This is pretty darn cool. A writer for Baseball Prospectus who is deaf (not the cool part) is adept at lip reading and used his skills to decipher many of the arguments managers in MLB have with umpires. But as the BP writer notes, "only about 35 percent of actual speech is visible on the lips." And if you're dealing with a guy like Charlie Manuel, good luck.
Lip reading is easier to do in person, with a 3D environment. Even at
today's high resolutions (which do help significantly), a TV broadcast
it is still 3D converted to a 2D plane, which makes it harder to
decipher what is being said. There is also an incredible diversity in
the ways people talk, and some simply cannot be lip read. Some people
talk very fast (looking at you, Fredi Gonzalez), while others barely make any lip shapes or movements that can help an observer figure out what is being said (like you, Charlie Manuel).
Mustaches and beards also complicate matters, as they can hide lips. In
addition, when managers argue with umpires, they tend to be upset. In
that case, they exaggerate words or speak louder, which actually impairs
The piece goes on to show what 15 or so mananger/ump arguments consisted of last season. It's damn awesome.
He attempts to do the wonderful argument between Charlie and Bob Davidson (pictured above) here. But, like I said, Charlie's lips don't read real good.
>>A Lip Reader Deciphers The Umpire-Manager Arguments Of 2012 [Deadspin / BP]