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View Full Version : MLB could alter strike zone as response to declining offense



grandsalami
02-12-2015, 07:47 PM
Major League Baseball is considering altering the textbook definition of the strike zone for the first time in nearly two decades, fearful that the proliferation of the low strike has sapped too much offense from the game, major league sources told Yahoo Sports.


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Concern around baseball about the strike zone filtered down to the MLB’s Playing Rules Committee, which must formally adopt a rules change before it’s implemented. The committee will pay close attention to the size of the strike zone in 2015 with an eye on change as early as 2016 after studies showed it has expanded significantly since 2009, coinciding with a precipitous dip in run scoring. Of particular concern, sources said, is the low strike, a scourge not only because it has stretched beyond the zone’s boundaries but is considered a significantly more difficult pitch to hit
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The problem, sources said, stems from technological leaps that caused unintended consequences. In 1996, when the league last changed the strike zone to extend it from the top of the knees to the bottom, beneath the hollow of the kneecap, it did so to encourage umpires to call knee-level strikes. The lower end of the zone, in practice, was about three-quarters of the way down the thigh, so the idea was that by adjusting the eye levels of umpires to look lower, the result would be a more traditional strike zone.
Then along came Questec, the computerized pitch-tracking system, followed by Zone Evaluation, the current version tied in to MLB’s PITCHf/x system. With a tremendous degree of accuracy – especially in recent years – the systems tracked textbook balls and strikes, and the home-plate umpires’ performances were graded on a nightly basis. Over time, not only did umpires’ strike zones move down to the knees, they went to the hollow and even a smidge below

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At baseball’s GM meetings last year, the room of executives teemed with discussions about how to jolt offense in a game lacking it. Radical ideas were proposed, from putting rules into place on defensive shifts to the possibility of forcing relief pitchers to throw to at least one batter. Generating the most agreement was the problem of the low strike.

If the Playing Rules Committee sees more of the same in 2015, it could make a proposal for a rules change, which the World Umpires Association and MLB Players Association would need to ratify before it could be implemented. One fear committee members expressed were so-called “Band-Aid” fixes that would result in other issues.

Most agreed that raising the strike zone almost certainly would spark offense. The potential issue: More offense equals longer games, and with pace of game one of new commissioner Rob Manfred’s priorities, balancing the two remains a difficult proposition.

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/sources--mlb-could-alter-strike-zone-as-response-to-declining-offense-232940947.html

giants73756
02-12-2015, 08:11 PM
Would be stupid. Instead, how about telling umps to stop consistently calling pitches half a foot outside as strikes?

Randy West
02-12-2015, 08:49 PM
The problem with some of these pitches that fool the batters......they fool the umps as well sometimes.

I also believe these guys all have a preference in calling balls and strikes, take it out of their hands and let the machine do it. That's the only way it will be consistent imo

Rush
02-12-2015, 09:21 PM
Why not underhand pitches now? That'll surely cause an uptick in runs scored.

ThomasTomasz
02-12-2015, 11:38 PM
The problem with some of these pitches that fool the batters......they fool the umps as well sometimes.

I also believe these guys all have a preference in calling balls and strikes, take it out of their hands and let the machine do it. That's the only way it will be consistent imo

As much as I hate it, as would most traditionalists, the only way you will get rid of the human error aspect is to get the computer to do it. You bring up a great point about the pitches also fooling the umps, and the ump would be in too much danger behind the mound I think.

GrumpyOldMan
02-13-2015, 07:46 AM
I hate the thought of having too much technology in the game, but I would rather have a computer maintain a consistant strike zone than have the strike zone changed. Hitting is one of the most difficult things to do well in professional sports and it's supposed to be hard to do. If the strike zone gets called accurately there would be no need for any other changes.

benzni
02-13-2015, 01:24 PM
Afraid of losing the casual fan because of low scoring "boring" games. Casual fans love seeing a high scoring game rather than a pitching duel.

ciaban
02-13-2015, 03:12 PM
Why not underhand pitches now? That'll surely cause an uptick in runs scored.
From the article.

Then along came Questec, the computerized pitch-tracking system, followed by Zone Evaluation, the current version tied in to MLB’s PITCHf/x system. With a tremendous degree of accuracy – especially in recent years – the systems tracked textbook balls and strikes, and the home-plate umpires’ performances were graded on a nightly basis. Over time, not only did umpires’ strike zones move down to the knees, they went to the hollow and even a smidge below

Umps are calling a lower strike zone than they should. that's the problem.

otatop
02-13-2015, 03:29 PM
Which is why impartial robots should be making the calls, not flawed humans.

Rynoplasty
02-13-2015, 05:19 PM
If the human beings they're using are flawed, why not just use Beyoncé?

RCarlson85
02-13-2015, 06:06 PM
I hate the thought of having too much technology in the game, but I would rather have a computer maintain a consistant strike zone than have the strike zone changed. Hitting is one of the most difficult things to do well in professional sports and it's supposed to be hard to do. If the strike zone gets called accurately there would be no need for any other changes.

I love watching baseball more than any other sport, but the strike zone and inconsistent balls and strikes is the thing that really gets my blood boiling more than anything else. I have been in favor of a computer calling balls/strikes since I first saw the pitch track that's used on most baseball broadcasts. I'm sure that technology could be made even better if it were actually going to be used to replace umps. It's pretty bad to see where some of the pitches that were called a certain way fall on the pitch track. Getting an extra pitch or one less pitch in an at bat can really make a difference and that's why it's frustrating to see such terrible calls every game, multiple times a game in most cases. It's so bad that you hear announcers talk about the different strike zones that umps have and certain pitches they tend to call more or less.

I personally don't care about more technology being brought into the game, I care about getting the calls right. That's why I like the use of more replays. It does slow things down, but I can get over that when I see that a call is being made correctly. It's not like letting a computer call balls/strikes would get rid of umps. They would obviously still be involved in many other aspects of the game.

Dugmet
02-14-2015, 10:50 AM
The problem with some of these pitches that fool the batters......they fool the umps as well sometimes.

I also believe these guys all have a preference in calling balls and strikes, take it out of their hands and let the machine do it. That's the only way it will be consistent imo

All professional umpires would walk off the job. You'd have to hire scabs, and the quality of umpires would suffer significantly.

giants73756
02-14-2015, 12:37 PM
So? We've got replay in case they mess up. That's not a good reason not to implement much more accurate strike zone.

It boggles my mind the reasoning some people come up with when they argue in favor of keeping this severely inaccurate strike zone.

Bad calls by the home plate umpire is by far the worst part about the sport of baseball. We have the technology to get rid of it. Let's get rid of it.

Dugmet
02-14-2015, 02:16 PM
So? We've got replay in case they mess up. That's not a good reason not to implement much more accurate strike zone.

It boggles my mind the reasoning some people come up with when they argue in favor of keeping this severely inaccurate strike zone.

Bad calls by the home plate umpire is by far the worst part about the sport of baseball. We have the technology to get rid of it. Let's get rid of it.

No one argued for keeping it. Just offering you a dose of reality.

giants73756
02-14-2015, 04:27 PM
Not yet in this thread (yet). I wasn't talking about anybody in particular.

ManningToTyree
02-14-2015, 05:38 PM
This is absurd. Just actually enforce the already existing strike zone, no need to reinvent the wheel.

Phantom Dreamer
02-14-2015, 08:13 PM
Is it going to cut down on strikeouts? Less offense and high strikeout totals make baseball a tough watch.

dodgerdave
02-15-2015, 04:26 AM
Afraid of losing the casual fan because of low scoring "boring" games. Casual fans love seeing a high scoring game rather than a pitching duel.

Everybody just got spoiled by the steroid era.

dodgerdave
02-15-2015, 04:31 AM
Would be stupid. Instead, how about telling umps to stop consistently calling pitches half a foot outside as strikes?

It's definitely stupid! I'm starting the garner the opinion that Manfred is basically Bud Selig Jr. :facepalm:

filihok
02-15-2015, 02:51 PM
Would be stupid. Instead, how about telling umps to stop consistently calling pitches half a foot outside as strikes?
They have.
Umpires do a pretty good job of not calling strikes on pitches outside.
http://www.hardballtimes.com/the-strike-zone-expansion-is-out-of-control/

There's a lot more of the strike zone that is called balls than pitches out of the strike zone called strikes.

Howard_Zinn
02-16-2015, 12:42 AM
Not a fan of this move at all.. I can understand it though considering "casual" fans.. Never should have got rid of roids.. haha