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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Touch your body at the top of the strike zone.

Troy Tulowitzki hit a long towering three run homer to dead center field last night to break open game three of the American Conference series. Tulo's Toronto Blue Jays now trail the Kansas City Royals in games 2-1.
Photo of Troy Tulowitzki
What made Tulo's homer unusual was that he hit a high fastball, seemingly shoulder high, the kind that requires a batter to really get his bat up and out very quickly, not merely drop the bat head down and golf a pitch at the knees generating false power.  Tulo showed true power, like that required in previous eras.  A couple of months ago Alex Rodriguez told teammate Nathan Eovaldi that throwing his 98 mph fastball at the knees was like throwing 92, that the batter could simply drop the bat head.  Eovaldi ignored Rodriguez.

The current rule facilitates homers like that by Metsie Daniel Murphy off Cubbie Jake Arrieta in game two of that series.  Murphy flailed like he was trying to get out of a sand trap and hooked one down the line and into the seats.

The strike zone is really stupid. Thursday, May 8, 2014

Baseball has a lot of really stupid rules but the strike zone is probably the most stupid.  I've been writing about this since my very first radical document back in 2006...

The strike zone is IMAGINARY!  You cannot touch it.  Yes, you can touch the plate but the plate does not touch the strike zone.  And the strike zone is three dimensional.

It varies from one batter to another.  It can even vary for one batter if the batter changes his stance.

It varies only in height, not width.  What sense does that make?  If its variance is supposed to accommodate batters of different sizes, shouldn't that include width? ...

The strike zone should be and always should have been a physical target that the ball hits to be a strike.  Yes, the same size for all batters, just like in football and basketball.  I'd allow the batter to set the height of the target between his knees and shoulders...

Who can expect umpires to correctly determine if ... pitches pass through some part of that imaginary three dimensional strike zone?


I recently asked three knowledgeable baseball friends to define the top of the strike zone.  Two did not attempt.  The other got it wrong.

A better idea, which I've tried with a few people, is to ask them to touch the top of the strike zone on their own bodies.  To do that you first need to know the rule.  So what is the rule?


The Strike Zone: A historical timeline

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."
1969 - "The Strike Zone is that space over home plate which is between the batter's armpits and the top of his knees when he assumes a natural stance. The umpire shall determine the Strike Zone according to the batter's usual stance when he swings at a pitch."
1963 - "The Strike Zone is that space over home plate which is between the top of the batter's shoulders and his knees when he assumes his natural stance. The umpire shall determine the Strike Zone according to the batter's usual stance when he swings at a pitch."

The friend who thought he knew said it was half way between the armpits and pants.  That was never it.

The top of the strike zone from 1963 to 1988 went from shoulders to midway.

What the heck is midway?  Try it.  Quickly touch your torso midway between your shoulders and "pants".  Then measure for accuracy.

Who the heck thinks that makes any sense?


Click that for many various images attempting to interpret the strike zone.

This midway rule since 1988 is moronic.  It compounds the already stupid rule into total idiocy.  And all we hear is complaining but with no real solutions. Except here.

Automated strike zone within five years. Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Two reasons:
1. It already exists.
2. The Major Baseball League (MBL) will be shamed into it as MBL was with reviewing plays as viewers become increasingly appalled at seeing all the bad ball/strike calls, especially in big situations in big games.

We hear that the umpires are improving.  How do we know?  We track their results against the automated system.  Say what?  Yeah.

So, huh, why not just cut out the middle man, a.k.a., the plate umpire?


If not, then at least return the top to the shoulders so that:
1. fans actually know the rule
2. fans can actually touch the top of the strike zone on their own bodies.

Then we'll be rewarded with real home runs like that hit by Troy Tulowitzki last night.

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