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Sports Then and Now



Baseball: The Timeless Sport With A Clock 0

Posted on November 24, 2012 by Rick Swanson

If baseball is going to use a challenge rule with instant replay, the best place to find guidelines is with tennis.

Since 2006 the electric line call, known as the “Chase Review” has been used at the US Open.

Tennis has tried electronic line calling since 1974, but since 2006 the technology has been created by a system known in tennis as the hawk eye system.

Each player is allowed three incorrect challenges per set.

The average length of a challenge is about ten seconds.

In tennis, everyone in the stands is allowed to see the review and then the call stands.

In baseball we should use the hawkeye cameras to follow the ball at all times.

We also need to let everyone in the park see the hawkeye instant replays.

The amount of challenges is something that baseball is going to need to decide.

If we put it at three wrong challenges per game, will teams use it too often?

Since you have only five seconds to decide whether to challenge a call, then we need an official clock in each park.

If baseball started using a clock, we could also shorten the length of the games.

If we had a clock for replays, then we would have a clock to follow MLB rule 8.04, which reads:

Rule 8.04  When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.” The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball.

The intent of this rule is to avoid unnecessary delays.

A clock would be used for replays set at 30 seconds. A clock would be used for challenges at five seconds, and a clock would be used for pitchers rule 8.04 at 12 seconds.

We could even use the clock for the time spent between innings. Cut it down to 90 seconds, and we could cut another 18 minutes off the entire length of a game.

Baseball has prided itself as a timeless sport, but as we move into the future, a clock will be the new innovation we will use for the good of the game.

Five Sorely Needed Changes to MLB 4

Posted on June 02, 2010 by Don Spieles
Rays manager Maddon argues with umpire Hernandez on behalf of his batter Pena after he was called out on strikes against the Blue Jays during their MLB baseball game in Toronto

Umpiring is just one (well...two) of the things that need changed in MLB.

Most fans don’t care about ratings or polls. When you sit down at the ball park with your son, the last thing you’re thinking about is whether the NFL or MLB has the bigger fan base. When you clear your evenings in October to watch the playoffs, thoughts of revenue sharing and rookie signing bonus ceilings are not on the menu for conversation. Aside from the geeks (of which I am one) who listen to sports talk radio all day long, these topics are marginal issues at best. Instead, what the real fans car about – game-wise, that is – has to do more with the legacy of the game and its heroes than of the television ratings. Kids want to see their favorite player in the All-Star Game and everyone looks to watch baseball (as opposed to posturing and argument) between the first and last pitch.

With those desires (and those who desire such) in mind, the following is a list of five things that Major League Baseball could change to make their fans much, much happier. Read the rest of this entry →

More of the Same From “Cowboy Joe” 0

Posted on May 27, 2010 by Don Spieles

Here’s a name you should not know but probably do: Joe West

Aside from his aspiring (or is it perspiring) country music career, Joe West is the best known umpire currently in the major leagues.  But pay attention to that sentence because best known is very different from being the best, or even generally good at his job.  Most talking heads agree, Joe West is an average to below average official.  More importantly, he refuses to fade in to the background of the games he calls as a good umpire should.  Instead, West enjoys his stage and, on occasions like Wednesday’s White Sox game, he demands center stage.

West called Chicago’s Mark Buehrle for two balks in the first three innings of their game against the Indians.  Buehrle, known for an exceptional move to first, didn’t like the first one, and his manager, Ozzie Guillen, came out of the dugout, argued with West, and got himself tossed.  Now, Ozzie getting tossed is not even really news worthy, although most observers seem to agree that what Buehrle did in the second inning was not a balk.  In the third inning, West called Buehrle for another balk that was not a balk.  This time, when Buehrle dropped his glove on the ground in disgust, West tossed him.  It did not appear that Buehrle yelled anything at West prior to his ejection, and it was clear that West was waiting for any excuse.

Is Joe West a Good Umpire?

  • Whatever skill he possesses is overshadowed by his showboating (39%, 7 Votes)
  • He's average (28%, 5 Votes)
  • He's lousy (22%, 4 Votes)
  • Yep, He calls 'em like he sees 'em (11%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 18

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Now, balks are a dubious thing at best – most fans I know can’t even explain clearly what constitutes one.  The real issue here isn’t balks, however, it’s roles. Life is much nicer when you and the folks around you know what roles they are in and play them.  Joe West’s role is supposed to be, to steal a line from Full Metal jacket, “In the rear with the gear.”  The is most assuredly not where Joe West wants to be.

Read the rest of this entry →

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      October 5, 2014 | 1:26 pm
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