Saturday, December 1, 2012

Instant Replay Series: Yankees Robbed!

For many years, the Yankees have been the beneficiaries of many poor and controversial calls.  I'm sure it started back before the Babe was calling his shots, but we didn’t have high-def instant replay or twitter, so not as many of us were up in arms about it.  But just in the expanded post-season era there have been several examples of calls that were made that almost seemed like there was a memo from the top to ensure the Yankees got whatever breaks they needed to win the World Series.  This started in the 1996 ALCS when in the 8th inning of Game 1, Yankee fan Jeffrey Maier reached over the right field fence at Yankee Stadium to prevent Tony Tarasco from making a routine catch on a deep fly ball.  Instead of being ruled spectator interference, the Umpiring crew ruled it a game tying home run. Yankees went on to win that game, the ALCS and their first World Series since 1978.

In 1999 in the ALCS against the Red Sox, the Yankees were again helped when a phantom tag helped Chuck Knoblauch turn a double play in the 8th inning of a 1 run Game 4.  Instead of the Series being tied at 2 games New York took a commanding 3-1 lead, and again went on to win the World Series - their third of four in a five year span.

In 2009, they got help in both the ALDS and ALCS to ensure they made it to the World Series. In Game 2 of the ALDS, in the 11th inning Joe Mauer hit a ball down the left field line that looked to be clearly fair.  Amazingly the Umpire who made the call had a perfect view and was only a few steps away as can be seen here.  Instead of the Twins tying up the Series at 1 game apiece, the Yankees went on to win and sweep the Series.  Then in the ALCS against the Angels, in Game 4 Mike Napoli clearly tags both Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada as they were both off 3rd base, but only one runner was called out.  And of course, you know how this turns out, with them finally able to win their only championship of this century.

After all these breaks going their way, this year's ALCS saw some calls going against them which may have robbed them of a chance to return to the World Series.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Instant Replay Series: Check Swing

My next installment on how my proposal for implementing instant replay could have impacted the postseason focuses on the deciding Game 5 of the NLDS series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals.

The Nats had jumped to an early six run lead, but the Cardinals kept chipping away at it. By the 9th inning, they had cut the deficit to 7-5.  But after a leadoff double, they had two quick outs and it did not look they would have another miracle comeback like in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.  But a walk put the tying run on base and the Redbirds faithful still had some hope.  With a 1-2 count on David Freese, Drew Storen threw a slider just off the plate.  Freese started to offer at it and then held up.  Or did he?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Instant Replay Series: Infield Fly call in wildcard game

The first controversial play of this postseason, was in the very first wildcard game between the Cardinals and the Braves.   Let me refresh your memory:  In the bottom of the 8th inning, the Braves were down 6-3 but rallying.  They had runners on 1st and 2nd with only 1 out and Andrelton Simmons at bat, with Brian McCann on deck.  Simmons hit a bloop/pop fly into shallow left field.  Cardinal shortstop Pete Kozma sprinted back for it and looked like he was under it, and at the last second he peeled off, presumably to let Matt Holliday take it.  But Holliday never took charge and it fell untouched, as the Braves runners scrambled to advance safely to their next base.  But in the midst of all this, an infield fly was called, and Simmons was declared out.  The short version of what ensued was lots of arguing, Braves fans showing their displeasure by littering the field with anything they could throw, a long delay, Atlanta playing the game under protest, the ruling being upheld and the Cardinals advanced to the LDS, and went on to win the World Series (ok, so maybe the last part may not have happened this year).  Here is the video:
The Braves thought that the infield fly should not have been called, and the bases should have been loaded with only one out.  And it left a bad taste in people's mouths on the way future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones' career ended. How could my instant replay proposal have been applied here?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Instant Replay in the MLB

If you've been watching the MLB playoffs, you've seen a lot of questionable calls - some at critical stages of the games. And you've heard the renewed clamouring for instant replay. In this post I am going to outline my proposal for how some sort of instant replay should be implemented.  In my next few articles I am going to review some of the more controversial calls that we have recently witnessed and break down if and how my replay solution would impact them.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

End of year awards

This blog is a member of the Baseball Blogger's Alliance. Every year, we vote to determine award winners based on the ballots from the member's sites. Here are my picks for the 2012 awards:

Connie Mack Award (Manager of the Year)
AL: Bob Melvin
NL: Davey Johnson

Willie Mays Award (Rookie of the Year)
AL: Mike Trout
NL: Wade Miley

Goose Gossage Award (Top Reliever)
AL: Fernando Rodney
NL: Aroldis Chapman

Walter Johnson Award (Top Pitcher)
AL: Justin Verlander
NL: Johnny Cueto

Stan Musial Award (MVP)
AL: Mike Trout
NL: Joey Votto

Friday, August 3, 2012

Suspended vs called games - Proposed rule change

On Tuesday night, the Boston Red Sox were barely hanging on to a 4-1 lead over Detroit when the Tigers were batting in the top of the 6th inning.  With the bases loaded, the Umpires stopped play due to the heavy rain.  The rain never let up and a couple of hours later the game was called and went in the books as a Red Sox victory. Many Tigers fans were (rightfully) upset. Many fans (wrongly) thought the Tigers should protest the game.  Unfortunately the way the rules are currently written, the Umpires had no choice. The game was over. As unfair as it may have seemed, there was no option to suspend the game and finish it at a later date.  But in my mind, there should be.

A suspended game is a game that is "paused" and will be continued from the current situation the following (or a later) day.  A called game is a game that is complete.

Below are the rules for determining when a game can be suspended.  These are taken from The Official Rules of Baseball Illustrated:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

How bad was the call Brett Lawrie struck out on?

By now, I'm sure you've seen the video.  Brett Lawrie takes a 3-1 pitch and starts running towards first base as the Umpire calls a strike.  He's not very happy, goes back to the batter's box, and takes the next pitch which the Umpire rings him up on.  He loses his temper, thinking he should have been walked not once but twice during that at bat.  He removes his helmet and tosses it in the general direction of the Umpire, and it bounces and hits the Umpire in the leg.  A suspension is coming....

Here's the full video if you haven't seen it yet.

I've been reading many baseball message boards, blogs and the twitterverse's reaction this incident.  In general, people's reactions have been something like this:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hint for coaches on tag ups

I started the Rulebook Edge website as a way to help coaches gain a competitive edge by knowing some of the intricacies on some rules.  This blog has mainly talked about rules but I've gotten a bit away from the helping coaches bit.  Today's post is meant for coaches.  It deals with tagging up on a fly ball, and gives tips to the offense, and a legal trick play that can be used by a devious defense.

Every coach and player from Little League on up knows that runners need to tag up on a fly ball that is caught.  If a runner leaves before the ball is caught, he needs to go back and retouch the base or be in danger of getting doubled off.  What many players and coaches don't know, however, is that there is a difference between the time a catch is deemed to be a catch, and the time when a runner can legally leave his base...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Quick rules question: Placing runner after base award

Someone posted this to my f/b account:

R1.  Flyball to outfield.  BR runs to first and is on way to 2nd.  R1 hung up between 1st and 2nd waiting to see if ball is caught.  Ball falls in, outfielder throws the ball out of play.  What do you do with the runners?

Where, if you read my article on the Full Windup on base awards, or my follow up post, you know that the correct ruling is that you give the runners 2 bases from the last base they legally touched at the time of the throw. So... where do you put the runners?  Hint:  You don't award 3rd base to both.   I'll leave this open for comments for a few days and will post the correct ruling soon.

Smile, spring training has started!  Although there's still snow outside my window :(

On award of bases, the lead runner should always be awarded his bases first, and then each additional runner, in reverse order.  If 2 or more runners' positions would be the same, the preceding runner should be awarded his porper award, and any following runner may only be awarded the bases behind the lead runner's awarded bases.
So the anonymous commenter had it right.  R1 gets 3rd base, and the batter only gets to go to second.