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Thread: Article: Have the Twins been screwed by umpires?

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    Owner All-Star Parker Hageman's Avatar
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    Article: Have the Twins been screwed by umpires?


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    Only stubbronness is keeping robots out, no reason to keep humans calling balls and strikes.

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    A strike is a strike and ball is a ball with greater accuracy would be nice. If computer controlled and consistant it would take alot of angst out of the game for both pitchers and batters.

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    Senior Member All-Star IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
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    I made the case a couple of months ago, in a pitch-framing thread, that maybe it was time for automated ball and strike calls. That not only eliminates the whole pitch-framing debate but this article shows it may be necessary just in general as well.

    I expect MLB to move on this on an accelerated timetable, and have it in place for the 2023 season.

  5. #5
    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    I go back and forth. On one hand, an automated strike caller would purify the competition between pitcher and batter. On the other hand, since framing appears to be a real thing, a repeatable skill, then its another little thing to keep me as a viewer engaged in games.

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    I put framing in the same category as working the referees in another sport. Yes, it is a repeatable skill, but I am not sure it is a skill I want games decided on. I am all for automatic calling of balls and strikes, at least in MLB. It is not fair, even for umpires to ask them to do a task well that it is almost impossible for the human eye to do.

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    Twins Moderator MVP ashburyjohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parker Hageman View Post
    while others suffered from shrinkage.
    Sympathizes:
    shrinkageseinfeld_300.jpg

    (Yeah, I'm basically just spelling out Parker's joke.)

    Way back in another age, I always felt that early-career Latroy Hawkins and especially Willie Banks would have been more successful if the umpires gave them half a chance. I don't know whether my one-sided fan's view would have been borne out by stats like Parker has pointed to here, though.

    Do these records get down to the level of pitch count? I suspect if the first-pitch calls are going against the Twins on a systematic basis it matters more than later on - the difference between 1-0 and 0-1 is pretty huge on how the rest of the PA comes out. With all the counts lumped together, maybe that's why a seemingly large disparity between two teams like the Twins and Brewers doesn't translate into much difference in results.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jay's Avatar
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    As Costa’s points out, the Milwaukee Brewers, who at 55.3% have the highest amount of wrongly called pitches go in their favor, have nearly as bad of a record as the Twins. So it appears that even if the Twins had all the calls go their way, it still would not have changed the overall record much.
    Parker, why would you assume that? How wouldn't the Brewers record have been even worse without the calls? We don't have a great way to quantify the true difference it caused, but you can't tell me it doesn't have an impact on each team's record.

    That's like saying 'well, the Twins have hit 20 fewer homers than the Cubs this year, but their records are the same, so it wouldn't have mattered if they hit 20 more'. A bit more extreme, but the same line of reasoning.
    Last edited by jay; 09-18-2013 at 12:41 PM.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Monkeypaws's Avatar
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    I watched the game last week where Pelfrey got screwed about three times in one inning. I'm sure it has an effect. That's where a bulldog mentality would help.

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    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    You can't tell me that umpires are incapable of making the corrections necessary to improve the way they call balls/strikes. The problem is that they have absolutely no incentive to do so.

    These egomaniacs actually seem to believe that the appropriate way fans should react to this kind of data is to insist on the players adjusting how they perform based on who the umpire is.

    If umpires' compensation and perhaps even their jobs were influenced heavily by how accurately they called balls/strikes (not to mention outs), I guarantee you that we'd see a lot more accuracy in their calls. We wouldn't see NEARLY as much bias on 3-ball or 2-strike calls and we certainly would see a lot less "this rookie hasn't earned that call" crap.

    Robots or other electronic calls of balls/strikes may be where we need to get, but I would prefer to see the THREAT of going there move umpires (and their union) toward accepting a compensation/employment system that places a high level of emphasis on competency and that certainly includes calling balls and strikes accurately.

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    Senior Member All-Star IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
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    I remember this whole debate in tennis a while back - should electronic means be used to determine whether a ball is in or out. They finally put electronic monitoring in place, but the chair umpire retains the right to overrule the machine when he or she chooses. Of course, in practice, those who overrule the machine consistently soon find themselves out of a job...

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    I think that more accurate and consistent strike zones would be a massive improvement to the game of baseball, far more than the system of replay they are implementing, where a lot of what happens after something is overturned will be subjective (not unlike the recent incident in the Twins game).

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    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    I think both Doumit and Mauer struggle to get the low strike called because they are both tall for catchers. Gibson lives at the knees and most of the in-zone pitches called balls were in that area. Another reason to move Mauer to first and put Pinto back there in 2014.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
    Only stubbronness is keeping robots out, no reason to keep humans calling balls and strikes.

    I disagree. i think it would HEAVILY favor the hitters, at least the very good ones. Think about players that already draw a lot of walks and have a good eye at the plate (AKA Mauer, Cabrera, etc). After a "calibration period" players would KNOW if a ball was a ball or a strike was a strike, even better than they do now. If the human element is removed, then batters just have to sit back and make the pitcher come to them. The very good one would chase balls out of the zone even less. It wouldn't turn a .250 hitter into a .350 hitter, but I feel like the best hitters would feast of a zone they knew with even higher accuracy.

    In short, it'd force the pitcher to throw a strike and remove the "protecting the plate on 0-2" defensive mentality of the hitters, which I think would lead to fewer strikeouts and more hits.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jm3319 View Post
    In short, it'd force the pitcher to throw a strike and remove the "protecting the plate on 0-2" defensive mentality of the hitters, which I think would lead to fewer strikeouts and more hits.
    Ironically, the data doesn't support "protecting the plate on 0-2". Out of every possible situation, you're most likely to get a ball called in that count if the pitch is close.

  16. #16
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
    Ironically, the data doesn't support "protecting the plate on 0-2". Out of every possible situation, you're most likely to get a ball called in that count if the pitch is close.
    I was going to say that that is no longer the case. It is really hard to get a called third strike the way the umps call it in today's game. It used to be too easy. Not so anymore. To me, this is the main reason games are so long and we have to use so many pitchers. If umps just called the third strike regardless of the count, guys would start protecting the plate again.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  17. #17
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    Here are the things that affect whether or not a pitch is called a ball or a strike:

    1. Identity of the Umpire
    2. Where the Umpire stands
    3. What kind of vest the Umpire is wearing
    4. Reputation of the Pitcher
    5. The seniority of the Pitcher
    6. How that Pitcher is locating on that particular day
    7. Reputation of the Batter
    8. The seniority of the Batter
    9. Whether or not the Catcher can frame that kind of pitch
    10. The pitch count
    11. Whether there are runners on base
    12. The number of outs
    13. The score of the game
    14. Whether or not the teams/umpire need to catch a flight immediately after the game
    15. Regular season vs. Playoffs
    16. Whether or not there is a likely rain delay coming up soon
    17. The reaction of the fans
    18. Whether the umpire needs to "make up" for a previous mistake
    19. The identify of the Team
    20. The ACTUAL LOCATION OF THE PITCH!!

    I would say we definitely need something better than umpires.

  18. #18
    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    If the Twins had a savvy front office who can actually understand what the article said, they should have taken it to the off-season MLB meetings, demanding MLB fixing the problem. If that were Boston or the Yankees, that's what they'd do. But the Twins do not really understand what is going on.

    The umpires have way too much say in the outcome of a game and things should change. If they do not perform and call things the correct way, they have no place in baseball...

  19. #19
    Senior Member Triple-A Thegrin's Avatar
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    If the pitch counts were taken away from the umpires, it could cause a game wide imbalance towards the hitters or the pitchers. This could be remedied by legislating changes in how tight or how lose the strike zone is. How much of the "black" is called a strike ? A tall batter does not have the same strike-zone profile as a short batter. The umpires would need to check to make sure that the strike-zone profile of each batter is correct, and change it accordingly.

  20. #20
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    If the Twins want to find blame, they need only look in the mirror. While other teams are finding catchers skilled at managing the strike zone, the Twins have ignored or been ignorant of the data.

    Are the Twins also behind in developing this skill in their minor league catchers?

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