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“We sit up in the booth every night and a play happens, and within 15 seconds we know whether it was right or wrong,” he said.
Jim McKean was on Keith Law's podcast last week. He was a solid interview and wasn't sticking his head in the sand about a lot of the umpshow issues
We’ve got a QuesTec system or whatever they call it now (Pitch-f/x) that’s foolproof. You’re going to get every pitch correct
I don't buy this. From what I see I'm not sold that the technology is that precise. It may be better than the umps but this is an oversell in my opinion.
And IMO it's the same with "personalized" strike zones. All they do is to create a situation where some players benefit while others get screwed---not by deceiving their opponents but by deceiving the umpire. If this happens in a fluke situation (pretending to get hit by a pitch) it's one thing, because it's rare, but when it happens dozens of times a game it loses its charm and becomes little more than a sign of umpiring incompetence.
Personalized strike zones wouldn't bother me if they were completely consistent within a game.
Agreed. I don't support a changing strike zones within a game (which takes away the advantage of the observant player). But if ump A calls the same slightly outside pitch a strike in the first inning and the last, while Ump B does the same with the pitch on the upper boundary, that's a feature not a bug.
The problem is these personal strike zones benefit and disadvantage specific players, depending on their height, handedness, stance, etc. Two equally talented players can have significantly different results depending on the mix of umpires in their league.
To me the biggest benefit of robo-umps is removing intentional bias. A robo ump won't stick it to a pitcher or batter because of a long standing feud, or because they "showed him up " (whatever that means), or to favor the team his betting syndicate has money on (a significant concern when even the dreariest low attendance mid season games have millions bet on them).
The personalized strike zone creates a situation where players (both batters and pitchers) who are focused on the game, and catchers who work to master the way they handle the ball from the pitcher rather than take no pride in that aspect of the job,* reap the rewards of such professionalism. I like that. It makes for a richer baseballing experience.
It's also, as I've noted before, the way the game has been played for 100-plus years. The idea that the umps of your younger days were calling everything by the book is a fiction. Individual umps have always had their preferences (high vs. low, inside vs. outside). The only difference between then and now is the little box in the corner of our TV screen.
I can't see tradition per se being used as an argument to override improvements that couldn't have been made in the past, but are technologically feasible today.
You're going to keep running with this whole umps having scads of cash riding on games thing until just one person agrees with you, aren't you
It's also, as I've noted before, the way the game has been played for 100-plus years. The idea that the umps of your younger days were calling everything by the book is a fiction. Individual
I was annoyed last year when Mark Teixeira was called out on a DP grounder to end an important game against Baltimore. He was clearly safe! But much worse were the entitled rants about how the blown call represented some sort of miscarriage of basic human justice.
It's a baseball game between two clubs of professional baseball players, not a war game between two potential belligerents.
Some crafty little infielder whose career is going nowhere is going to draw 150 walks and become the Ron Hunt of the robot strike zone. Some pitcher with no speed or movement to speak of is going to post absurd K/W rates because he's got the control to hit spots that the batters don't initially expect to see as strikes (and maybe can't do much once they realize what's going on).
But do you really think people paid their way into ballgames a hundred years ago to see how Benny Bengough framed pitches? "YOu know, I'm not really interested in Babe Ruth's swing or Lefty Grove's fastball, I just want to see that guy frame pitches..."
That's insane, of course. And yet that's not all that far from what you're saying. It was done a hundred years ago, so what? You think that's the issue, but you miss the pt. The real issue is:
Is this what you really want to see and/or is this really the skill that should separate winners from losers?
The point of the comment is that umpires with personalized zones is the only baseball we know. The alternative might be better, but it's not something any of us can be certain of because it's never existed. Unintended consequences and all that.
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