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September 2014

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COMMENTS

Stat of the Week: Instant Replay

Written by , Posted in General

Before 2014, instant replays in baseball were restricted to disputed home runs, fair vs. foul, fan interference, and wall border calls. This season, the scope of replay expanded greatly with the introduction of a challenge system similar to the one in the NFL. Now, it’s possible for managers to challenge practically everything short of ball-and-strike calls, and they have taken advantage.

Between 2008 and 2013, the six years of the original replay system, only 384 replays were used and only 129 plays were overturned according to data collected by Baseball Info Solutions. With still a month to go this season, 1,056 replays have been used and 495 plays overturned. We are on pace for about 600 corrected calls that would previously have been missed.

Overall, replays are overturning calls at a higher rate than the previous system, but not all types of challenges have been equally successful.

Replay Type Total Overturned Rate
Tag Play 431 180 42%
Force Play 430 237 55%
Boundary Call (Over Fence) 67 18 27%
Hit by Pitch 43 21 49%
Fair or Foul 42 14 33%
Trap or Catch 26 21 81%
Record Keeping 10 2 20%
Missed Base 6 2 33%
Passed Runner 1 0 0%
Total 1,056 495 47%

More than 80 percent all of replays have been on either disputed tags or force outs, and they have collectively been close to a 50/50 proposition. Replay has overturned 417 of those 861 calls (48 percent).

Other types of replays have been far less common, but, even with limited sample sizes, a pattern emerges. For example, 21 of the 26 replays on trap or catch plays have been overturned (81 percent). In contrast, only 18 of the 67 boundary call situations—which include potential home runs, potential ground-rule doubles and fan interference plays—were overturned, only 27 percent.

The Instant Replay section of the Bill James Handbook 2015 will be expanded from last year’s edition to capture the increase in scope of replays. The book is available for pre-order here.

“Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®, www.statoftheweek.com.”

  • HLCBSL691

    What is the record keeping replay?

    • It is when a manager feels Dork has made an incorrect entry into his spreadsheet, and requests an external audit.

      • Dork

        I take exception to this – There are no errors in my spreadsheets

    • Seymour Butts

      See: Demolition night, Disco.

  • AC0000000

    What is the record keeping replay?

  • Sherm

    I think on every overturned call, the umpiring crew should drop and do 20 push-ups. This would create peer pressure among the umpires to get it right the first time, and also help with the umpires’ collective fitness regimen.

    • Eddie Von White

      I think the manager who gets the overturned call should be able to choose from a whole repertoire of exercises for the ump. This would add much entertainment to the game.

      • Seymour Butts

        They should be able to get out of the physical challenge by either drinking a cup of “mystery juice” from the training room, or by reciting correctly Pi to 27 digits.

      • Eddie Von White

        Or stand at the plate and eat a dish of whatever CAPS has batched cooked for that week.

      • Doc Raker

        Or dine with Seymour at Subway.

      • Doc Raker

        Or dine with Seymour at Subway.

    • Jedi

      This place has far too few triangle-mouths left.

      • Sherm

        I think it was Jessica Rabbit who said “I’m not bad. I was just drawn that way.”

        Joe commissioned that fine artwork back in the day, when slice of pie hole was popular, I ranted regular and Smitty dropped by on occasion.

  • Sherm

    I think on every overturned call, the umpiring crew should drop and do 20 push-ups. This would create peer pressure among the umpires to get it right the first time, and also help with the umpires’ collective fitness regimen.

    • Eddie Von White

      I think the manager who gets the overturned call should be able to choose from a whole repertoire of exercises for the ump. This would add much entertainment to the game.

      • Seymour Butts

        They should be able to get out of the physical challenge by either drinking a cup of “mystery juice” from the training room, or by reciting correctly Pi to 27 digits.

    • Jedi

      There is a paucity of triangle-mouths left in these parts.

      • Sherm

        I think it was Jessica Rabbit who said “I’m not bad. I was just drawn that way.”

        Joe commissioned that fine artwork back in the day, when slice of pie hole was popular, I ranted regular and Smitty dropped by on occasion.

  • Doc Raker

    I hope this humbles the umpires, they were always so arrogant in arguments prior to replay. I am surprised the over turn rate is so high, I thought it would be much lower, i.e. I thought the umpires were better than this.

    • Eddie Von White

      I am surprised as well. If I was wrong 50% of the time at my job, I would not have a job. But you would, because the old “blind ump” adage now applies. They all need their eyes checked – or maybe the high error rate is because you are checking their eyes.

      • Jedi

        There are 2430 games played each year. If they only get 600 calls wrong, that’s one mistake in every 4 games roughly.

        The percentages in the article above mean very little. The call is overturned on 50% of challenges. But most close plays are NOT challenged. It means only that on the very closest plays, umps are basically a coin flip.

        I’d be far more interested to see a listing of which umps were overturned the most. I would expect that list to include most of the umps who have inconsistent strike zones.

      • Seymour Butts

        With the majority of outs made on fairly non questionable calls (caught fly, K, thrown out by 4 steps), your denominator becomes a much smaller number. Moderately trained chimps could call most of these correctly and still have time to make eyeglasses for the masses.

      • Jedi

        Some rough estimates Seymour:

        Just over 2,000 games played so far. Over 31k strikeouts so far. That leaves almost 80,000 outs; and only 500 times the umps have been wrong so far. Even if you say 98% of out calls in baseball are simple enough a child could make them, that means of the 1,600 close calls – umps got 1,100 correct (almost 70%). And assuming 98% means there’s only one “close play” per game…I think most games probably have more than just one close play.

        Managers are getting really good at that “walking backwards while heading out to argue and still looking at my bench coach for a signal” thing. And I’ve seen a bunch of managers head out for a quick chat and retreat without ever challenging the play.

      • Seymour Butts

        Civilized, isn’t it.

      • Jedi

        I miss the 5-minute display of two out-of-shape old guys cussing each other out in front of 30,000 people. They’ve taken a part of the game away from me.

      • HLCBSL691

        My favorite is when Piniella and LaRussa went out to argue calls at different bases. How often do you see both managers on the field arguing at the same time.

      • Seymour Butts

        Civilized, isn’t it.

      • Jedi

        I miss the 5-minute display of two out-of-shape old guys cussing each other out in front of 30,000 people. They’ve taken a part of the game away from me.

      • AC0000000

        My favorite is when Piniella and LaRussa went out to argue calls at different bases. How often do you see both managers on the field arguing at the same time.

      • HLCBSL691

        I’m just glad that MLB is finally out of the Stone Age. We have the technology, use it to get the calls right.

      • AC0000000

        I’m just glad that MLB is finally out of the Stone Age. We have the technology, use it to get the calls right.

      • Eddie Von White

        That is why I was not a math major.

      • Doc Raker

        Good point Jedi and I do give umpires discounts on eye exams and 30% off MSRP on all sunglasses to anyone who wants them. Maui Jim, Von Zipper, Persol, Zeal, Gucci, Ray Ban, Michael Kors and more. Just let me know the model you want.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Looks like Joe replaced the Prom Dress ad with a Sunglass ad. Those ads apparently do not cost much.

      • Is it an ad for the Sunglasses Hut by the Quiznos in Huntington? I think that is Doc’s office.

      • Doc Raker

        You will get more wear out of the sunglasses than your prom dress.

      • HLCBSL691

        I can’t believe this, but I agree with Jedi

      • Jedi

        No Fail Mary this year…Packers just getting bushwhacked.

      • fangirl

        Managers only challenge calls they think they can overturn successfully. With their own guys watching replays and giving thumbs up or down, I’m actually surprised this % isn’t higher….someone needs new HD TVs

      • Jedi

        Late in games you’ll see a manager challenge before he has an indication from his bench because he’s not concerned about saving that challenge for later.

        Also, I’ve seen challenges upheld on calls that I thought were wrong – but there simply wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call. I just don’t think much can be derived from the % of upheld vs. overturned. It’s at least as useless as a pitcher’s win total the saberdorks love to harp on…

  • Doc Raker

    I hope this humbles the umpires, they were always so arrogant in arguments prior to replay. I am surprised the over turn rate is so high, I thought it would be much lower, i.e. I thought the umpires were better than this.

    • Eddie Von White

      I am surprised as well. If I was wrong 50% of the time at my job, I would not have a job. But you would, because the old “blind ump” adage now applies. They all need their eyes checked – or maybe the high error rate is because you are checking their eyes.

      • Jedi

        There are 2430 games played each year. If they only get 600 calls wrong, that’s one mistake in every 4 games roughly.

        The percentages in the article above mean very little. The call is overturned on 50% of challenges. But most close plays are NOT challenged. It means only that on the very closest plays, umps are basically a coin flip.

        I’d be far more interested to see a listing of which umps were overturned the most. I would expect that list to include most of the umps who have inconsistent strike zones.

      • Doc Raker

        Good point Jedi and I do give umpires discounts on eye exams and 30% off MSRP on all sunglasses to anyone who wants them. Maui Jim, Von Zipper, Persol, Zeal, Gucci, Ray Ban, Michael Kors and more. Just let me know the model you want.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Looks like Joe replaced the Prom Dress ad with a Sunglass ad. Those ads apparently do not cost much.

      • Is it an ad for the Sunglasses Hut by the Quiznos in Huntington? I think that is Doc’s office.

      • Doc Raker

        You will get more wear out of the sunglasses than your prom dress.

      • AC0000000

        I can’t believe this, but I agree with Jedi

      • Jedi

        No Fail Mary this year…Packers just getting bushwhacked.

      • fangirl

        Managers only challenge calls they think they can overturn successfully. With their own guys watching replays and giving thumbs up or down, I’m actually surprised this % isn’t higher….someone needs new HD TVs

      • Jedi

        Late in games you’ll see a manager challenge before he has an indication from his bench because he’s not concerned about saving that challenge for later.

        Also, I’ve seen challenges upheld on calls that I thought were wrong – but there simply wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call. I just don’t think much can be derived from the % of upheld vs. overturned. It’s at least as useless as a pitcher’s win total the saberdorks love to harp on…

  • Doug S.

    I like the idea of using replay to get the call right. What I’m starting not to like is the amount of player appeals for managers to challenge.