Chicago Cubs: Should the check swing be a reviewable call?

(Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images)
(Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

When it comes to a check swing call, Major League Baseball’s rulebook’s clarity of this ruling is somewhat confusing to us and Cubs’ fans.

The Chicago Cubs are in with the rest of the league when it comes to the retaliation on check swing calls. To give you an example, the Cubs were down 6-5 in a tight contest with the Los Angeles Angels, with runners on second and third.

Kyle Schwarber drew a full count against Angel’s pitcher. The next pitch came, and Schwarber thought he checked his swing, but the third base umpire disagreed, ending the close game. Schwarber didn’t like the call and started barking at the third-base umpire. Click here for a video of the incident.

A check swing is when the batter decides to offer at a pitch but stops his swing before attempting. Therefore it is he said to have produced a checked swing. If the ball does not arrive in the strike zone during such a swing, consequently, the pitch is called a “ball.” If the ball does come in the strike zone, it’s called a “strike,” whether or not the batter attempted to swing.

Automatically it’s up to the umpire whether the call is a strike or a ball. The batter or catcher could appeal the decision. Thus the ump would ask for the opinion either from the third base or first base umpire depending on the view of the plate. Of course, the hitter or pitcher is going to argue the call if it’s not in their favor. Sometimes it ends up not so good for either party, as arguing an umpire’s call can ultimately lead up to being ejected from the game and could end up costly for the respective parties.

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Here are some other examples of times when arguing with the umpire didn’t go so well.

Back in 2016, in a contest where the Los Angeles Dodgers took on the Milwaukee Brewers. Adrian Gonzalez was up at the plate during the fourth inning of the game. Gonzalez checked his swing on a 0-2 count, and the ump called a strike. Gonzalez was livid as he walked back to the dugout, he motioned to the third-base umpire who decided after the home plate ump asked for help. That gesture got Gonzalez ejected for his fifth time in his career.

Another example was the manager of the Colorado Rockies Bud Black argued a called strike over a checked swing. Chris Iannetta, the Rockies catcher, said a few curse words as he walked back to the dugout, but it was ultimately Black’s responses that led him to get into it with the umpire and the ump wasn’t having any of it.

There have been many former players, coaches, umpires, and even fans have weighed in on the decision on making the check swing reviewable. Now some others think the ruling should stay the same, but others accept the idea of them adding it to the list of reviewable things because it can change the result of a game and cost a team out of a crucial win or even a trip to the postseason.

According to a survey done by the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League, 26% percent of the people who participated in the study agree that check swings should be allowed to be review by replay.

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The big debate that is circling today’s baseball world is should the umpire eventually replaced with an electronic strike zone, and this adds to that discussion. We all know it will ultimately go all electronically as the world of technology becomes more evolved, but for now, let’s leave it how it is.

Yes, the umpires are human, and yes, they do make mistakes, like the rest of us. But they are just doing their jobs to the best of their abilities, and although it’s not to the fans, players, and managers liking, we must play the game that everyone loves.