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Old Wed Oct 09, 2013, 04:25pm
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MLB use of 6 man crews for the playoffs

MLB is, AFAIK, the only professional sport that changes the size, and therefore the responsibilities, of its officiating crews for the playoffs. This has always seemed odd to me. If 6-man is needed, why isn't it used during the season? If 4-man is sufficient, why isn't it also used in the playoffs?

Those of you who call or have called higher-level baseball (say, NCAA through MiLB), what is your opinion on this. Here are some questions that have bugged me for awhile, and since I don't umpire baseball at any level, I can't answer them myself. So, I'm asking you guys here.

Are the 2 extra umpires worth the potential for problems caused by instant expansion of the crew?

Will whatever benefits there are of having U5 and U6 go away (or become even a net negative) once instant replay use is expanded? In other words, if they are going to review the calls that are in doubt anyway, why have the larger crew?

Why doesn't MLB put the playoff crews together for the last week or so of the season, and call up MiLB umpires to cover for them in their regular crews? This would give the crews a few games to work together in the 6 man system before the playoffs begin.
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Old Wed Oct 09, 2013, 10:15pm
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As I've heard, it started when the extra umpires used to just sit in the stands and one of the field umpires missed a fair / foul call at the foul pole. SO, instead of having them sit, they put them to (some) use.

I doubt if the union is going to let it go away.

ANd while it might be unique to pro sports, other levels of baseball also tend to add umpires during season-end tournaments (going from 2 to 3 or 3 to 4 for example)
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Old Thu Oct 10, 2013, 10:22am
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Originally Posted by bob jenkins View Post
As I've heard, it started when the extra umpires used to just sit in the stands and one of the field umpires missed a fair / foul call at the foul pole. SO, instead of having them sit, they put them to (some) use.

I doubt if the union is going to let it go away.

ANd while it might be unique to pro sports, other levels of baseball also tend to add umpires during season-end tournaments (going from 2 to 3 or 3 to 4 for example)
High schools in Georgia go from two-man to three-man in the playoffs. In fact, I *think* that topic has been discussed on this board.
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Old Thu Oct 10, 2013, 09:13pm
DG DG is offline
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Playoffs in NC expand from 2 for first and 2nd rounds, to 3 for mid level, and then 4 for regionals and state championship.
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Old Fri Oct 11, 2013, 08:10am
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Originally Posted by Dakota View Post
Will whatever benefits there are of having U5 and U6 go away (or become even a net negative) once instant replay use is expanded? In other words, if they are going to review the calls that are in doubt anyway, why have the larger crew?
Don't forget that the expanded use of IR starting next season (if passed by owners, the players association, and the umpires association) is still limited by the number of challenges a manager will be allowed during a game. In theory, a manager could run out of challenges, and then there's a situation that requires a judgment call by the LFU or RFU. I would agree with you if managers were allowed unlimited challenges.

As a side, who came up with "U5" and "U6" as designations for these umpires anyway? Why not "U4" and "U5", since there is no such thing as "U4" in a four-man crew?
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Old Fri Oct 11, 2013, 08:25am
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Originally Posted by Manny A View Post
As a side, who came up with "U5" and "U6" as designations for these umpires anyway? Why not "U4" and "U5", since there is no such thing as "U4" in a four-man crew?
Should be ULF and URF ... or U7 and U9.
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Old Mon Oct 14, 2013, 01:56pm
CT1 CT1 is offline
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Our state uses 3-man for all HS playoff rounds. We typically work 3-man on the last two Saturdays before the playoffs to get ready.

The SEC goes from 3-man to 4-man for their tournament.
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Old Tue Oct 15, 2013, 11:36am
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From what one of my friends in MLB has told me, MLB is seriously considering employing a 5-man crew in the near future, with the 5th man either being a replay booth official, or rotating in and out of the crew per game with the plate guy. These are two ongoing discussions.

Whether they'll be implemented or how remains to be seen.
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Old Tue Oct 15, 2013, 02:14pm
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Originally Posted by CT1 View Post
Our state uses 3-man for all HS playoff rounds. We typically work 3-man on the last two Saturdays before the playoffs to get ready.

The SEC goes from 3-man to 4-man for their tournament.

The SEC went to 4-man in conference regular season games this past year. Most D1 and a lot of D2 conferences work 4-man in conference tournaments.
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Old Tue Oct 15, 2013, 05:45pm
JJ JJ is offline
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Originally Posted by UMP25 View Post
From what one of my friends in MLB has told me, MLB is seriously considering employing a 5-man crew in the near future, with the 5th man either being a replay booth official, or rotating in and out of the crew per game with the plate guy. These are two ongoing discussions.

Whether they'll be implemented or how remains to be seen.
Why not combine the two ideas - the guy who sits while resting (either after or before his plate game) can work the replay booth.

JJ
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Old Thu Oct 17, 2013, 10:01am
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If it makes sense, then it probably won't happen, John.

I do agree that your suggestion, or a similar one where there's an in-house reviewer like the NFL's booth reviews, would be better than what has been proposed for the 2014 season.
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Old Thu Oct 17, 2013, 04:24pm
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Originally Posted by UMP25 View Post
I do agree that your suggestion, or a similar one where there's an in-house reviewer like the NFL's booth reviews, would be better than what has been proposed for the 2014 season.
Are you familiar with the NHL review system? I feel theirs is the best of any sport.
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Old Wed Oct 23, 2013, 01:28pm
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Originally Posted by AremRed View Post
Are you familiar with the NHL review system? I feel theirs is the best of any sport.
Other than reviewing whether or not a goal was scored, what else do they review in the NHL? I'm willing to bet it's not that extensive a list.

Of course, my experience is based solely upon the occasional Caps game that I watch on local TV. But do they review calls of offsides, icing, catching-n-carrying the puck illegally, high-sticking, and other calls that do not necessarily result in penalties? Nope.

Yeah, they do have some sort of control room that reviews plays, and that's what MLB plans on using next season (if the expanded replay proposal passes muster). But the focus of the NHL system is on the goal, and not much else. So how is that system better than the NFLs and MLBs? Seems to me more mistakes are unreviewable in hockey than in other sports.
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Old Wed Oct 23, 2013, 03:29pm
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Originally Posted by Manny A View Post
Other than reviewing whether or not a goal was scored, what else do they review in the NHL? I'm willing to bet it's not that extensive a list.

Of course, my experience is based solely upon the occasional Caps game that I watch on local TV. But do they review calls of offsides, icing, catching-n-carrying the puck illegally, high-sticking, and other calls that do not necessarily result in penalties? Nope.

Yeah, they do have some sort of control room that reviews plays, and that's what MLB plans on using next season (if the expanded replay proposal passes muster). But the focus of the NHL system is on the goal, and not much else. So how is that system better than the NFLs and MLBs? Seems to me more mistakes are unreviewable in hockey than in other sports.
Some things about the NFL system don't make sense to me. Why automatically review some things and not others? Why are field goals, fumble recoveries, etc not reviewable? There's either evidence to overturn or there's not.

Part of my issue with automatically reviewing all turnovers is that it seems like in some situations they keep a play live to see how it plays out figuring they can fix it on replay later, but that call (in reality a non-call) becomes the call that you need 100% evidence to overturn.

That's exactly what I don't want to see in baseball. I want umpires calling it the way they see it. Not calling any borderline call fair.
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