Instant Replay


Instant replay is new in baseball.  2009 was the first full season it was used.  It can only be used now to decide whether a ball was a home run or not.  It is at the discretion of the umpires whether to review a play or not, but they seem willing to look when a manager asks. 

My claim to fame- along with 30,000 or so other folks is that I was at the Detroit versus Milwaukee  game on June 19 last year where replay was used twice.  Braden Looper was the pitcher for both replays.  Keep that fact handy.  It might come up in a trivia contest sometime as this was the only time replay was used twice in a game so far.

The Bill James Handbook 2010 (ISBN 978-0-87946-407-3) includes a two page section that lists everytime replay has been used in an MLB game, along with the initial and final rulings.  The crew chief changed the ruling just over 1/3 of the time in the 65 replays. 

I was curious whether umpires gave the tie to the hitter on close calls since the cliche is that the tie goes to the runner on a play at first.  Of the 20 overturned calls in 2009, 14 were originally home runs.  Only 6 that were not ruled home runs  became home runs.  The numbers are way to small to  really suggest that there is a bias in favor of the hitter for close calls.  It is worth watching over the next few years, however.

I was also curious which stadiums had the most replays.    Here is what I found for the number of reviews in each stadium: 

Minute Maid Park has the most home run reviews.
Minute Maid Park has the most home run reviews.

  1. Houston 6
  2. Arizona  5
  3.  New York Yankees 5
  4. Los Angeles Angels 4
  5. Seattle 4
  6. Tampa Bay 4
  7. Boston  3
  8. Detroit  3
  9. Milwaukee  3
  10. New York Mets  3
  11. San Francisco  3
  12. Texas  3
  13. Baltimore  2
  14. Chicago Cubs 2
  15. Kansas City 2
  16. Philadelphia 2
  17. Pittsburgh 2
  18. Atlanta 1
  19. Cincinnati 1
  20. Cleveland 1
  21. Colorado 1
  22. Los Angeles Dodgers 1
  23. Minnesota 1 *( On 8/2 a Joe Mauer double stayed a double.  This was the only replay at the Metrodome ever.)
  24. Oakland 1
  25. Toronto 1
  26. Washington 1
  27. Chicago White Sox 0 (The White Sox have never been involved in a replay on the road either.  No doubt this is because of the even temperment and desire to avoid conflict displayed by Ozzie Guillen.)
  28. Florida 0
  29. San Diego 0
  30. St. Louis  0 (Pujols home runs are clearly out of the park.)

All the New York replays are in the new stadiums.  Again it is early to make any conclusion, but I did notice that the domes and retractable stadiums do seem to get more than their fair share of replay calls. 

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