Video Replay at the Little League Baseball World Series
The evolution of video replay at the Little League Baseball World Series has come a long way since its inception in 2008.
In the beginning, the use of video replay was limited to the situations when a batted ball left the field of play, at/or near, the outfield fence, or should have been ruled out of the field of play, at/or near, the outfield fence. Some examples of these types of batted balls were a home run, a double by rule, a ball that goes under the home run fence, and fan interference at the home run fence.
Video replay was expanded to more types of plays in 2010 and even more in 2012.
The question most people ask is how do the umpires working the World Series feel about the use of replay. The majority of their feelings can be summed up by a quote from Ken Garrison, a volunteer umpire from Texas, who umpired the 2010 Little League Baseball World Series.
“I believe it is far better to have a call overturned and get a little razzing, than to have to live with the fact that a call may have cost a team a game. Especially, of the blow call comes in the Little League Baseball World Series; or in Major League Baseball. That burden would be far tougher to carry around. Just because these players are 12 years old, or we are volunteer umpires, doesn’t change this.”
The efficiency of the replay system, even while including more types of reviewable plays over the past few years, has improved as well. In 2011, there were a total of 29 challenges (includes those made by the umpires themselves, one of the two team managers or the final play of a game, all of which are reviewed). Nine of the 29 were overturned and all of the challenges took an average of 1:11 for a decision to be made by the Video Replay Official. In 2012, there were a total of 35 challenges. 9 of the 35 were overturned and all of the challenges took an average of only 19.66 seconds!
The video replay system appears to be here to stay, as it assures that our volunteer umpires chosen to work at the Little League Baseball World Series have the ability to utilize ESPN’s technology, various camera angles and slow motion replays to be absolutely sure the correct call is made.