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Electronic Strike Zone


Guest Jcal

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Guest Jcal

Curios to know what people's thoughts are in regards to the electronic strike and also what is known about the status of implementing it. Is this still being tested in the minors? Is it just a matter of time before it will be implemented or is it up in the air?

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3 hours ago, Guest Jcal said:

Curios to know what people's thoughts are in regards to the electronic strike and also what is known about the status of implementing it. Is this still being tested in the minors? Is it just a matter of time before it will be implemented or is it up in the air?

I think most baseball purists don’t want an electronic strike zone.  Most MLB umpires are above 90% on accuracy, so what’s the argument? The players play a game where 30% success rate gets you hundreds of millions, coaches take pitchers out during shutouts in WS and then lose the game and it’s acceptable bc “analytics” say it was correct.

Also, as a former catcher, the art of receiving pitches and “framing” are pointless and devalues catchers with an electronic zone.

Also, have you ever seen a pitch go through box so it’s technically a strike but catcher had to reach/dive for it, or took glove into dirt…if umpire calls that on their own, they are slayed by coaches and batter, but it technically crossed in zone. Those are all strikes with electronic zone, so people will start complaining about those next.

Finally, unless batters wear something around the hollow of their knees and the MLB top of zone, it can never be perfect.  

As for its implementation, I believe it’s only a matter of time.  I don’t see how it’s going to bring more fans to the game though, which is what MLB is concerned about 

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2 hours ago, SH0102 said:

I think most baseball purists don’t want an electronic strike zone.  Most MLB umpires are above 90% on accuracy, so what’s the argument? The players play a game where 30% success rate gets you hundreds of millions, coaches take pitchers out during shutouts in WS and then lose the game and it’s acceptable bc “analytics” say it was correct.

Also, as a former catcher, the art of receiving pitches and “framing” are pointless and devalues catchers with an electronic zone.

Also, have you ever seen a pitch go through box so it’s technically a strike but catcher had to reach/dive for it, or took glove into dirt…if umpire calls that on their own, they are slayed by coaches and batter, but it technically crossed in zone. Those are all strikes with electronic zone, so people will start complaining about those next.

Finally, unless batters wear something around the hollow of their knees and the MLB top of zone, it can never be perfect.  

As for its implementation, I believe it’s only a matter of time.  I don’t see how it’s going to bring more fans to the game though, which is what MLB is concerned about 

I totally agree, I would hate to see the human aspect of the game go away. The umps do do a great job and that's part of the game to adjust to how the game is being called.

It does seem like it is the direction that MLB wants to go in. I hear some umps are okay with it but not sure if they are taking the company line. Might not be a good idea to speak out against it.

Seems a little sterile to me. I guess people make such a big thing out of a missed call in a big situation but definitely the exception.

I wonder if it will be installed in all of the minor league parks and if it will have an effect on college and high school? I hear it is expensive and I don't see how they could install the system in all the different level. Maybe it wouldn't make any difference but would be nice if things were consistent at all levels. 

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Guest Visitor

I think the MLBUA could easily stave off the move if they were willing to hold their members accountable.  We can all name the MLB umpires with the poorest performances, they're very well known. If the union would create a merit based system instead of a seniority based system, the concern would be diminished significantly. 

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2 hours ago, Guest Visitor said:

I think the MLBUA could easily stave off the move if they were willing to hold their members accountable.  We can all name the MLB umpires with the poorest performances, they're very well known. If the union would create a merit based system instead of a seniority based system, the concern would be diminished significantly. 

It can happen in my neck of the woods in HS.  Most of the time they both know who's coming and want ones strike zone. They don't get to decide who has plate. WE do. Close knit group, we know our partner is lights out, I mean he really is great and I'm just good. He gets plate. It goes both ways. Most games we both nail everything. Rare occurrence is PU has  a bad night. But regarding MLB, wouldn't they have the best evaluating tools, training and improving tools to take one of their umpires from poor performing to better performing? Or do they just say you sucked?  Based on my pilot training experiences most student pilots would improve with instruction but a few would not respond well to that instruction. So is MLB giving remedial training to the guys that are substandard if they have a substandard grade level?

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Guest Crazy Me

My son is a 10-year veteran MLB pitcher.  He told me that both he and the hitters want it.  They have too much money riding on ball-strike calls to get things wrong.  (5 years ago he had the greatest number of missed ball-strike calls in the history of electronic record keeping.  His ball moves a lot).

I also work with  3 umpires who also work in the Independent Leagues and call games with the electronic strike zone.  They don't like it and one of them hates it.  He hates it because he says it doesn't "get things right."  The ex-major league players in his games often agree - sometimes quite vocally.

I asked an NYU Physics professor friend about how accurately we can measure a baseball in flight.  He laughed at me saying, "We are accurate to angstrom units.  A thrown baseball is glacial to us."  When I asked why two radar guns next to each other often give different readings he said, "They bought the cheap chip.  The right equipment exists to call the game perfectly."

When I told this to the umpire who uses the system as it is, he said, "I suspect at an MLB stadium they can get the right set up.  Where we are, corners have probably been cut."

Tens of millions of dollars can ride on one call in a play-in or playoff game for both the players and the owners.  For that reason - robo umps are coming soon to a stadium near you.  The adjustment period will pass very quickly.

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11 hours ago, Guest Visitor said:

I think the MLBUA could easily stave off the move if they were willing to hold their members accountable.  We can all name the MLB umpires with the poorest performances, they're very well known. If the union would create a merit based system instead of a seniority based system, the concern would be diminished significantly. 

Hilarious, considering that there is a merit-based system in place (including the awarding of playoff assignments and crew chief positions).  At least get your facts straight; the seniority-based system started dying in the 1990's and completely died in August of 1999.

As for "we can all name the MLB umpires with the poorest performances".  That's laughable.  Everyone and their mother always names "Angel Hernandez" first when listing the umpire with the "poorest performances".  The only problem, however, is that the objective facts don't bear this out.  From 2001 to around 2013 (I forget the exact last year as I forgot what year I was discussing this with a friend who works in umpire administration), Angel finished in the top 5 every year in the computer grades for balls and strikes calls.  Yet, through all those years he was consistently named by announcers, members of the print media, and idiots on social media as the worst umpire.

So, the idea that "we" can all agree on the umpires with the poorest performances is wrong.

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17 minutes ago, Guest Crazy Me said:

My son is a 10-year veteran MLB pitcher.  He told me that both he and the hitters want it.  They have too much money riding on ball-strike calls to get things wrong.  (5 years ago he had the greatest number of missed ball-strike calls in the history of electronic record keeping.  His ball moves a lot).

I also work with  3 umpires who also work in the Independent Leagues and call games with the electronic strike zone.  They don't like it and one of them hates it.  He hates it because he says it doesn't "get things right."  The ex-major league players in his games often agree - sometimes quite vocally.

I asked an NYU Physics professor friend about how accurately we can measure a baseball in flight.  He laughed at me saying, "We are accurate to angstrom units.  A thrown baseball is glacial to us."  When I asked why two radar guns next to each other often give different readings he said, "They bought the cheap chip.  The right equipment exists to call the game perfectly."

When I told this to the umpire who uses the system as it is, he said, "I suspect at an MLB stadium they can get the right set up.  Where we are, corners have probably been cut."

Tens of millions of dollars can ride on one call in a play-in or playoff game for both the players and the owners.  For that reason - robo umps are coming soon to a stadium near you.  The adjustment period will pass very quickly.

I would recommend checking out www.closecallsports.com.  You can find numerous stories on that website that detail the problems with the electronic strike zone.  For example, the computers require constant calibration by humans...and there have been some hilarious results when those calibrations are off.  Second, the "computer zone" still requires a human to set the upper and lower limits of the strike zone for each batter (by rule, these boundaries change based on each individual batter's height).  So, even with computers there is an element of human judgment.  Third, regardless of what your physics professor states, these machines have a "margin of error" of at least 1" which MLB acknowledges internally, but not externally.  

Perhaps the most intriguing issue is: which computer would you use?  There was a funny graphic they had on that website a few years ago of one single pitch in one particular game.  The article showed three pictures of the same one pitch.  Each picture was taken from a different computer's depiction of the location of the same exact pitch.  They used the TV broadcaster's computer, the MLB GameDay app computer, and a third computer.  If you were watching that game on all three separate devices (television broadcast, MLB GameDay app, and an umpire tracking site) you would see that each computer had the pitch in a slightly different location.  And, because of where it was thrown, "slightly" made a big difference: some of the computers had the pitch as a "ball" and some had it as a "strike".  So, like humans...it appears that the strike zone varies slightly from computer to computer.  LOL

Anyways, I'm not naïve enough to believe that the computers won't get there some day.  But, they're not there, yet.  As stated above, you can search for articles on these issues at www.closecallsports.com as they break down the limits of the systems (including the physics behind the reason there are limits). 

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3 hours ago, lawump said:

I would recommend checking out www.closecallsports.com.  You can find numerous stories on that website that detail the problems with the electronic strike zone.  For example, the computers require constant calibration by humans...and there have been some hilarious results when those calibrations are off.  Second, the "computer zone" still requires a human to set the upper and lower limits of the strike zone for each batter (by rule, these boundaries change based on each individual batter's height).  So, even with computers there is an element of human judgment.  Third, regardless of what your physics professor states, these machines have a "margin of error" of at least 1" which MLB acknowledges internally, but not externally.  

Perhaps the most intriguing issue is: which computer would you use?  There was a funny graphic they had on that website a few years ago of one single pitch in one particular game.  The article showed three pictures of the same one pitch.  Each picture was taken from a different computer's depiction of the location of the same exact pitch.  They used the TV broadcaster's computer, the MLB GameDay app computer, and a third computer.  If you were watching that game on all three separate devices (television broadcast, MLB GameDay app, and an umpire tracking site) you would see that each computer had the pitch in a slightly different location.  And, because of where it was thrown, "slightly" made a big difference: some of the computers had the pitch as a "ball" and some had it as a "strike".  So, like humans...it appears that the strike zone varies slightly from computer to computer.  LOL

Anyways, I'm not naïve enough to believe that the computers won't get there some day.  But, they're not there, yet.  As stated above, you can search for articles on these issues at www.closecallsports.com as they break down the limits of the systems (including the physics behind the reason there are limits). 

But MLB would pick a system, not three, and even if they had three a game site would only use one of them. And slightly different isn't the issue, it's the lack of consistency and the gross misses that are.

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I don't ever want to see a world with an electronic strike zone, but if MLB umpires don't get better at those pitches around the edge, it's going to happen.

So, for me, in the best interest of keeping ESZ out of the game, how do we improve the calls on those ones...especially the low outside, which seems to be the biggest misses that come up every day.   The more several million TV viewers see balls over the chalk called strikes, and obvious strikes called balls (Joe West had a particularly bad week in late September - though he did have a good WC game) the more ESZ is going to get support.

So how about a compromise...I'm spitballing here...brainstorming...so I know nothing here is perfect, nor even completely thought through, but how do we help the umps out on those tougher pitches, and keep the game mostly in their hands

-some kind of review system/check & balance for those pitches that fall outside a some standard deviation?

- managers can review up to three(?) pitches per game?  But escalate the review process somehow - either immediate notice to earpiece or use an ipad

-strikes can only be called if both ump/computer say so, otherwise ump's call??

 

Somewhat related - I want to see MLB umps with earpieces and mic's to communicate to fans/viewers those "oddball" calls.

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2 hours ago, Rich Ives said:

But MLB would pick a system, not three, and even if they had three a game site would only use one of them. And slightly different isn't the issue, it's the lack of consistency and the gross misses that are.

Commissioner Manfred in 2019 stated, "that technology has a larger margin of error than we see with human umpires..."  Since he actually sees the data, I'll go with him.  (And, the systems have not significantly improved since 2019 to make that quote obsolete.)

And when the majority of MLB pitchers make a living on the outer edges of the strike zone (and not by throwing pitches in the heart of the strike zone) a computer with a 1" or 2" margin of error (which is, in fact, the margin of error that two of the popular computer systems have) then "slightly" (if "slightly" is defined as 1 to 2 inches) does make a huge difference.  

And my first two paragraphs leave out the fact that the computers have just as many (if not more) gross misses than the humans.  Again, check out the website I cited to. 

 

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Just now, beerguy55 said:

I don't ever want to see a world with an electronic strike zone, but if MLB umpires don't get better at those pitches around the edge, it's going to happen.

So, for me, in the best interest of keeping ESZ out of the game, how do we improve the calls on those ones...especially the low outside, which seems to be the biggest misses that come up every day.   The more several million TV viewers see balls over the chalk called strikes, and obvious strikes called balls (Joe West had a particularly bad week in late September - though he did have a good WC game) the more ESZ is going to get support.

So how about a compromise...I'm spitballing here...brainstorming...so I know nothing here is perfect, nor even completely thought through, but how do we help the umps out on those tougher pitches, and keep the game mostly in their hands

-some kind of review system/check & balance for those pitches that fall outside a some standard deviation?

- managers can review up to three(?) pitches per game?  But escalate the review process somehow - either immediate notice to earpiece or use an ipad

-strikes can only be called if both ump/computer say so, otherwise ump's call??

 

Somewhat related - I want to see MLB umps with earpieces and mic's to communicate to fans/viewers those "oddball" calls.

Replay system similar to the one your propose have been proposed...and it makes sense.  It would eliminate a truly "gross miss".

I think you're likely to see your last suggestion very soon.

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What I find hilarious is if pitches are called off the plate "He has a big zone today". Don't call pitches off the plate He has a tight zone today"!

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3 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

I don't ever want to see a world with an electronic strike zone, but if MLB umpires don't get better at those pitches around the edge, it's going to happen.

So, for me, in the best interest of keeping ESZ out of the game, how do we improve the calls on those ones...especially the low outside, which seems to be the biggest misses that come up every day.   The more several million TV viewers see balls over the chalk called strikes, and obvious strikes called balls (Joe West had a particularly bad week in late September - though he did have a good WC game) the more ESZ is going to get support.

So how about a compromise...I'm spitballing here...brainstorming...so I know nothing here is perfect, nor even completely thought through, but how do we help the umps out on those tougher pitches, and keep the game mostly in their hands

-some kind of review system/check & balance for those pitches that fall outside a some standard deviation?

- managers can review up to three(?) pitches per game?  But escalate the review process somehow - either immediate notice to earpiece or use an ipad

-strikes can only be called if both ump/computer say so, otherwise ump's call??

 

Somewhat related - I want to see MLB umps with earpieces and mic's to communicate to fans/viewers those "oddball" calls.

I know this won't happen, but get rid of that stupid rectangle we see on tv.  I hate that.

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15 hours ago, umpstu said:

stupid rectangle we see on tv

Here's a question no one ever seems to talk about with robot umps: who sets that rectangle?

Seems the logical end state is somewhat akin to where whiffle ball (and it's cousin blitz ball) have ended up 

 

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2 hours ago, Velho said:

Here's a question no one ever seems to talk about with robot umps: who sets that rectangle?

Seems the logical end state is somewhat akin to where whiffle ball (and it's cousin blitz ball) have ended up 

 

In/Out is easy - the plate doesn't change size.  One proposal I saw indicated each player would be measured and the Up/Down then be set to the player at bat.

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42 minutes ago, Rich Ives said:

In/Out is easy - the plate doesn't change size.  One proposal I saw indicated each player would be measured and the Up/Down then be set to the player at bat.

Except up/down is determined by stance as they prepare to swing.  So when I’m measured, I’m keeping my knees a little higher (less bent) and my torso a little lower, than my in-game stance.

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18 minutes ago, SH0102 said:

Except up/down is determined by stance as they prepare to swing.  So when I’m measured, I’m keeping my knees a little higher (less bent) and my torso a little lower, than my in-game stance.

Nice try. They have you on video already. 

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On 10/22/2021 at 10:32 AM, Guest Crazy Me said:

My son is a 10-year veteran MLB pitcher.  He told me that both he and the hitters want it.  They have too much money riding on ball-strike calls to get things wrong.  (5 years ago he had the greatest number of missed ball-strike calls in the history of electronic record keeping.  His ball moves a lot).

I also work with  3 umpires who also work in the Independent Leagues and call games with the electronic strike zone.  They don't like it and one of them hates it.  He hates it because he says it doesn't "get things right."  The ex-major league players in his games often agree - sometimes quite vocally.

I asked an NYU Physics professor friend about how accurately we can measure a baseball in flight.  He laughed at me saying, "We are accurate to angstrom units.  A thrown baseball is glacial to us."  When I asked why two radar guns next to each other often give different readings he said, "They bought the cheap chip.  The right equipment exists to call the game perfectly."

When I told this to the umpire who uses the system as it is, he said, "I suspect at an MLB stadium they can get the right set up.  Where we are, corners have probably been cut."

Tens of millions of dollars can ride on one call in a play-in or playoff game for both the players and the owners.  For that reason - robo umps are coming soon to a stadium near you.  The adjustment period will pass very quickly.

I’m sure your son would have loved to have been on the mound for this game. 
https://www.closecallsports.com/2021/10/roboumps-odd-strike-zone-gets-afl-game.html?m=1

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