ESPN Analysis for “State of Officiating” Series Debut Examined Close Calls
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This morning’s Outside the Lines revealed the results of its study of umpire calls made in 184 Major League Baseball games in a two week period between June 29 and July 11.Outside the Lines concluded MLB umpires missed 20% of the close calls they made.
While the vast majority of calls in any baseball game are routine, Outside the Lines identified 230 close calls — an average of 1.3 per game — that were close enough to warrant a replay review. Of those, there were 47 missed calls over the two week period.
Each close call — safe or out, fair or foul — was analyzed at live speed and in slow motion, and of all those calls, 66% were clearly correct, 14% were inconclusive and therefore unlikely to have been overturned on replay review, and 20% showed the umpires got it wrong.
Close Calls 230
Fifty-three percent of the Hall of Famers Outside the Lines surveyed within the last month said they were in favor of expanded replay review, even before first base umpire Jim Joyce’s “safe” call cost Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game this season. Major League Baseball declined to comment on the subject.
Excerpts from Outside the Lines on MLB Umpires Accuracy
“Is the whole intent to get the play right, or isn’t it? Yes, umpires make mistakes. But if you have a replay, and you can correct it, it would take the human element out and it should be taken out if it’s wrong.” – Jim Bunning
“To me it’s the human element part of the game and I think it should stay that way. Maybe I’m from the old school, but I think that is the way it ought to be played.” — Harmon Killebrew
“I really wasn’t in favor of replay, even after missing that particular call. I believe that replay has gotten so much better and it’s so much quicker, that if it’s handled properly, they can put somebody in the press box and have them make a decision very quickly and it wouldn’t slow the game down.” — Don Denkinger
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