Thursday, April 11, 2013

2 comments Terence Moore Uses a Train Analogy to Explain His Opposition to Instant Replay, Thereby Assuring His Choice in Transportation Analogies Are Also Not Modern

Terence Moore hates the expansion of instant replay.  He has stated this on repeated occasions here, here, and here. I'm not sure if Terence Moore has become my new Joe Morgan or not, but Terence does feel very strongly about the expansion of replay. He is strongly against the expansion of replay for various reasons. He says he is a purist (which I think is a polite way of saying he hates change), he thinks the umpires already have a tough enough job so why make their job easier, and Terence says a bad call hasn't changed an entire playoff series so one or two missed calls really aren't a big deal. I tend to disagree with nearly all of these reasons. Today, Terence resigns himself to the fact replay will be expanded and then he uses a train analogy to explain his opposition to expanded replay. The idea of Terence using a train analogy fits perfectly in my opinion. I bet he is specifically referring to a steam engine train and not these newfangled express trains. In fact, Terence is probably not even aware there is a more efficient mode of transportation than taking the train available.

According to a recent report, Major League Baseball is no longer merely considering expanding replay for fair/foul calls and those involving possible trapped balls, but also plays at the plate and on the bases.

Combining this with Major League Baseball streaming every game over the Interwebs, HOW CAN WE JUDGE PLAYERS BY WATCHING THEM ON A COMPUTER AND NOT BEING AT THE GAME? THE INTERNET RUINS EVERYTHING!

We're in the final days.

Good thing Terence isn't being over-dramatic about this.

"Major League Baseball may expand replay! Stock up food for your bomb shelters, the end is nigh!"

OK, I'm biased here, because when it comes to baseball, I'm the world's biggest traditionalist.

When did traditionalist start to mean "resistant to any type of change"? I consider myself to be a baseball traditionalist. I'm not a huge fan of the designated hitter, but I also understand there are certain improvements that can be made to the game of baseball which won't change the basic way the sport is played and can make the game better.

Being a traditionalist shouldn't mean that a person is resistant to any type of change to the game of baseball. Would being a traditionalist in the 1940's mean not believing African-Americans have the right to play in the majors? Is being a traditionalist mean a person would have been against any type of expansion of the game into other countries (Canada, for example)? Being a traditionalist shouldn't mean having a resistance to any type of change.

Except for flannel uniforms and, well … I can't think of anything else, I'm for keeping the game about the way it was after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.

Well, of course. Being a person who never wants anything to change it only makes sense to not want your favorite sport to ever adapt or change to evolutions in technology. What could be better for the game of baseball than to be perpetually stuck in the 1940's?

No designated hitter rule. That's enough right there, but I'll continue: grass fields only, ballparks without roofs, only sunshine at Wrigley Field, pitchers who deliver pitches sometime during this century, hitters who rarely strike out over 100 times per season.

Wishing for pitchers who deliver pitches sometime during this century and hitters who rarely strike out over 100 times in a season is being grumpy and old, not a traditionalist.

Instant replay? Ugh. It's already here regarding home run calls, and to be honest, I haven't had a problem with that one.

But you are a traditionalist! You are for keeping the game like it was after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier (but not for keeping the game of baseball how it was before Jackie Robinson, of course. Terence picks and chooses when the "traditionalist" version of baseball started as it fits his needs). How can you like instant replay for home run calls but don't want instant replay expanded beyond that? A real traditionalist like yourself wouldn't want any changes to the game since the 1940's.

The same goes for instant replay to determine fair/foul and trap/catch calls. That was approved in baseball's latest Collective Bargaining Agreement.

So anything agreed to in the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement is a perfectly fine change? So shouldn't Terence Moore call himself a "Collective Bargaining Agreement Traditionalist"?

The problem is, expanding instant replay beyond those three situations would remove so much from the game -- beginning and ending with the charming tradition of umpires sometimes getting it wrong after overwhelmingly getting it right.

I'm a traditionalist in that I don't think umpires getting calls incorrect is very charming. I think MLB should do whatever they can (without changing the game too much) to ensure the umpires calls are going to be correct. I don't favor replay for balls and strikes but I don't see why it can't be expanded to calls on the basepaths. It doesn't demean the umpires and the job they do in any way, while ensuring the calls on the field are correct.

Since teams used to travel only by train around the Major Leagues, I'll continue with a railroad analogy.

Well of course, is there any other type of transportation? I guess I should just be glad Terence isn't using a horse-and-buggy analogy.

The train has left the station regarding the expanded use of instant replay in baseball, and that engine is charging downhill.

But is the dining car serving American food? I'd like to think the dining car of this engine charging downhill is MLB's use of instant replay on home runs, fair/foul balls and trapped/caught balls. If so, then expanding the use of instant replay is the train's dining car choosing to serve Italian and Mexican food as well. Let's expand outside the traditional realms of food being served on this train.

So the rest of us have two choices: We can try to stand in front of the train as we get flattened worse than a brushback pitch to the ear, or we can sigh while hopping on board.

How are you going to get on a train that is charging downhill? That doesn't make sense. At least be consistent with the analogy and say that you will jump on top of the train as it starts to go under a tunnel.

According to Torre, baseball officials will travel to the World Baseball Classic games in Miami this month and also to various Spring Training sites to study how those officials would implement an expanded replay system in the Major Leagues.

In (seemingly) every column that Terence Moore writes he contradicts his argument at some point. He's about to do it again. He has already sort of contradicted himself by saying he is a traditionalist who doesn't like any changes to the game after the 1940's, but also says he hasn't minded the expansion of replay to home runs, fair/foul balls, and trapped/caught balls.

That's fine. But baseball should have those officials continue their study beyond the next few weeks.

Terence hates the use of instant replay in baseball, but if MLB is going to test instant replay he thinks they should do so during the regular season, not during Spring Training and the World Baseball Classic. If Terence is so against the expanded use of instant replay wouldn't it make more sense for him to believe baseball should test it out during games that don't know, him being a baseball purist and all?

Nothing against the Classic or Spring Training, but games that count toward winning divisions, pennants and World Series championships are different.

This is true, and this is also why MLB should not test out expanded replay during games that count. I think exhibition games, despite the fact they don't perfectly simulate regular season games, are the best time to try new rule changes. If the rules don't work, then the games that count aren't affected. I would think a guy who is a purist wouldn't want rule changes being tried out during the regular season. Of course, few things Terence Moore says make sense to me.

Players operate at a heightened level during the regular season, and their intensity jumps even more in the postseason.

So baseball officials need to study the effects of expanded instant replay against the that backdrop.

So let me get Terence's position straight...

1. He doesn't like instant replay in baseball because he's a traditionalist and wants baseball to be like it was in the 1940's.

2. Terence doesn't mind certain uses of instant replay even though this contradicts him saying he likes the game of baseball how it was during the 1940's.

3. Terence does not favor the expansion of replay to include calls on the basepaths.

4. Terence thinks the expansion of replay will cause too much change to the game of baseball and affect how the game is played.

5. If MLB does expand replay to include calls on the basepaths then they should test out this expansion of replay during the regular season when the games count the most.

I'm not sure I entirely get these points of view. Shouldn't expanded replay be tested, if it doesn't work well, when it would not affect the outcome of games that count? Yes, conditions are different during the regular season, but the use of the instant replay isn't different. It doesn't matter how intense players are in terms of whether expanded replay works for the game of baseball or not.

In addition, by baseball officials pushing their study past Opening Day and through late October, they would see the plusses and the minuses of expanded instant replay for every ballpark, especially since each would be affected by the move in unique ways.

If baseball used expanded replay for the entire 2013 season, including the playoffs, they really wouldn't be "testing" it would they? Wouldn't they have essentially adopted expanded instant replay at that point?

First, according to an story, baseball wants to determine whether to copy the NFL's challenge-flag silliness. In that league, each team gets two challenges per game, and if a challenge fails, that team losses a timeout.

Baseball officials shouldn't consider that one, and not just because timeouts are unlimited in their game.

Each MLB team gets two challenges during a game and that's it. There, I fixed it.

The challenge-flag system is even too clumsy for the NFL. There often is the comical sight of a coach trying to yank the flag from his pocket,

Then MLB should not use flags for their challenges. The manager can signal the umpire he wants to challenge a call. This is very nitpicking stuff when arguing against the use of expanded replay in baseball. Plus, I don't think NFL coaches look stupid throwing the flag.

If baseball goes the expanded replay route, it can make life smoother for everybody by just having a designated replay person to say a call should be reviewed.

Just give the coaches two challenges and have the umpire look at the replay. It won't take long at all. Seriously, it will very easy upon the first or second viewing to see if the call was correct or not.

The designated replay person would sit in the press-box area.


A group of maybe three people would serve as judge and jury for every replay around the Major Leagues. And the latter would operate from a central location.

What the hell is all this? Terence Moore makes no sense to me. He is against the use of expanded replay, but then he sets up an expanded replay system that is overly elaborate and complicated. It's like he fundamentally doesn't understand replay in baseball can be easy. A manager (instead of coming out to argue the call) signals he wants to challenge the call and then the head umpire checks out the replay and confirms or overturns the call. It will take maybe 2 minutes to complete the process if the umpire and manager walk slow. We don't need a jury of the umpire's peers to serve on a committee that will hand down a ruling on the call.

Which actually brings us to more questions: What plays beyond the current ones would be eligible for review? And how would you keep games from lasting for hours, days, weeks?

It's not brain science. Each team gets two challenges and the time challenging/reviewing the call will replace the time usually spent by the umpire and manager arguing with each other.

Sorry, but I forgot I'm still on that train, which means I'll accept the fact that baseball officials eventually will decide to use instant replay for safe/out calls.

Actually, if you were still on the "no replay" train then you wouldn't accept the fact baseball officials eventually will use instant replay for safe/out calls.

I'll offer a humble suggestion, though: They should restrict those reviews to home plate. This isn't to say such calls are more important than those on the bases.

Actually, that's exactly what this suggestion says. It says calls at home plate are more important than calls on other parts of the field.

It is to say this would save time. No matter how much supporters of instant replay say otherwise, any expansion of their system will extend the length of games -- and to a noticeable degree.

Terence has no proof to back this up. He could be correct, but merely saying the games will be lengthened doesn't serve as proof this statement is correct. If there are four replays and each one takes two minutes then the game will be lengthened by eight minutes. So games could be lengthened by only eight minutes and that's not even counting the time ordinarily spent with the manager arguing with the umpire. In some games there may be zero challenges so the game won't be lengthened at all. Stating instant replay will lengthen games may be true to a small degree, but it won't be any more noticeable than the one minute between pitches that a pitcher takes.

Managers still will be managers.

I mean, regardless of the final decision of replay officials, you just know more than a few managers will continue that baseball tradition of going nose-to-nose with the closest umpire.

I really don't know if this is true. What will the manager be talking about? Managers argue now because they tend to believe the call on the basepaths was the incorrect call. If replay backs up the original call then will the manager really take the time to argue with the umpire? I am sure some managers will, but once the replay has confirmed the call there isn't much to argue over.

Players won't stop yelling, either.

Maybe I'm naive, but I think replay will reduce the amount of arguing. Since replay won't be expanded to balls and strikes, of course players will still argue those calls.

I got an idea. Why not leave things alone?

Because taking an extra minute or two to ensure the calls on the field are correct makes sense when the technology is available to do so.

But I'm still on that train.

Terence is on this train just out of pure stubbornness. He knows umpires get calls wrong, which tells me there is an argument for expanded replay. The idea a 3 hour baseball game will be lengthened by a few challenges to the umpires' calls seems silly to me. Terence is on the train, but unfortunately it is 2013 and nobody rides trains as much anymore.


Anonymous said...

This guy seems to be trolling with his cry for the past. Speaking of which, I personally would like to see the spitter and scuffed ball return from the Jackie Robinson era. Nothing annoys me more than this current baloney of automatically changing the ball if it comes anywhere near the ground. Cheating in baseball? Oh my God! One of the greatest televised baseball memories I have is the M's Gaylord Perry striking out Reggie Jax on a diet of spitters. The Jaxhammer's ensuing tantrum, including throwing a bucket of water onto the field from the dugout, was epic entertainment. Who says baseball is too staid?

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I'm still not convinced Greg Maddux didn't find a way to scuff the ball up a little bit. I guess baseball tries to keep the playing field level and if pitchers are scuffing the ball they don't see that as a level playing field.

It would be fun to see batters hit a scuffed ball or a spitball, but the baseballs would be pretty damn nasty if they didn't get replaced every once in a while.