Chicago Cubs: An electronic strike zone is coming to baseball

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Getting it right – within two percent

What fans need to understand is that the ESZ would need to be calibrated continuously to satisfy umpires, players and managers alike throughout the game. Imagine if a call looked like a ball and the ESZ called a strike? The skipper might ask, “When was the last time the machine was calibrated?”

Wayne Boyle, Sean O’Rourke, Jeff Long, and Harry Pavlidis of Baseball Prospectus talked about this earlier this year.

"Verifying a machine’s accuracy is important, but it’s not the only potential source of issues. Currently, a stringer or operator is responsible for setting the top and bottom of the strike zone for each batter and each plate appearance. That process is subject to error as much as an umpire behind the plate calling strikes."

Even with this change there will still be a human error element that can make mistakes. Some proponents of the ESZ admit they are not sure how to implement the system. Do you relay the calls to umpires via ear piece and have them make the call or do you sound a buzzer for balls and strikes and umpires calls those? There are other areas that could cause malfunction and an error. At least the umpire would be behind the plate to manage the game – which is the commissioner’s concern. Regardless, there are still a lot of questions and bugs to be worked out.

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I say do something dramatic and introduce it during this year’s postseason. Once you set a deadline commissioner, you’d be surprised how fast people move to make it happen. At least for the first time in 149 years the calls at bat will be within one to two percent of 100 percent accurate; which is what the ESZ is producing. Umpire Phil Cuzzi would be off the hook and can turn his attention to booting players for insulting the ESZ.