I don’t know if it just seems this way, but the strike zone is getting out of hand. There seems to be more managers and players getting tossed for arguing with the umpires about called strikes. Case in point: Tori Hunter got so mad at a strike call in June that he started to strip off his clothing.
Rob Neyer wrote a wonderful article about how umpires are doing. Are they perfect? No, but they are set to very high standards — so high that they may be out of a job. With modern technology, there is really no need for the umpire. Computer models can show where the balls and strikes are called, and they are perfect.
Perfect is a dangerous notion in a game where not being perfect is what makes the game great. A bunt can turn into a hit and win the game. A diving catch might be a way to make up for a mistake (not seeing the ball in time, getting a slow jump on the ball). These imperfections make the game of baseball so great.
I am not saying umpires need a free pass. They need to be held accountable. There are tools out there to show how an umpire is doing.
Here is a graphic of the pitches being called the day Tori Hunter got thrown out. Reds are strikes, and greens are balls. Squares are the Twins, and triangles are the Royals. You can find a further explanation here.
Now, I don’t claim I understand all this. It looks to me that the majority of pitches being called strikes are strikes and the majority of pitches being called balls are balls. This is what the pitches were like for left-handed batters. Now let’s look at the right-handed batters.
Now here are some issues with the outside part of the strike zone. But again, for the most part, most of the pitches were called what they were supposed to be called.
The next time there is a bad call, let’s remember all the good calls. And let’s keep our shirts on.