Technology and Umps

I am sure with todays technology that balls and strikes can be called electronically. Why rely on judgement when it can be an absolute? It wouldn’t slow down the game. The calls would be 100% accurate.

Except they wouldn’t be. Even the most finely tuned machines have a glitch somewhere. Nothing beats a real live umpire, one who is both accurate and fair-minded. 8)

Well, nothing would be 100% accurate, but it would be more accurate than by an umpire, and its a view gaining more traction every year. The trouble is, currently, its only economically feasible at the ML level.

My guess is, when it gets to the point where it would be standard in every MiL park, the chances of it happening in ML parks would grow enormously. Right now, pitch(F/X) and hit(F/X) are active and providing an enormous amount of data, and I understand filed(F/X) is about to go into use. But that’s only in 30 parks, if they’re indeed in every ML park.

Each ML team has 6 Mil teams, so take the cost and multiply it by 6. I don’t think MLB owners are just gonna take on that expense for no reason other than to get from an accuracy rate of 97% on balls and strikes according to MLB (see http://mlb.mlb.com/content/printer_friendly/mlb/y2007/m08/d27/c2173765.jsp) to an accuracy rate of even 100%. At 300 pitches a game, if all were called, we’d only be talking about 9 pitches in a 9 inning game called incorrectly, if MLB is to be believed.

Unfortunately, I doubt that 97% is really what the accuracy rate is, but its not as though it was less than 90% either. So even at that, there’d only be 30 pitches called incorrectly if all 300 were called. But usually its only about half the pitches thrown that get called. At the same 300 per game, that would work out to only 15 pitches.

Now here’s the issue. The lower the level, the lower the accuracy, but the lower the level, the less likely the cost of the system could be borne by the users. It’s a perfect Catch-22. But hang in there rg. Chances are I won’t get to see it in my lifetime, but my son’s 23 and I’m guessing he’ll see it at least at the ML and MIL levels. :wink:

I wouldnt want to spoil the sport. A ball or strike is partially a judgement call by the umpire. whatever he says it is, it is. Some umps have higher zones, and some lower. Some wide and some tall. Some even have diamond shaped zones. It is part of the classic style of the game. It is all we have left lol. Fans were devastated when they put lights in a Wrigley. Sometimes technology is just better left unused.

Balls and strikes are very black and white in the rule book. The only grey is between the umps ears deciding what is a ball and strike.

If we assume the technology would be 99.9% accurate, would it favor the hitter or pitcher?

Would the electronic zone be true to the Rule?

Rule 2.00: The Strike Zone
The STRIKE ZONE is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter’s stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.

rg,

Believe me, I’m 100% behind technology calling balls and strikes, but in order to answer your question as well as possible, it would help to know the perspective from which its being asked. You quoted the OBR rule, so I have to assume you don’t care about any other level.

There are a lot of things in the rule book that are black and white, but aren’t exactly policed very well. At the MLB level, they are very picky about the pitcher’s mound, but amateur baseball almost laughs at that rule. Its almost as though no one cares.

The trouble with a human being calling balls and strikes relative to the strike zone is, its literally impossible for a human being to set up where umpires do, and be able to accurately determine the other extreme points of the strike zone. They can practice doing it and eventually get to where they’re pretty good at it, but there’s just too many ways they can have their judgment affected.

What many people forget is, the strike zone isn’t that rectangular box they see during a ML game. It’s a heptagon, or a 7 sided figure. Because of that, when the umpire sets up with his nose on the inside limit of the plate, his eyes at the top of the strike zone and usually at least 3 feet behind the back limit of the zone, the front limit is 17” ahead of that, the right outside limit 17” away from that, and the lower limits at least 18-24” below it, its ridiculous to believe they’re really as accurate as they claim.

I believe what would be the most striking result, is that balls would be called where they’re supposed to be, rather than were they often are. As things are now, umpires can be and are influenced by catchers, even though the pitch is supposed to be called long before the catcher touches it.

The STRIKE ZONE is that area over home plate

Right now, as much as umpires may deny they are influenced by the catcher, everyone knows they are, especially on close calls. But with technology, a catcher with the ability to “frame” a pitch would be a thing of the past, because a computer would have called it within microseconds after it either touched the strike zone, or past the plate.

I think it would depend on the hitter or the pitcher. Again, at the ML level, right now there are pitchers who are given “breaks”, and others who aren’t, and the same goes for hitters to some degree. It doesn’t happen all the time, but you can bet there are certain hitters who if they don’t swing on a close pitch, are sometimes assumed to have not swung because the pitch wasn’t a strike. But just like some pitchers and hitters are given breaks, there are some who just the opposite happens.

I’m sure everyone has heard the old saying that if a pitcher is “around the zone” consistently, he’ll be given the benefit of the doubt on a close call, while if a pitcher’s wild, the opposite is true. That would be a thing of the past.

[quote]Would the electronic zone be true to the Rule?

Rule 2.00: The Strike Zone
The STRIKE ZONE is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter’s stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.[/quote]

Why not? As far as I understand it, both the upper and lower limit of the zone for each batter are set differently according to that batter. There are lots of way that could be done, but right now I understand they’re being set by an umpire.

Also it is determined on the batters stance as well. Some people have different stances, thus creating a different strike zone

How would this technology be able to compare to each single batter. BEcause not everyone is the same height and have exactly the same stance

[quote=“BarryBonds999”]Also it is determined on the batters stance as well. Some people have different stances, thus creating a different strike zone

How would this technology be able to compare to each single batter. BEcause not everyone is the same height and have exactly the same stance[/quote]

That would not be hard to address. Preseason MLB could do a “fitting” to the strike zone. That’s just one, I am sure there is a lot of ways that it could be addressed.

Believe me, I’m 100% behind technology calling balls and strikes, but in order to answer your question as well as possible, it would help to know the perspective from which its being asked. You quoted the OBR rule, so I have to assume you don’t care about any other level.

I have no agenda just conversation.

[i][quote]Would the electronic zone be true to the Rule?

Why not? As far as I understand it, both the upper and lower limit of the zone for each batter are set differently according to that batter. There are lots of way that could be done, but right now I understand they’re being set by an umpire.[/quote][/i]

The way I see most games at the professional level, the strike zone is about 6 inches lower than described.

The strike zone is 3 dimensional. I think this would favor the pitcher in the long run. Pitchers would learn to touch the zone from the sides and top. During practice they would have instant feedback and could anaylize location from a computer after their work out.

Could you imagine a high fast ball moving down and nicking the back tip of 3d zone. Or how about a nasty curve that breaks into the zone on the back side. The pitcher would have confidence that if he made the pitch he would get the call.

Or how about the side armer that could throw every strike into the side of the zone.

There would be some nasty locations that would be tough to hit. You could throw strikes that end up boucing off the plate.

Point being, I think there is a lot of strikes pitchers dont throw because they wouldn’t get the call today. They would learn those strikes and it would get tough for a batter.

I think MLB would be concerned about the entertainment level. Averages would drop and it would become more of a pitchers game than it is now.

that is very true. I would like to see it more of a pitchers game then hitters actually. Because lets face it. Doesn’t matter who you are pitching against, any good pitcher, even halladay and get completed slaughtered on any given day.

The MLB is so tight on strike zones it is unreal. half the time when i am watching the MLB, they go to " PITCH TRACKER" I believe. And majority of the time, the pitch is in their zone, yet the umpire calls it a ball.

I understand. Its just that usually when people discuss this topic, they have MLB in mind. Its too bad though, because that’s the level they need technology calling pitches the least. LOL

I agree that’s the way it looks, but its really difficult to tell what with camera angles, and that silly rectangle they all use. If you notice, that rectangle is exactly the same for every batter, and its really too bad because it makes the umpires look bad many more times than they are. But, its how we’ve all been indoctrinated to perceive the strike zone. ;(

[quote]The strike zone is 3 dimensional. I think this would favor the pitcher in the long run. Pitchers would learn to touch the zone from the sides and top. During practice they would have instant feedback and could anaylize location from a computer after their work out.

Could you imagine a high fast ball moving down and nicking the back tip of 3d zone. Or how about a nasty curve that breaks into the zone on the back side. The pitcher would have confidence that if he made the pitch he would get the call.

Or how about the side armer that could throw every strike into the side of the zone.

There would be some nasty locations that would be tough to hit. You could throw strikes that end up boucing off the plate.

Point being, I think there is a lot of strikes pitchers dont throw because they wouldn’t get the call today. They would learn those strikes and it would get tough for a batter. [/quote]

I don’t know who it would favor, but I think you have a much higher evaluation of pitchers’ abilities than is probably true. :wink: But you’re absolutely right about there being strikes pitchers don’t get. I’m not an umpire so I can’t say for sure if this is true, but as long as I’ve been around baseball, I’ve heard that an umpire will not call a pitch that hits the dirt a strike.

When you really think about it, its entirely possible a big slow Uncle Charlie could just touch the lower front edge of the strike zone, but not make it to the catcher. If it wouldn’t get called, its just wrong. The one I always wondered about, was if some enterprising pitcher practiced throwing underhanded, putting even more arc on the pitch than in SP SB. In theory, a ball that came straight down but touched the strike zone would still be a strike, and it would be fairly difficult to hit too.

Think of it. Rather than getting the great big hulks they do now to try to throw as hard as possible, little guys would have just as much chance to succeed. Not only that, throwing underhanded, the issue arm injuries and pitch counts would be almost totally eliminated! :wink:

If that would really happen I agree, MLB wouldn’t be for it at all. But typically they try things like that in spring training and the MiL, and you can bet they’d have lots or data one way or the other.