Chicago Cubs: Zobrist pushes for electronic strike zone after bad call

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

There have been some questionable calls throughout the years. For the Chicago Cubs’ Ben Zobrist he’s been on the short-end of them at least twice. That’s why you’ll find him as an advocate for an electronic strike zone.

First, I’m not saying the Chicago Cubs lost because of the bad call on Ben Zobrist. They hadn’t played a strong game, and we’re trying to at least get the tying run to the plate in Ian Happ. But if Zobrist can get another two-out hit, or coax a walk in that spot, there’s a chance. But that was taken away by one of the worst calls–outside of a little league game–I have seen in a while.

Hence, it’s no surprise that you’ll find Zobrist’s name at the top of the list of players who have advocated for an e-zone in baseball. Because the technology now exists you’ll hear more and more from the players about it. Whether or not MLB and the powers that be will have anything to say about it is yet to be seen.

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When you look at Zobrist’s career, I’m sure he’s had some moments that have left him brokenhearted in how a game finished. At least in the sense of what his part could have been in the outcome. But this was one of the worst he had ever experienced. And that’s saying something.

"“It’s a tough one,” Zobrist said after the game. “There’s only been one other one [in 2013] I’ve ever had in my career that felt worse than that, especially to end the game. It’s tough."

The pitch from last night:

And the other:

Not even close

Neither of these pitches was anywhere close to a strike. As far as the need for an electronic strike zone? I’m open to the possibility. But I’m also one of the people that worry about taking the human element out of the game. Yes, it was an awful call. But how ridiculous could this get? Do they buzz down and tell the umpire what to call? This is an instance of an umpire making a terrible call, but the advocation for an electronic strike zone might be a step too far, at least for now.

The two calls happened over four years apart. That’s a lot of at-bats for Zobrist. The calls were both as bad as they get, and could have cost his team a chance to win each game. Nothing is guaranteed, but the opportunity would have still been there.

As the game becomes more metric based with Statcast in every stadium, the chances it will make its way to the forefront is inevitable. The players have been helping it gain momentum, and they make up a large part of the group that could force the league’s hand.

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But there’s nothing concrete from MLB or others to make up think that this is something we could see soon. It took three years to fully institute the timer for managers and coaches. But that originally started as a “pitch clock” idea.

I’ve seen a little bit of everything in my life in the game of baseball. So to see an “e-zone” at some point wouldn’t surprise me one bit. In fact, it already started a few years ago. But then we’d miss out on Bryce Harper’s epic rants after being ejected.