Can we all just admit the strike zone is never really called?

Can we all just admit the strike zone is never really called?


I’d be curious to see the true strike zone - as in what is actually called a strike more than half the time. My guess is it is a bit wider, much lower towards the belt, and a bit higher to be at the bottom of knee cap.


Yea seeing a true strike zone would be very interesting especially based on the umpire because some of them have their own strike zone whether it’s a bit wider or a bit longer(pause).


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I've been coaching for 23 years baseball & softball. Kids constantly watch a 3rd strike and complain "that wasn't a strike"... My answer is always "of course it was, the umpire called it a strike". One of the lessons I tend to teach to my players, watch the umpire and find out where they're calling strikes. Sometimes it's shoulders to knees, sometimes the ankles and eyes are in play. Sometimes the plate is 14" wide, others it's 28" wide. I've only challenged one umpire on a strike zone, called 3rd strike with my #2 hitter up, bases loaded and we were down by 2 in the final inning of an elimination game in a tournament. The ball literally bounced off the plate. The field ump knew me well and apologized right away but there was nothing they could do.


THIS!!! Played the game every spring summer of my life in some form for almost 40 years now. First time through, ok fine, maybe you don't know the guys zone... but if he's consistent, and say, calling the high strike all day - your ass better be swinging at a 2 strike pitch at your nipples... I don't understand how folks don't pick that up quicker... and its not just the pros, like you said, even 13 year old kids are caught not adjusting to the zone being called.


But that's really shouldn't be the case anymore right? At the MLB level there's no reason not to have automatic/robot umps anymore. No more arguments about balls and strikes.


I'm in favor of an electronic strike zone 100% in professional ball. My comment was more geared towards youth sports and that most major leaguers have heard similar guidance from a coach. Honestly, they could implement it on a trial basis without anyone even knowing, just have the home plate ump wear an earpiece and for each pitch they'd hear ball or strike in their ear.


If I’m a batter, I’d simply just lay down in the batters box and take four pitches. Pitchers can’t throw strikes if your personal strike zone is literally a horizontal line on the ground. /s


I mean I’ve had umps call strikes at my eyes sooo…


Me too, but usually because I swung at it. Like a nincompoop.


IMO the automated balls and strikes are coming within the next few years. I'm curious with the K zone if they adjust the box to the hitter? Will they have AI automatically adjust the k zone to the hitter according to this rule? Do they already do this?


The TV K-zones try to do it but occasionally they're clearly off from the hitter's height. If it ever becomes official I assume every player will have to get more official measurements put into a system.


That's kind of what I was thinking too. I wonder if this would make players want to crouch a little more in their stance if they do this.


Well, they need to re-write the strike zone rules. For one, the official rules are clearly too big vertically; Nobody calls it that way, and if they did it would be crazy. For two, the wording that the strike zone is based on when a player is "in his stance and prepared to swing" is also ridiculous. Your strike zone shouldn't shrink or grow based on how much you bend your knees before the pitch. They need to re-word all that. It should be based on a hitter's standing height, or it should just be a standardized strike zone and shorter guys having smaller strike zones could just go away. There aren't many areas in sports where the boundaries of a part of the sport are physically customized for the height differences of every athlete. Wicket sizes don't change to aid a shorter batter in cricket. Free throw lines aren't closer for shorter players in basketball. The rim stays the same height. I don't think it's a necessary part of baseball.


That's a great point. Makes me wonder if they'll get everybodys official height and strike zone parameters before each game or if they'll define it as a static box. I'd imagine if it was a static box there would be issues between players like Altuve and Judge. And also let's say a 5 foot 0 guy makes the majors he'd have no shot if the strike zone was at his eyes so an official measurement would have to be the route to go. Makes me wonder if the way the k zone is programmed to handle that on the fly. And what if somebody forgot to change the k zone for that player so it's inaccurate for that at bat?


Judge and Altuve were EXACTLY who popped into my mind as a big/small comparison.


Meh I don't think it's that big an issue. Make the strike zone for that of about a 5'9" guy. 5 footers will deal. 7 footers will deal.


MLB is one of the remaining US sports where people below 6ft can still compete and I am quite happy about it.


This is a good thought that will help you uncover the reason of how we got to where we are now: the official strike zone isn't called, currently.


In Little League everyone recieved an email saying that umps would call strikes ‘generously’ to keep the game moving. For most games that was ankles to shoulders. But without fail around the 4th inning it would go up to eyes. As long as it went over the plate at all most would call a strike. The better hitters got the biggest strike zones to keep them from dominating. It is incredibly frustrating as an adult to watch and the kid to play. What was a ball in the second inning became a strike just to strike kids out and move on. The betrayal in kids eyes everytime the zone changed was tough to watch.


When I umpired little league as a teen I called armpits to knees. Coaches would get mad saying it was too big but I would just tell them to read the rule book


"Ump your strike zone is too big" "Then teach your kids to swing at pitches instead of waiting for walks. so we're not here for 6 hours" Honestly the big strike zone is more about getting (less confident) kids to put the ball in play instead of taking walks constantly. It was explained to us by our coaches when we played, and at every home play meeting before the game started the umpires would always say the less people are swinging the bigger the zone gets. When I transitioned to umpiring we were taught HOW to expand the strike zone properly and only to do it if the games going very slowly with lots of walks.


That is too big


As a kid, we were taught armpits to knees as well.


I umpire little league, and my zone is arguably smaller then others call, but it's consistent. As long as it's consistent, that's the main thing.


Been saying this for DECADES ever since I sat down and read a rulebook as a small child.


For all on this thread under the age of 35 Google Phil Plantier stance. Umpires don’t adjust the strike zone to a particular batter, they’ve got a generalized one that they use for the most part. A strike on someone 5’6 will still be a strike on someone 6’0. While playing ball I was also taught the strike zone was “the letters to the knees” and the MLB strike zone was the belt to the knees because they never called higher strikes.


Can we just admit Manfred would live no strike zone at all?


I started umpiring in high school and did “bitty-ball” when I stopped I was doing Division II college ball. The majority of umps don’t call the “Midpoint” to “Top of pants” strike. Most of the grids show that consistently for every game from college to MLB. Showing the grid is worthless when umps don’t even call strikes according to the rules! Before you get to mad at the umpires, pick up a book by Ron Luciano a former American League umpire who talks the politics of baseball. Several other umps and broadcasters have mentioned, after retirement of course, how if umpires called the strike zone as the rules had it, most games would be like soccer and pitching would dominate…and hitting would falter. That all being said, can we stop with all the zone analysis and call shaming?


No, change the damn zone or call it as it is! Don't hang me crap and expect me to like it. Alter the zone and have an automated system to track where the pitches are when they cross the plate. Tell the ump if it's a ball or strike so he can call it directly.


And allow for an “umpire override” if needed. 100% in favor of the automated balls/strikes. Though the override should be the exception not the rule


I had an opinion prior to reading these comments but after reading I agree strike zone is supposed to be right beneath the knees to the bottom of your letters but ofc you have to adjust to the umpires


Now imagine how little offence there would be if we implemented perfecto robo umps.


I like to see Joe West's diagram of the strike zone.


Strike zones change depending on the ump so this is pretty much just a "guideline" if anything. That's the horror/beauty of human error. This would work if we had a computerized strike zone with consistent callings but I don't see that happening for awhile.


Home plate umpire is too butthurt to let the electronic strike zone be used, instead union hurt the game in their honor. I've heard far too many excuses; mostly "At least he's calling his widened strike zone for both teams" but that's bullshit! From PeeWee league to MLB that batter has swung a million+ times learning the REAL strike zone and should never have to guess what ball (high, low, inside or wide) will be wrongly called strike 3 instead of ball 4. This season is truly showing all the bad calls behind the plate...even 1 game with more than 20 bad calls that weren't even close!


They tried it once a few years ago. An electric strike zone computer run with exact dimensions. Catchers found a way to hack it in minutes. Don’t blame the umps


100% better in the last few years, even 3D now. Search YouTube for bad umpires calls; like Angel Hernandez, Joe West and more. It's absolutely disgusting and it's the umpires making these bad calls on balls & strikes so they alone get the blame and deserve it