Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Is Pitch-Framing Cheating? | FanGraphs Baseball

How many pitcher framers can stand on the head of a pin?

Jim Furtado Posted: July 28, 2018 at 04:11 PM | 66 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: pitch framing

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. cardsfanboy Posted: July 28, 2018 at 10:04 PM (#5717560)
Technically it's not cheating, it's exploiting the system. But there is arguments to be made that it's cheating.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: July 29, 2018 at 01:40 AM (#5717588)
Or yes it's cheating ... in the same way that the neighborhood play or sticking your elbow into a pitch or a million other things are cheating ... and probably less than pitchers doctoring balls is cheating. Quite low on the list of baseball sins and the only real "problem" with it is that the stat nerds insist it justifies playing a catcher with a 70 OPS+ over one with a 110 OPS+.
   3. Leroy Kincaid Posted: July 29, 2018 at 06:53 AM (#5717598)
Or yes it's cheating ... in the same way that the neighborhood play or sticking your elbow into a pitch or a million other things are cheating ... and probably less than pitchers doctoring balls is cheating. Quite low on the list of baseball sins


If the amount of wins that it's supposedly responsible for is to be believed, it would seem like a pretty significant sin.
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: July 29, 2018 at 07:46 AM (#5717601)
I'm just amazed at how some catchers are near the top of this scheme every year.

if I'm an umpire, and I spend the offseason watching so many replays that make me look like a chump behind the plate, I'd be in the "market correction" business the following season.
:)
   5. Lassus Posted: July 29, 2018 at 08:22 AM (#5717603)
I like how this circles back around to the fact that the national pastime is not actually baseball. It's complaining, which baseball creates and enables endless opportunities for.
   6. Rally Posted: July 29, 2018 at 09:02 AM (#5717609)
#4, That might be exactly what has happened. Go look at the Baseball Prospectus framing numbers for 2018. The values are much less extreme than what we have seen in previous years. Only one guy better than +10 and one worse than -10. Some of the guys who used to be framing gods (Lucroy, McCann) are actually in the negative this year.
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: July 29, 2018 at 09:14 AM (#5717610)
I think the idea of pitch framing as an overt act is overblown. The catchers who are the best at this aren't subtly moving the ball back over the plate. They're not moving at all. They're catching it quietly at the edge of the zone. It's the lack of movement by the catcher that causes the ump to call a ball a strike. In a lot of ways, it's the pitcher's ability to hit his spot that is the most important aspect of receiving an expanded zone - see Livan Hernandez.

And in that case, it wouldn't be cheating at all. Otherwise, Walt is correct. Cheating exists on a continuum, and the subtle movement of the catcher trying to steal a strike is fairly low.

   8. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 29, 2018 at 09:47 AM (#5717613)
Pitch framing isn't "cheating" any more than a batter howling in mock pain after a pitch that barely misses hitting him. At worst it's legitimate gamesmanship. And if you want to do away with it, get RoboUmps who can't be fooled by deception.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: July 29, 2018 at 09:51 AM (#5717614)
Pitch framing isn't "cheating" any more than a batter howling in mock pain after a pitch that barely misses hitting him.


They both* are. Gamesmanship is a form of cheating. It's just a very low-level form.

*When the glove is pulled.
   10. cardsfanboy Posted: July 29, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5717631)
They both* are. Gamesmanship is a form of cheating. It's just a very low-level form.


I disagree a bit. But I don't think pretending to be hit is gamesmanship, it's flat out cheating. It's lying to try and cheat the result, that is different than pitch framing imho. Which is basically working within the rules to gain an advantage.

I think anyone who actively lies to the official, is a cheater, whether it's faking an injury because you suck at soccer or claiming to be hit when you know you weren't hit, that is active cheating. Heck calling for the flyball when you are running the basepaths, I could also see as being considered cheating. Games only work when you both sides have a level of integrity in their actions.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: July 29, 2018 at 11:16 AM (#5717634)
that is different than pitch framing imho. Which is basically working within the rules to gain an advantage.


They both (speaking only about moving the glove element of framing, not what I think is truly framing) involve the same thing -- taking steps to get something from the umpire you know weren't warranted. And both are working within the rules (there is no rule against pretending to be hit).

It's certainly fair to believe the latter is a more egregious form, but they both exist in that same low-level area (not specifically against the rules, no prescribed punishment for violation and done against the umpires, not the other team).



   12. Leroy Kincaid Posted: July 29, 2018 at 11:22 AM (#5717636)
In a lot of ways, it's the pitcher's ability to hit his spot that is the most important aspect of receiving an expanded zone - see Livan Hernandez.


I had the same thought. A lot, probably most of the credit goes to the pitcher. Throwing a ball to a spot at a high rate of speed seems much more of a skill than catching it.
   13. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 29, 2018 at 12:19 PM (#5717644)
Pitch framing isn't "cheating" any more than a batter howling in mock pain after a pitch that barely misses hitting him. At worst it's legitimate gamesmanship. And if you want to do away with it, get RoboUmps who can't be fooled by deception.

I see there's disagreement with my views on whether pitch framing should be considered "cheating".

But I've yet to see a better solution than RoboUmps for addressing its effects, short of creating a new rule that would be hard to write and almost impossible to enforce.

Bottom line: Complaining about pitch framing without offering an actual solution for it is nothing but pissing in the wind.
   14. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: July 29, 2018 at 01:30 PM (#5717655)

No, it's not cheating.

They both (speaking only about moving the glove element of framing, not what I think is truly framing) involve the same thing -- taking steps to get something from the umpire you know weren't warranted. And both are working within the rules (there is no rule against pretending to be hit).

Is it cheating for the pitcher to take advantage when an umpire is calling a particularly wide strike zone?

There's nothing unfair about pitch framing -- an MLB umpire would presumably call the same pitch framed the same way a strike regardless of which team was involved.
   15. Leroy Kincaid Posted: July 29, 2018 at 01:53 PM (#5717660)
Bottom line: Complaining about pitch framing without offering an actual solution for it is nothing but pissing in the wind.


Is that what goes on here? Problem-solving?
   16. Sunday silence Posted: July 29, 2018 at 02:35 PM (#5717669)
The catchers who are the best at this aren't subtly moving the ball back over the plate. They're not moving at all. They're catching it quietly at the edge of the zone. It's the lack of movement by the catcher that causes the ump to call a ball a strike. In a lot of ways, it's the pitcher's ability to hit his spot that is the most important aspect of receiving an expanded zone


At first I didnt know where you were going with this passage; I mean yeah we all know the catcher doesnt move his glove, what is he talking about?

But then you make a larger point and I was thinking the same thing the other day. ANd: is there a way to test this idea? I.e is there a way to tell how much the pitcher has to do with pitch framing.

Maybe take as an example Gred Maddux who was known to be good at pitching in this manner. Do the same catchers get the same pitch framing benefit when they catch Maddux? Or when a Maddux catcher goes to another team do his framing numbers hold up? I guess we dont have pitch framing numbers for Maddux's time but we could do the same thing with current pitchers i suppose
   17. KronicFatigue Posted: July 29, 2018 at 03:23 PM (#5717677)
I'm of the opinion that most of the examples upthread are cheating. Low level cheating, maybe even low enough where I don't necessarily care, but cheating none the less. Misdirecting an official either by lying, exaggerating, or implying something that isn't true is cheating. Tugging on a jersey in basketball or soccer is cheating. That's cheating that everyone does, and you can get away with, but it's cheating.

I don't know what morally the right answer is. If everyone tugs on shirts a bit, are you moral for being the one player to not do it, or are you letting your team down by not doing something that is socially acceptable? Tough call. Flopping is obviously gross, but in basketball, if you "stand your ground" when an offensive player crashes into you, you're going to get called for the foul. So in that sense, exaggerating can exist only so the ref gets the call "right".

Sometimes I like to think about whether an action would take place if it was a bunch of honest friends were playing a pickup game. If they were policing themselves, there wouldn't be pitch framing and the catcher would admit the pitch was a ball.
   18. GGIAS (aka Poster Nutbag) Posted: July 29, 2018 at 03:30 PM (#5717678)
Is it cheating for the pitcher to take advantage when an umpire is calling a particularly wide strike zone?


This is what it seems most like, in my opinion. You're not gaming the rules, you're simply utilizing the advantage the umpire is giving you. If he calls a low strike, I am pitching low in the zone trying to get that strike call. Same with pitch framing. If he's giving me a strike because of where my catcher frames the pitch, I am running with it. Cheating would be doing something that is against the rules. What is a pitcher supposed to do here, call time out and kindly explain to the umpire that he's being very generous with his calls and to please keep it textbook? Ridiculous. The rules are not being exploited, the umpires are. Therefore, it is not on the pitcher nor the catcher, but the umpire to alter their approach.
   19. Tin Angel Posted: July 29, 2018 at 04:38 PM (#5717700)
Is there even a rule in place saying "framing" is illegal?
   20. cardsfanboy Posted: July 29, 2018 at 05:36 PM (#5717714)
Is there even a rule in place saying "framing" is illegal?


No.

There was also not a rule in place saying steroids or greenies were illegal, until there was. The article is just asking the question should pitch framing be illegal etc. It's an interesting argument to make. Not many people really argue that roids or other drugs was cheating, but it wasn't illegal.
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: July 29, 2018 at 05:41 PM (#5717717)
Not many people really argue that roids or other drugs was cheating, but it wasn't illegal.


They were cheating too. Something doesn't have to be specifically against the rules to be cheating. You said pretending to be hit is cheating, and that isn't against the rules.
   22. Tin Angel Posted: July 29, 2018 at 05:41 PM (#5717718)
The article is just asking the question should pitch framing be illegal etc. It's an interesting argument to make.


It strikes me as similar to flopping in basketball (technically there is a rule in place for that, though never implemented). It's bending the rules for sure, but would be virtually impossible to stop until there are robot umps.
   23. cardsfanboy Posted: July 29, 2018 at 05:49 PM (#5717726)
They were cheating too. Something doesn't have to be specifically against the rules to be cheating. You said pretending to be hit is cheating, and that isn't against the rules.


I was being semantic in 20... 19 asked if there is a rule in place saying framing is illegal, and I pointed out that it isn't illegal, I then pointed out (more or less agreeing with what you posted in 21.... but I now realize, as I'm typing this, that I mis-wrote the sentence.... 20 should have read "...wasn't cheating.".... my bad. )
   24. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 29, 2018 at 05:50 PM (#5717729)
Bottom line: Complaining about pitch framing without offering an actual solution for it is nothing but pissing in the wind.

Is that what goes on here? Problem-solving?


Obviously not. Pissing in the wind is infinitely more enjoyable.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Is it cheating for the pitcher to take advantage when an umpire is calling a particularly wide strike zone?

This is what it seems most like, in my opinion. You're not gaming the rules, you're simply utilizing the advantage the umpire is giving you. If he calls a low strike, I am pitching low in the zone trying to get that strike call. Same with pitch framing. If he's giving me a strike because of where my catcher frames the pitch, I am running with it. Cheating would be doing something that is against the rules. What is a pitcher supposed to do here, call time out and kindly explain to the umpire that he's being very generous with his calls and to please keep it textbook? Ridiculous. The rules are not being exploited, the umpires are. Therefore, it is not on the pitcher nor the catcher, but the umpire to alter their approach.

Jeez, you'd think it was the umpire's job to know the strike zone or something. Where'd you get that kind of screwy idea?
   25. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 29, 2018 at 05:53 PM (#5717731)
The best analogy to pitch framing is a batter heading down to first base on what he believes to be ball four, in hopes that the umpire will agree with him. It's just a nudge to the ump to get him to give you the call, and who's to say it wasn't a ball anyway?
   26. cardsfanboy Posted: July 29, 2018 at 05:54 PM (#5717732)
My post in 20
Not many people really argue that roids or other drugs was cheating, but it wasn't illegal.


should have read

Not many people really argue that roids or other drugs wasn't cheating.

But it also wasn't illegal. (where this second point is a separate point from the previous point, because plenty of people do argue that it wasn't illegal.)


Just to clarify, I think cheating and illegal are absolutely two different things, and just because something isn't specified as illegal in the rules, doesn't mean it's not an attempt to cheat. There is trying to gain an advantage, (which is something that the rules specifically ignore, such as shifts on defense) and actively trying to "cheat" such as putting people in the stands to relay signs, and of course then there is the spectrum of gray areas... from a runner on second signalling the catcher's setup position to the batter, all the way up to roids, or whatever, things that are a challenge to the written rules, and a possible challenge to the spirit of fairness.
   27. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 29, 2018 at 06:15 PM (#5717745)
Not many people really argue that roids or other drugs was cheating, but it wasn't illegal.

They were cheating too. Something doesn't have to be specifically against the rules to be cheating.

The way I'd put it would be to argue that something doesn't have to be cheating to violate the consensual ethics of the game, and worthy of condemnation or unofficial penalty, even retroactively----as in the case of pre-testing known steroid users.

Of course that immediately raises the question of what those "consensual ethics" really are, and it's obvious that one group's idea that steroids violate that consensus isn't shared by everyone. But IMO "cheating" is a term that should be reserved for actual rule violations, not something that just strikes us (or someone) as unethical by some general standard of sportsmanship.

To take a few specific examples:

Mark McGwire didn't cheat. But he's widely seen as having violated baseball's consensual ethics.

But A-Rod did cheat, because the rules against steroids and other drugs were formally in place when he tested positive. OTOH few fans outside of BTF circles consider his violation to be any worse than McGwire's, because they both violated those pesky consensual ethics. And neither of them are likely to be going to the Hall of Fame in the near future.

Spitballers cheat. But it's clear by the relatively mild penalty given to spitballers caught in the act that pitch doctoring lies in a gray area between okay and serious serious. I realize this majorly upsets some people who think Gaylord Perry was a baseball criminal while Mark McGwire was a misunderstood fitness pioneer, but whatever.

And neither pitch framing nor faking being hit by a pitch is cheating, and though they're both meant to deceive the umpire they're not something that most fans or other players would consider much of a code violation----in fact the former is seen more of a niche skill than an ethical violation. Most baseball fans have a way of sorting these things out.
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: July 29, 2018 at 06:25 PM (#5717747)
And neither pitch framing nor faking being hit by a pitch is cheating, and though they're both meant to deceive the umpire they're not something that most fans or other players would consider much of a code violation----in fact the former is seen more of a niche skill than an ethical violation. Most baseball fans have a way of sorting these things out.


I do think there is a clear line difference between the two personally... one is active, one is passive. One is outright lying, while the other is working within the ethical boundaries of the rules. I just don't see how you can actively lie to someone and not think it's cheating. It might be 'acceptable' cheating, that part I do understand, but it's still cheating at a higher level of cheating than pitch framing. Considering that a pitch called a ball or strike has a range where it's technically either a strike or ball, pitch framing is designed to help the ump make the proper call, to your advantage, more than it is to get him to change his mind. While poor pitch framing turns a properly called strike to a ball. This isn't really cheating the same way as faking being hit by a pitch, worse case scenario the original call stands, while best case scenario you work in a free obp. It's a type of cheating with no downside and is only there to fool people. You can't say the same about pitch framing.
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: July 29, 2018 at 06:32 PM (#5717750)
The way I'd put it would be to argue that something doesn't have to be cheating to violate the consensual ethics of the game, and worthy of condemnation or unofficial penalty, even retroactively----as in the case of pre-testing known steroid users.

Of course that immediately raises the question of what those "consensual ethics" really are, and it's obvious that one group's idea that steroids violate that consensus isn't shared by everyone. But IMO "cheating" is a term that should be reserved for actual rule violations, not something that just strikes us (or someone) as unethical by some general standard of sportsmanship.

To take a few specific examples:

Mark McGwire didn't cheat. But he's widely seen as having violated baseball's consensual ethics.

But A-Rod did cheat, because the rules against steroids and other drugs were formally in place when he tested positive. OTOH few fans outside of BTF circles consider his violation to be any worse than McGwire's, because they both violated those pesky consensual ethics. And neither of them are likely to be going to the Hall of Fame in the near future.

Spitballers cheat. But it's clear by the relatively mild penalty given to spitballers caught in the act that pitch doctoring lies in a gray area between okay and serious serious. I realize this majorly upsets some people who think Gaylord Perry was a baseball criminal while Mark McGwire was a misunderstood fitness pioneer, but whatever.

And neither pitch framing nor faking being hit by a pitch is cheating, and though they're both meant to deceive the umpire they're not something that most fans or other players would consider much of a code violation----in fact the former is seen more of a niche skill than an ethical violation. Most baseball fans have a way of sorting these things out.


All you're doing is creating all sorts of caveats and hoops to jump through because you're desperately trying to avoid a word. It's completely unnecessary. It's cheating. It's simple. Cheating is not a black and white thing - over here is not cheating, over here is. It exists on a continuum.

It exists from the relatively benign (holding up the mitt as if you caught the ball) to the worthy of permanent expulsion (in that case, cheating the sport itself rather than cheating to win). Some offenses are specifically against the rules - some are not (but whether the infraction violates a written rule or not does not necessarily speak to its severity). Spitballing violates the written rules. Poisoning your opponents' meal on the night before the big game is not. Both are cheating.

Don't run from the word Andy.
   30. Tin Angel Posted: July 29, 2018 at 06:54 PM (#5717761)
pitch framing is designed to help the ump make the proper call, to your advantage


So...then it is actually not designed to help the ump make the proper call. It is used to try to get the call the catcher wants by trying to visually trick the umpire. Pretty simple. It's not at all about trying to get the umpire to make "the right call." If you want the ump to make the right call, the catcher's mitt shouldn't move an inch after the ball is caught.
   31. cardsfanboy Posted: July 29, 2018 at 07:09 PM (#5717765)
So...then it is actually not designed to help the ump make the proper call. It is used to try to get the call the catcher wants by trying to visually trick the umpire.


not really, poor pitch framing results in an ump calling a strike a ball.. it's designed to get the proper call to your advantage... nearly every close pitch is both a strike and a ball depending on where the umpire considers the plane of the plate. The plate is 17 inches.... we've all seen a curve ball cross the heart of the strike zone that the beginning of the plate, that resulted in a few inches drop at the end of the plate... at some point in time that pitch was a strike, reminding the ump it was a strike is a skill of a good catcher with soft hands, and not a skill of a catcher with hard hands.


But again, this isn't really that complicated of a concept, except to people who want to be contrarians for contrary sake.... and that is fun, but it's a stupid, dumbass position.

Edit: I get the argument that this is cheating, don't get me wrong here, but it's not really a good argument to make when the entire concept is based upon human umpires. If you insist on not having robo umps, then it's clear the league doesn't care about the pitch framing skill, and if you don't seriously penalize the umps for poor game calling, then again it's not really a serious infraction. At the same time, there are things that the league doesn't care about that I as a fan would prefer them to go after (I mean seriously, if the ball hits your uniform, it's not a hit by pitch..... that is one of the more dumber rules in the game)
   32. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 29, 2018 at 07:55 PM (#5717776)
Don't run from the word Andy.

I'm not running from the c-word. But as you can see by the comments here, it's a word with a rather subjective definition, meaning different things to different people. To me (if maybe only to me) the key distinction is whether an action violates the ethical consensus of the game, not whether it's legal or illegal, or whether it's ethical or unethical by standards that have nothing to do with the game's history and traditions.

And what you also can't get around is that this ethical consensus is itself subjective, even if most fans, players and writers happen to hold to it in the examples I cited in #27 above. If this weren't the case, people wouldn't be arguing about the ethics of pitch framing**, and Barry Bonds would've sailed into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

** Or BITD, about phantom tags, just to cite another example
   33. KronicFatigue Posted: July 29, 2018 at 08:00 PM (#5717777)
nearly every close pitch is both a strike and a ball depending on where the umpire considers the plane of the plate.


Is pitch framing usually a north/south thing, or is it equally done on outside pitches that never cross the plane, and are tucked back inside to look like a strike?
   34. Walt Davis Posted: July 30, 2018 at 02:40 AM (#5717835)
To maintain philosophical exactitude and in light of subsequent discussion, I will modify my early statement.

Pitch framing is even lower on the cheating totem pole than the old neighborhood play. The rule book clearly states that the fielder must hold the bag when receiving the ball to record a force out so not doing so is, in some unnecessarily strict sense, a violation of the rule. To my knowledge, there is no written rule that pitch framing violates. It is clearly a violation of the spirit in that its intent is to deceive the umpire ... and maybe there is a rule about that.

This brings the deeper philosophical question of whether unenforced rules are really rules at all. It is not the infielder's fault that the umpire calls the runner at second out even though the infielder is clearly not on the bag -- and in many cases, it would have been impossible for the umpire not to have noticed. An informal rule had been established that you didn't have to hold the bag and it's not clear that it is "cheating" to play by the informal or enforced rule book. See also the history of the official and actual strike zones which should be memorialized on Tom Glavine's HoF plaque. See also travelling in the NBA.

Depending on one's authoritarian bent, we might also consider that the purpose of the neighborhood play was, at least superficially, the safety of the infielder. In contrast, the purpose of pitch framing is solely to gain a competitive advantage. One might then argue that it is in fact worse than the neighborhood play.

Especially in sports, I consider it generally ethical to play by the enforced rule book, at least if it is widely agreed-upon what the unwritten modification is. Generally speaking it is not quite the same as speeding when there are no cops around because, in sports, there's always a cop around. (Even so ... if, as was my experience back in the day, the rural VA State Trooper could not be bothered to come after you as long as you were no more than 9 MPH over the limit then, by golly, the speed limit whether a Trooper was around or not, was 9 MPH over the limit.) I am less understanding if it is a particular umpire being taken advantage of -- I think here more of football where, as an offensive lineman, sometimes I could get away with pretty obvious holding the entire game ... I was doing it because I knew I could get away with it this game. I am even less tolerant when safety is at stake -- again probably more relevant to football or other contact sports where, say, spearing is unethical regardless of whether the refs will call it.

Anyway, it remains that pitch framing is mighty low on the list of ethical concerns in baseball. Granted, one of the nice things about baseball is that there's not very much that is of substantial ethical concern in any absolute sense. Players are rarely seriously hurt by other players and even more rarely intentionally.
   35. Adam Starblind Posted: July 30, 2018 at 06:57 AM (#5717850)
But A-Rod did cheat, because the rules against steroids and other drugs were formally in place when he tested positive.


Did A-Rod cheat by yelling "I got it!" while running the bases in hopes the fielder would drop the popup?

Semantics here, but to my mind something does have to be illegal to be cheating. The rules are what they are. Don't break em. If the rules allow a practice that violates the spirit of the game, change em. Anything else to my mind verges over into "plays the game the right way" hooey.
   36. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 30, 2018 at 07:51 AM (#5717856)
But A-Rod did cheat, because the rules against steroids and other drugs were formally in place when he tested positive.

Did A-Rod cheat by yelling "I got it!" while running the bases in hopes the fielder would drop the popup?


Others here can tell you whether there was a specific rule against what he did. If there had been such a rule in place at the time of the incident, then he was indeed cheating. Otherwise, not.

As an ethical violation, on one level it was so trivial that it went unpunished, but on another level it was serious enough to get a huge amount of negative reaction to the point where I've yet to hear of another instance of it in the 11 years since it happened.
   37. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: July 30, 2018 at 10:06 AM (#5717900)

I do think there is a clear line difference between the two personally... one is active, one is passive. One is outright lying

Yeah, this is basically where I come out (not sure I agree with everything else in cfb's post).

I mean, I don't really think that pretending to get hit by a pitch is "cheating" either, since it's not illegal and it's a fairly accepted part of the game. It's similar to an outfielder who traps the ball holding it up as though he's caught it. But I can understand the argument that these things are dishonest--lying to the umpire--and therefore "cheating".

Pitch framing isn't even that, however. It's not lying. The catcher isn't calling out "strike" or arguing when he doesn't get the call. It's merely catching the ball in a certain way as to maximize the likelihood that it gets called a strike.
   38. kthejoker Posted: July 30, 2018 at 10:18 AM (#5717903)
Calling a pitch a ball or strike is deemed a "judgment call" by the rules. So there is absolutely no way pitch framing is cheating, as it implies a pitch is objectively a strike or ball when that is 100% not the case, even one 4 feet outside can be called a strike by the umpire.
   39. Zonk qualifies as an invasive species Posted: July 30, 2018 at 10:32 AM (#5717909)
Bottom line: Complaining about pitch framing without offering an actual solution for it is nothing but pissing in the wind.

Is that what goes on here? Problem-solving?


Meh.

Robot Umps.

There.

You're welcome, the solution has been provided. People may now feel free to debate the morality of it.
   40. Adam Starblind Posted: July 30, 2018 at 10:34 AM (#5717910)
Was Eddie Gaedel a cheater?
   41. SoSH U at work Posted: July 30, 2018 at 10:42 AM (#5717916)
Calling a pitch a ball or strike is deemed a "judgment call" by the rules. So there is absolutely no way pitch framing is cheating, as it implies a pitch is objectively a strike or ball when that is 100% not the case, even one 4 feet outside can be called a strike by the umpire.


The same can be said about trapping a ball or not getting hit with a pitch or any other judgment call an umpire makes. I don't think that gets us anywhere. If you pull the ball back over the plate*, just as if you hold up a ball you know you trapped, or pretend to get hit when the ball hits the bat handle, your intent is the same in each instance - to lead the umpire to a certain call that the play didn't warrant. Yes, there's a little more ambiguity in the strike/ball call than in trap/not trap, HPB/air, but like all elements of the word that scares Andy, that just puts it lower on the scale.

*As opposed to the aforementioned legitimate way of framing.

Was Eddie Gaedel a cheater?



No, nor should the league preclude little people from playing. It's unnecessary.

   42. BDC Posted: July 30, 2018 at 11:01 AM (#5717923)
This is probably implicit in many of the comments above, but: what's a catcher supposed to do? Catch the ball awkwardly so that it doesn't look like a strike? I find it hard to see "framing" as even a mild violation of the spirit of any rule.
   43. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 30, 2018 at 11:21 AM (#5717934)
Is that what goes on here? Problem-solving?

Meh.

Robot Umps.

There.

You're welcome, the solution has been provided.


Make my coke Mexican, zonk.
   44. PreservedFish Posted: July 30, 2018 at 11:39 AM (#5717952)
Cheating exists on a continuum, and the subtle movement of the catcher trying to steal a strike is fairly low.


I find this idea interesting and surprising. I would have said that there's a clean line between cheating and not-cheating, at least theoretically. But I may be incorrect.
   45. SoSH U at work Posted: July 30, 2018 at 11:53 AM (#5717960)
I find this idea interesting and surprising. I would have said that there's a clean line between cheating and not-cheating, at least theoretically. But I may be incorrect.


I think the problem with the clean line (say, defined by specifically outlawed/not prohibited is you get into a situation where an emery board in your back pocket is cheating, but Gilloolying the opposing starting pitcher is not. I think it makes much more sense and requires far fewer twists and turns than Andy's explanation to simply describe cheating as trying to get an edge you're not fully entitled to or some breach of competitive ethics, and then allowing that there are many gradations from there.
   46. Adam Starblind Posted: July 30, 2018 at 12:12 PM (#5717966)
Gilloolying 


Help me out here.
   47. SoSH U at work Posted: July 30, 2018 at 12:15 PM (#5717967)
Help me out here.


Tonya Harding's ex-husband.
   48. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 30, 2018 at 12:56 PM (#5717984)
I think it makes much more sense and requires far fewer twists and turns than Andy's explanation to simply describe cheating as trying to get an edge you're not fully entitled to or some breach of competitive ethics, and then allowing that there are many gradations from there.

So what examples would go under "fully entitled" or "not fully entitled"? Or go under "breach of competitive ethics"? And if a practice has been implicitly accepted** for many years, does that enter into the equation? Without some sort of a casebook to spell out those sorts of distinctions, you're just going to wind up in a sea of subjectivity.

** Pitch framing; holding up a glove on a trapped ball before replay came along; amps BITD
   49. SoSH U at work Posted: July 30, 2018 at 01:07 PM (#5717991)
So what examples would go under "fully entitled" or "not fully entitled"?


Anything we've been describing would qualify as not fully entitled. If you hold up a ball you know you didn't catch, you are trying to get an out you didn't earn. Same as if you put grease on the ball or shoot yourself up with horse semen before the game. All of them are escalating examples of trying to get an edge that fair play alone doesn't warrant. It actually doesn't require the subjectivity and twists and turns that you're explanation above did. It all falls under a single umbrella, and then we can rate each according to its effect/acceptance/punishment (if any). But you don't end up with the ridiculous situation that I noted in 45.
   50. Buck Coats Posted: July 30, 2018 at 01:25 PM (#5718003)
shoot yourself up with horse semen before the game


What if you manage to get it inside of you without needing an injection, is that still cheating?

Asking for a friend
   51. SoSH U at work Posted: July 30, 2018 at 01:47 PM (#5718012)
What if you manage to get it inside of you without needing an injection, is that still cheating?


No, that's just a beautiful thing.
   52. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 30, 2018 at 01:58 PM (#5718018)
So what examples would go under "fully entitled" or "not fully entitled"?

Anything we've been describing would qualify as not fully entitled. If you hold up a ball you know you didn't catch, you are trying to get an out you didn't earn. Same as if you put grease on the ball or shoot yourself up with horse semen before the game. All of them are escalating examples of trying to get an edge that fair play alone doesn't warrant. It actually doesn't require the subjectivity and twists and turns that you're explanation above did. It all falls under a single umbrella, and then we can rate each according to its effect/acceptance/punishment (if any). But you don't end up with the ridiculous situation that I noted in 45.


But all you've done there is to shift the subjectivity from "is it or isn't it cheating?" to "how serious are each of these violations?" And you're not a single inch closer to determining what to do about them than you were before you categorized them all as cheating.

By contrast, placing these violations in an "ethical consensus" framework gives us a concrete historical template for deciding how MLB should address them. And it's clear that by looking at that history, deke moves such as pitch framing aren't even close to being considered ethical violations, even if it may be considered "cheating" under the "not fully entitled" standard you offer above.

Bottom line is that nomenclature questions are better suited to a philosophy class than they are to determining how baseball's rules should be written.

And again, if you actually want to do something about pitch framing, Robo Umps are your only real world solution.
   53. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 30, 2018 at 02:00 PM (#5718020)
What if you manage to get it inside of you without needing an injection, is that still cheating?

No, that's just a beautiful thing.

Or a particularly disgusting milkshake flavor.

EDIT: I hope Ray doesn't flag that comment as homophobic, but with Ray you never know.
   54. Hysterical & Useless Posted: July 30, 2018 at 02:06 PM (#5718021)
If the umpire is looking at the catcher's glove to determine whether the pitch is a ball or a strike, he's got no business being an umpire. Determination is supposed to be made based on where the ball crosses the plate, not where it ends up 4 feet later. Fire 'em all, bring on the robots.

I'm a little grumpy today I think.
   55. Rusty Priske Posted: July 30, 2018 at 02:12 PM (#5718023)
Cheating is an overstatement, but it certainly shouldn't be a 'skill'.

It IS a skill, but it shouldn't be.

That is on the umpires and the biggest reason why balls & strikes should be called by a machine.
   56. SoSH U at work Posted: July 30, 2018 at 02:15 PM (#5718027)
And you're not a single inch closer to determining what to do about them than you were before you categorized them all as cheating.


We already know what to do about them. We don't need a solution to the problem of what happens when the guy holds the ball up when he didn't catch it, because no one considers it a problem.

Ultimately, how you deal with violations is an entirely separate matter. As it's always been.

In contrast, you're the last living* Union solidier, who have railed against those dirty, stinking (apparently non-cheating) bastards, but you want to keep them out of the Hall of Fame because they violated whatever that description above you offered that desperately avoided employing the one word that actually describes their actions.

* At least alive in the BTF sense.
   57. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 30, 2018 at 02:26 PM (#5718037)
What if you manage to get it inside of you without needing an injection, is that still cheating?
They had plenty of other evidence against ARod.
   58. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: July 30, 2018 at 03:32 PM (#5718079)
Calling a pitch a ball or strike is deemed a "judgment call" by the rules. So there is absolutely no way pitch framing is cheating, as it implies a pitch is objectively a strike or ball when that is 100% not the case, even one 4 feet outside can be called a strike by the umpire.

You misapprehend what that term means. It doesn't imply there are no objective standards, it simply differentiates a mistaken call from a misapplication of a rule.
   59. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 30, 2018 at 03:45 PM (#5718082)
And both are working within the rules (there is no rule against pretending to be hit).


That depends on whether you see the rulebook as proscriptive (you can do anything that the rules don't specifically prohibit) or descriptive (you can do what the rules say you can, but nothing beyond that).
   60. SoSH U at work Posted: July 30, 2018 at 05:12 PM (#5718122)
That depends on whether you see the rulebook as proscriptive (you can do anything that the rules don't specifically prohibit) or descriptive (you can do what the rules say you can, but nothing beyond that).


Then both aren't. It doesn't change the basic point there.
   61. Greg Pope Posted: July 30, 2018 at 09:41 PM (#5718239)
Do we even know yet what pitch framing actually is? There seem to be two prevailing thoughts, and we end up talking past each other sometimes.

1. Pitch is caught somewhere around the edge of the strike zone. The catcher pulls the glove slightly toward the strike zone after catching the ball. The thought is that the umpire sees where the mitt is and calls a strike. Catchers who do this subtly are granted more strike calls than those who don't do it at all, or are too obvious.
2. Pitch is caught somewhere around the edge of the strike zone. The catcher might have set up right there, so doesn't have to move his glove at all to catch the ball. Or the catcher is good at subtly moving the glove so the umpire doesn't notice. Catchers who do this are granted more strike calls than those who have to lunge for the same pitch. The lunging probably causes the umpire to call it a ball.


I think that traditionally, #1 has been called pitch framing. But to me, it makes no sense. As Hysterical says in 54, who actually thinks that an umpire takes the time to look at the glove before making a call? Can they even see the glove itself? #2 is the only one that makes sense. But I don't know if anyone has looked it. From my knowledge, the numbers come from analysis of calls being compared to Pitch/FX. So we may know the value, and know who's good, but do we know why? I'd think you'd have to watch a lot of video to determine that. And it would still basically be anecdotal.


But in any case, we should probably be calling these 2 separate things when we discuss. For example, there's no way that #2 could be considered cheating. But #1 certainly could, if you were so inclined.
   62. SoSH U at work Posted: July 30, 2018 at 09:53 PM (#5718250)
But in any case, we should probably be calling these 2 separate things when we discuss. For example, there's no way that #2 could be considered cheating. But #1 certainly could, if you were so inclined.


This is what I said back in 7. Catchers of all types routinely try to pull the mitt back into the zone on pitches outside it, which is what folks are often talking about when the subject is pitch framing. And that is absolutely an attempt to pull something over on the man in blue. But I don't think that's what successful pitch framing truly is.

To me, successful pitch framing is catching the ball with no to limited movement so that it appears the pitch hit the target.

And yes, simply catching the ball quietly can not be described as cheating, regardless how liberal a definition of cheating you want to employ. When I was talking about "cheating" I was referring to the practice of pulling the mitt, even though I don't believe those attempts actually amount to anything.

   63. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 30, 2018 at 11:03 PM (#5718283)
And you're not a single inch closer to determining what to do about them than you were before you categorized them all as cheating.

We already know what to do about them. We don't need a solution to the problem of what happens when the guy holds the ball up when he didn't catch it, because no one considers it a problem.


If it's not a problem----and I agree 100% with you on that----then why do you feel impelled to call it cheating, as you do when you look at your comments in #45 and #49?

In contrast, you're the last living* Union solidier, who have railed against those dirty, stinking (apparently non-cheating) bastards, but you want to keep them out of the Hall of Fame because they violated whatever that description above you offered that desperately avoided employing the one word that actually describes their actions

I'm not "desperately" avoiding calling them cheaters. I just don't think they cheated, unless they violated an existing rule, which they didn't until testing was introduced. But if you want to call them cheaters, be my guest.

The truth is that with the exception of pre-testing proven or admitted steroid use, we don't disagree about what to do about any of these violations.** The only difference is that you call some of them "cheating" while I don't, and I don't see why it matters one way or the other what you want to call it. What determines the penalty in the long run is the degree to which the transgression violates the consensual ethics that have been built up over the years.***

** And there my only wish is that they be kept out of the Hall of Fame. Period. And as you may remember from many steroids threads, my standards of proof are considerably higher than hearsay or backne. I'd vote for Clemens and Sosa.

*** Though over time a consensus may change, as it did with amps.
   64. SoSH U at work Posted: July 30, 2018 at 11:26 PM (#5718297)
If it's not a problem----and I agree 100% with you on that----then why do you feel impelled to call it cheating, as you do when you look at your comments in #45 and #49?


The first part of your sentence has no relation to the second. Cheating describes a series of actions that all have the same foundation, but that range from mild to cataclysmic (which, obviously, is already the case regardless whether you want to throw your foolish "only that which is specifically against the rules" caveat in there, a condition that leads you into your bizarre twists and turns and multiple asterisked items because you're afraid of applying the Scarlet C). And the fact that you even have a specific punishment in mind for an activity that you can't bring yourself to call cheating highlights the absurdity of your position.
   65. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 30, 2018 at 11:50 PM (#5718310)
No point in continuing an argument in which we're talking past each other while not even disagreeing on what should be done about all but one of the named violations. Why you think I'm "afraid" of calling something "cheating" is just one of those quirks of internet rhetoric that I've learned to live with. At least you're not going the full Ray-Ray and calling me "dishonest", so I suppose I should be grateful for that.
   66. SoSH U at work Posted: July 31, 2018 at 12:03 AM (#5718317)
Why you think I'm "afraid" of calling something "cheating" is just one of those quirks of internet rhetoric that I've learned to live with.


Yeah, like saying we're talking past each other.

But, I'll agree there's no point in going any further.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
greenback slays lewks
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogIndians' Trevor Bauer pleads his own Cy Young case using a spreadsheet on Twitter
(10 - 8:52am, Nov 16)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

NewsblogYelich, Betts Win MVPs
(42 - 8:51am, Nov 16)
Last: Random Transaction Generator

NewsblogMarlins get rid of orange, cite South Florida cultures with new look
(10 - 8:41am, Nov 16)
Last: bfan

NewsblogOT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (November 2018)
(387 - 8:31am, Nov 16)
Last: McCoy

NewsblogFox Sports inks multi-year rights agreement with Major League Baseball
(24 - 7:40am, Nov 16)
Last: The Duke

NewsblogSale of Baseball Prospectus
(238 - 7:24am, Nov 16)
Last: McCoy

NewsblogZack Greinke trade makes sense for these teams
(31 - 2:50am, Nov 16)
Last: shoewizard

NewsblogOT - NBA Thread (2018-19 season kickoff edition)
(2322 - 1:59am, Nov 16)
Last: tshipman

NewsblogJoe Mauer Retires After 15 Seasons
(72 - 12:43am, Nov 16)
Last: Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant

NewsblogPirates acquire three players in trade with Tribe
(22 - 9:20pm, Nov 15)
Last: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad)

NewsblogRickey Won't Quit
(12 - 9:15pm, Nov 15)
Last: base ball chick

Sox TherapyThe Greatest Red Sox Team...EVER!!!!
(76 - 8:14pm, Nov 15)
Last: villageidiom

NewsblogAL Central Offseason Preview
(9 - 7:41pm, Nov 15)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogOT: Soccer Thread (2018-19 season begins!)
(1213 - 7:22pm, Nov 15)
Last: Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB)

NewsblogManny Machado: Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner wants 'essential' chat
(13 - 6:47pm, Nov 15)
Last: Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington

Page rendered in 0.5685 seconds
46 querie(s) executed