Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The luck of the baseball Gods has turned.

The play at the plate was bang-bang.  It could have gone either way.  It should have gone our way.  Replays show that Ellis tagged Morgan on the butt before his hand touched the plate, but after 10 games of nearly everything going our way, the tables have turned.  And the season is on.

I've seen it hundreds of times.  The ebbs and flows of a 162-game schedule.  The home town call that an umpire tends to go with on the close plays.  And then there is the controversy that is so much a part of baseball and how there is talk of increasing the accuracy of those calls through technology, namely instant replays.

The tag was applied before Morgan touched the plate.  Replays confirm it.
Surprisingly, Don Mattingly called for instant replay on plays at the plate in his comments after the game.  “We have instant replay for home run calls, perhaps it’s time to have them on plays at the plate,” he said on the post game interview.  It’s a little tough to argue with his logic after that call cost the Dodgers the game.  And how much extra time will it take to double check on close plays like that?  They are so infrequent, and if an umpire is sitting in a booth at each game for those types of plays, the process could be sped up.

I really don't see a problem with adding plays at the plate as being reviewable plays for video checks via instant replay.

Yes, I've heard the arguments.  Baseball needs the "human element" in its officiating.  But if you think about it, what is the "human element?"  Usually the human element is a mistake.  And mistakes are what should be removed from officiating.  The bottom line is we want honest and correct calls to be made, if a minute or two reviewing a play results in that, then I'm for it.  If the concern is that the reviews will slow down the game, then I say have the umpires enforce the rule that a pitcher must deliver a pitch within 12 seconds of receiving the ball back from the catcher.

Chris Capuano went 6 innings and allowed 2 runs in a strong start.
Tomorrow’s game is a big one, otherwise the momentum from the 9-1 start will obviously be over with.  Going in to Houston with a win will turn the tide.


  1. Let's say we go from home runs, to plays at the plate. I question what is next after that - plays at 1B, 2B, 3B, caught/trapped balls, fair/foul, balls/strikes? Perhaps balks?

    Any one of those can be and are as important as the play at the plate. If a mistake is made either way, the play at the plate happens or is wiped out by a missed call elsewhere. For instance, a missed strike results in a walk and in due course the player winds up at home plate again. A missed ball results in a strikeout and that player does not get around the bases.

    The play at the plate gets highlighted because a winning run was scored. Earlier in the game it is not such a big issue.

    Where is the cut off point? I'm satisfied with it being where it is now. By instant replay we are looking for absolute perfection but baseball isn't a perfect world. Hitters fail over 70% of the time, pitchers can't get through six innings, fielders field at .990 rate. I'm wary of an electronic game taking over the real game, even with its warts.

  2. Harold, Good points. Let me address a few things you brought up. I contend that scoring plays would be the types of plays that would be reviewable with some exceptions. One exception being caught/trapped balls. (In that event, the call on the field stands because runners decide whether to advance or not based on the arbitrator's call on the field).

    Balls and strikes shouldn't be reviewable because strike zones adjust from umpire to umpire and part of the beauty of the game is seeing pitchers/catchers/hitters adjust to those calls.

    I think plays at the plate should be reviewable with probably a similar situation that exists in the NFL, a limit of challenges allowed by managers.

    I understand that perfection will never be achieved, but a move that helps get calls right can't be discouraged. I understand the mystique the game has from controversy. To some that is one of the charming factors of the game. I just want to see them get things right whenever possible. Make the game honest and fair. There will always be plenty of room for human error in umpires decisions, the game will never be completely officiated electronically, but assistance on scoring plays simply couldn't hurt in my opinion.

    I realize that many others disagree and feel that the law of averages say that calls even out over 162 games. I just think that if the technology is there and the game can be improved with more accurate calls...why not?

  3. Bluenose Dodger and I have had this discussion many times, Evan, and I can assure you that nothing you or I can say will ever change his mind on this issue. As you know I am a baseball purist and old-school kind of guy, but for what is at stake in these games (salaries, World Championships, etc.), my opinion is that they have GOT to get it right - period. There is simply too much riding on the decision of one human being.

    I hate to burst your bubble, Bluenose, but trapped balls and fair and foul balls will be added to the growing list of reviewable calls beginning in 2013. This would be an excellent time to add plays at the plate, as well. As I said, there is simply too much at stake not to get it right.

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  5. You guys are no doubt correct, but as 53 said,from my perspective, just keep electronics out of it.

    I understand the scoring play thing, but content that potential scoring plays have to be included, if the play at home is. The missed call at second base negates a possible scoring play, maybe even one batter later with a base hit, thus eliminating a play at the plate. I can't see why it is OK to adjudicate a play at the plate but not at another base. The reason I expect is that the play at the plate has happened but at other bases we are talking potential runs. A potential run is left at the plate with a missed ball or strike.

    So let's say we have a challenge. A red flag is thrown (UGGHH!!) and the umps go into their huddle with camera shots. The call is contested, the play stands, what happens then? The team forfeit's an out, a strike? With no consequence, it has the potential to be misused.

    Evan you wrote: "I just want to see them get things right whenever possible." That entails a whole lot more than a play at the plate. Why be selective for correctness? I'm not looking for room for human error in umpire decisions, just humanness, not electronics. You also mentioned, "Make the game honest and fair." The suggestion would be it has not been honest and fair for all these many years. I contend it has been, even with umpire error, because there is nothing more honest and fair than people doing their absolute best, which umps do, in my opinion.

    In any event, as you can see, I don't have any strong feelings about the intrusion of electronics, as it has in many other facets of life, into the game I love.

  6. Working on an entertainment centre (sp correctly 53 - ha ha!!) for Jamie and Laura this morning so have much thinking time available.

    My west coast friends, you are picking and choosing the juicy plums you want to pick for video replay. You are picking the high profile plays. There is no way instant replay can make it right, unless it is more inclusive, which I am not suggesting.
    Perhaps you are just playing the percentages.

    For instance, a runner heads home from third and a play is made at 2B. The runner doesn't beat the out that is called at second base. The run doesn't count but the second base umpire was wrong in his call at second base. Video replay shows the runner at second was safe. The run should count. This is just as serious the play at the plate the other night.

    How about a runner tagging up at third and heading home. The play at home is very close. The runner is called out, but replay shows his hand was on the plate before the tag. The play is over turned. Replay also shows he left third base too soon on the catch but the run counts.

    The possibilities are endless, just like the ways to score from third base. Expanding instant replay is really opening up a can of worms, to be opened again and again when new controversies arise. Picking and choosing what plays you want reviewed is akin to picking and choosing which laws you will enforce. LOL.

    Back to work. That's it for this topic, unless ..........