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ArchAngel72

Strike Zone

Question

Strike Zone ( as defined by LL)  is the space over home plate which is between the batters armpits and the top of the knees when a batter assumes a natural stance. The Umpire shall determine the strike zone according to the batter's usual stance when that batter swings at a pitch.

 

MLB from their website " 

1996 - The Strike Zone is expanded on the lower end, moving from the top of the knees to the bottom of the knees.

1988 - "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 top of the knees. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter's stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball."

 

So slight differences in LL to MLB obviously. I have heard guys say this is from the letters to the knees and it differs top of knees to bottom of knees.   I get all that

My question is why are some guys so tight on the Kzone?

I have heard guys call say they call it like a bread box maybe a little bigger. I'm thinking um huh? It should vary in height player to player but to me its roughly letters to knees ( top or bottom would vary by league) over the plate. Including any portion of the plate.  If it nicks a corner, the front edge , or the back point that's all that matters.  Why do some guys squeeze that?

 

 

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Who pays MLB umpires ?   How many traveling calls get "missed" in  NBA games ?   This is big business and umps/refs who don't officiate as the leagues intend won't keep their jobs very long.   I know a long-time NBA ref never worked again after calling a 6th foul on a star in a playoff game.

Fan interest is what matters most.  Home runs, dunks and TD passes are what fans prefer to watch, especially young fans who will sustain revenues in the future.

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I'm assuming that you are asking as to why so many amatuer umpires calling youth ball have such tight strike zones. I see it in all levels up to and including HS ball.

One of my many concerns with training umpires is making sure they call a proper zone in accordance with the level they are umpiring at. In my opinion, the reason for many amatuer umpires tight strike zone are two fold.

One. Most peoples frame of reference is what they have grown up with, i.e watching pro baseball most of their lives. Many, many people apply what they see on TV to youth baseball, not just on the umpire side, but when coaching, as well. I see it all the time, they think what they have seen on the professional level is how the game is supposed to be played, either consciously or subconsciously. How many times have you heard people get mad at rule modifications for youth games (such as coach pitch) because it's not "real baseball?" 

Second, and more applicable, is the fundamental lack of training and an understanding of a proper zone for the level of play. Many umpires are not propperly trained, don't understand how the zone should be called, are often not set in the slot, and/or don't track pitches properly. It's easy to call a tight zone when you are not tracking the pitches properly. Pitches down the middle, ones that Grandma in the stands can call, are easy. When you're not seeing or tracking pitches properly, the ones in the periphery of the zone are harder to call. Lack of training and poor mechanics often lead to a tight and inconsistent zone.

There are other factors, but in my experience, these are the two primary factors.

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When I teach our junior umpires, I try to stress a big zone.  I hypothesized some years ago that almost every umpire remembers being rung up on a called strike three, and not wanting to do that to anyone else.  So I try to stress that umpire needs instead to empathize with the pitcher, since they're going to get you out of the inning and get you home (and everyone likes a game where kids are encouraged to swing, etc.)  I have not strictly tested that hypothesis, but I still frame it that way in training every year.

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Strikes lead to Outs

Outs ==> Innings

Innings ==> Games

Games ==> Cash

Cash ==> Beer

Beer ==> Sleep

Sleep is good.  Call more strikes.

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Umpires best friend: Outs

Umpires second best friend: Strikes

Especially at the younger age groups.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying call an out when it's not an out or a strike when it's a ball.

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44 minutes ago, Lou B said:

or a strike when it's a ball.

unless you're using trackman?:sarcasm:

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Any opinions on the old balloon protector that PU used...got a good look side to side ..not so much up and down, and does ANYONE use them anywhere?

 

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8 minutes ago, Phu Bai said:

Any opinions on the old balloon protector that PU used...got a good look side to side ..not so much up and down, and does ANYONE use them anywhere?

 

We have a couple of guys that use them in the off-season, especially in the heat of the summer.  I've never used one, but more power to them.

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31 minutes ago, Phu Bai said:

Any opinions on the old balloon protector that PU used...got a good look side to side ..not so much up and down, and does ANYONE use them anywhere?

 

That has everything to do with the umpire positioning and nothing to do with the balloon protector.  You can use one in the slot and get the same view as with the inside protector.

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7 hours ago, Lou B said:

Umpires best friend: Outs

Umpires second best friend: Strikes

Especially at the younger age groups.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying call an out when it's not an out or a strike when it's a ball.

Strikes and outs make the world go round.  

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12 hours ago, Phu Bai said:

Any opinions on the old balloon protector that PU used...got a good look side to side ..not so much up and down, and does ANYONE use them anywhere?

 

I used one for a couple of games this year after I was tired of getting my forearms beat up. The one team I saw for several games had a big 12 year old pitcher who was effectively wild and catchers who couldn't or wouldn't catch at times. i felt like my strike zone was okay. What I didn't like was having to juggle the balloon while removing my mask and moving into position when something happened. 

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12 hours ago, umpstu said:

Strikes and outs make the world go round.  

......and here all this time I thought it was fat bottomed girls

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1 hour ago, Mussgrass said:

I used one for a couple of games this year after I was tired of getting my forearms beat up. The one team I saw for several games had a big 12 year old pitcher who was effectively wild and catchers who couldn't or wouldn't catch at times. i felt like my strike zone was okay. What I didn't like was having to juggle the balloon while removing my mask and moving into position when something happened. 

That's an art -- they used to spend some time on this at the umpire schools.  Once you get it down, it's not a problem.

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8 hours ago, Aging_Arbiter said:

......and here all this time I thought it was fat bottomed girls

Now that's funny.  Get on your bikes and ride.

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