Chicago Cubs: The electronic strike zone is coming to baseball

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: How the ESZ will work during games?

Growing up with all those major technological advances happening in such a short time, I tend to trust technology more than others. I basically want the ruling to be correct – period. Why not take some ambiguity out of the process to get a fairer result for everyone?

Last season, Chicago Cubs utility man Ben Zobrist turned to an ump after getting what he thought a bad call and basically said that’s why players want an automated zone. Of course, the real-life umpire threw Zobrist out of the game for that comment.

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Zobrist was only expressing what many fans and players want: a fair call on balls at the plate. Manfred knows this and now the technology is even better according to Manfred.

"“The current strike zone design is actually three-dimensional,” he said, “and a camera is better at calling a three-dimensional strike zone than the human eye.”"

The three-dimensional camera can look all the way around the ball to see if a pitch was in or out of the strike zone. Players will still have a human umpire there behind the plate watching every pitch in case the ESZ falters or fails to tell the umpire whether a pitch is a strike or a ball.

Umpires will wear a tiny earpiece and receive the call through it. Then the umpire will deliver the call on the field. To fans it will look like a normal game. On check swings and field calls the umpire and crew will make the call as it was always done.

Now the official word is that it will be about three years until the ESZ is fully implemented throughout MLB during regular season games.  Under the new contract with umpires, the league has agreed to make umpires part of the process when the technology finally does come on board. Umpires want a slow introduction of the ESZ as opposed to Manfred who seems to think the technology will solve a lot of the fights and disputes as reported by Matt Vautour of Mass Live

"“We believe over the long haul it’s going to be more accurate,” Manfred said. “It will reduce controversy in the game and be good for the game.”"

Of course it will, but we will lose some of that emotional response we see in the game today since players will know the umpire behind the plate is not actually making the calls.

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It was exciting to believe for 24 hours that the ESZ was coming full-time to Spring Training 2020. But don’t worry –  it will be here soon enough and baseball will be changed forever. Technology always invades.