Tag Archive | "Instant Replay"

The Purity Of The Pastime

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The Purity Of The Pastime

Posted on 01 March 2013 by Nick Schaeflein

The game of baseball is something that is near and dear to me. It has been passed down from family members and played since a young age. The game, along with the eventual bride to be, is two things that I am absolutely crazy about with the hopes of making baseball a career some day. Growing up, if the uniform was not dirty, everything was not left out on the field. Playing the game hard and the right way were core values given to me by some great coaches. The beauty of baseball can also be turned into life lessons as well.

RetroBaseball

Steroids are a delicate subject currently in baseball. It is a line in the dirt that has affected the game for the wrong reasons. However, it has not ruined the game entirely. Despite all of the reports, congressional hearings, PED’s, HGH, and any other abbreviations there is still much to be celebrated.

This past offseason, the latest report naming players that allegedly took substances was released with more high profile names included such as Ryan Braun again and Gio Gonzalez. The latest report appears to have a common factor of ties to the Miami area and university. The university has already had its fair share of troubles and this is seemingly being added to the list of dark clouds.

Since the mid 90’s, the game as been viewed as the “steroid era” and the image and commissioner have both taken a hit for that facing the questions of just how clean is the game? While the commissioner has implemented great things that have improved the game such as the Wild Card and instant replay, many believe the stance on drug use was turned the other way.

Some may even forget that these talks and questions really began to take shape in 2005 and 2006 when Jose Canseco released the book Juiced. The information published in that book caused a serious stir around the game. Denials of any and all claims mentioned became the thing to do and Canseco became an outcast. Fast forward nearly a decade and now many of the things written have been discovered as truths rather than fiction.

In baseball, much like the other sports has some bad that comes with the good. For someone that loves the true meaning of sports that is hard to accept. The beauty of sports should be that for those two or three hours that the game is being played nothing else should matter. The game should be the story, the heart, and hustle. There should be no back drop of steroids, or criminal allegations to clutter things. It is sad when the games fans love are taken advantage of, because who would not give anything to trade places with a professional athlete? We should take notice of the clubs and players doing things the right way as opposed to the select few that do not.

Inner circles use the terms like dirt bags or grinders. Guys that seemingly give every ounce they have for their team and leave it all on the field. Guys like Dustin Pedroia, Chipper Jones, and Derek Jeter often have uniforms where dirt is the primary color and earn that respect from their peers. Steroids are never brought up about guys like this. Rather, the effort and hustle are praised. They are just a few players that do not take the game for granted.

This year, for the first time in a long time no players were elected into the Hall of Fame. The question is what does that mean for future players? Will a few bad apples ruin it for the rest? I do not believe so. During the era, some players still did it the right way and will be honored. Upcoming Hall of Fame eligible players include Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, and Ken Griffey Jr. who should all be first ballot inductees.

No question, my favorite player is The Kid. Along with the on field talent, he brought that energy, that purity, and that smile to the game. He was a human highlight show and role model with the purest swing in the game. For the saber metrics, Griffey’s 1997 MVP season reads as a .304 batting average, 56 home runs, 147 RBI’s, and the most important number, 0. Zero being the number of steroid reports, PED’s, and accusations leaked.

The use of steroids should never be condoned, however the era should never be completely ignored or have an asterisk next to it either. It should be treated and accepted as apart of the game and just another chapter as good still emerged during the same period as well. The same time frame brought us stories such as the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks and Cal Ripken becoming the new iron man. History does not discount the dead ball era and in today’s game this should be no different. No asterisks are found on pitchers stats such as the great Bob Gibson prior to 1969 when the pitching mound was different and clean players today should not be discredited with accomplishments either.

The purpose of the Baseball Hall of Fame committee is to vote and elect the best players from the sport and enshrine them in Cooperstown. They are to be impartial and select only the few worthy players. As the game hopefully moves away from the PED’s and gets cleaned up, those players will still rise above the rest and become enshrined.

As Opening Day approaches, here is to the steroid cloud hopefully fading away. The game still has and will always have many things to cherish about it. The core is still pure. To borrow a line from a movie, “The game does not stink, it is a great game.”

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Instant Replay For Dummies

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Instant Replay For Dummies

Posted on 18 June 2012 by Dennis Lawson

The play that ruined Armando Gallaraga’s perfect game.

Despite the plethora of NFL concussion lawsuits, Major League Baseball’s instant replay policy remains the biggest hot button issue in all of North American sports.  The rationales and arguments used by both sides of the instant replay debate need not be recounted here.  Suffice it to say that very few baseball fans seem to be straddling the fence on this one.  Regardless of where your allegiance lies, you should probably be prepared for some kind of change in the next few years.  The uprising cannot be quelled, and the supporters of expanded instant replay use have stockpiled examples after example where replay could help maintain the integrity of the game.  The issue to consider now is just what form expanded replay could take and how far it should go.

On one side, fans have expressed concern about the duration of games and how time spent at the ballpark or watching/listening to the game could be impacted by replay use.  If people have an issue with game length, then maybe they need to find a new sport.  All sports have an issue with viewing times, because no shot clock or timer can truly dictate the absolute finite amount of time required to complete a game, match, or test.  All games remain subject to delays – either due to injury, mechanical failures, or acts of nature.  The end of an NBA or NFL game can take several times the clock time remaining to complete in real time.  A soccer match has penalty time, cricket simply can go forever, and hockey includes a pregnant pause every time a player scores a goal.  NASCAR races vary in duration and are also subject to weather delays or postponement.

In reality, most complaints about contest duration simply come down to the pace of the game being played.  A game that takes place at a lively place simply has a better chance of holding your attention than a game interrupted by countless delays or a pitcher who has to adjust everything but the kitchen sink between pitches.  How much could replay use affect game length?  A single replay could take several minutes to conclude.  Are those few minutes so precious that fans would begrudge the league for attempting to get the call correct?  Maybe, but I think getting the call correct comes above everything else, even if it takes several minutes and an extra commercial or two.

Of course, this argument only holds for a single replay.  If a game requires multiple replays, then different concerns arise.  Would umpires err on the side of caution, knowing all along that replay could be used to aid them in getting the call correct?  That certainly would not completely fly in the face of human nature, but I truly believe that umpires want to get the call right each and every time with few exceptions.  Maybe the number of replays used in a game should be limited, and some have proposed a challenge flag system like the NFL uses.  Nay and nay again, I say.  MLB can do better.  Much better.

  1. Limit replays to instances in which a run scores, a runner leaves the base early when tagging up, home run balls, ground rule doubles, fair/foul calls, and fan interference.
  2. Do not even consider using replay for ball and strike calls, double plays, and pickoff attempts.
  3. Use replay the same in the 1st inning as in the 9th or extra frames.  Consistency is key.
  4. Replays must be called for by either an umpire on the field or a MLB official in the ballpark.
  5. Use still shots as well as video.  Plenty of photographers use digital cameras, and they often have the best angle for a given play.
  6. Forget about any kind of time limit.  Getting the call right stands above all else.

Whether you like it or not, there exists a growing consensus that MLB needs to expand replay.  It remains a just a matter of time before every team encounters a situation in which it could benefit significantly from a review.  While MLB sits on its collective hands, the list of teams slighted by the lack of replay will continue to grow much to the detriment of baseball’s integrity.

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