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Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Simple Technology That Accidentally Ruined Baseball

I thought Barry Bonds ruined baseball?

Rather than deem the cameras a threat to league integrity, baseball embraced them. For years, Major League Baseball had been pressuring umpires to submit to performance standards. With the introduction of Pitch f/x, MLB finally had cameras in every stadium to umpire the umpires. In 2009, the league implemented a policy called Zone Evaluation (ZE), which tracked missed calls after each game and judged umpires by their accuracy. After ZE’s first year, three senior umpires were fired for their mistakes behind the plate. Those with good performance could get promotions and earn up to $400,000….

Since umpires opened up the basement of the strike zone, pitchers haven’t just moved in. They’ve changed their permanent residence, painted the walls, and opened a co-op. The game of baseball has moved considerably closer to the plate in many ways ...

   The share of pitches thrown less than 2.5 feet over the plate (i.e.: a “low” pitch) has grown every year since 2009.
   In 2007, “low” pitches were 17 percent more common than higher pitches. By 2013, they were 43 percent more common.
   The sinker, a fastball pitch that breaks downward, has grown from 35 percent of all pitches in 2007 to 38 percent today.
   Hitters have swung at low pitches at a higher rate every year since 2009.

As the strikes moved down, the strikeouts went up. Swinging strikeouts are up 11 percent since 2008. Called strikeouts (on third strikes without a swing) are up 66 percent. The entire increase in strikeouts is happening on pitches between 18 and 24 inches off the ground.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 04, 2014 at 01:11 PM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: pitch fx, tv ratings, umpiring

 

 

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