advance as Addison Russell did with the lead run.

The point here is that that play cannot be challenged. But the complexion of this critical deciding game in the NLDS had been inalterably changed. Momentum has shifted (interestingly, later, a play that can be challenged affecting Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs was challenged and the call was overturned.).

What’s this all about? I believe that where there’s a wrong – or a even a potential wrong, as in a baseball calls -- there should be a remedy (sound like Marbury v. Madison). Years ago, the technology did not exist. Yet today, in our wireless, electronic life, the technology exists in spades. Why not have three “umpires,” no, not on the field, but sitting in an isolation-like booth in the upper reaches of the baseball stadium surrounded by all kinds of state-of-the-art technology.

For example: Balls and strike could be called automatically by an extant balls-and-strikes quest-tec, K-zone devise that we frequently see on most baseball telecasts (sometimes it’s downright embarrassing how badly home-plate umps miss calls; thus potentially affecting the game’s outcome). The call could made instantaneously. It could immediately be posted on scoreboards all over the stadium: Green = ball; Red = strike.

Further, the technology exists to wire, wirelessly: bases, gloves, balls, bats, home run demarcations, baselines, etc. The list goes on and on. An array of cameras, a.k.a, “eyes in the sky” can automatically focus on the play and make instantaneous calls, thus speeding up the game.

Moreover, taking umpires out of the equation all but eliminates the human element. For example, during a game, a player is upset at a called third-strike. He makes a grimacing face at the ump as he returns to the dugout. Consciously, or even subconsciously, the umpire will likely remember that incident. Is it possible that the next time this batter gets up, a close ball-strike call goes against the batter (you’d hope personal feelings wouldn’t affect the ball-strike outcome? You’d hope that wouldn’t happen, buy it can).

Furthermore, how often is there a time when a pitcher just can’t throw a strike; well, he finally throws one that, as they say, is “on the black”. Yet the call goes against him because of his previous propensity for wildness. On occasion, I’ve even heard baseball announcers talk about that subject.

Finally, when it comes to baseball, let’s get out of “the horse-and-buggy” era. The technology exists. The game could be markedly speeded up. The fans are demanding it. There’s no excuse!

Let’s face it, in today’s era with our advanced technological developments, there’s really no need for umpires down on the field. Yes, umpires are a tradition, one that goes back hundreds of years, but with our modern advances we can turn the page to a faster, more accurate, more enjoyable baseball experience.

Nutz and Boltz
10-13-2017, 09:20 AM
Why don't we do away with the players on the field also? Have the players play the game on X-Box or Play Station.:D

Marshall Bennett
10-13-2017, 01:21 PM
Everything should be able to be challenged in the post season. Everything before play resumes and involving an umpires ruling. Here, the umpire should have ruled and didn't. Seems plain & simple to me.

Valuist
10-13-2017, 01:31 PM
Want to speed up the game? A lot has to do with sabermetrics. The obsession with pitch velocity has turned the game into an endless array of strikeouts, walks, foul balls and the occasional home run. The game is turning into the "three outcomes" that so many sabermetricians talk about. That's not a good thing. Hitters like Joey Gallo are praised, despite striking out 1 out of every 3 times (or even more) because he will hit a home run once every 15 times or so that he comes up.

thaskalos
10-13-2017, 02:22 PM
IMO...what's even stupider than having a plate-umpire with a "fluctuating" strike-zone, is having a replay system that "doesn't apply" in all the vital close calls of the game. And this happens in football too. The replay is used to decide the spot of the ball, which involves mere inches of ground...but it "doesn't apply" in pass-interference calls...which can involve the length of the field.

The whole point of using the available technology is to avoid having the games decided by umpire/referee error. And we are still far from reaching that point.

cj
10-13-2017, 03:24 PM
I'll add another thing about replay...this only overruling the call if the evidence is irrefutable is ridiculous. If you review a play and it is 90/10 to overturn, you don't overturn? That makes no sense.

Valuist
10-13-2017, 03:28 PM
IMO...what's even stupider than having a plate-umpire with a "fluctuating" strike-zone, is having a replay system that "doesn't apply" in all the vital close calls of the game. And this happens in football too. The replay is used to decide the spot of the ball, which involves mere inches of ground...but it "doesn't apply" in pass-interference calls...which can involve the length of the field.

The whole point of using the available technology is to avoid having the games decided by umpire/referee error. And we are still far from reaching that point.

The NFL needs to re-visit pass interference penalties. I'd say limit to 20 yards. To have 50 yard penalties is ridiculous. There's no guarantee many of the passes would get caught. All the rule changes have been done to benefit the offense; let's level the playing field a bit.

Robert Fischer
10-13-2017, 05:08 PM
Let’s face it, in today’s era with our advanced technological developments, there’s really no need for umpires down on the field. Yes, umpires are a tradition, one that goes back hundreds of years, but with our modern advances we can turn the page to a faster, more accurate, more enjoyable baseball experience.


I'm split on the decision.

Some of the conflicting points:


The game really could be more accurate, and probably faster with technology doing the umpiring. When we can clearly see errors with basic replay technology, it definitely calls into question the game technology.
Umpires are more than just the calls. They really are a 'human' element. They aren't players, but they are a part of the game. They have individual characteristics, biases, strengths/weaknesses, and they see the game from an on-field live-action position.
To the viewing audience, umpires are 'symbols' of official judgement in action. Replacing those symbols with a digital display requires some thought.

DSB
10-14-2017, 11:23 AM
I've always felt that replay should be used for only two things: to determine whether or not a ball was a home run, and to determine whether a ball was fair or foul.

Everything else should be left to the judgement of the umpires.

That having been said, I believe umpiring has been getting progressively worse through the decades. I played a lot of amateur ball and I truly believe many of our umpires were at least as good as the guys in the bigs.

Maybe all plays should be reviewed - not to determine accuracy during a game - but to determine which umpires are blowing calls. Any consistently poor umpires should be sent to the minors - just like a player.

It seems that many of today's umpires are sons of former umpires.

Maybe today's major league umps are chosen for reasons other than their accuracy. If that's the case, they should be weeded out - unions be damned.

kingfin66
10-14-2017, 07:41 PM
Let’s face it, in today’s era with our advanced technological developments, there’s really no need for umpires down on the field. Yes, umpires are a tradition, one that goes back hundreds of years, but with our modern advances we can turn the page to a faster, more accurate, more enjoyable baseball experience.

For a guy who has been watching baseball games since 1949, you sure are missing a lot that goes on. To you and all who believe that umpires are on the field simply to make the calls, you need to let your mind think a lot deeper into what actually happens on a baseball field. The calls are important, and getting them right is even more important, especially in the playoffs. Instant reply has continued to evolve and expand, and I think that everybody would agree that it has been a good thing for baseball.

Umpires are more than a tradition. They are more than arbiters. Umpires are on the field to control the game and protect the integrity and best interests of the game. Think of all of the bench clearing situations you have seen. Now multiply that by 10. That is how many incidents umpires are able to prevent. If you eliminate umpires, who will keep the players from killing each other? Seriously, they will literally destroy the game.

So Teach, please teach me.

kingfin66
10-14-2017, 07:56 PM
I've always felt that replay should be used for only two things: to determine whether or not a ball was a home run, and to determine whether a ball was fair or foul.

Everything else should be left to the judgement of the umpires.

That having been said, I believe umpiring has been getting progressively worse through the decades. I played a lot of amateur ball and I truly believe many of our umpires were at least as good as the guys in the bigs.

Maybe all plays should be reviewed - not to determine accuracy during a game - but to determine which umpires are blowing calls. Any consistently poor umpires should be sent to the minors - just like a player.

It seems that many of today's umpires are sons of former umpires.

Maybe today's major league umps are chosen for reasons other than their accuracy. If that's the case, they should be weeded out - unions be damned.

I believe that umpire has been getting progressively better throughout the years. The umpires who have been coming up to the Majors during the past 25 years are so good that it is scary. Not only are they talented, but they are held much more accountable, especially early in their careers as there is a 5-year probationary period in place where umpires can be let go in the same manner that they are in the minors (without fanfare and via certified mail).

You must have a very liberal definition of "man." There are currently two umpires on the major league roster who are the sons of former MLB umpires. They are Brian Gorman and Hunter Wendlestedt. A third, Brian Runge was released a few years back for cause. Most people who know about such things would consider Gorman to be one of the best who has ever worked in the majors. He is a long-time crew chief and routinely works the playoffs, which are determined by merit.

Reaching the major leagues as an umpire is very, very difficult to do. There is a lot of information available on the Internet regarding how one becomes an umpire and ascends to the Majors. I can tell you than many try and few succeed. Many good umpires are weeded out, as you say, simply because there are not enough openings and room has to be made for new talent coming up behind them.

I know that umpire bashing is fun to do, but why not take the time and at least get your facts correct.

The reality is that most people do not know enough about officiating in any sport to know a good one from a bad one. Technology does clearly (mostly) show when calls are missed. Here is a news flash for you: All officials, no matter how good they may be, will kick the shit out of a call - even an obvious one - from time to time. My best example of this is former umpire Jim Joyce. He is the best umpire I have ever seen (although Jeff Nelson is close). Everybody remembers the awful situation that occurred when he totally blew an easy call at first base to spoil Armando Galarraga's perfect game. Nobody felt worse about that than Joyce.

kingfin66
10-14-2017, 07:58 PM
Want to speed up the game? A lot has to do with sabermetrics. The obsession with pitch velocity has turned the game into an endless array of strikeouts, walks, foul balls and the occasional home run. The game is turning into the "three outcomes" that so many sabermetricians talk about. That's not a good thing. Hitters like Joey Gallo are praised, despite striking out 1 out of every 3 times (or even more) because he will hit a home run once every 15 times or so that he comes up.

I tell people how unwatchable MLB has become and they look at me like I have a third eye on my forehead. Much of the issue is exactly what you described above. Put that with teams carrying 7-8 relief pitchers and the resulting pitching changes.

thaskalos
10-14-2017, 08:44 PM
I tell people how unwatchable MLB has become and they look at me like I have a third eye on my forehead. Much of the issue is exactly what you described above. Put that with teams carrying 7-8 relief pitchers and the resulting pitching changes.

Now that the baseball and the football games go head-to-head...I am surprised to discover that I'd MUCH rather watch playoff baseball than the NFL. Between the commercials and the constant flags...the NFL games are as "unwatchable" as it gets...IMO.

ElKabong
10-15-2017, 12:13 AM
College football is on the verge of becoming unwatchable b/c of every third play being reviewed. I love watching cfb but have to switch channels every so often to avoid the delays

IMO MLB has it right. Review select plays. Something does need to be done to speed up pitchers that work too slowly. No doubt about that

DSB
10-15-2017, 12:19 AM
I believe that umpire has been getting progressively better throughout the years. The umpires who have been coming up to the Majors during the past 25 years are so good that it is scary. Not only are they talented, but they are held much more accountable, especially early in their careers as there is a 5-year probationary period in place where umpires can be let go in the same manner that they are in the minors (without fanfare and via certified mail).

You must have a very liberal definition of "man." There are currently two umpires on the major league roster who are the sons of former MLB umpires. They are Brian Gorman and Hunter Wendlestedt. A third, Brian Runge was released a few years back for cause. Most people who know about such things would consider Gorman to be one of the best who has ever worked in the majors. He is a long-time crew chief and routinely works the playoffs, which are determined by merit.

Reaching the major leagues as an umpire is very, very difficult to do. There is a lot of information available on the Internet regarding how one becomes an umpire and ascends to the Majors. I can tell you than many try and few succeed. Many good umpires are weeded out, as you say, simply because there are not enough openings and room has to be made for new talent coming up behind them.

I know that umpire bashing is fun to do, but why not take the time and at least get your facts correct.

The reality is that most people do not know enough about officiating in any sport to know a good one from a bad one. Technology does clearly (mostly) show when calls are missed. Here is a news flash for you: All officials, no matter how good they may be, will kick the shit out of a call - even an obvious one - from time to time. My best example of this is former umpire Jim Joyce. He is the best umpire I have ever seen (although Jeff Nelson is close). Everybody remembers the awful situation that occurred when he totally blew an easy call at first base to spoil Armando Galarraga's perfect game. Nobody felt worse about that than Joyce.

There have been at least six or seven sons of MLB umpires to work the big leagues in recent years.

As far as umpiring being "scary good" compared to 25 years ago, that is your opinion, and it is not universally shared. The Mets' color announcer, Keith Hernandez, is a former major leaguer who was in the major leagues 40 years ago. Anyone familiar with his opinion of today's umpiring would tell you he would agree with me, not you. Maybe, just maybe, a guy who has been observing the craft more or less constantly for four decades would know what he's talking about. Maybe. Or maybe you're right and today's umpiring is far superior to what it was a few decades ago. Maybe. Let's just say it's a matter of opinion, not a matter of fact.

It also seems that the probationary period for new umps has been all over the map since the turn of the century. It was five years, then three, then four. Whatever, I could not find any stats as to how many umpires are sent the certified mail you talked about. Do you know?

Reaching the majors as an umpire, player, coach, manager, announcer, publicist, etc, etc, etc, is very hard to do. No shit.

Everybody knows that human beings will fail on occasion. Good umpires will blow calls, and good hitters will take a called strike three with the bases juiced. Nobody said otherwise, so kindly keep your "new flashes" to yourself. I sure as hell don't need to be lectured by you concerning such matters... or anything else.

kingfin66
10-15-2017, 02:26 AM
Now that the baseball and the football games go head-to-head...I am surprised to discover that I'd MUCH rather watch playoff baseball than the NFL. Between the commercials and the constant flags...the NFL games are as "unwatchable" as it gets...IMO.

For sure, the NFL can be very unwatchable. Not only that, but the matchups we often see on the nationally televised games are very poor.

kingfin66
10-15-2017, 02:34 AM
There have been at least six or seven sons of MLB umpires to work the big leagues in recent years.

As far as umpiring being "scary good" compared to 25 years ago, that is your opinion, and it is not universally shared. The Mets' color announcer, Keith Hernandez, is a former major leaguer who was in the major leagues 40 years ago. Anyone familiar with his opinion of today's umpiring would tell you he would agree with me, not you. Maybe, just maybe, a guy who has been observing the craft more or less constantly for four decades would know what he's talking about. Maybe. Or maybe you're right and today's umpiring is far superior to what it was a few decades ago. Maybe. Let's just say it's a matter of opinion, not a matter of fact.

It also seems that the probationary period for new umps has been all over the map since the turn of the century. It was five years, then three, then four. Whatever, I could not find any stats as to how many umpires are sent the certified mail you talked about. Do you know?

Reaching the majors as an umpire, player, coach, manager, announcer, publicist, etc, etc, etc, is very hard to do. No shit.

Everybody knows that human beings will fail on occasion. Good umpires will blow calls, and good hitters will take a called strike three with the bases juiced. Nobody said otherwise, so kindly keep your "new flashes" to yourself. I sure as hell don't need to be lectured by you concerning such matters... or anything else.

Tell you tough guy, you spare me your lecture and I will spare you mine. You wrote something that is wrong and got called on it. You said there are "many" sons of former major league umpires currently in the majors. I gave you the correct answer. There have not been "at least 6-7 sons of former umpires." The only other one I am aware of is Jerry Crawford who is the son of Satch Davidson. Who else? By all means regale me with your knowledge, or better yet, ask Keith Hernandez.

DSB
10-15-2017, 10:44 AM
Tell you tough guy, you spare me your lecture and I will spare you mine. You wrote something that is wrong and got called on it. You said there are "many" sons of former major league umpires currently in the majors. I gave you the correct answer. There have not been "at least 6-7 sons of former umpires." The only other one I am aware of is Jerry Crawford who is the son of Satch Davidson. Who else? By all means regale me with your knowledge, or better yet, ask Keith Hernandez.

Father and son

Henry Crawford (1956-1975)
Gerald Crawford (1976-present)

Lou DiMuro (1963-1982)
Mike DiMuro (1999-present)

Thomas Gorman (1951-1976)
Brian Gorman (1993-present)

Edward Runge (1954-1970)
Paul Runge (1973-1997)

Paul Runge (1973-1997
Brian Runge (1999-present)

Harry H. Wendelstedt Sr. (1966-1998)
H. Hunter Wendelstedt Jr. (1999-present)

This list is apparently somewhat out of date but definitely within what most would consider recent years. Oh, and here's another little fact that may surprise you - Jerry Crawford's dad was Shag Crawford, not Satch Davidson.

Consider yourself regaled.

In your haste to prove how smart you are and how much you know about umpires, you ignored the fact that I said "seems," which a quick check reveals means: "to give the impression of existing; appear to be"

I never said, as an absolute fact, that many of today's umpires are sons of former big league umpires. So you called me out on something I didn't say.

I am saying that the list at the top of this post is factual. So I'm calling you out on saying "There have not been "at least 6-7 sons of former umpires." Is the list wrong?

Oh, and I'll take Keith Hernandez's opinion on the subject over yours any day.

You made a point of bringing up the probationary period for new MLB umpires in a previous post. I will ask again, do you have any verifiable stats that reveal how many umpires have been dismissed as a result of failure during the period? You said that the period is 5 years. Is that correct?

Regale us with your knowledge.

Tough guy.

kingfin66
10-15-2017, 12:26 PM
You are indeed a courageous keyboard warrior.

Once again, your original post indicated current times, not all time. It appears that you are trying to make a point about nepotism in baseball. Oh, and be very insulting in the meantime. Had nepotism been your original premise, rather than quality of umpiring, you would be in good shape. As much as you are trying to be insulting, I actually appreciate seeing your list. I had forgotten that there were actually three generations of Runge's in MLB. It is too bad what happened to the youngest.

That is indeed on my regarding Shag. Not sure why I typed Satch...:eek:

I don't have the stats regarding how many, if any, umpires are released during their MLB probationary period. If forced to guess, and that is what it would be, I would say that it is probably zero. Umpires normally get released well before making it to the Majors, or during the time that they are classified as vacation umpires. Vacation umpires are those who are called up periodically to fill in for vacation or injuries, but do not yet have an MLB contract.

I do have a lot of knowledge about umpires. Whether you choose to believe that or not is your choice. I am going to try to drop names to try to prove my knowledge. I really don't know what your issue is with me. We can keep going and escalating if you wish, or you/we can opt to keep it civil.

Robert Fischer
10-15-2017, 02:10 PM
what about that call last night?

'bang-bang' play at home plate, and they went back and gave the Dodgers a run after a replay challenge citing the rule for blocking the plate...

DSB
10-15-2017, 02:43 PM
Apparently reading comprehension isn't your strong suit.

My original post began by me stating my opinion that video replays should be used for two things: home runs and foul balls.

I then said that I believe all other calls should be left to the umpire's discretion.

Does that sound like "umpire bashing" to you? Some posters in this thread would do away with umpires altogether. I actually came down on the side of umpires on that question. That was the main thrust of my post.

Then, I opined that my belief is that umpiring in the major leagues has slipped over the decades. You have your reasons for believing otherwise. No big deal. You're entitled to your opinion, too.

As far as being a "keyboard warrior," I did have to look up the facts to check them against my memory. There were no father / son umpires in the major leagues for the first nearly 100 years of its existence. There have been six in recent years. Why now? Could it be because umpiring at the major league level has become a lucrative career? To avoid you twisting my words, let's just say that "several" MLB umpires have been there for more than 20 years with "several" closing in on that milestone. When Joe West entered the league, I was a young buck with plenty of hair and a young, beautiful girlfriend. Point is, turnover is rare. Doesn't sound like a job people are looking to get out of.

So I raise(d) the question: Can the road to a MLB umpire job be made a little easier for those with connections? After all, a lot of subjective decisions seem to go into choosing who will be accepted, certified, placed, and promoted.

Then again, maybe there's an "umpire gene" that didn't surface in the first century of baseball's existence.

Nepotism was not the main subject of my first post on this subject. For some reason you chose to make it that, and attack me over it. So here we are.

Are you suggesting that a prospective umpire's connections can't improve his chances of landing a lucrative big league position?

Maybe they can, maybe they can't.

Just askin' the question...

kingfin66
10-15-2017, 06:17 PM
I don't think that I attacked you at all and I apologize if you took it that way. It was not my intention. Believe it or not, I was actually trying to be helpful. I was going to come at you hard in this reply, but have decided against it as it will not make this thread, section, or site a better place. I will instead move on. Before I do, I will tell you this; there is a clear advantage held by the relatives (not just sons) of Major League umpires. There are many AAA crew chiefs and other veterans who leave the game after many years' service very bitter men. The only son of an MLB umpire who I am aware of not having made it is the late Lou DiMuro's son, Ray DiMuro. He is Mike's older brother.

I will now take my lack of reading comprehension somewhere else. If you have any questions about umpires, how things work behind the scenes, or anything else, please free to shoot me a message.

kingfin66
10-15-2017, 06:19 PM
what about that call last night?

'bang-bang' play at home plate, and they went back and gave the Dodgers a run after a replay challenge citing the rule for blocking the plate...

I think that most people, especially those in the game, really hate the "Buster Posey Rule." Yet it exists. It is hard to fault Joe Maddon for his reaction. The stakes are high.

BaffertsWig
10-15-2017, 06:51 PM
I think that most people, especially those in the game, really hate the "Buster Posey Rule." Yet it exists. It is hard to fault Joe Maddon for his reaction. The stakes are high.

What's funny is he was yelling at the umps, who initially called the runner out. The officials in New York were the ones that overturned it :lol:

MutuelClerk
10-15-2017, 07:38 PM
Now that the baseball and the football games go head-to-head...I am surprised to discover that I'd MUCH rather watch playoff baseball than the NFL. Between the commercials and the constant flags...the NFL games are as "unwatchable" as it gets...IMO.

Red Zone. Only way to watch unless you need a nap.