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Athletics

How to make baseball perfect: Umpires - You're Out

With the lasers, computers, and video/recording technology, the need for incredibly inefficient and mistake prone umpires becomes obsolete. We live in a day in age where the common complaint and worry of the MLB is the duration and integrity of a game. Efficient and accurate determination of plays would optimize the speed and execution of games.

by Zachary Adam Zell on May 11th, 2014, 11:56 pm PDT. This Ivia has been viewed 3,442 times. Last improved on August 29th, 2014, 6:27 pm PDT.

Major issues:

Pitch framing

Some MLB catchers have made careers out of deceiving umpires into believing what would of been a accurately called a ball into a strike. This is a dishonest and unfair tactic that cheats the person at bat. Furthermore the fact that pitch framing is a skill that is taught and encouraged as a catcher develops in their careers is laughable, because of this umpires endure the insults deserved for being tricked into making the wrong call. If they cannot be depended on to call a 100% fair and accurate game then they are becoming obsolete.

"Our data suggest that over the past five years, the teams that have employed good framers like Jonathan Lucroy, Brian McCann, and Jose Molina have received essentially "free" MVP-caliber seasons from framing alone. (Each of those catchers has been worth about two extra wins per season over that span). This is a staggering amount of value. Add in the fact that these wins are almost assuredly not properly priced into the free agent market, and the difference between having a good framing catcher or a bad framing catcher can make or break a cost-conscious team."

Source: BaseballProspectus.com - Harry Pavlidis and Dan Brooks

Integrity

Let's explore the moralities of the MLB a league that prides itself as fair and competitive, and will enforce fairly harsh punishments players for one form of cheating such as drug enhancements and then complete neglect to address the issue of pitch framing. The league can no longer stand on moral grounds if it picks and chooses what rules to enforce or not to enforce.

Tech strike zones

Laser/camera and computer determined strike zones, with simple and instant feedback to inform the umpire of what to signal. This would expedite the game, and allow for the ball and strike determinations to go unquestioned. This would help prevent players and coaches from screaming explicits at each other and the umpires creating a more respectable environment for the audience.

There is a great article discussing the different ways to replace umpires calling the strike zone in Grantland by Ben Lindbergh called Rise of the Machines

Laser perimeters

Simply put there should be laser determined perimeters that establish if a ball is inside or outside the field of play or park walls. This would help reduce the burden of proof being only eyesight and poorly placed cameras. 

Instant replay and impact activated bases

Instant replay mixed with impact activated bases  will allow for perfect calls of all balls in play. This would allow a person from a booth with access to give the correct call to umpires immediately.

What does it mean

This means umpires are out of the significant game scoring decision process, and are stepping into a better suited position of signal displaying. This allows for the game to continue to be played with the traditional umpires and uniforms on the field and not in a position where they could put the league in a compromising position. 

A great suggestion by Grant Solomon, where he further expands upon the concept of this Ivia.

"Although the examples provided describe situations where umpires are not necessary, there are still calls that are based on the umpire's discretion. Determining whether the infield fly rule should be in effect on a shallow fly ball, whether a player caught a ball and maintained possession, whether a pitch was foul-tipped in a two-strike count where the ball was not caught by the catcher, or whether a pitcher was guilty of a balk all require an impartial observer to interpret the rules and render a .judgement."

If you need more convincing 

There is a great article available in the New York Times by Brayden King and Jerry Kim called What Umpires Get Wrong.

SOURCE: http://www.cleveland.com/tribe/index.ssf/2012/05/veteran_umpire_has_a_hair-trig.htmlThat's it You're out!

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About the Author

Zachary Adam Zell
Petaluma, California, United States
Founder and CEO at ImproveVia
Sonoma State University

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Grant Solomon 4 years ago

Although the examples provided describe situations where umpires are not necessary, there are still calls that are based on the umpire's discretion. Determining whether the infield fly rule should be in effect on a shallow fly ball, whether a player caught a ball and maintained possession, whether a pitch was foul-tipped in a two-strike count where the ball was not caught by the catcher, or whether a pitcher was guilty of a balk all require an impartial observer to interpret the rules and render a .judgement.
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Zachary Adam Zell 4 years ago

Your right, thanks for the feedback!




Edited 4 years ago