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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Umpires Newsbeat

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Are the Umpires At It Again?

The story is relatively clear. For both right-handed and left-handed batters, the probability of a strike call on low pitches has decreased substantially. (The base rate of called strikes for these pitches ranges from 20 to 60 percent.) In some cases, the probability of a low outside strike has decreased by as much as 12 percentage points. Much of this difference is low and outside, pitches we know to be more difficult to hit with high exit velocities or for home runs.

Interestingly, there are also more strikes being called up in the zone. While this would mitigate some of the decrease in the total size of the strike zone, it could increase the rate at which balls are hit in the air, possibly leading to more home runs.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 08, 2016 at 03:28 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: home run spike, umpires

Monday, August 29, 2016

Hey, ump! Why’d you eject that player or manager?

An article about ejections without an Earl Weaver reference is woefully incomplete.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 29, 2016 at 12:08 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: ejections, umpires

Monday, July 25, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-25-2016

Milwaukee Journal, July 25, 1916:

The assault on Umpire George Johnston at the [Toledo] baseball park Sunday will result in the elimination of pop bottles, according to Manager Bresnahan. A paper substitute will be used.

Johnson was knocked unconscious by one of fifty or more bottles thrown from the stands when the spectators were dissatisfied with a decision which meant defeat for the home club.

The arbiter left the hospital yesterday with several stitches in the back of his head where the missile found his mark.

Baseball fans of the early 20th century frequently came dangerously close to taking “kill the umpire” literally.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 25, 2016 at 11:14 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, umpires

PITCH fx: The future for MLB Umpires? :: Klip Bloggin Sports

I didn’t realize the system didn’t track the pitch all the way.

How does PITCHf/x work to call strikes? PITCHf/x uses three cameras to triangulate a baseball’s position in space from the moment it leaves the pitcher’s hand. There is a major flaw however: The cameras stop tracking the ball a few feet from the plate, instead analyzing the trajectory to come up with a predicted location within an inch of where it actually shows up. ... Yet, that blind spot in front of the plate troubles the sabermetric community.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 25, 2016 at 06:36 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: pitch fx, rules of the game, umpires

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Monday, May 23, 2016

Plate umpire Rackley leaves game

SAN DIEGO (AP)—Plate umpire David Rackley left Sunday’s Dodgers-Padres game after getting hit in the groin by a foul bunt attempt by Joc Pederson.

Rackley immediately collapsed and was down for about five minutes and was tended to by a Padres trainer. He had to be helped to his feet. He left the field under his own power, and handed a ball to a kid on his way to the tunnel.

And then they played another 12 innings.

Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: May 23, 2016 at 09:28 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, injuries, padres, umpires

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Spector: David Ortiz’s game-changing K was embarrassing; robot umps, anyone?

Looking at PitchF/X data from Brooks Baseball, Farrell was both right and wrong. The 3-1 pitch was a strike. The 3-2 pitch, after which Ortiz had to be restrained from going after Kulpa, was low. It was not so low as to match Farrell’s assertion that Ortiz “needed a hockey stick” to reach it, but it should have been Ball 4.

It’s important to remember, though, that the 3-2 pitch came after the 3-1 pitch and a reaction by Ortiz that was so animated, Farrell needed to come out and get ejected on the slugger’s behalf. It is not fair or right that umpires expand the strike zone in such situations, but that has been the case for a century and a half of baseball. Ortiz, a major leaguer since 1997, has been around long enough to know that if you’re that demonstrative with a protest of a called strike, and somehow are lucky enough not to get thrown out of the game, if the next pitch is anywhere close — which it was — you’d better be swinging the bat. ...

The incident illuminates a point that everyone already is aware of, but that needs to be made, explicitly, as a reminder. Calling balls and strikes, in real time, at full speed, is an incredibly difficult job that human umpires do remarkably well, all things considered.

As Ortiz said, though, “They’re human, and they’re going to make mistakes.” The difference is that, in 2016, awareness of those mistakes is heightened. There is a strike zone tracker on television broadcasts, not to mention on Major League Baseball’s website and phone apps. There are Twitter accounts that not only track close ball-strike calls, but tell you, immediately, how often a pitch in a certain location is called the same way.



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