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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

MLB umpires missed 34,294 ball-strike calls in 2018, study shows

“”(T)hroughout its history, MLB has protected its error-prone umpires, resisted adopting strong performance measurements, and not taken advantage of available technology that could better the game. At a time of autonomous cars and machine learning, MLB needs to embrace useful change. … Given how MLB is heavily dependent on performance statistics when evaluating players, it is surprising the league has been sluggish to apply similar rigor to umpire hiring, promotion, and retention.”

“Younger MLB umpires missed fewer ball-strike calls, but umpires on the whole got an average of 14 per game, or 1.6 per inning, wrong in 2018, according to a new study from Boston University. ”

Hank Gillette Posted: April 10, 2019 at 07:56 AM | 199 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: strike zone, umpires

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   1. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: April 10, 2019 at 09:45 AM (#5830354)
Good report. Dumb conclusion. Nobody is surprised that Joe West has the most bad calls.

There is a strike-zone blind spot in the top right and top left of the zone


The strike zone is TAUGHT that way at the major umpiring schools. Basically, the strike zone is taught as a sort of vertical octagon. (ASCII art attempt follows)

_
/ \
| |
| |
\_/
   2. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 10, 2019 at 09:52 AM (#5830355)
I hope we go to roboumps soon. I have no doubt it will be the smash success that instant replay has been and improve the game dramatically!
   3. BrianBrianson Posted: April 10, 2019 at 10:00 AM (#5830359)
The bad call rates ranged from 7%-11%, for those who know the total of bad calls without the total number of calls is pretty meaningless.

Really, I'd rather see a weighted number, where a strike that's 0.4 angstroms out of the zone isn't weighted the same as a strike call that bounces four times on its way in. But some numbers are better than none.
   4. PreservedFish Posted: April 10, 2019 at 10:35 AM (#5830373)
10% is not good. I'm surprised it's that high.
   5. BrianBrianson Posted: April 10, 2019 at 10:50 AM (#5830381)
Is it not good? What if the median distance a called strike/ball is out/in the zone is a quarter inch? Pitchers are usually aiming for the corners - they're trying to throw pitches you should be 50/50 on. Given that all the human umpires are around the same mark, I don't think it's unreasonable to guess it's essentially the best a human can do.
   6. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 10, 2019 at 10:53 AM (#5830383)
Good comments Brian. My sentiments exactly.
   7. PreservedFish Posted: April 10, 2019 at 10:56 AM (#5830384)
You make a good argument, Brianson.
   8. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 10, 2019 at 11:04 AM (#5830389)
I also don't have complete faith that the study correctly determined whether every single one of the 4 million pitches under study was a ball or a strike. Such things are not always cut and dried, even to robot umps.
   9. bobm Posted: April 10, 2019 at 11:12 AM (#5830391)
The bad call rates ranged from 7%-11%, for those who know the total of bad calls without the total number of calls is pretty meaningless.

The story is even more misleading:

From https://www.bu.edu/today/2019/mlb-umpires-strike-zone-accuracy/

The error rate for MLB umpires over the last decade (2008-2018) averaged 12.78 percent. For certain strike counts and pitch locations, as discussed earlier, the error rate was much higher. Some years, the incorrect call ratio exceeded 15 percent. In 2018, it was at 9.21 percent. And while MLB might attempt to highlight this trend as a sign of strong umpiring, to the contrary, if there are ways to push error rates even lower–through better hiring practices and integrating useful technology–it should be adopted. [Bold added]

MLB Overall Bad Call Ratio (%) For All Home Plate Umpires

2008 [...] 16.36
2009 [...] 15.31
2010 [...] 14.25 
2011 [...] 13.98
2012 [...] 13.52
2013 [...] 12.61
2014 [...] 12.17
2015 [...] 11.66
2016 [...] 11.20
2017 [...] 10.25
2018 [...]  9.21



   10. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 10, 2019 at 11:17 AM (#5830392)

Yes, good comments Brian. I would love to see whether umpires were consistent as well. An umpire who has a big area of 50/50 pitches is worse, IMO, than an umpire whose zone may not match up exactly with the MLB defined strike zone but you can clearly differentiate what's a 90/10 pitch vs. a 10/90 pitch.
   11. BrianBrianson Posted: April 10, 2019 at 01:24 PM (#5830446)
Well, except the data bobm posted suggests humans can do better, since they've been improving. So, maybe I shouldn't think I know how well humans can do. Maybe we've hit the limit, but looking at #9, I'd guess probably not.
   12. . Posted: April 10, 2019 at 01:53 PM (#5830457)
The numbers are way too high given the wildly divergent player performance based on better and worse counts. (*) Once players began routinely and strategically taking pitches for taking's sake and the decades-long norm of swinging and trying to hit all decent pitches went away, human umpires became essentially untenable.

(*) If players performed just as well on 1-2 as they did on 2-1, there would be really no reason to give a ####.
   13. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: April 10, 2019 at 02:07 PM (#5830469)
Is it not good? What if the median distance a called strike/ball is out/in the zone is a quarter inch? Pitchers are usually aiming for the corners - they're trying to throw pitches you should be 50/50 on.

That might be the spot they are aiming for. But it isn't the spot they are hitting. MLB pitchers can't put each pitch in a teacup every time. I would be shocked if a large majority of pitches aren't >2 inches from the edge of the zone one way or another.

Umpires are probably not doing much better than coin flips on actually borderline calls.

But for sure I would like to see an actual brakedown of percentages by distance.
   14. John M. Perkins Posted: April 10, 2019 at 02:07 PM (#5830471)
From my ump schooling way back then, umps conceded high and away pitches. We lined up on the high inside corner and focused on low and away. Theoretically that gave us three corners, but high and away was messed up by the catcher.
   15. TDF, trained monkey Posted: April 10, 2019 at 03:06 PM (#5830508)
I think umps are generally much better than they're given credit for.

***

I was thinking about roboumps earlier. Other than balls/strikes and fair/foul (which doesn't seem to be much of an issue), is there anything they could do even as well as humans?
   16. Kiko Sakata Posted: April 10, 2019 at 03:30 PM (#5830518)
Is it not good? ... I don't think it's unreasonable to guess it's essentially the best a human can do.


The answer to the question depends on the implicit "compared to what". I'm sure that major-league umpires are the best ball-strike callers available among the human race. But if the best a human can do is only, say, 93% accuracy, then even if current technology can only get you 95% accuracy from robot umpires, that's still a pretty compelling argument to me for the robo-umps. If humans CAN'T be perfect, then robo-umps don't need to be perfect to be an improvement.
   17. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: April 10, 2019 at 03:36 PM (#5830524)
I was thinking about roboumps earlier. Other than balls/strikes and fair/foul (which doesn't seem to be much of an issue), is there anything they could do even as well as humans?

Depends how far you stretch the "robo" part. If you are just relying on cameras, it is trickier. But you can put pressure sensors inside the bases, shoes, gloves, then suddenly pretty much all safe/out calls are pretty straightforward.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: April 10, 2019 at 04:59 PM (#5830573)
I'm not gonna read the article (cuz I don't particularly care) but I assume they are judging this vs pitch/fx or whatever ... but doesn't that have a pretty high tolerance on accuracy too, like +/- an inch or more? As such this would be agree/disagree with pitch/fx rather than setting pitch/fx as "correct."
   19. Dog on the sidewalk has an ugly bracelet Posted: April 10, 2019 at 05:16 PM (#5830578)
Pitch f/x for older games and Statcast for the last couple years.

The more interesting study would be to go and actually look at all the pitches where the computers and the humans disagreed. Though, I don't think it'd actally be too interesting, as I'd be shocked if humans weren't responsible for the vast majority of flagrantly incorrect calls.
   20. TDF, trained monkey Posted: April 10, 2019 at 05:55 PM (#5830590)
But you can put pressure sensors inside the bases, shoes, gloves, then suddenly pretty much all safe/out calls are pretty straightforward.
What about tags? What about things like balks, the occasional missed base, catcher's interference, or interference on the basepaths? HBPs?

What happens when the Russians hack into the MLB computers that run the software for all of those sensors? Or, like happened to me just yesterday, the WiFi router decides to just quit?

But seriously, look at the data in #9. Humans have been constantly improving over the past 10 seasons (and once Joe West and Angel Hernandez are gone...); there's no reason they can't improve a bit further - but even if they can't, 93% correct is probably pretty close to what robots can do without the cost of the other problems.
   21. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: April 10, 2019 at 07:20 PM (#5830618)
What about tags? What about things like balks, the occasional missed base, catcher's interference, or interference on the basepaths? HBPs?

Well you asked if there was anything they could do as well as humans, not everything. But of those, missed bases are easily detected by pressure sensors in the bases. Tags and catcher's interference, with sensors in gloves. For the others, I am not an expert on machine learning by any means, but I think you would be surprised what else could be managed using deep learning, if they put the time and effort into designing it properly.

But sure, I am not suggesting getting completely rid of umps in any case.

But seriously, look at the data in #9. Humans have been constantly improving over the past 10 seasons (and once Joe West and Angel Hernandez are gone...); there's no reason they can't improve a bit further - but even if they can't, 93% correct is probably pretty close to what robots can do without the cost of the other problems.

What, in the sense that 93% is pretty close to 100%?

I think that stems from the false baseline, that 93% is actually good, when the majority of calls are gimmies. 93% is an awful fielding percentage for an outfielder.

What happens when the Russians hack into the MLB computers that run the software for all of those sensors? Or, like happened to me just yesterday, the WiFi router decides to just quit?

You turn it off and back on again, duh.
   22. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: April 10, 2019 at 11:33 PM (#5830710)
But seriously, look at the data in #9. Humans have been constantly improving over the past 10 seasons (and once Joe West and Angel Hernandez are gone...); there's no reason they can't improve a bit further - but even if they can't, 93% correct is probably pretty close to what robots can do without the cost of the other problems.


What other problems are you referring to?
   23. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: April 10, 2019 at 11:40 PM (#5830711)
The answer to the question depends on the implicit "compared to what". I'm sure that major-league umpires are the best ball-strike callers available among the human race. But if the best a human can do is only, say, 93% accuracy, then even if current technology can only get you 95% accuracy from robot umpires, that's still a pretty compelling argument to me for the robo-umps. If humans CAN'T be perfect, then robo-umps don't need to be perfect to be an improvement.


Bias could still be a problem. If the computer ump always makes the same categorical mistake (strikes called balls or vice versus) because of a bias in its programming, then a slightly less accurate human ump that makes random mistakes would probably be better.
   24. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: April 11, 2019 at 05:08 AM (#5830732)
Bias could still be a problem. If the computer ump always makes the same categorical mistake (strikes called balls or vice versus) because of a bias in its programming, then a slightly less accurate human ump that makes random mistakes would probably be better.

Except we already know that real umpires have a biased strikezone. That is why players need to learn the strikezone of each umpire, and pitchers and hitters need to figure out "he's not giving me that pitch" and things like that.
   25. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 11, 2019 at 06:07 AM (#5830734)
MLB umpires missed 34,294 ball-strike calls in 2018, study shows


I was at that game!
   26. Lassus Posted: April 11, 2019 at 08:19 AM (#5830739)
That is why players need to learn the strikezone of each umpire, and pitchers and hitters need to figure out "he's not giving me that pitch" and things like that.

Am I the only one who actually likes this and thinks it's important? I'm all in favor of the league producing better umpires, and I'm fine with them canning those who suck. But I WANT humanity in my baseball, warts and all - I want that narrative. Unless the robot umps evolve into the AI that finally builds the FTL and/or wormhole drives, I don't find the almost manic need expressed here and elsewhere for nanometers and electronic superseeing to determine the path of my fandom compelling.
   27. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: April 11, 2019 at 08:30 AM (#5830743)
I absolutely want humanity in my baseball. It's asinine to suggest otherwise. BUT, I want the humanity to be between the pitcher and the hitter. I want the duel between the two, the strategy, the pitch sequencing, and the execution, with the better player coming out ahead. That is the essence of what is compelling about baseball, that duel, that confrontation between pitcher and hitter.

I don't ####### want them to try and have to guess what the hell the umpire is thinking, based on whether he has to catch an early flight that night or not, or because he ate too much at the buffet. I don't want a batter doing an amazing job laying off a nasty slider, that misses 2 inches down and away, after fouling off 4 pitches to stay alive, and then getting called out on strikes, instead of earning a walk.
That doesn't add humanity to the duel between to players, it takes it fucking away. It turns what is a celebration of human ability into a farce.
   28. TDF, trained monkey Posted: April 11, 2019 at 08:39 AM (#5830745)
But sure, I am not suggesting getting completely rid of umps in any case.
So what, just have them run out onto the field when it looks like there might be a play they're needed on?
But seriously, look at the data in #9. Humans have been constantly improving over the past 10 seasons (and once Joe West and Angel Hernandez are gone...); there's no reason they can't improve a bit further - but even if they can't, 93% correct is probably pretty close to what robots can do without the cost of the other problems.

What, in the sense that 93% is pretty close to 100%?
No, in the sense that robots aren't going to get to 100% either.

We seem to be OK with really good officiating in every other spectator sport, and I would guess that no other sport gets as many calls right as baseball does (how many fouls are missed in the NBA? Holding penalties in the NFL?) Why is there this overriding need to get every single call exactly right in baseball?
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 11, 2019 at 09:19 AM (#5830751)
Is it not good? What if the median distance a called strike/ball is out/in the zone is a quarter inch? Pitchers are usually aiming for the corners - they're trying to throw pitches you should be 50/50 on.

Yes. The study should have thrown out any pitches that were +/- 1-2 inches from being correct. A mistake by an inch isn't really a mistake.
   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 11, 2019 at 09:21 AM (#5830752)
Why is there this overriding need to get every single call exactly right in baseball?

I've asked this many times. Blown calls just don't bother me.
   31. Lassus Posted: April 11, 2019 at 09:24 AM (#5830754)
That doesn't add humanity to the duel between to players, it takes it ####### away. It turns what is a celebration of human ability into a farce.
It has never "turned into" a farce. The game you loved was this farce when you learned to love it, and when your father loved it, and when everyone else who has loved it, and has been the same farce for 150 years.

I want the duel between the two, the strategy, the pitch sequencing, and the execution, with the better player coming out ahead.
This still happens, and has never stopped happening.

to guess what the hell the umpire is thinking, based on whether he has to catch an early flight that night or not, or because he ate too much at the buffet
Oversell, and barely notable.


I grok the annoyance with incompetence, and I'm fully on board with better umpiring. I disagree that the striving for strikes by microns improves baseball in any way.
   32. Lassus Posted: April 11, 2019 at 09:27 AM (#5830755)
Blown calls just don't bother me.

I'll even disagree with this. They DO bother me. But as Omar said, all in the game, the cost of doing business.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 11, 2019 at 09:32 AM (#5830757)
I'll even disagree with this. They DO bother me. But as Omar said, all in the game, the cost of doing business.

Well, they bother me when they hurt my team, and I like them when they help my team. It's like a fielder dropping a routine pop up. It shouldn't decide a game, but it does, because sometimes people eff-up. It's zero sum though; one side is mad/sad the other side is happy.
   34. . Posted: April 11, 2019 at 09:37 AM (#5830759)
Disconcur. 2 inches has to be what? 25% of the sweet spit of the bat? More?
   35. PreservedFish Posted: April 11, 2019 at 09:41 AM (#5830760)
That is why players need to learn the strikezone of each umpire, and pitchers and hitters need to figure out "he's not giving me that pitch" and things like that.

I'm comfortable with these things because they're part of the baseball I grew up with, and I don't think they're evil, but I don't think they're actually intrinsically appealing. It's neat that they represent an opportunity for clever players to take advantage of, but the dark side is inconsistent umpiring that nobody benefits from except at random. Baseball would be fine without these traditions.

Why is there this overriding need to get every single call exactly right in baseball?

I strongly dislike the way that replay has inspired us to spend minutes analyzing and debating bang-bang plays, I'd rather tolerate some blown calls than go through all that rigmarole. But I think that if the strikezone calls can be improved without adding delay or distraction - as in the case of a nicely implemented robo-ump - it should be considered.
   36. SoSH U at work Posted: April 11, 2019 at 09:42 AM (#5830762)

Am I the only one who actually likes this and thinks it's important?


No. That's historically been an important element of the sport, knowing where the umpire's strike zone is (requiring the batter and pitcher to pay attention) and adjusting accordingly. Players have long asked only that ump's been consistent from one inning to the next, but are OK if this guy likes the low strike and this guy doesn't like the one up and in.

   37. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: April 11, 2019 at 09:44 AM (#5830763)
and I would guess that no other sport gets as many calls right as baseball does (how many fouls are missed in the NBA? Holding penalties in the NFL?)


I agree but all those other sports have more referee decisions that are judgment calls, or interpretations. Interpretations of intent, or whether one player was interfering with another player sufficiently to affect performance, or the block/charge call in basketball, or a "football move" in football, etc. In baseball the rules try to be quite mechanical and I think the judgment calls are mostly about whether to eject someone from the game.
   38. Lassus Posted: April 11, 2019 at 09:47 AM (#5830764)
I strongly dislike the way that replay has inspired us to spend minutes analyzing and debating bang-bang plays, I'd rather tolerate some blown calls than go through all that rigmarole. But I think that if the strikezone calls can be improved without adding delay or distraction - as in the case of a nicely implemented robo-ump - it should be considered.

Isn't the implementation of the latter as if it will somehow be appreciably different from the former - when we already have clear evidence to the contrary - the (apocryphal) definition of insanity?
   39. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 11, 2019 at 09:49 AM (#5830765)
Disconcur. 2 inches has to be what? 25% of the sweet spit of the bat? More?

I said 1-2. If you want to go with 1 inch or 1.5 I'm fine with that amendment.

It's less than the width of the ball. No one should really care if a pitch that just catches the black is called a ball, or just misses is called a strike.
   40. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: April 11, 2019 at 09:49 AM (#5830767)
Umpiring is very hard and those in the bigs are among/mostly the best in the world.
I don't get too worked up about missed ball/strike stuff, by and large.
I do want players to have a consistent experience - that's more important than matching the rulebook for balls and strikes.
If we can increase the percentage of correct calls at low cost through cameras and such - why not do it?
If roboumps are used in the bigs and not at lower levels, I wonder if that's going to make transitioning between levels harder.
   41. PreservedFish Posted: April 11, 2019 at 09:52 AM (#5830771)
Isn't the implementation of the latter as if it will somehow be appreciably different from the former - when we already have clear evidence to the contrary - the (apocryphal) definition of insanity?


Yes, it's probably insane to expect a proper implementation. They will probably do a ridiculous tennis-style challenge system.
   42. SoSH U at work Posted: April 11, 2019 at 10:05 AM (#5830776)
If roboumps are used in the bigs and not at lower levels, I wonder if that's going to make transitioning between levels harder.


That's long been a concern of mine. Both from the developmental and philosophical levels (I like the game at the big league level being more consistent with how it's played all the way up the line).

   43. . Posted: April 11, 2019 at 10:18 AM (#5830779)
High school tennis courts don’t have the cameras and typically the players there and in college make their own line calls. I get the good faith of the concern, but it’s vastly overrated.
   44. SoSH U at work Posted: April 11, 2019 at 10:24 AM (#5830783)

High school tennis courts don’t have the cameras and typically the players there and in college make their own line calls. I get the good faith of the concern, but it’s vastly overrated.


Yes, I know, tennis is one sport where the game does change considerably when you get to the highest levels. But the way of calling lines at the lower levels is unavoidable, but also ripe for exploitation (boys, primarily, who squeeze their oppponents, leading to contentious matches).

   45. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 11, 2019 at 10:34 AM (#5830786)
If we can increase the percentage of correct calls at low cost through cameras and such - why not do it?


I agree with most of your post but I have two thoughts on this part of it;

1. I'm concerned about unintended consequences. I feel like there is a very good chance that roboumps would change the game dramatically. I don't know HOW but I can see scenarios where we see an even bigger jump in strikeouts and pitcher dominance as any pitch that nicks the plate is a strike every time. Alternatively, without some variance in the strike zone hitters are able to lock in even more than they already do and we will see an offensive explosion.

2. I think there has to be a balance between getting it right and making the game entertaining for fans. I don't think replay has been great in this regard. We almost immediately leapt from "fix the obvious errors" to "let's spend 3 1/2 minutes studying if the player took his foot a millimeter off the base and if he was being tagged at that precise moment. For me (and I think for a lot of people) that's not a trade off worth making. I fear similar nonsense with roboumps on balls and strikes.
   46. Lassus Posted: April 11, 2019 at 10:49 AM (#5830790)
I fear similar nonsense with roboumps on balls and strikes.

And this is what I meant in #38, if rightfully less complicated than the way I expressed it.
   47. Rusty Priske Posted: April 11, 2019 at 11:07 AM (#5830795)
A mistake by less than an inch is still a mistake. It isn't enough to criticize the umpire over, but it is still wrong.

Not wanting the calls to be right confuses me. Robo-umps for balls & strikes would make the game better. (Yes, like instant replay made the game better... though it clearly needs work.)
   48. Lassus Posted: April 11, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5830798)
Robo-umps for balls & strikes would make the game better.

This is subjective, not empirical.
   49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 11, 2019 at 11:33 AM (#5830800)
A mistake by less than an inch is still a mistake.

No, it's not. The human eye can't really discern the difference in real time. If you have to look at a slow mo video, or have a computer analyze the path of the ball, to find the "mistake" it's not really a mistake.
   50. JAHV Posted: April 11, 2019 at 12:24 PM (#5830820)
Am I the only one who actually likes this and thinks it's important? I'm all in favor of the league producing better umpires, and I'm fine with them canning those who suck. But I WANT humanity in my baseball, warts and all - I want that narrative. Unless the robot umps evolve into the AI that finally builds the FTL and/or wormhole drives, I don't find the almost manic need expressed here and elsewhere for nanometers and electronic superseeing to determine the path of my fandom compelling.


You are not. I think it makes baseball more interesting that some umpires are hitter's umpires while others favor bigger strike zones. I like that pitch framing is a skill that makes certain catchers more valuable than others. I like that it gives more precise pitchers an advantage if they can figure out where an umpire's zone is. Of course the arguments are tiresome, but there really aren't that many, and it's not often an umpire has a truly bad day where he's making bad call after bad call. I think the game would lose a little bit of something interesting if robo-umps took over the pitch calling.
   51. Rusty Priske Posted: April 11, 2019 at 12:41 PM (#5830826)
No, it's not. The human eye can't really discern the difference in real time. If you have to look at a slow mo video, or have a computer analyze the path of the ball, to find the "mistake" it's not really a mistake.


No, it is still wrong. It is just a wrong you are okay with. Personally, I would prefer that the call actually be correct rather than just acceptable.
   52. . Posted: April 11, 2019 at 12:46 PM (#5830829)
We know too much now and can communicate far more easily. We see the mistakes in ultra slo mo, multiple camera angled hi-definition, we have the data capacity to count the number of mistakes, and most importantly we have the data capacity to measure for mass consumption the wildly divergent performance differences on different ball-strike counts. More knowledge leads to knowingness, and that's a fundamental change from previous generations falling in love with the game. That lack of knowledge we had in the 80s and early 90s was, its now clear, a close cousin to the suspension of disbelief we all carry into the movies in order to enjoy them. (*)

Times have dramatically changed. Baseball will either change with them, or it's in some trouble. I'm a member of its core demographic. I should be spending orders of magnitude more money on the sport than I do -- and I do spend orders of magnitude more on other sports.

(*) I simply cannot abide major league catchers being chosen for their ability to precipitate more bad umpiring calls -- and that literally being a more valued skill than hitting (**) -- and I can't abide so many bad calls knowing that there's such a massive difference between performance on various ball-strike counts. I wish I did not know these things. It's simply not true that knowledge is to be preferred to not-knowledge -- e.g., I have no interest in knowing now if I have an uncurable genetic deficiency that will wind up metastasizing and killing me three decades from now.

(**) This, to me, is Frankenstein's monster come to life.
   53. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 11, 2019 at 12:46 PM (#5830830)
I think it makes baseball more interesting that some umpires are hitter's umpires while others favor bigger strike zones.
In the NFL, do they have refs who are "receivers' refs" and others who are "defenders' refs" on pass interference calls? In the NBA, do the players try to figure out which officials are more prone to calling a charge vs. a foul, and vice versa?
   54. SoSH U at work Posted: April 11, 2019 at 12:50 PM (#5830832)
In the NFL, do they have refs who are "receivers' refs" and others who are "defenders' refs" on pass interference calls? In the NBA, do the players try to figure out which officials are more prone to calling a charge vs. a foul, and vice versa?


I would assume teams in both leagues have been doing this. It would be kind of foolish not to.
   55. PreservedFish Posted: April 11, 2019 at 12:52 PM (#5830834)
Well, we have judges and jurisdictions that are pro-business and such, and that system works flawlessly.
   56. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 11, 2019 at 12:52 PM (#5830835)
Times have dramatically changed. Baseball will either change with them, or it's in some trouble.

Yeah, but missed calls ain't the reason baseball needs to change. Replay has made baseball's biggest problem (pace) worse.
   57. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 11, 2019 at 01:02 PM (#5830838)
I simply cannot abide major league catchers being chosen for their ability to precipitate more bad umpiring calls


You keep repeating this with the smug assurity that it is an accepted known, but it's simply not true. Good framing at best makes it more likely that a borderline pitch will be called a strike. If a batter doesn't want to go down 1-2 on a borderline pitch, he should be swinging. Nobody should complain about having a borderline pitch getting called a strike.
   58. TDF, trained monkey Posted: April 11, 2019 at 01:21 PM (#5830844)
I strongly dislike the way that replay has inspired us to spend minutes analyzing and debating bang-bang plays, I'd rather tolerate some blown calls than go through all that rigmarole.
Not to completely change the conversation, but a radio talking head had an actual compelling idea the other day: Keep replay, get rid of slo-mo. If you can't tell the difference at real speeds, the call wasn't "blown" and shouldn't be overturned.

The problem I have with this is that it seems more difficult to see things on a monitor than in real life - so to see what the ump sees you need slo-mo. Or, I just might have bad eyesight.

Narrator voice: He has bad eyesight.
   59. Brian C Posted: April 11, 2019 at 01:27 PM (#5830846)
In the NFL, do they have refs who are "receivers' refs" and others who are "defenders' refs" on pass interference calls? In the NBA, do the players try to figure out which officials are more prone to calling a charge vs. a foul, and vice versa?

Of course. ESPN has even starting running officiating previews ahead of playoff games that have exactly this kind of info.

It seems inevitable that when officiating in any sport requires judgment calls, you'll get a spectrum of how those calls are made by individual officials.

I'm concerned about unintended consequences. I feel like there is a very good chance that roboumps would change the game dramatically. I don't know HOW but I can see scenarios where we see an even bigger jump in strikeouts and pitcher dominance as any pitch that nicks the plate is a strike every time. Alternatively, without some variance in the strike zone hitters are able to lock in even more than they already do and we will see an offensive explosion.

I get this concern but ultimately I think it's overplayed. Umps do their own thing but some people make it sound like the strike zone is the wild west and it's just not so. Everyone involved would have to make some adjustments but I just don't see it as all that radical because the way it is now isn't really all that terrible.

My best guess is that the best control pitchers would get a bump, and the hitters with the best strike zone judgment would get a bump, but mostly it'll wash out and after a couple years we'd forget we ever spent decades over this argument.




   60. SoSH U at work Posted: April 11, 2019 at 01:29 PM (#5830848)
Keep replay, get rid of slo-mo. If you can't tell the difference at real speeds, the call wasn't "blown" and shouldn't be overturned.


Was that in response to the NCAA championship game where a ball poked away by a Virginia defender grazed the thumb of a Texas Tech player* before going out of bounds, a play that would have resulted in Texas Tech maintaining possession during 41 of the game's 45 minutes, but was reversed here.

Screw replay, in all its variants**.

*Whose arm had been hacked by a different UVa player moments earlier, which, of course, is not reviewable.

** Fine, tennis is mostly OK.
   61. Brian C Posted: April 11, 2019 at 01:32 PM (#5830850)
Not to completely change the conversation, but a radio talking head had an actual compelling idea the other day: Keep replay, get rid of slo-mo. If you can't tell the difference at real speeds, the call wasn't "blown" and shouldn't be overturned.

The problem I have with this is that it seems more difficult to see things on a monitor than in real life - so to see what the ump sees you need slo-mo. Or, I just might have bad eyesight.

This seems unworkable. The whole reason people wanted replay in the first place is that slo-mo made it obvious calls were being missed.

The problem with replay is that everyone wants the calls to be right, but by magic.
   62. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 11, 2019 at 01:33 PM (#5830851)
Was that in response to the NCAA championship game where a ball poked away by a Virginia defender grazed the thumb of a Texas Tech player* before going out of bounds, a play that would have resulted in Texas Tech maintaining possession during 41 of the game's 45 minutes, but was reversed here.

Screw replay, in all its variants**.

*Whose arm had been hacked by a different UVa player moments earlier, which, of course, is not reviewable.

** Fine, tennis is mostly OK.


Concur. The idea that a play is reviewable at the end of the game, but not earlier, is dumb beyond belief. The points all count equally.
   63. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 11, 2019 at 01:45 PM (#5830860)
I firmly believe we need a hard 30 second limit on replays. That would fix the stuff like Galarraga or Todd Helton but it wouldn't dramatically change the game.

To Rusty's point getting every call 100% right is not a feature that makes the bug of long drawn out replays worth it to me. YMMV.
   64. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 11, 2019 at 01:52 PM (#5830863)
a play that would have resulted in Texas Tech maintaining possession during 41 of the game's 45 minutes, but was reversed here.


So, possession plays are reviewed in the last 2 minutes of regulation, and the last 2 minutes of OT only?
   65. pikepredator Posted: April 11, 2019 at 01:56 PM (#5830871)
I like that it gives more precise pitchers an advantage if they can figure out where an umpire's zone is


Agreed. This is why I also love the practice of framing (which has been going on since I was a kid in the 80's - IIRC Tony Pena used to be lauded for it - so I'm certain it has been around much longer). It encourages the battery to study an umpire's tendencies and learn to exploit them . . . find every edge you can. If the idea of framing is distasteful, implement a uniform strike zone and roboumps. But as long as we have humans with variable strike zones, humans with different tendencies, then it's a foolish team that fails to do the extra work to take advantage of that.
   66. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 11, 2019 at 01:57 PM (#5830873)
A mistake by less than an inch is still a mistake. It isn't enough to criticize the umpire over, but it is still wrong.


This presupposes that there is some empirical truth as to whether each individual pitch is a ball or strike, which seems wrong. If a pitch reaches the front of home plate in the strike zone but leaves the strike zone sometime before it crosses the plate, is that a ball or a strike? If a pitch exactly bisects the edge of home plate, is that a ball or a strike? Not even machines are going to agree on every single pitch.
   67. pikepredator Posted: April 11, 2019 at 02:09 PM (#5830876)
I firmly believe we need a hard 30 second limit on replays. That would fix the stuff like Galarraga or Todd Helton but it wouldn't dramatically change the game.


Couldn't agree more. And the real-time v. slo-mo suggestion made above is also an interesting one. Fix the egregious errors, don't sweat the small stuff.

For the same reason I've always preferred the suggestion of an extra ump in a booth that can call for a "pause" in the action if something seems awry, double-check replay a few times, and indicate over-turn or play on. Umpires should hold themselves accountable. The challenge system leads to silly wing-and-a-prayer late-game challenges with little-to-no-chance of success which mostly serve to delay the game.
   68. SoSH U at work Posted: April 11, 2019 at 02:13 PM (#5830877)
So, possession plays are reviewed in the last 2 minutes of regulation, and the last 2 minutes of OT only?


Yes. Not the entire OT.
   69. . Posted: April 11, 2019 at 02:14 PM (#5830879)
You keep repeating this with the smug assurity that it is an accepted known, but it's simply not true. Good framing at best makes it more likely that a borderline pitch will be called a strike.


That's not true, but assuming arguendo that it is, I don't want catchers being chosen for that either.

Nobody should complain about having a borderline pitch getting called a strike.


That isn't the complaint. If performance wasn't impacted so materially by things like the difference between 1-2 and 2-1, the complaint wouldn't be made.

   70. Baldrick Posted: April 11, 2019 at 02:17 PM (#5830880)
This presupposes that there is some empirical truth as to whether each individual pitch is a ball or strike, which seems wrong.

I mean, we can get into radical skepticism about the possibility of any empirical knowledge, I guess, but it's pretty clear that there are defined Newtonian physical parameters of the strike zone. Our technology might not yet be perfect enough to guarantee correct answers, but the correct answer is certainly possible.
   71. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 11, 2019 at 02:36 PM (#5830893)
So, possession plays are reviewed in the last 2 minutes of regulation, and the last 2 minutes of OT only?

Yes. Not the entire OT.
Because if there's anything basketball needs, it's more delays in the last 2 minutes.
   72. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: April 11, 2019 at 02:47 PM (#5830898)
If a pitch reaches the front of home plate in the strike zone but leaves the strike zone sometime before it crosses the plate, is that a ball or a strike? If a pitch exactly bisects the edge of home plate, is that a ball or a strike?

Is this supposed to be some form gotcha questions? Because the answers are very obviously 'strike' and 'strike,' from the definition of a strike that I am aware of.
   73. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 11, 2019 at 02:51 PM (#5830904)
I firmly believe we need a hard 30 second limit on replays. That would fix the stuff like Galarraga or Todd Helton but it wouldn't dramatically change the game.


100% this. I don’t mind the refs/umps using slow-mo but if they can’t make a decision within 30 seconds (maybe less) the ruling on the field has to be allowed to stand. It’s absurd that we spend what feels like minutes watching plays like the VIrginia/Texas Tech one referenced above for minutes to get the “correct” call during overtime in a national championship game.
   74. Greg Pope Posted: April 11, 2019 at 03:05 PM (#5830909)

Is this supposed to be some form gotcha questions? Because the answers are very obviously 'strike' and 'strike,' from the definition of a strike that I am aware of.


Right. This is not the problem with robo umps. And more importantly, they're going to get the call right more often than a human ump who is incapable of actually seeing the difference.

Now, we may need to adjust the definition of the strike zone. If calling the rulebook zone 100% correctly results in a strike zone that's too big for what MLB wants, just change it. I'm not saying to change it weekly, or even yearly. I'm saying that you analyze what the computer is telling you and adjust it for what you want when you set up the system. Heck, you can even make it an octagaon if you want to.
   75. Hank Gillette Posted: April 11, 2019 at 04:11 PM (#5830966)
If the computer ump always makes the same categorical mistake (strikes called balls or vice versus) because of a bias in its programming, then a slightly less accurate human ump that makes random mistakes would probably be better.


Too bad things like this can’t be analyzed and the programming changed.

Even if computerized ball and strike calls are only slightly better than human umpires, it would be worth it, because the strike zone would be consistent. Pitchers and batters would only have to learn one strike zone, rather than more than 60.
   76. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: April 11, 2019 at 04:15 PM (#5830968)
Except we already know that real umpires have a biased strikezone. That is why players need to learn the strikezone of each umpire, and pitchers and hitters need to figure out "he's not giving me that pitch" and things like that.


This lead to a quite interesting discussion, but you misunderstood what I meant by bias. What I was trying to say was that human umpires missed pitches both ways. So using your 93% accuracy figure, they might call 4% balls that should be strikes and 3% strikes that should be balls. In the end, these mistakes somewhat balance out, at least in overall balls and strikes being called. A bias in a robo ump's programming/technology might have them make all their mistakes (5% based on your hypothetical) the same way, resulting in a lot more balls or strikes. So my bottom line is that the robo ump needs to be a lot better than humans or be proven to not have a bias in order to ensure a better result.

Now, we may need to adjust the definition of the strike zone. If calling the rulebook zone 100% correctly results in a strike zone that's too big for what MLB wants, just change it. I'm not saying to change it weekly, or even yearly. I'm saying that you analyze what the computer is telling you and adjust it for what you want when you set up the system. Heck, you can even make it an octagaon if you want to.


Agreed. The ability to make small changes in the strike zone allows a way to correct unintended consequences.
   77. Hank Gillette Posted: April 11, 2019 at 04:26 PM (#5830973)
I don't know HOW but I can see scenarios where we see an even bigger jump in strikeouts and pitcher dominance as any pitch that nicks the plate is a strike every time.


I don’t doubt that there will have to be some adjustment made to the strike zone with computer-called pitches. Fortunately, that would be trivial to implement. It probably wouldn’t even take changing the computer instructions; just change a few numbers. If calling pitches that just nick the plate strikes results in too large of a strike zone, change the parameters so that half the ball has to cross the plate. Or one quarter. Or it has to nick the white portion of the plate (whatever that amount is). It’s all the same to the computer.

Alternatively, without some variance in the strike zone hitters are able to lock in even more than they already do and we will see an offensive explosion.


Why wouldn’t that apply to the pitchers too? If they know that placing a pitch in an unhittable area will always be called a strike, wouldn’t that give them an advantage?

My take on this is that a consistent strike zone would benefit both the better hitters and the better pitchers. Again, if the balance is not what is desired, the strike zone could be adjusted (either way).
   78. Hank Gillette Posted: April 11, 2019 at 04:30 PM (#5830979)
But sure, I am not suggesting getting completely rid of umps in any case.

So what, just have them run out onto the field when it looks like there might be a play they're needed on?


You would still have four umpires who would do everything they do now, except the plate umpire would be reporting balls and strikes rather than calling them.
   79. Hank Gillette Posted: April 11, 2019 at 04:35 PM (#5830984)
If roboumps are used in the bigs and not at lower levels, I wonder if that's going to make transitioning between levels harder.


Probably in the same way that making the transition to private rooms in four-star hotels and flying rather than riding a bus is hard.
   80. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: April 11, 2019 at 05:14 PM (#5830998)
I meant by bias. What I was trying to say was that human umpires missed pitches both ways. So using your 93% accuracy figure, they might call 4% balls that should be strikes and 3% strikes that should be balls. In the end, these mistakes somewhat balance out, at least in overall balls and strikes being called. A bias in a robo ump's programming/technology might have them make all their mistakes (5% based on your hypothetical) the same way, resulting in a lot more balls or strikes. So my bottom line is that the robo ump needs to be a lot better than humans or be proven to not have a bias in order to ensure a better result.

This seems like the definition of begging the question. Both in assuming that robo umps will make mistakes only in one direction* (btw, I don't know where the 5% from "my" hypothetical is supposed to come from). And in assuming that missed balls and strikes currently even out.
Especially, when we have evidence from this study, that there are very pronounced biases for umpires already, which may not even out.
The most worrying probably being the bias towards calling balls with two strikes, as those are very very highly leveraged calls. The difference between being automatically out, and being given another life with a better count, is pretty damn huge, and can't easily be offset by giving a strike back in a 1-0 count (even if that were happening). That's an enormous bias that directly benefits hitters.

*Which is more an argument to not just throw the robo umps out at the major league level and hope for the best, but to test them thoroughly at lower levels and examine the impact, and use that data to calibrate and perfect them accordingly.
   81. . Posted: April 11, 2019 at 07:16 PM (#5831018)
So using your 93% accuracy figure, they might call 4% balls that should be strikes and 3% strikes that should be balls. In the end, these mistakes somewhat balance out, at least in overall balls and strikes being called.


They might ... if framing didn't exist. The whole point of framing is to bias close pitches toward being called strikes.

As far as we know, a material majority of the mistakes are the result of framing.
   82. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: April 11, 2019 at 09:19 PM (#5831039)
This seems like the definition of begging the question. Both in assuming that robo umps will make mistakes only in one direction* (btw, I don't know where the 5% from "my" hypothetical is supposed to come from)


Below was the original entry that I was responding to. It uses 95% accuracy as the hypothetical for the robo ump. I apologize if I implied that it was your hypothetical. Note that it is arguing that a robo ump just needs to be a little more accurate than a human umpire to justify its use. I was just trying to show that there are other things that have to be taken into account before deciding to move to a robo ump. I am not arguing that there will be a bias in a robo ump, but like any technology, it is a possible issue that needs to be analyzed as part of its validation. I'm sure that it isn't the only issue that could introduce unintended consequences if the technology isn't carefully vetted.

The answer to the question depends on the implicit "compared to what". I'm sure that major-league umpires are the best ball-strike callers available among the human race. But if the best a human can do is only, say, 93% accuracy, then even if current technology can only get you 95% accuracy from robot umpires, that's still a pretty compelling argument to me for the robo-umps. If humans CAN'T be perfect, then robo-umps don't need to be perfect to be an improvement.
   83. Jay Z Posted: April 12, 2019 at 01:45 AM (#5831093)
I think having a more uniform strike zone would help the hitter, since it would give him more predictable goals. The hitter would know exactly how far away the outside corner call is going to be and work on his swing accordingly.

Arguably, a perfectly consistent strike zone, where one millimeter difference goes from 100% strikes to 0% strikes, would make for a more boring game than a more grey-area strike zone, because the game would become too predictable. Too few outcomes.
   84. Lassus Posted: April 12, 2019 at 06:40 AM (#5831099)
I firmly believe we need a hard 30 second limit on replays. That would fix the stuff like Galarraga or Todd Helton but it wouldn't dramatically change the game.


100% this. I don’t mind the refs/umps using slow-mo but if they can’t make a decision within 30 seconds (maybe less) the ruling on the field has to be allowed to stand.


So everyone who is so butt-hurt over a lack of 100% accuracy is going to accept that oh well we could only get it done in 36 seconds this time, not 30, so oh too bad so sad? Pull the other one, then please put this toothpaste back in the tube over here.
   85. pikepredator Posted: April 12, 2019 at 07:59 AM (#5831104)
So everyone who is so butt-hurt over a lack of 100% accuracy is going to accept that oh well we could only get it done in 36 seconds this time, not 30, so oh too bad so sad?


No. Different people have different opinions, as with pretty much everything else in life. The opinions you quoted do not represent the views of "everyone who is so butthurt over a lack of 100% accuracy." No solution will be accepted by everyone, as with pretty much everything else in life.

A few of us are proposing a solution that is less intrusive than the current model, but still addresses one of the primary goals of replay (ie to fix really bad calls). A compromise, as it were, between the "I love the game as it is" crowd and the "get every single call right even if it takes 5 minutes" crowd.
   86. manchestermets Posted: April 12, 2019 at 08:27 AM (#5831105)
If roboumps are used in the bigs and not at lower levels, I wonder if that's going to make transitioning between levels harder.


Isn't it more likely to make it easier to transition to a level that now has roboumps? One less thing to worry about if you know the strike zone isn't a function of the umpire.

I wonder if there are players who would be good hitters but never make it because the one skill they lack (if it is a skill) is adjusting to different umpires' strike zones?
   87. SoSH U at work Posted: April 12, 2019 at 08:32 AM (#5831107)
I firmly believe we need a hard 30 second limit on replays. That would fix the stuff like Galarraga or Todd Helton but it wouldn't dramatically change the game.


I'd be on board with this. The problem is, replay, like the postseason, never contracts. It only expands. Because one call that couldn't be identified within 30 seconds later turns out to be wrong when viewed from the fifth angle, proving we need expanded replay. The one saving grace for baseball is it doesn't have many situations like basketball or football, where you can only look at one element of the play (like the NCAA championship game poke), so you end up, by rule, overturning a result that was previously correct (though the Utley-Tejada play proves it still can happen).

   88. Lassus Posted: April 12, 2019 at 08:35 AM (#5831109)
A few of us are proposing a solution that is less intrusive than the current model, but still addresses one of the primary goals of replay (ie to fix really bad calls). A compromise, as it were, between the "I love the game as it is" crowd and the "get every single call right even if it takes 5 minutes" crowd.

Fair enough. I admit my biases. I don't even mind regular replay SO much, but ball/strike robot calls is a bridge too far for me.
   89. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 12, 2019 at 08:45 AM (#5831110)
That is why players need to learn the strikezone of each umpire, and pitchers and hitters need to figure out "he's not giving me that pitch" and things like that.

Without wanting to make a serious comparison between the underlying problems**, this is a bit like saying that "the conversation" black parents have with their children should be sufficient to combating racism. Obviously knowing these stupid "personalized" strike zones is a necessary skill for a ballplayer, just as "the conversation" is a necessary preparation for black children about to go out to face the world, but that doesn't mean that the larger problem should be brushed under the rug.

I say bring on the robo-umps, and "personalize" the strike zones to fit the player, not the whims of the umpire.

** Emphasis added to ward off misrepresentations
   90. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 12, 2019 at 08:52 AM (#5831113)
I'd be on board with this. The problem is, replay, like the postseason, never contracts. It only expands. Because one call that couldn't be identified within 30 seconds later turns out to be wrong when viewed from the fifth angle, proving we need expanded replay.


This is why I've been pretty much opposed to replay from the get go. The one area I think replay is a good idea is home run calls. There is just no feasible way for an umpire to be in position to make that call so I think replay is good there and it's rare and usually fairly clear. Everything else I'd be perfectly content to just punt.
   91. pikepredator Posted: April 12, 2019 at 09:55 AM (#5831134)
ball/strike robot calls is a bridge too far for me


I'm with you on that. The dynamic between individual umpires and the battery is entertaining even if it's not entirely "fair". Framing is a subtle art that is part physical skill and part performance.
   92. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: April 12, 2019 at 09:56 AM (#5831135)
Transitioning between levels: to clarify, I was primarily thinking about the average shape and location of the zone (see post 1). If low strikes are more prevalent in AAA and high in the bigs, that's a very big deal for some players. (Thinking here of changes to the mlb strike zones in the late 60s/80s and how some classes of players wilted/thrived.) That said, these cameras would likely be in place in at least the high minors at the same time as the bigs or possibly earlier.
   93. SoSH U at work Posted: April 12, 2019 at 10:03 AM (#5831137)
Obviously knowing these stupid "personalized" strike zones


Throwing scare quotes around personalized doesn't make this hobby horse any less inane. The strike zone is and always has been the zone the home plate umpire sees. That's baseball. It is now, it was in the 1970s and it was in the 1930s when you were growing up. You want to change that, fine. But stop pretending like this is something recent done by a group of rogue modern umps who want to impose themselves on the game. The strike zone is what the home plate umpire is calling that day (which is likely what that particular home plate ump calls every day) based on his vantage point and perspective. Adapting to the home plate ump's is what players have always had to do. I for one like that aspect of baseball, because it rewards the guys who pay attention and can make adjustments.
   94. . Posted: April 12, 2019 at 01:07 PM (#5831197)
Obviously knowing these stupid "personalized" strike zones is a necessary skill for a ballplayer,


It's nothing of the sort. It's a forced adjustment to incompetence.

The parameters of a strike are defined explicitly in the rules of baseball. There's no such thing as a personalized strike zone. There might be a personalized "strike" zone, but that's an entirely different thing.
   95. . Posted: April 12, 2019 at 01:12 PM (#5831200)
based on his vantage point and perspective.


If an umpire is adopting a vantage point and perspective that makes him routinely call balls, strikes and strikes, balls, he needs to adopt a different vantage point and perspective. (*) If he can't do that, he should be fired.

(*) Much as hitters do. If a hitter's vantage point and perspective makes him hit .195, it's time for a new stance.
   96. Hysterical & Useless Posted: April 12, 2019 at 04:37 PM (#5831285)
33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)
Posted: April 11, 2019 at 09:32 AM (#5830757)
I'll even disagree with this. They DO bother me. But as Omar said, all in the game, the cost of doing business.

Well, they bother me when they hurt my team, and I like them when they help my team. It's like a fielder dropping a routine pop up. It shouldn't decide a game, but it does, because sometimes people eff-up. It's zero sum though; one side is mad/sad the other side is happy.


That's just cruel, snapper. There was no call to bring Luis Castillo into this.
   97. SoSH U at work Posted: April 12, 2019 at 04:41 PM (#5831287)
If an umpire is adopting a vantage point and perspective that makes him routinely call balls, strikes and strikes, balls, he needs to adopt a different vantage point and perspective. (*) If he can't do that, he should be fired.


Good Lord.
   98. Hank Gillette Posted: April 13, 2019 at 01:22 AM (#5831404)
Arguably, a perfectly consistent strike zone, where one millimeter difference goes from 100% strikes to 0% strikes, would make for a more boring game than a more grey-area strike zone, because the game would become too predictable. Too few outcomes.


I suppose you think that tennis would be more interesting if they changed the size of the court for every match and that basketball would be less boring if they altered the height of the basket before every game.
   99. SoSH U at work Posted: April 13, 2019 at 08:04 AM (#5831419)
I suppose you think that tennis would be more interesting if they changed the size of the court for every match and that basketball would be less boring if they altered the height of the basket before every game.


That seems a strange argument on a baseball thread, unless you think baseball would be more interesting if every park had the exact same dimensions of the field, playing surface, infield dirt (configuration and substance), height and material of fences, amount of foul territory, batter's eye, indoor/outdoor status and was played at the same altitude.
   100. PreservedFish Posted: April 13, 2019 at 08:36 AM (#5831421)
floop
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