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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

In the minors, a major change as the Atlantic League plans to move the mound back a foot

The Atlantic League, a hotbed for innovation in baseball, will announce plans Wednesday to move the pitcher’s mound back 12 inches from home plate this season, according to two people with knowledge of the arrangement. The move represents one of the most stark rule changes proposed by baseball leadership in a generation and comes amid sweeping changes on the minor league level designed to reduce home runs and strikeouts and increase the action from batter to batter.

The eight-team Atlantic League, which has franchises along the East Coast, will enact the change during the second half of its 120-game regular season, one person familiar with the matter said. It will be the first change of mound regulations in professional baseball since 1969, when MLB lowered the mound after a season in which seven starting pitchers posted sub-2.00 ERAs.

MLB officials pushed for the experiment after years of internal deliberations about altering the distance from the mound to home plate, one of the people familiar with the discussions, who spoke anonymously so as to freely detail the private sessions, told The Washington Post. It is geared toward increasing action on the base paths and increasing the amount of contact make.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:02 PM | 86 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: atlantic league, rules

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   1. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:39 PM (#6013409)
It will be interesting to see how giving batters additional reaction time will reduce both strikeouts (plausible, with the likely tradeoff of an increase in walks) and home runs (I don't see their logic in this one).
   2. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:48 PM (#6013415)
Can’t wait until they experiment with replacing the warning track with an outfield moat.
   3. KronicFatigue Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:49 PM (#6013417)
This is the first I'm hearing about a decrease in homers being a goal...how would that work? Less velocity coming in equating to a lower exit velocity? More break on the pitches creating less ideal contact? Something else?

   4. Biscuit_pants Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:56 PM (#6013425)
More break on the pitches creating less ideal contact?


Amount of break on pitches matters a lot less then when the breaks happen. The closer to the batter the break happens the better for the pitcher. I don't know what the result of breaking balls will have with a mound moved back since I guess I can see hitters getting a slight advantage for ball breaking earlier but maybe with the extra foot some pitches will have more time to break instead of coming in flat.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: April 14, 2021 at 05:15 PM (#6013437)
The article does say it's one of the sweeping changes not necessarily that this change will reduce HRs. Moving the mound back should reduce Ks and then maybe they add a more flight-restricted ball to reduce HRs. That's always been the challenge -- you can mess around with the HR-rate via the ball but then baseball just becomes lower-scoring TTO with fewer HRs and probably more Ks (as batters try to generate more power). If you just reduce Ks then scoring and HRs go up. If you want a more 80s style game, you have to reduce Ks and HRs simultaneously (without killing in-play production) which was always going to require multiple changes.

The main concern with this change is pitcher injury. I suppose, in theory, the pitcher doesn't change anything they do they just live with the (equivalent) drop in velocity, etc. rather than trying to compensate for it by throwing even harder with more spin in and then there'd be no increase in risk. Over time, they'd get used to the extra foot and the injury risk probably returns to normal but who knows how long that takes. Will also be interesting to see what happens when any of these guys return to the regular distance.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 14, 2021 at 05:24 PM (#6013440)
I like this idea, and I really like the idea that you lose the DH when the SP exits. That gives teams the incentive to field SPs who can go 6 IP, and makes them carry more bench bats and fewer RPs. It also could put the professional DH on the road to extinction. That's a win, win, win in my book.
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: April 14, 2021 at 05:32 PM (#6013442)
Well, if they're going to tinker with the mound distance, I don't see why some other league can't experiment with shorter distances between the bases, perhaps in conjunction with a deader ball.
   8. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 14, 2021 at 05:51 PM (#6013444)
The Atlantic League, a hotbed for innovation in baseball, will announce plans Wednesday to move the pitcher’s mound back 12 inches from home plate this season
I wonder if this won’t incentivize some hitters to move further back in the batter’s box, effectively making the pitcher two feet (or perhaps a bit more) further away. Not sure the Atlantic League has many hitters with the skills, or quality coaching, to adapt in that way, but if this ever reaches the Major Leagues it would give hitters who position themselves in the front part of the batter’s box something to think about.
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 14, 2021 at 06:01 PM (#6013446)
Are there any hitters who stand in the front of the box? The leadoff batter’s first order of business is always to obliterate the back line of the box.
   10. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: April 14, 2021 at 06:22 PM (#6013451)
Have 'em pitch from second base, like the King and His Court guy.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: April 14, 2021 at 06:23 PM (#6013454)
It also could put the professional DH on the road to extinction.

I'm no fan of the DH but do like Cruz, Ortiz, Edgar and have no grudge against fans/teams wanting to give guys like Vlad more playing time. Now for those guys I suppose it just means the return of the lumbering 1B/LF ... but does anybody want to see more of the "4th OF/DH" rotation and more PHs?
   12. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 14, 2021 at 06:36 PM (#6013458)
Are there any hitters who stand in the front of the box?
I always heard that some hitters think that from the front of the batter’s box they can get to the breaking ball before it breaks much.
   13. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 14, 2021 at 07:06 PM (#6013459)
there should be some way to quantify this effect, no? E.g. how much does one foot decrease the velocity of the ball? And can we make assumptions about how much X drop in velocity will increase hitting? There should be a way to do that.
   14. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 14, 2021 at 07:11 PM (#6013460)
well this article seems to suggest the drop in speed will be about 0.14 mph.


https://0314c3a.netsolhost.com/wordpress1/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/BALL-SPEED-SLOW.pdf

wow. Maybe the only change you'll see is more walks.
   15. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: April 14, 2021 at 10:29 PM (#6013492)
6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 14, 2021 at 05:24 PM (#6013440)
I like this idea, and I really like the idea that you lose the DH when the SP exits. That gives teams the incentive to field SPs who can go 6 IP...


One downside to this is how it hurts teams building guy's back up from injury. Coincidentally using snapper's preferred Yankees as an example, this hurts the team while they try to get Kluber and Taillon at full strength. I don't see many NYY games, but I'd rather see guys like them for fewer than 6 innings than whoever the alternatives would be if a team prioritized 6IP with a DH.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 14, 2021 at 10:37 PM (#6013496)
One downside to this is how it hurts teams building guy's back up from injury. Coincidentally using snapper's preferred Yankees as an example, this hurts the team while they try to get Kluber and Taillon at full strength. I don't see many NYY games, but I'd rather see guys like them for fewer than 6 innings than whoever the alternatives would be if a team prioritized 6IP with a DH.

If you need to do that, you pay the price.

I'm no fan of the DH but do like Cruz, Ortiz, Edgar and have no grudge against fans/teams wanting to give guys like Vlad more playing time.

Let 'em grab a glove and go to 1B or LF like countless all bat/no glove guys did before 1973. If you can't be a -10 1B, you don't really belong in MLB.
   17. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: April 14, 2021 at 10:55 PM (#6013511)
If you need to do that, you pay the price.


Of course. I wasn't suggesting that was a make-or-break consideration. It's just an unfortunate repercussion and one that leads to the much-derided parade of anonymous pitchers—either the Yanks use more relievers (as they have done when those guys started) or while building Kluber/Taillon bck up they go further down the depth chart to call up unknown starters who there's a good chance aren't good enough to go 6 in the Majors. Which means another parade of relievers. Some of those guys will then get optioned afterward to be replaced with fresh, anonymous arms.

Point being, considering how often pitchers get hurt, I'm not certain a rule like this will help eliminate anonymous relievers or 8th-on-the-depth-chart starters.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: April 14, 2021 at 11:31 PM (#6013517)
Let 'em grab a glove and go to 1B or LF like countless all bat/no glove guys did before 1973. If you can't be a -10 1B, you don't really belong in MLB.

But you didn't get rid of the DH, you just made the DH a half-game position then replaced by a PH. So you've still got guys who only hit (in that game) and then force guys who can't field into the field (where of course they are more likely to get hurt). So you give fans the joys of Cruz in LF, the joys of Cruz on the DL more often and the joys of the Twins (formerly regular) LF getting 2-3 PAs at DH instead of playing LF where he belongs ... what's the gain in that?

If you want to get rid of the DH, get rid of the DH. The DH leaving the game with the SP is just a dumb idea.
   19. Jack Sommers Posted: April 15, 2021 at 12:14 AM (#6013523)
From the article:
MLB noted the reaction time for a 93.3-mph fastball, which was the major league-average velocity in 2020. The same pitch thrown from 61 feet 6 inches is approximately equivalent to a 91.6-mph fastball. That was the majors’ average fastball velocity in 2010.


I think they should have tried a more incremental change of 6 inches instead of 12.

The different "effective" velocity isn't going to be the biggest issue.

To me the impact is going to be on breaking pitches. How are pitchers going to be able to shape and land their breaking pitches for strikes effectively ? It seems like it will be a huge adjustment, and not at all a quick one to make.

I don't think this will result in that many more balls in play, just more homers and walks and 5+ runs a game
   20. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 12:16 AM (#6013524)
why does no one consider the so called "Connie Mack" idea (probably not his originally) where you get two basically free PH to use for the pitcher anytime in the game. It has several advantages:

1 Pitchers who can hit will be able to, lousy hitting pitchers will likely not have many if any AB. So you get the best of both worlds here.

2. Its interesting strategy when to use the DH under this rule. Save it for later, use it now with a man on, etc. very interesting decision making.
   21. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: April 15, 2021 at 07:13 AM (#6013529)
If you want to get rid of the DH, get rid of the DH.


Getting rid of the DH doesn't increase of the value of SPs compared to RPs, though, and I think that's the goal here. If we make the assumption that MLB is looking for a way for the SP to continue to be a meaningful designation, rather than just the first of a large roster of 1-3 IP arms of varying quality, then this actually seems like quite a neat option to me.
   22. TomH Posted: April 15, 2021 at 07:50 AM (#6013531)
The move of 1 ft to 61'6" seems a reasonable amount. You want enough of a change to assess the effect; then you can go back to 61'0" or something if the resulting differences are too large.

The speed of pitch as it crosses the plate change is surely not the main factor; it is the tie to recognize the pitch. If the batter gets 1/2 of the time of pitch coming in to decide, now they have 1 more foot of distance out of about 30 ft; a 3% increase in time. That, combined with what will be a small decrease in pitchers' ability to get the ball over the plate (= more walks), will result in KO/BB ratios going down.

KO/BB MLB ratio over time
2020 2.56 (!!)
2000 1.72
1980 1.53
1960 1.53
1940 1.10
1920 1.07
1900 0.89

   23. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 15, 2021 at 08:59 AM (#6013542)
I might as well take the heat here like I did in Discord.

If you want to increase offense, forget moving the pitcher's mound back. Instead, adopt Bobby Valentine's suggestion to disallow "checked swing" strikes for balls outside of the strike zone. IOW redefine "checked swing" to mean "any swing that doesn't involve a full follow-through", and make a strike depend on a full swing and miss OR the ball passing through the actual strike zone.

Pitchers will scream bloody murder, but IDGAF. They'll still be able to ring up plenty of strikeouts on batters who actually chase balls that are outside the strike zone.

Combine that with home plate robo umps that will take away the extra inch or two from the outside corner that way too many umpires allow,** and you'll see fewer strikeouts and more balls put into play.

** MLB Umpires Missed 34,294 Ball-Strike Calls in 2018. Bring on Robo-umps?
   24. SoSH U at work Posted: April 15, 2021 at 09:13 AM (#6013545)
If you want to increase offense, forget moving the pitcher's mound back.


The objective isn't necessarily to increase offense. It's to improve the balance.

Combine that with home plate robo umps that will take away the extra inch or two from the outside corner that way too many umpires allow,** and you'll see fewer strikeouts and more balls put into play.


We don't know whether robo-umps will lead to more, fewer or no change in strikeouts. That's total guesswork.

If you want to improve the number of balls in play, you've got to make putting the ball in play more valuable than it is now. All of the other suggestions tend to be indirect and, quite possibly, wishcasting.
   25. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 09:20 AM (#6013547)
Josef Stalin disapproves of this change.
   26. sanny manguillen Posted: April 15, 2021 at 09:46 AM (#6013549)
MLB Umpires Missed 34,294 Ball-Strike Calls in 2018. Bring on Robo-umps?


Are they incorrect calls, or just calls that are inconsistent with how the majority of umps call them? At some point, the robo-ump discussion should focus on how the strike zone is established in the first place.
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 10:40 AM (#6013557)
We don't know whether robo-umps will lead to more, fewer or no change in strikeouts. That's total guesswork.


True, and the fact that they're talking about switching from a three-dimensional zone to a two-dimensional zone is not a harbinger of good things.
   28. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 01:32 PM (#6013594)
The speed of pitch as it crosses the plate change is surely not the main factor; it is the tie to recognize the pitch. If the batter gets 1/2 of the time of pitch coming in to decide, now they have 1 more foot of distance out of about 30 ft; a 3% increase in time.


So instead of having 0.5 sec to decide, they now have 0.515 sec. do decide. Im probly missing something, but I dont think this change is going to have much effect.
   29. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 15, 2021 at 01:48 PM (#6013596)
MLB Umpires Missed 34,294 Ball-Strike Calls in 2018. Bring on Robo-umps?


Are they incorrect calls, or just calls that are inconsistent with how the majority of umps call them? At some point, the robo-ump discussion should focus on how the strike zone is established in the first place.


14 calls a game. I'd love to know the impact of those. I'd be shocked if any team had + or - a full win because of this. So while it's annoying sometimes it's not a big deal IMHO.

Also it's interesting that the Bad Call Ratio is improving so readily. From 16% to 9% over the decade from 2008 to 2018 if I'm reading it correctly.
   30. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 15, 2021 at 02:27 PM (#6013603)
I watch about 130+ games a year, and many of those blown calls are very much game-altering, killing critical rallies or prolonging them. There's absolutely no reason for letting this crap continue.

Also it's interesting that the Bad Call Ratio is improving so readily. From 16% to 9% over the decade from 2008 to 2018 if I'm reading it correctly.

Great, but still over 21% of called third strikes are being called on pitches outside the strike zone. That's just insane, and I see it happening every day.
   31. cardsfanboy Posted: April 15, 2021 at 04:13 PM (#6013638)
I at least like them trying this, you can't make informed decisions on anything, without data to back it up. So this will at least provide some data. I don't think it's about decreased velocity though as much as it's about another few miliseconds for the batter to react. The goal is ultimately to incentivize swinging and making contact, and if a few extra miliseconds does this, then that is at least one piece of data to support this. If this also means batters think they have a better chance of getting base hits (more solid contact, even without homerun style swing) then who knows it might actually reduce homeruns.

Originally fip postulated that balls in play equal the same average, with more refinements to the system, we discovered that the type of hits on balls in play does affect the average of balls in play(along with the type of pitches put in play) , with line drives being the number one best way to get a base hit (which is what we kinda instinctively knew, but now we have data) statcast has even more refined it, so there is data out there to suggest that tto is not the only way to play the game where you control the result. Avoiding line drives from a pitchers standpoint is a good thing, hitting line drives from a hitters point is a good thing etc.

In an optimist viewpoint, moving the mound back could result in more balls in play that are hit at a high enough rate of base hits, that the batters might opt to go for a ball in play strategy over a tto strategy. Whether this ends up being true is up for debate of course, but let's test it out for a month or two.

   32. cardsfanboy Posted: April 15, 2021 at 04:18 PM (#6013640)
I watch about 130+ games a year, and many of those blown calls are very much game-altering, killing critical rallies or prolonging them. There's absolutely no reason for letting this crap continue.


Yep. Those missed calls happen more frequently on consequential calls than on non-consequential calls. At least if I remember the studies, they miss call balls as strikes on 3-0, 3-1 counts, and miss call strikes as balls on 0-2, 1-2 counts much more frequently than they do on lesser counts. The umps don't actually want to be the guy making the call that ends an at bat/plate appearance, and instead are trying to let the balls be put in play... whether that is a good or bad thing is one thing, but to think that only 14 calls a game is a non-factor, doesn't really accurately represent what the fans are seeing as most of those missed calls are final play altering calls.
   33. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 15, 2021 at 04:28 PM (#6013641)
My point is that the calls even out pretty much over the course of the year. I'd be interested to see how accurate that perception is.

But I have no doubt that Roboumps calling balls and strikes will be every bit the resounding success that instant replay has been making the game so much more fun for us as fans.
   34. SoSH U at work Posted: April 15, 2021 at 04:35 PM (#6013644)
whether that is a good or bad thing is one thing, but to think that only 14 calls a game is a non-factor, doesn't really accurately represent what the fans are seeing as most of those missed calls are final play altering calls.


In most of those cases, it wouldn't change anything. Going from 0-2 to 1-2 is still going to wind up as an out the vast majority of the time. It's a little different on the 3-0 ball count, but 3-1 is still a pretty favorable hitting position. I would guess a bad call on 0-0 is just as meaningful at swinging the results of an AB as any.

   35. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 04:36 PM (#6013645)
I don't think it's about decreased velocity though as much as it's about another few miliseconds for the batter to react.

That's the same thing. When a pitcher throws 90 instead of 95 the batter has another few milliseconds to react. That's the advantage of higher velocity for a pitcher.
   36. cardsfanboy Posted: April 15, 2021 at 04:53 PM (#6013651)
In most of those cases, it wouldn't change anything. Going from 0-2 to 1-2 is still going to wind up as an out the vast majority of the time. It's a little different on the 3-0 ball count, but 3-1 is still a pretty favorable hitting position. I would guess a bad call on 0-0 is just as meaningful at swinging the results of an AB as any.


The thing is we don't know what a consistent strike zone would change in the batter's head. How many times have we seen a batter who has a reputation of knowing the strike zone, swing at a pitch on the edge because the ump is calling a wide zone that day or the other way around.

I can see the umps altering the strike zone for more balls in play as a good thing, but bad umpiring, the Eric Gregg type, is never a good thing. Ultimately I would much prefer for a consistent strike zone, regardless of human emotion. If anything, the ability to tweak the strike zone during play based upon count might ultimately be decided as the best of both worlds, who knows.

I mean if you tweak the zone just so slightly during the 3-0, 3-1, 0-2, 1-2 counts to slightly favor continuing the at bat, (and we are talking literally an inch or two here) using robo umps and the batters and pitchers know it, then ultimately you might get the results you are going for, more balls in play. But this is not something even being considered (for obvious reasons) but given a choice between an Eric Gregg strike zone and a Cowboy Joe West vs a robo ump... I'm always going to land on the robo ump side. I don't just want a consistent strike zone within the game, I want for batters and pitchers to know what it's going to be going into the game.
   37. SoSH U at work Posted: April 15, 2021 at 04:58 PM (#6013654)
The thing is we don't know what a consistent strike zone would change in the batter's head. How many times have we seen a batter who has a reputation of knowing the strike zone, swing at a pitch on the edge because the ump is calling a wide zone that day or the other way around.


If he's calling a wide zone that day, that's a consistent zone.

But I was merely taking exception with the idea that the 3-0, 3-1 or 0-2 counts are the consequential ones. In all likelihood, they're actually less meaningful in terms of swinging the results of an AB than missed calls at 0-0 or 1-1.

And, by the way, no one wants an Eric Gregg zone. But there's a reason we all can all identify that as the go-to example of the awful balls and strikes (well, mostly strikes) day - it was an aberration.
   38. cardsfanboy Posted: April 15, 2021 at 05:09 PM (#6013658)
If he's calling a wide zone that day, that's a consistent zone.


It is not a consistent zone, it's a consistent zone for that day, you don't practice 6 months in the off season for a particular day, you practice for the season, so the standard should be a consistent zone for the season, not for a day.

And, by the way, no one wants an Eric Gregg zone. But there's a reason we all can all identify that as the go-to example of the awful balls and strikes (well, mostly strikes) day - it was an aberration.


But it's an aberration that is still possible in this day and age.
   39. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 05:12 PM (#6013659)
It is not a consistent zone, it's a consistent zone for that day, you don't practice 6 months in the off season for a particular day, you practice for the season, so the standard should be a consistent zone for the season, not for a day.


Not really an issue I care about. Having to learn an ump's zone is an advantage for smart players. I tend to like things that advantage smart players and disadvantage dumb ones.
   40. SoSH U at work Posted: April 15, 2021 at 05:13 PM (#6013661)
It is not a consistent zone, it's a consistent zone for that day, you don't practice 6 months in the off season for a particular day, you practice for the season, so the standard should be a consistent zone for the season, not for a day.


There is no such a thing as a consistent zone for the season. It's never existed, and won't until the robo ump happens. But don't pretend it's something players practice for, because they can't.
   41. cardsfanboy Posted: April 15, 2021 at 05:15 PM (#6013662)
Note: as far as I know of, I'm the first person to argue that the robo ump zone should change within count context, and I honestly do think that is a decent idea, but it's an idea that the players need to know before hand, not based upon the mood of the ump.

I think human umpires should exist, I like the game with them and think they are better for on the field action than a robo ump for safe and out calls (fair and foul though might be best handled by robo umps) I'm a fan of replay, I think technology should be embraced, but you can always tailor it for the results you want to see, and to ignore that option seems like you are cutting off improvements you want to see.

I do not for the life of me, get the fascination with people holding onto human umpires for strikes and balls, it just makes zero sense other than a fear of technology.
   42. cardsfanboy Posted: April 15, 2021 at 05:18 PM (#6013663)
There is no such a thing as a consistent zone for the season. It's never existed, and won't until the robo ump happens. But don't pretend it's something players practice for, because they can't.


I don't think that is correct, they spend a lifetime learning the strike zone, they go through high school and college not knowing the umps strike zone, same with the minors, these are things they have spent a decade developing before they hit the majors, knowing full and well there are variety of course, but that the majority of the time this is the standard, and there is no reason to punish the guys who studied and learned it properly.

Again, I do not remotely get the fascination with a personal strike zone for an ump. It makes no sense, no other sport on the planet allows something like this, and there is literally no reason for it other than "tradition" or more accurately "stupid reliance on history".

Can you imagine if in the NFL, they don't actually have bars on the field goal, and instead it's two umps sitting under it who have to make the call whether it went through or not? When the technology is there to make bars, why not use it, same with robo umps... why not use it?
   43. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 05:18 PM (#6013664)

I do not for the life of me, get the fascination with people holding onto human umpires for strikes and balls, it just makes zero sense other than a fear of technology.


Not a fear of technology, the fear of a misuse of technology, just like with replay. Giving better technology to idiots who don't know what to do with it just makes them more dangerous.
   44. SoSH U at work Posted: April 15, 2021 at 05:22 PM (#6013667)
I don't think that is correct, they spend a lifetime learning the strike zone, they go through high school and college not knowing the umps strike zone, same with the minors, these are things they have spent a decade developing before they hit the majors, knowing full and well there are variety of course, but that the majority of the time this is the standard, and there is no reason to punish the guys who studied and learned it properly.


No, they have a sense of it, because everyone operates around the basic box (while acknowledging almost no one calls the rulebook zone at the high end). But the strike zone is always the zone the umpire is calling. And those zones differ, in part based on where they set up or their own eye. Some are going to have generous zones, some small ones. Some like it high, others low. Some like the outside corner, some prefer it inside. There is no such thing as the uniform strike zone.

And you may not understand or like it. But it's the only game any of us have ever known. So why anyone thinks that abandoning that will have no choice but to be an improvement on the existing sport is ####### baffling. It might, but as we see with replay, it might not.
   45. cardsfanboy Posted: April 15, 2021 at 05:26 PM (#6013668)
Not a fear of technology, the fear of a misuse of technology, just like with replay. Giving better technology to idiots who don't know what to do with it just makes them more dangerous.


That is why you test it out, that is why you use lower leagues to figure it out.... but even with crappy replay, it has still improved the game, even with misused robo umps, it will improve the game... so ultimately your comment boils down to "it's not what I grew up with, so it's going to be different, and I'm going to focus on the few mistakes it makes, while ignoring the improvements that it created."

People who hate replay, hate that it's sometimes wrong... well it still improved the number of wrong calls made by idiots on the field wearing blue. The other issue is "it slowed the game down".... this is baseball we are talking about, the game has been slowed down forever, and replay is adding on average maybe 30 seconds per game, get over yourself and focus on the positives instead of being a man wearing an onion on the belt because it was fashionable before talking movies happened.
   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 05:31 PM (#6013669)
That is why you test it out, that is why you use lower leagues to figure it out.... but even with crappy replay, it has still improved the game,

I disagree with your premise, replay has made the game worse for me. The tags at 2B have become a farce, and the delay causes me to turn off the TV. You've even got delay when they don't use replay, b/c the teams are stalling to check the video.

I put zero value on getting 98.5% of calls right instead of 98%. It simply doesn't matter. If you told me adding 15 minutes to the average game could insure 100% accuracy on every call, I wouldn't make that trade. If we could shorten the game 15 minutes by getting more calls wrong, I'd take that.
   47. cardsfanboy Posted: April 15, 2021 at 05:45 PM (#6013672)
I put zero value on getting 98.5% of calls right instead of 98%. It simply doesn't matter. If you told me adding 15 minutes to the average game could insure 100% accuracy on every call, I wouldn't make that trade. If we could shorten the game 15 minutes by getting more calls wrong, I'd take that.


and neither argument is realistic, there is no such thing as a 15 minute review, there is no such thing as a 4 minute review, it's mostly about people who think a clock is to technological for them using timing, and they are saying their sundial is telling it's 15 minutes when it's closer to less than 2 minutes...

Sorry, I want the call to be right, I also want them to re-write the rules when it appears that there are mistakes with replay, most notably the silly situations where a hand/foot comes off the bag in a slide, literally fix it with a minor rule change that states that replay can only be used to determine if the slide reached the bag before the tag, everything beyond that is up to the human ump.

This weirdness with avoiding adding or altering rules makes even less sense to me than opposition to technology.
   48. Srul Itza Posted: April 15, 2021 at 05:57 PM (#6013675)
I really like the idea that you lose the DH when the SP exits.


It would get rid of the new "opener" role, at least.
   49. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 06:12 PM (#6013679)
I do not for the life of me, get the fascination with people holding onto human umpires for strikes and balls, it just makes zero sense other than a fear of technology.


I think the catcher position, and baseball in general, is more interesting for pitch-framing being a skill.
   50. CFBF's Results are Certified Posted: April 15, 2021 at 06:13 PM (#6013680)
I'll say this: I was a big replay guy a few years back when we were debating it, and I was pretty smug about it. I didn't just think it was a good idea -- I thought the opponents were incredibly silly luddites who came up with a bunch of flimsy arguments that held absolutely no weight.

And you know, the actual experience of replay has been pretty humbling. Whether it's runners getting called out for a foot leaving a bag by a millimeter for a microsecond, or wildly different standards for overturning calls being deployed seemingly every day, or sometimes just outright getting calls wrong after review, it has not been at all what I thought it would be.

I think there are ways you can tweak the system to make it better -- give managers a hard and fast time limit after a play is over to challenge it, give officials a hard and fast time limit when reviewing plays, only show replays in real time, etc. But I'm also aware that, "OK, it didn't work this time, but if we just impose a few more rules it'll definitely work next time" is basically the quintessential human delusion.

All of which is a long way of saying that I'm more skeptical of robo umps than I was even a few years ago. Not hostile or totally dismissive, but the instant replay experience does make me wary of how an automated strike zone might work out in practice.

Now, show me a few "highlights" of Joe West or Angel Hernandez calling balls and strikes and I start reverting to the pro-robot position pretty quickly....
   51. cardsfanboy Posted: April 15, 2021 at 06:29 PM (#6013682)
I'll say this: I was a big replay guy a few years back when we were debating it, and I was pretty smug about it. I didn't just think it was a good idea -- I thought the opponents were incredibly silly luddites who came up with a bunch of flimsy arguments that held absolutely no weight.


Even when it was being discussed around here, almost all of us pointed out that implementation was key, and even as a fan of the concept, I wasn't a fan of the proposed implementation, still am not a fan of it entirely, but it's still such a massive improvement, and it's about the only rules in baseball that is allowed to be modified on an annual basis.

MLB and baseball fans are a bunch of dinosaurs afraid to implement even the minor rule changes, the only rule changes that some oldsters like, and it depends on which league they follow, is the idiotic DH, but even then, attempt to modify it as proposed above and the dinosaur AL fans freak out. Ultimately the rule book should be looked at, in it's entirety every year and discussions and decisions should be made, based upon where you want to take the game. Small rules should absolutely be unilaterally declared, bigger rule changes should be offered to be tested out and discussed, ultimately there is nothing that should be sacred other than 9 men on the field, 9 innings to the game (oops... too late for that one) 3 outs, 4 balls, 3 strikes (and both of those aren't entirely off the table either) etc...


this fear of technology or change is just weird to me, yes you like what you like, but make the argument about what is working for what you like, not the potential failure of the new rule to only make fractional improvements, it's still an improvement. Pace of game isn't being hurt by replay, we've documented this well before, it's being hurt by actual pace of play.
   52. SoSH U at work Posted: April 15, 2021 at 06:57 PM (#6013691)
MLB and baseball fans are a bunch of dinosaurs afraid to implement even the minor rule changes, the only rule changes that some oldsters like, and it depends on which league they follow, is the idiotic DH, but even then, attempt to modify it as proposed above and the dinosaur AL fans freak out.


Actually, by your logic, thinking the DH is idiotic makes you the dinosaur. Sorry, those are your rules.
   53. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 06:57 PM (#6013692)
Not really an issue I care about. Having to learn an ump's zone is an advantage for smart players. I tend to like things that advantage smart players and disadvantage dumb ones.


If it's something you like, then it IS an issue you care about apparently.

Once again it seems as if you are a copping an attitude. You're position seems illogical.

Why would anyone come to a ball park to see how quickly players can adapt to a different strike zone? One that's not even in the rules in fact against the rules.

Same people who come to see umpires blow calls, cause they like the "human side" of things.
   54. SoSH U at work Posted: April 15, 2021 at 07:13 PM (#6013694)
Once again it seems as if you are a copping an attitude. You're position seems illogical.


I like it, because I played ball and that was definitely part of the game. You find out how the umpire calls the zone, and you adjust. I like aspects of the sport that reward attention to detail. And the strike zone has always been defined by the day's home plate umpire, regardless how much Andy wants to pretend otherwise.
   55. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 07:14 PM (#6013695)
If you told me adding 15 minutes to the average game could insure 100% accuracy on every call, I wouldn't make that trade. If we could shorten the game 15 minutes by getting more calls wrong, I'd take that.


Once again can I say how non sensical this is? The closest analogy I can come to is my dad at the NLCS in 1972. We get all the way to the ninth inning and he wants to leave so he can beat the traffic. Why? Whats the pt. of spending your entire day getting ready for the ball game. Spending hard earned money on playoff tickets if you just want to leave in the ninth and not celebrate the anticipated win? Makes no sense.

Here you spend hours each week arguing the most mundane issues of baseball and yet you cant waste any of your precious minutes getting the call right, and/or getting the correct outcome of the game. Whats the pt? Why spend any time on BTF at all if thats how valuable your time is?
   56. cardsfanboy Posted: April 15, 2021 at 07:17 PM (#6013697)
Actually, by your logic, thinking the DH is idiotic makes you the dinosaur. Sorry, those are your rules.


Ultimately I don't really care about the DH, I think it's a dumb rule personally, but if it happens, it happens and I'll move on. That is somewhat my point. It's not going to change one bit of the enjoyment of the game I love, it's also a step that I've assumed is going to happen for about 20 years, but from a personal viewpoint I would prefer it not to happen, but at the same time, I know it's going to happen and it won't change my enjoyment of the game.
   57. SoSH U at work Posted: April 15, 2021 at 07:36 PM (#6013699)
Here you spend hours each week arguing the most mundane issues of baseball and yet you cant waste any of your precious minutes getting the call right, and/or getting the correct outcome of the game. Whats the pt? Why spend any time on BTF at all if thats how valuable your time is?


First of all, it's just not that important to us. Umps have been missing calls since the start of the sport. It's annoying when it happens to our team, but it doesn't have much of an overall effect on our appreciation of the game.

Second, it's not like they're getting things right. They're getting things a little righter. You may feel like any amount of time taken to get things a little closer to right is time well spent. Others don't agree. It really shouldn't be that hard to understand.

Third, it has other effects we don't like. The sense that you have to put your excitement on hold, for the guy to check the replay and confirm that what you think you just saw is actually what you saw. We find that unsatisfying. Also, it can change the way guys play (holding the tag on for long after the runner has reached, hoping the runner leaves the bag for a microsecond, and possibly helping that along). It results in rules changes themselves (the neighborhood play, a benign way of keeping our valuable supply of shortstops a little safer, an unwritten rule that virtually no one inside the game objected to, couldn't survive the implementation of replay). Occasionally (though this is not as much of a problem in baseball as it in football/basketball), strict adherence to replay can turn the right call into the wrong one.

But as a staunch opponent from the outset, and someone who's just as opposed now, I will concede one thing: one of my fears hasn't been realized, at least in my viewing. There hasn't been a lot of times where they've had to reconstruct things (a ball that is ruled a trap ball is caught, where runners follow the lead of the initial call and then you've got to figure out what would have happened had the umps called it the other way originally). I'm sure there are some instances, but they seem to be quite rare. I thought that would be a much more common issue.
   58. cardsfanboy Posted: April 15, 2021 at 08:11 PM (#6013708)
There hasn't been a lot of times where they've had to reconstruct things (a ball that is ruled a trap ball is caught, where runners follow the lead of the initial call and then you've got to figure out what would have happened had the umps called it the other way originally).


As a staunch supporter of replay, I'm also glad for the lack of reconstructing, as you have pointed out, that isn't the purpose of replay, it's to judge whether the call was right or wrong, I do not want reconstructing either. I want to fix the call that ended the play, or should have ended the play.. #### estimating what should have happened. I want the following from replay, fixing mistakes, doing it in a timely manner, and doing it accurately while accepting the fact that if you can't do any of that, move on and accept the original call.

There are people out there arguing that the original call should have zero bearing on the replay official, but that is a bit of a ridiculous assumption with the current technology, maybe in the future, sure, but right now, you are judging based upon the original call.. At the same time a dogmatic adherence that the original call has 80% power, when it should only have about 50% power is also an argument.


And again, as a fan of replay, I've also argued that the argument about a person sliding into a bag and then slightly bouncing off, should not be part of the replay review, if they beat the tag or not should be the issue, physics should not be a part of the discussion.
   59. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 08:59 PM (#6013716)
I didn't like the replay idea when it was proposed/introduced, and still don't. I can accept it for fair/foul or HR/not. In other words: situations in which the question is whether the ball is live/dead. Everything else: to use the cliché, let the players play. I don't like the delays. I don't like the fact that you don't know if what you saw is what actually happened because a call can always be reversed. I don't like the way it alters game play so that imperceptible things matter.
   60. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 15, 2021 at 09:11 PM (#6013717)
But I have no doubt that Roboumps calling balls and strikes will be every bit the resounding success that instant replay has been making the game so much more fun for us as fans.

Big difference: The replays add minutes---sometimes many minutes---to a game. The robo-umps would add no time at all. And the number of blown ball-strike pitches that a robo-ump would correct would be way, way, way higher than the number of calls on the field that replays have overturned----let alone overturned and changed the outcome of a game.

All that said, I'd be more than happy to do away with replays, if for no other reason than my wonderful memory of game 6 of the 1985 World Series, which fortunately came well before replays came along. (smile)
   61. sanny manguillen Posted: April 15, 2021 at 10:28 PM (#6013723)
I do not for the life of me, get the fascination with people holding onto human umpires for strikes and balls, it just makes zero sense other than a fear of technology.


It seems like both the height and depth of the strike zone are being changed, without significant discussion of possible impact.
   62. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 15, 2021 at 11:02 PM (#6013730)
The robo-umps would add no time at all.
MLB Manager: “The Robo-Ump is missing a lot of calls tonight, we need to run a calibration test.”
   63. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 15, 2021 at 11:12 PM (#6013733)
No appeals on balls and strikes from today's home plate umps, and no appeals from the robo-umps' balls and strikes decisions. Like Bill Klem, they never call one wrong.
   64. Rally Posted: April 16, 2021 at 08:05 AM (#6013757)
If robo-umps can be used to call the strike zone exactly as it is defined, I think the result will be a huge increase in offense. It would take away the uncertainty of the hitter.

For example, in a 1-1 count, batter takes a pitch 3 inches off the plate. It is called a strike by the human umpire. Not only have you put the batter into a bad hitting count, but now he's wondering just how bad the umpire's strike zone is. If he sees the same location again he knows he has to swing, but how about 4-5 inches off the plate? Does the umpire want to call that a strike too?

When the batter has a better idea of what actually will be called a strike or ball, he's going to take much better swings at the ones he should be swinging at.

I think this would affect the batters with a good idea of the strike zone much more than others. We might see a noticeable increase in offense from guys like Juan Soto, or at a lower level, Cavan Biggio or Carlos Santana. For a Salvador Perez, probably not much difference. He was swinging at anything he could reach anyway.
   65. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 16, 2021 at 11:17 AM (#6013777)

If robo-umps can be used to call the strike zone exactly as it is defined, I think the result will be a huge increase in offense. It would take away the uncertainty of the hitter.


I understand this argument and in fact I was promoting it a year or two ago when robo umps became a sort of looming possibility. But why doesnt this same argument work for pitchers as well?

Pitcher notices that he can hit the outside corner with great consistency and the batter cant seem to get there and/or it was never called a strike so its hard to adjust to this pitch. He just keeps painting that corner.

You know anytime you bring up an argument like this you should be prepared to argue why the zero sum nature of the game doesnt work against your argument. I mean isnt my response rather obvious? Do you have a counter argument for it?


When the batter has a better idea of what actually will be called a strike or ball, he's going to take much better swings at the ones he should be swinging at.


When the pither has a better idea of what actually will be called a strike or ball he's going to make much better pitches than the one's he's been throwing.

DOnt both of these arguments have some wild assumptions:

1 That pitchers and batters have that much more ability than they've already displayed at the highest level of baseball. Like they can push their abilities even further.

This of course calls to mind Jim Bouton's anecdote when his pitching coach (probably Maglie) tells them how to pitch to Killebrew and its brush him off then plate and then hit the low outside corner three times. Like anyone can just do that. (I think Bouton once said that he thought he could get put the ball onto a 6" diameter target but no better than that).

2 Like the home plate umpires are already so bad that batters are just guessing what's a ball and strike anyways and somehow that doesnt apply to pitchers only batters. And vice versa if its my argument that pitchers are just guessing whats a ball/strike and batters already know this.

I mean if thats the case, that your argument is correct and batters are being badly fooled by bad calls. THEN GODDAMMIT ISNT THAT AN ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF ROBO UMPS FOR CRISSAKES!

Personally I feel that a tighting up of rules will favor good players and not favor bad players. That's the way it usually works. It is possible that batters would benefit from this but that shows how shitty umpires are really.
   66. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 16, 2021 at 11:38 AM (#6013779)

I understand this argument and in fact I was promoting it a year or two ago when robo umps became a sort of looming possibility. But why doesnt this same argument work for pitchers as well?

Pitcher notices that he can hit the outside corner with great consistency and the batter cant seem to get there and/or it was never called a strike so its hard to adjust to this pitch. He just keeps painting that corner.

You know anytime you bring up an argument like this you should be prepared to argue why the zero sum nature of the game doesnt work against your argument. I mean isnt my response rather obvious? Do you have a counter argument for it?


If you follow the axiom that hitting is timing and pitching is upsetting timing I think predictability works in favor of the hitter. If a pitcher knew a hitter couldn't hit the outside fastball, he'd already be throwing it there. The hitter will benefit when a pitcher who maybe gets the benefit of the calls (think Maddux or Glavine) suddenly isn't getting that couple of inches outside. Like everything else on this topic it's just conjecture for now but it makes sense to me.
   67. Barnaby Jones Posted: April 16, 2021 at 12:33 PM (#6013794)
14 calls a game. I'd love to know the impact of those. I'd be shocked if any team had + or - a full win because of this. So while it's annoying sometimes it's not a big deal IMHO.


There is definitely some kind of WPA for umps floating around. I saw a graphic the other day that one umps ball strike calls were worth 1+ run in a game decided by one run.

Yes, this kind of thing probably balances out in the long tern, but the same is true of WPA which is not reflecting any actual skill (probably), and yet we still see over and under performers across a season. I wouldn't be surprise if there were teams losing a win because of bad luck on the shitty umpire distribution.
   68. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 16, 2021 at 02:28 PM (#6013820)
If robo-umps can be used to call the strike zone exactly as it is defined, I think the result will be a huge increase in offense. It would take away the uncertainty of the hitter.

For example, in a 1-1 count, batter takes a pitch 3 inches off the plate. It is called a strike by the human umpire. Not only have you put the batter into a bad hitting count, but now he's wondering just how bad the umpire's strike zone is. If he sees the same location again he knows he has to swing, but how about 4-5 inches off the plate? Does the umpire want to call that a strike too?

When the batter has a better idea of what actually will be called a strike or ball, he's going to take much better swings at the ones he should be swinging at.

I think this would affect the batters with a good idea of the strike zone much more than others. We might see a noticeable increase in offense from guys like Juan Soto, or at a lower level, Cavan Biggio or Carlos Santana. For a Salvador Perez, probably not much difference. He was swinging at anything he could reach anyway.


I'm not sure just how much it would help the offense, but it'd cut down on strikeouts for damn sure, and for the very reason you mention: More predictability, as well as the fact that hitting balls in the strike zone brings better results that hitting balls outside the zone.

There's definitely skill involved in getting a batter to chase a pitch out of the strike zone. There's no skill at all involved in having an umpire rig the strike zone in your favor, which forces the batter to swing at bad pitches or be rung up on an incorrectly called strike. That's just bad umpiring.
   69. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 16, 2021 at 03:06 PM (#6013836)
There's no skill at all involved in having an umpire rig the strike zone in your favor, which forces the batter to swing at bad pitches or be rung up on an incorrectly called strike.


On this I strongly disagree. Control pitchers get calls. Catchers can frame pitches. Those things happen. That's a skill. You may not like those skills but they exist.
   70. SoSH U at work Posted: April 16, 2021 at 05:19 PM (#6013860)
I'm not sure just how much it would help the offense, but it'd cut down on strikeouts for damn sure,


There's no way of knowing that for damn sure.
   71. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 16, 2021 at 05:41 PM (#6013870)
On this I strongly disagree. Control pitchers get calls. Catchers can frame pitches. Those things happen. That's a skill. You may not like those skills but they exist.

Okay, it's a skill of sorts, but it requires an unskilled accomplice to pull it off.

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

I'm not sure just how much it would help the offense, but it'd cut down on strikeouts for damn sure,

There's no way of knowing that for damn sure.


When a pitcher stops getting gifted strikes, and has to put the ball over the plate in order to ring up a batter who doesn't offer at a pitch, that's not going to increase the strikeout rate. If batters don't have to expand their intuitive idea of the strike zone, pitchers will be forced to pitch more actual strikes, and that alone dramatically increases batting averages.

There are no absolutes in baseball, but this trend is very clear — swinging on pitches outside the strike zone leads to lower average and reduced power. There are exceptions, but when the differences are this dramatic and stark, it behooves players to attempt to cut down on the pitches they swing at. If they're successful, it could force pitchers to work closer to the plate, which itself could reverse the decrease in runs seen over the past five years or so. If hitters are willing to swing at anything, why should pitchers throw strikes? ...

This obviously doesn't mean that batters won't still chase pitches outside of the strike zone, but when they do hold off they won't be rung up by those personalized strike zones. And that's what happens way too often.
   72. SoSH U at work Posted: April 16, 2021 at 05:55 PM (#6013872)
When a pitcher stops getting gifted strikes, and has to put the ball over the plate in order to ring up a batter who doesn't offer at a pitch, that's not going to increase the strikeout rate. If batters don't have to expand their intuitive idea of the strike zone, pitchers will be forced to pitch more actual strikes, and that alone dramatically increases batting averages.


First of all, you assume the robo zone will only benefit batters, that the strike zone itself will simply be reduced in size. But they very well could make it the rulebook zone, which is higher than the practical one. That won't necessarily reduce strikeouts.

Furthermore, it's possible the new zone rewards those players with great eyes. Those people tend to be guys who strike out a lot. Guys like Jim Thome, Adam Dunn, etc. They're not striking out because they're chasing pitches off the plate, but because of their approach. OTOH, guys who are more likely to be free swingers don't typically K as often. If the new zone rewards players with good plate discipline and further marginalizes the free-swinging contact guy (a Juan Pierre type), that would, in all likelihood, lead to more strikeouts. The individual player type may not strike out more in the new system, but the distribution of players could change that results in fewer low-K players being useful.

Your robo zone wet dream could well be an improvement. But there's really no way of knowing how it will play out, and the idea that it can't produce negative consequences is simply folly.
   73. Hank Gillette Posted: April 17, 2021 at 03:32 PM (#6014010)
Not really an issue I care about. Having to learn an ump's zone is an advantage for smart players. I tend to like things that advantage smart players and disadvantage dumb ones.


A consistent strike zone would favor both smart pitchers and smart batters. Neither should have to spend half the game figuring out where that particular home plate umpire’s strike zone is that day.
   74. Hank Gillette Posted: April 17, 2021 at 03:41 PM (#6014012)
True, and the fact that they're talking about switching from a three-dimensional zone to a two-dimensional zone is not a harbinger of good things.


Do you really think umpires use a three-dimensional zone? They can’t even get a two-dimensional zone right.

As computer power increases*, they could eventually sample where the ball was at the front and the back of the plate.



*Assuming computers actually get faster. For the past few years, the trend has been to add more processors, rather than to increase chip speed. I suppose they could have one processor check the front of the plate, and a second check the back, and then check to see if the ball was over the plate in either case.
   75. Hank Gillette Posted: April 17, 2021 at 03:56 PM (#6014013)
We don't know whether robo-umps will lead to more, fewer or no change in strikeouts. That's total guesswork.


It will be whatever MLB wants it to be. Once they have an actual working robo-ump, adjusting the strike zone will be trivial*.

My personal prediction is that a consistent strike zone will favor both batters who can recognize the strike zone and the pitchers who can place the ball where they want, leading to a wider disparity in results between good players and not-so-good players.

On the other hand, a completely consistent strike zone might help batters who currently have trouble figuring out the strike zone du jour.

*Calling any part of the ball over the plate as a strike leads to too many strikeouts? Simply decrease the size of the strike zone so that a larger percentage of the baseball has to be over the plate. The reverse would be just as easy.
   76. Hank Gillette Posted: April 17, 2021 at 04:08 PM (#6014018)
I think the catcher position, and baseball in general, is more interesting for pitch-framing being a skill.
I think the fact that catcher framing is actually a thing simply highlights that human umpires can’t correctly call the strike zone correctly.

In what other sport is convincing the umpire or referee to make an incorrect call a feature of the game? I suppose “flopping” in soccer or pretending that a player driving to the basket knocked you down in basketball might qualify, but we don’t celebrate those as much as feel contempt for those players.
   77. SoSH U at work Posted: April 17, 2021 at 04:10 PM (#6014019)
It will be whatever MLB wants it to be..


Only if you're under the belief the rate of strikeouts is entirely dictated by the size of the strike zone. It isn't. MLB can adjust the zone to influence what pitches are called strikes, but the outcomes that come from that aren't so simply determined.
   78. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 17, 2021 at 04:26 PM (#6014024)
*Calling any part of the ball over the plate as a strike leads to too many strikeouts? Simply decrease the size of the strike zone so that a larger percentage of the baseball has to be over the plate. The reverse would be just as easy.


I think this is a good in theory that will have nothing to do with practice. “Oh MLB will just fix any issues quickly” is not a phrase that has ever proven to be accurately spoken.
   79. Hank Gillette Posted: April 17, 2021 at 04:26 PM (#6014025)
I think there are ways you can tweak the system to make it better -- give managers a hard and fast time limit after a play is over to challenge it, give officials a hard and fast time limit when reviewing plays, only show replays in real time, etc.


I agree that the implementation of replay is less than optimal. The managers stalling before deciding to challenge is a direct result of only giving the team one challenge (if the call is not overturned). Better would be to take the decision out of the hands of the managers.

I would limit the amount of time for review. As several others have said, if you can’t figure it out in less than a minute, it is too close to overturn.

On the other hand, I think going in with the assumption that the umpire made the correct call is flawed. The umpire reviewing the play should start with an open mind and should make the call based on what they see on video. No more “it has to be overwhelmingly obvious that the call was wrong to overturn it”.

The calls where the runner was briefly off the bag don’t bother me. The rules say that you have to maintain contact with the bag, so players need to adjust the way they slide into the base so that they can do that*.

*I saw one amazing play involving Mike Trout that was overturned. Trout slid into third base and ended (IIRC) completely in foul territory with his hand touching the base. The umpire called him out for not maintaining contact with the base while being tagged, but replay showed that at no time was there not a part of his body in contact with the base.
   80. SoSH U at work Posted: April 17, 2021 at 04:30 PM (#6014026)
The calls where the runner was briefly off the bag don’t bother me. The rules say that you have to maintain contact with the bag, so players need to adjust the way they slide into the base so that they can do that*.


Except this encourages defenders to try to help the runner off the base, often in ways that aren't perceptible on review. Replay has actually changed the way defenders play, and not in a good way.
   81. Hank Gillette Posted: April 17, 2021 at 04:51 PM (#6014032)
Only if you're under the belief the rate of strikeouts is entirely dictated by the size of the strike zone. It isn't. MLB can adjust the zone to influence what pitches are called strikes, but the outcomes that come from that aren't so simply determined.


I agree that there could be unanticipated effects, but the size of the strike zone is the major component of offense. When MLB expanded the strike zone in 1963 to the top of the shoulders, pitchers feasted, offense went way down and did not recover until the official strike zone* was moved back to the armpits.

* I don’t know that umpires actually called pitches at the shoulder strikes, but they did expand the upper strike zone, with major repercussions. If you look at the boxes superimposed over the plate on television, the upper limit of the strike zone is often shown as barely above the waist, even though the official top of the zone is supposed to be halfway between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants.
   82. Hank Gillette Posted: April 17, 2021 at 04:55 PM (#6014033)
Except this encourages defenders to try to help the runner off the base, often in ways that aren't perceptible on review. Replay has actually changed the way defenders play, and not in a good way.


You do have a point, and “helping” the runner off the base should be dealt with if possible. However, holding the tag for a longer period is simply good technique. There have been times where the runner obviously lost contact with the base (no replay needed), but the fielder did not maintain the tag and the runner was able to safely return to the base.
   83. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: April 17, 2021 at 09:20 PM (#6014082)
But I have no doubt that Roboumps

Roboumps (pronounced "roh-BEUMPS"*) looks like the name of some obscure French-Canadian hockey player. "Claude Roboumps notched a hat trick as the Canadiens knocked off the Maple Leafs last night..."

*The way Jacques Clouseau would pronounce "bumps".
   84. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: April 17, 2021 at 10:23 PM (#6014087)
[The strike zone] will be whatever MLB wants it to be. Once they have an actual working robo-ump, adjusting the strike zone will be trivial*.


According to the AP a month ago, this is where we're at:

“There’s a long history in the game of people just sort of just understanding by their eyes and their feel what’s either a strike and what’s not a strike,” [Chris Marinak, MLB’s chief operations and strategy officer] said. “And I think we have a lot of work to do to decide what is the zone with this automated system? Is it more of an oval-shaped zone, which is more consistent with what’s called today? Is it a square zone? Is it a three-dimensional zone? How does the zone shift from hitter to hitter? Is it literally the zone drawn every single pitch, as is written in the book, or is it a fixed zone that’s based on your height as a hitter, no matter how much you sort of squat down or stand up?”

MLB anticipates also using ABS [Automated Ball-Strike technology] this season in the Atlantic League, which is now a partner league, and possibly during the Arizona Fall League.

“So there’s a lot of those questions that need to be resolved before it could be used extensively at any sort of major league level. And that’s what our goal is for this year,” Marinak said. “And I just think it’s hard to handicap right now how that process is going to play out, how long it’s going to take, what the feedback from the players is going to be, what the feedback from the umpires is going to be and how we would translate that into a timeline to bring that into the major league level. And then there’s also the question of whether we like the way that it behaves or not or performs. And I think we need to get a better sense of that, as well.”
   85. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: May 14, 2021 at 12:45 AM (#6018797)
My site submissions seem to take weeks to get posted by someone with keys, at which point they're buried, so I'll post this here so interested folks might see it.

Developing MLB’s Automated Ball/Strike System (ABS)

I'm as pro-umpire/against on-field tech as they come, but this is where we're at.
   86. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 14, 2021 at 08:50 AM (#6018812)
Thanks, Lowry. I've run through the same problem with submissions. By the time they get posted, I've usually forgotten even to look for them. I'm not sure why a middleman is necessary to screen them, but that may be a technical question I'm not qualified to answer.

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