There certainly was a great deal of complaining about instant replay in MLB last year — ANGRY HOLLERIN’ even. Lord know I did my share — there was nothing worse than being in the middle of relating a narrative, and suddenly the natural ebb and flow of the game is gone, and suddenly no one wants to listen to your story because the umpires are holding up everything. However, according to Mr. Bill James, replay was unused in almost 80% of the games — on average, thirty-five for team. There were only 1276 challenges last year in baseball. That doesn’t seem like much, in fact as Bill James says, it seems that managers might under utilizing the challenge. Or maybe umpires are just really good.
Here is a breakdown by type of play
Tot Replay % Overturned
Tag 544 42.6
Force 508 56.5
Fence 82 30.5
HBP 48 45.8
Fair Ball 47 27.7
Trap 27 77.8
Missed Base 9 22.2
Passed Runner 1 0.0
There were ten more replays (2 overturned) for “record keeping”, which I am not sure what that is.
Overall, 604 players were overturned — 47.3%. The trap/catch play gets overturned the most, which makes sense because of umpire positioning. The fence replays are something I would like to see by park because I would bet that most of those come from outfield where there HR line is not clearly delineated. Tags are overturned less than forces, which really isn’t surprising ether. 223 replays went to review from the umps themseleves — take those out of the mix and the Overturn % jumps to 52.6.
The Cubs challenged the most (56) because when you have won a World Series since 1908, the reality in front of you is hard to swallow. There Overturn % was 44.6. The team with the worst percentage was the Blue Jays with 33.3 (16/48). The Yankees (23/28) had the best Overturned % by far — 82.1. The Marlins (19/27) were the second best. The A’s challenged the least with 26.
Tomorrow I will examines challenges per club with game time by club to see the correlation.