Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why Bud Selig is right for Instituting Instant Replay in The MLB

If you look at baseball and what makes it so unique and different from every other sport is that it relies so heavily on statistics. What makes baseball rely so heavily on stats is that it's easier to quantify than other sports for two reasons: A) there is a set amount of chances each team has(27 outs in 9 innings) and they're not bound by time and B) The game is much easier to follow because there is less actual action happening in ball games. I want to focus on the latter. Look at the new generation of statistics, they disregard baseball statistical mainstays like RBI's, ERA and Errors. The reason for this is that there is a human factor involved with each of these statistics. RBI's depends on the amount of runners that are on base when you come to bat, ERA depends on Errors and Errors are decided by men keeping score of the games and are totally not mathematical. This means that Errors are imprecise which means ERA is also imprecise. For example Jose Reyes has 14 Errors on the season but Carlos Pena only has one, does that mean Carlos Pena is a better fielder? Of course not. If you're as fast as Reyes you get to many more balls and therefore commit more Errors, since when is it a crime to cover a lot of ground?

What does this have to do with Instant Replay? The MLB is doing to the game of baseball what smart mathematicians did to its stats 20 years ago, improving the system in order make it more precise and exact. Errors are one man's opinion and so are many homers/foul balls, so by adding Instant Replay to the game of baseball The MLB is making opinion into fact just like the statisticians did to the scouts, they made scouts' opinions take the back seat to their facts, statistics. The new Instant Replay of homers/foul balls rule is a new breakthrough in baseball in which all the purists are saying is awful just like when Bill James came out with his new extremely advanced and radical stats in the 1980's. So I hope you realize that without these new stats baseball wouldn't be the same as it is today it would still be the same old sport run by guys who are happy with 1 out of 65 success rate (the results of old time drafts and player development) and only rely on opinion and not fact. Same too in 20 years we'll be looking back and saying how great of an addition this was and how would baseball have been able to survive without it.


chessiakelley said...

I really respect what you've written and love the stats info, but many would argue that it is this human imprecision that makes baseball the exciting, debatable, unique thing that it is. Batters intensely watch umps to learn what the strike zone of the night is-once everything is automated, including the increasingly juiced players, perhaps it will lose some of its magic. I'm personally for settling somewhere in the middle where foul balls are called correctly, but umps still are in charge (perhaps a limit on the # of challenges on calls?), and I think MLB is too. Nevertheless, its the passion and beer spilling seat jumping arguing I love, no matter if its in the stadium or in front of the TV. I just became a rep for Sharp TV which is the official HDTV of MLB because its tech is baseball specific....super contrast and no blurring so calling plays on you r own is more legitimate(?)haha. The 1 out of 65 success rate has gotta go, but100% automated is too boring

Ari Berkowitz said...

I agree. I only think Instant Replay is good for foul balls/homers. If they instituted it for steals too, what would happen if there's men on first and third and the guy on first steals second, do they then pause the game? you can't pause something with no time! And not having balls and strikes called by umps would ruin the game, you're totally right about that.