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Umpiring Newsbeat

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

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Must C: Ball gets loose on field

Will someone please explain why the umpires didn’t have the discretion to rule this play dead and permit Murphy to return to third base? After all, the ball came from the Reds bullpen, which is gated (i.e., not Wrigley)....

JE (Jason) Posted: August 06, 2014 at 09:43 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: indians, reds, umpires, umpiring

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Ball? Strike? It Depends: Is the Pitcher an All-Star?

They would rather not talk about it, but umpires may be just as star-struck as the average baseball fan.

Two researchers looked at the photographic evidence and found that umpires make more errors in favor of All-Star pitchers than pitchers who have never been selected for an All-Star Game — about 17 percent more.

This is a subject umpires are naturally hesitant to discuss….

But the science exists, for anyone who wants to look at it. Every major league stadium is equipped with the Pitch f/x system, which includes strategically placed cameras that record the locations and trajectories of every pitch. The technology provides a record that is difficult to dispute. In the seasons the study covered, 2008 and 2009, umpires earned a B-plus average, at best, in calling balls and strikes.

The researchers — two business school professors, Jerry W. Kim of Columbia Business School and Brayden G. King of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management — looked at data on 756,848 pitches over 313,774 at-bats in 4,914 games. Some umpires were, unsurprisingly, more accurate than others, but on average they called a strike on 18.8 percent of pitches that were actually out of the strike zone and a ball on 12.9 percent of pitches that were, in fact, strikes.

Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 08, 2014 at 07:33 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: umpiring

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

MLB tweaks wording on force plays (at home plate)

Major League Baseball took a formal step Tuesday to clarify a portion of the new rule governing unnecessary collisions between baserunners and catchers at home plate.

In a statement sent to the baseball operations departments for all 30 teams, MLB said umpires have been instructed not to apply Rule 7.13 to force plays at home plate. The directive came several days after Joe Torre, MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations, said the rules were interpreted incorrectly to overturn an apparent force play in a game between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

“A number of questions recently have arisen about the application of Official Playing Rule 7.13 to force plays at home plate,’’ the MLB statement said. “Rule 7.13 was adopted in order to prevent unnecessary collisions at home plate between a runner attempting to score and a catcher attempting to make a tag play on the runner. The Rule as intended has no function or purpose in the context of a force play (i.e., a runner attempting to score from third with the bases loaded). As a result, effective immediately, Umpires will be instructed not to apply Rule 7.13 to force plays at home plate.’‘

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: June 25, 2014 at 11:56 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: platelets, rules of play, umpiring

 

 

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