Umpires and their Strike Zones

TV announcers today spoke admirably about Morris and the consistency of “his strike zone”…made point about hitters needing to learn the umps zone, because that’s the way the game is played. While the latter may be true, it is one travesty of the great game of baseball. This whole notion that each ump has the right to decide the strike zone - rule book be damned, has bothered me for a long time. There is no other rule the umpire gets to bend to his own discretion. IMO, an ump’s governing body should place a strong emphasis - with warning of ensuing sanctions if violated, on a umpire NOT developing his own strike zone! There are a lot “colorful” traditions unique to baseball that help give the game its attractive flavor. I don’t think this matter is one of them (and in another discussion - neither are umpires who chase after players/managers to get the last word in an argument…basically baiting them to further confrontation).

I thought Morris’ strike zone was consistent, with the exception of about five pitches, notably the one that should have ended the sixth without a run. He didn’t give the corner against right-handers and he gave the inside corners against lefties.

That said, I don’t think college strike zones should be that tight. Kacey Murphy has been so good this year because he has been able to work away from the right-handers. When he doesn’t get that corner, his pitch count is going to go up in a hurry and that’s what happened today. Combine that with the fact that South Carolina had seen him two times previously and it was not a good outing.

Bear in mind, I am not blaming this loss on the umpires plate calls. I’m just speaking generically to the matter of umpires playing loose and free with where the strike zone lies. Just look at your opening remark…you spoke to his consistency - but what if he consistently called balls out of the zone strikes, and ones in the zone balls. Is that a feature to be applauded in an ump? My whole point is lets change the conversation when evaluating home plate umpires from whether he was consistent within his made up zone, to all about was he calling balls and strikes according to the rule book.

The Big 12 umpire was horrible! If that inside pitch to a lefty is a strike then that same pitch thrown to a righty is a stoke also and he failed to call it! That happened the entire game.

Morris lined up on the inside of both right and left handers. From those angles, he could see inside pitches and whether they were balls or strikes. Conversely, he didn’t have a good view of the outside edge of the plate. I also felt that he was inconsistent on pitches that were down, some maybe below the zone that he called strikes. I do believe SC players adjusted to him better than the Hogs did.

you’re exactly right Matt this guy had a professional strike zone and last time I checked none of these guys are getting paid! it was ridiculous not to give theses kids the corners nobody likes to watch hitters walk,give and inch to both sides of the plate and make these guys swing the bat…it was horrible to watch what he did to the game today.

First, let me say I don’t think we should blame this loss on the umpires, and I know 10scHog4life isn’t saying that. But I do agree that it’s time umpires start having a standardized zone. I don’t watch games to watch the umpires. I understand that on a given day any ump may not call it perfectly, but to say this ump’s zone is this and that ump’s zone is that needs to come to an end. I do like the human aspect of it, but there needs to be more uniformity in the zones.

That said, I think Hog fans (and fans in general) way too often assign blame everywhere but where blame belongs. Today, Murphy wasn’t as sharp as normal, then Reindl comes in and gives up the bomb. Take that grand slam away, and the Hogs very well may have closed it out. Ifs and buts …

If Elon Musk can put a self driving car on Mars, why can’t we contract with him to have an automatedl strike zone? Isn’t it time?

I was a Braves fan during their glory years. When you watched Glavine, Smoltz, and Maddux pitch, it was the same thing. The umps let them have the corners until the playoffs. Then the strike zone shrank, to where they had to pitch over the plate. I think that happened today. But I agree he was consistent both ways.

I actually thought the ump was more consistent in game 2 than game 1. There were some pitches both ways in game one (for us and SC) that appeared to be in the same spot on the TV, and every time it was called different no matter who was pitching (or batting). Game 2 what appeared to be on the corner every time, seemed to get called a ball against righties and a strike against lefties. It’s actually happened a few times this year. SC adjusted quicker in my opinion. They started laying off pitches and caused our pitchers to fall behind in the count. It seemed like our batters started getting a little impatient and trying to tie the game with one swing. I think yesterday a couple bloopers instead of big swings would have won us the game, but I’m just a spectator.

Great question. The technology is available. They use it in MLB broadcasts. I assume it’s very accurate. Surely more accurate than the human eye.

I’m also sure it would be expensive for all NCAA teams to purchase. That alone would be a huge problem.

But why not in the MLB? I’ve always wondered.

ATP uses similar technology to determine in/out calls. I actually would not be in favor of baseball’s use of electronic balls/strikes calling. I simply would like to see baseball (MLB and otherwise) forbid umpires from ignoring the stated rules for what is the proper strike zone, and reinventing their own.

One thing to remember is that most (if not all) sports have some “judgement calls” that are not as clear as - say - whether a ball was in bounds our out of bounds. For example, the pass interference or holding calls in football. Or, the block/charge in basketball. So, there will always be some variability from official to official.

As for the Elon Musk/automated strike zone discussion . . . the strike zone will be different for someone 6’3" than it is for someone 5’9". So, it’s not as straight forward and cut-and-dried as some of you might think.

Don’t get me wrong . . . no one gets more upset, or madder, than me when I think we are getting inconsistent/wrong calls from a home plate ump. At the same time, I do like the human element in sports; after all, if it wasn’t for human variation, we wouldn’t need to play any games - the statistics would tell you who the “better” team is. But the reason sports are so compelling is that you never know exactly what’s going to happen. “Rub of the green” is part of that, and - in baseball - that includes the umpire you draw and how he calls a game. Just so long as he’s generally competent, that doesn’t bother me.

I agree with the human element and that judgment calls are just part of the game. Certainly, even with a uniformed strike zone, it’s still going to be a judgment call. However, I do think umpires have to be held accountable by MLB and/or the NCAA to call the zone per the rules on a consistent basis. Also, coaches/managers should be allowed to speak their minds concerning the umpiring in general without making personal attacks, such as being able to say something like, “I thought the strike zone was inconsistent” or “I felt we got squeezed in the first couple of innings” or “I’m sure he was safe at first on that play” (oh, wait, if they used SEC replay, that last one wouldn’t matter!!!). I know coaches/managers can go overboard with their comments, but umpires are a part of the game and should be open to postgame critique, too.

I don’t want umpires to be replaced. I want them to be better trained and more consistent, individually and collectively, and I want repercussions for umpires who consistently hijack games with a bad strike zone.