Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Sully Baseball Video - "Strike Zone Clarity"

In the latest Sully Baseball Video, I ask the simple question: Why can umpires have different strike zones?

It's a logical question... I wonder if I will get a logical answer.

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  1. Nice video... and I get what you're saying here... although I don't like that thing on TBS because I think it is even less accurate. I've seen pitches pretty much down the middle show up as a ball on the TBS tracker.

  2. You had Jon and me cracking up on this, Paul. Hey, is there a rule about the exact placement of the letters on the jersey? :-)

  3. I seem to remember hearing Ron Luciano saying that if Rod Carew did not swing at a pitch it must be a ball.

  4. I hear what you're saying Sully, but I have a couple things to clarify.

    First of all, the rule book defines the strike zone as "that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap."

    Pretty ridiculous, huh? So, the umpire needs to approximate the midpoint at the top of strike zone, and what exactly the hollow beneath the kneecap is, I don't know.

    Also, I could be wrong about this, but I don't think that anywhere in the rule book it's clarified as to whether or not the black is part of the plate.

    Since the rule book interpretation of the strike zone isn't exactly clear, you can see the root cause of the problem.

    I also think the idea that it's acceptable for umpires to have (slightly) different zones is because different umpires might see things a little differently. For example, a 6'7" umpire like Tim McClelland has a different vantage point from a 5'8" umpire like Mark Wegner. There's no getting around that, and since umpires set up over the inside corner of the plate, they have a tough time seeing exactly where the outside pitch crosses the plate.

    But, all that being said, sure there are plenty of umpires who, given an inch have taken a mile...so to speak. Any umpire that says he has a different "interpretation" of the strike zone is missing the point. An umpire who says he might see pitches a little differently from another umpire understands why it's OK for umpires to have (slightly) different strike zones.

    Love your videos, by the way. I always look forward to the next installment.