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strike zone question - obr vs fed

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bbman    10

Obr:

The STRIKE ZONE is 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. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter’s stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.

Fed:SECTION 35 STRIKE ZONE

The strike zone is that space over home plate, the top of which is halfway

between the batter’s shoulders and the waistline, and the bottom being the knees, when he assumes his natural batting stance. The height of the strike zone is determined by the batter’s normal batting stance. If he crouches or leans over to make the shoulder line lower, the umpire determines height by what would be the batter’s normal stance.

My question:

Would you take this definition of strike zones, and interpet them as the strike zone is a 'little lower' in obr vs fed?

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Umpire in Chief    1,370

Welcome bbman and great question, I'm sure will stir up some debate.

Reading this literally it would read that the OBR strike zone is not only lower, but also higher. As it specifically mentions the top of the shoulders versus just shoulders.

You have undoubtedly seen on TV that the strike zone the umpires call seems to be much smaller. They seem to end the strike zone at the top just a ball above the waist and at the bottom just at the knees, but not below.

My strike zone is the same whether I'm calling a FED game or a game under OBR. I'm getting from the bottom of the knees to the center of the chest. I have very few complaints about my strike zone, and my biggest issue seems to be expanding it for the little kids.

I think the most important issue concerning your strike zone is to be consistent.

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mstaylor    1,504

I agree with Warren. Technically the top is a little higher and little lower in OBR. In practicallity I call the same zone no matter the level.

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Stan W.    543

My strike zone is the same whether I'm calling a FED game or a game under OBR. I'm getting from the bottom of the knees to the center of the chest. I have very few complaints about my strike zone, and my biggest issue seems to be expanding it for the little kids.

I think the most important issue concerning your strike zone is to be consistent.

I agree that literally the OBR strike zone is not only lower, but also higher. Agreed as well because it specifically mentions the top of the shoulders versus just shoulders....yet we are talking minute differences...

I am with Warren and MST here...my strike zone is the same whether I'm calling a FED game, MSBL, College Level or just any game under OBR. I learned a long time ago that trying to have mulitple zones for multiple levels left me not highly proficient at any level....

The problem with one zone for all levels is like previously stated is expanding it for the little kids....My fix for the most part was to not do kid games....

One weekend doing kid games left me wandering in HS and higher games...now If my association is doing any kid games, I restrict myself to summer rec and fall games...

PS.. Welcome to the site!!

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LMSANS    496

Let's make this unanimous. I agree that the OBR zone is higher and lower. I also call the same zone regardless of what level I am working.

So where is that debate, Warren?

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bbman    10

Let's make this unanimous. I agree that the OBR zone is higher and lower. I also call the same zone regardless of what level I am working.

So where is that debate, Warren?

The debate is when a coach challenges you on your strike zone knowledge. Knowledge breeds confidence, confidence in calling your game will put you ahead of the class.

I do try and call a lower strike in obr vs when I'm doing a high school game. (Easier said then done, but I try).

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Majordave    1,571

As some of you stated, not really much of one here. But,..... in some places it rages wildly. I like the quote, forgot the MLB guy who said it, (found it-It was Rich Garcia edited 11/21/08) ..."The strike zone is where I call it and they don't bitch." Great way to say it.

I find that I have a slightly higher zone for HS than college and Legion (since most of the players in Legion ball around here play or are going to play in college). Mostly, I feel this way because I think that it relates to the speed the pitchers throw. It just is not fair to call a mid-chest pitch a strike when the pitcher throws mid 80's and up. The batter cannot get the bat to that plane and swing with any semblance of a proper swing. Sure, he can tomahawk and/or throw the bat at the ball but to really swing the way they should be taught cannot happen at those speeds. Thus, it just isn't fair, in my opinion to call a higher strike with high velocity pitching.

As an aside, (Can you say tirade? Sure, I knew you could.), I HATE to work any game under 14 year olds and I especially HATE 60' games such as Little League. I finally agreed to work the local Little League district tourney this past summer after ignoring my assigner's requests the past two years. I did it to work with some great guys I do HS with. However, the baseball skill level sucked, the coaching sucked, the fans sucked and the pay sucked. I turned back the last four games I was to do including the Championship plate. The two plate jobs I had in the in six games worked resulted in three pitches directly to the inner thighs and multiple other hits on arms. elbows and wrists as well as hits to multiple other protected areas. Some of those kids can hit and throw but almost none of them could catch. I guess all the good players from around here are now on travel ball teams. Lazy, fat little catchers who never hustled, threw their helmasks on the plate in the way of a play, mommas bitchin' about EVERY pitch.....Just a really sucky (is that a word yet?) experience for me. I will probably never work that level again unless they offer me something like $100 per game and I call from behind the mound and the fans are in the outfield and the coaches wear muzzles. Then I might work a game or two.

My two cents, your mileage may vary.

Edited by Majordave
English corrections

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Umpire in Chief    1,370

Let's make this unanimous. I agree that the OBR zone is higher and lower. I also call the same zone regardless of what level I am working.

So where is that debate, Warren?

Just over the interpretation vs. the letter of the rule.

Dave,

I'm sorry you had to experience that. The really bad thing is when you have a plate on 1 day on a 70' field, then the next day you have the plate on a Varsity game. Your perception is off and it takes a little while to adjust.

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Stan W.    543

I posted this elsewhere a while back...but I once went from best to worst in 2 days.....

I had been evaluated on the plate at a HS varsity game and it was one of those games where everything went well....balls and strikes were good...rotations were 100% on....communications top rated......

got the eval and a request....would I do the plate at a PONY game the next night with a probationary member...let him see how its done...

I was horrible...bad pitching and worse catching, my timing was off, got hit so much I had the blinks for a couple of innings... I pulled it together, but hated the way it felt.... back to varsity the next afternoon, not a problem at all.........

After getting zoned in for '90 foot baseball and better players...doing lower level baseball is quite an adjustment........I give credit to those guys who can move from 8-28 year olds with out any hitch....It seems I am not one of them...

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PeteBooth    14

Obr:

The STRIKE ZONE is 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. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter’s stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.

Fed:SECTION 35 STRIKE ZONE

The strike zone is that space over home plate, the top of which is halfway

between the batter’s shoulders and the waistline, and the bottom being the knees, when he assumes his natural batting stance. The height of the strike zone is determined by the batter’s normal batting stance. If he crouches or leans over to make the shoulder line lower, the umpire determines height by what would be the batter’s normal stance.

My question:

Would you take this definition of strike zones, and interpet them as the strike zone is a 'little lower' in obr vs fed?

IMO, forget about the "book" definition of the strike zone as that is simply a reference point.

The strike zone is defined as that which is accepted for the leagues we service.

Example:

When I first started umpiring HS I had all modified to JV level games.

In the summer I was assigned my first CBL (Collegiate wood bat league) game behind the dish. I was simply awful. One of the players in a nice way said "Blue this is NOT JV" I understood and by my 3rd / 4th game behind the dish I felt comfortable and for the most part had no problems the rest of the summer.

IMO, there are variations of the strike zone depending upon the ages of the players. You cannot expect a modified HS F1 (mostly 7th / 8th graders) to be as polished as a HS varsity pitcher (Age 18)

Therefore, from my experience the various leagues you service have a strike zone that best suits them. The book definition is simply a gudie-line.

Pete Booth

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MCLEOD36    10

Pete.

I think that is funny, and you know you are dealing with a good kid. I remember doing, a 14U game, then headed to two scrimmages with Varsity and then JUNCO kids, and got the same answer from the college kid. I then went to the catcher in the next half and went, you do have some funny kids on the team and he went, so you are now not calling that HS crap. Adjustments are made and it is the guys that are busting their tail to make them, that is what I like about these comments

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