MLB: Five changes to save baseball from being boring

A Cincinnati Reds usher adds a "K" the the strikeout wall during the day baseball game against Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. Starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (27) had 12 strikeouts during the game.
A Cincinnati Reds usher adds a "K" the the strikeout wall during the day baseball game against Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. Starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (27) had 12 strikeouts during the game. /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
6 of 6
Next
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

Speaking of the strike zone

If we can agree on nothing else, could we at least agree to equip plate umpires with the same technology every other fan watching the game has … an instant, laser-activated view of whether the pitch is in or outside of the strike zone?

There is no reason why an MLB plate umpire could not be given a hand-held device providing him with an instant check on his visual instincts. Umpires might even appreciate it. After all, they’re not trying to randomly work batters or pitchers over; it just happens.

And it’s a big deal. Numerous studies have amply demonstrated that on a one ball, one strike count, the average hitter’s subsequent performance is impacted more than 150 percentage points – from about a  .170 batting average to about .330 – depending on whether the next call is Ball Two or Strike Two.

With stakes that high, umpires ought to be given the tools to get the calls right. Considering that pitchers routinely aim for the very edges of the zone – the area of the greyest ball-strike calls – the matter is even more delicate.

Such a change would not necessarily make the resulting game less boring. It would, however, more fairly reward skill, either in placing a pitch or in judging its placement and reacting accordingly.

Next. The leaders in True Exit Velocity. dark

And fairness is also desirable.