Browsing All Posts filed under »rule changes«

World Cup diary #3: the beginning of the end

June 28, 2010

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A busy travel schedule has allowed me to see most of the matches so far, to keep up on the press and bloggers, yet not to comment much myself. But now the real tournament has begun, in the second round. I’ll be blogging regularly from here on in. It’s hard to give a comparative assessment […]

The players like it imperfect

June 15, 2010

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Here’s a quick follow-up to the Imperfect Game controversy I followed over far too many posts, starting here. ESPN The Magazine conducted a (let us say, rather unscientific) poll of 100 major-league baseball players about their views on the umpires and the use of replay. The brief survey revealed three interesting results: 1. Despite the […]

The imperfect game, Part 5 of 5: The irrational quest to tame chance

June 10, 2010

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Are the businessmen in charge of baseball trying to manage their precarious pre-modern brand by preserving its quaintest features? Or is there a recognition by the high-priests in charge that we have to reconcile ourselves with the essential element of luck and chance that is shot through the game of baseball. Those who passionately want […]

The imperfect game, Part 4: Do umps really need to be part of the game?

June 10, 2010

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The Imperfect Game debate has revived a long-standing debate about how to treat umpires and their fallibility as “part of the game.” Everything we know about human perception and cognitive psychology informs us that umpires will  blow calls. Most of the blowable calls, including Joyce’s call last week, involve “judgments” that have to be made […]

The imperfect game, Part 2: The paradox of changing the rules to award the perfect game

June 10, 2010

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The passionate debate shows how much we all interpret baseball players as competing against all of their baseball ancestors as much as they are against their rivals this season. The blown call made absolutely no difference to the result — that is, to the result of a relatively meaningless game in the midst of a […]

Why is hockey analysis always so lame? Part 2: The Broadcasters

May 7, 2010

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I don’t remember a world without instant replay; although I was born into such a world. After clever but misbegotten attempts to use instant replay from the mid-1950s on, it is generally conceded that the first “modern” use — and not yet slow-motion — was in the broadcast of the Army-Navy football game in December […]

Evaluating proposed rule-changes in sports: is there a word for this kind of enquiry?

April 5, 2010

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There is nothing I love more in sports punditry than a spirited debate over a controversial rule-change for a major team sport. There is no better way to get people to reveal what they value most in the experience of watching and following sports. And at the moment there’s a lot of this going around: a new […]