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Fangraphs: The Beginning of the End, Or the End of the Beginning?


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http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-beginning-of-the-end-for-pitch-framing/

Pitch-framing as an idea has existed for almost as long as the game, but it wasn't until we started getting numbers for it that people really started to think about it in depth. At that point we were introduced to the idea of a catcher potentially being worth a few extra wins just because of how he catches pitches behind the plate. That was startling, and it was fascinating, but there was an important question that wasn't being discussed enough - is the existence of pitch-framing good? Valid arguments on either side. But it seemed that there was nothing to be done until we got an automated strike zone. Humans will be humans, after all.

On the other hand, humans can change. Humans can learn; humans can be trained. One interesting observation during the PITCHf/x era is that, over time, those human umpires have collectively started to call an increasingly consistent zone.

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If I was an umpire I wouldn't like the idea that catcher's were tricking me into making incorrect calls.

Me being me, I would be looking at all this data and being sure that the chief offenders got extra scrutiny during games.

Every catcher since JV ball has been taught to do this.

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If I was an umpire I wouldn't like the idea that catcher's were tricking me into making incorrect calls.

Me being me, I would be looking at all this data and being sure that the chief offenders got extra scrutiny during games.

Every catcher since JV ball has been taught to do this.

Corn's point is that he feels that it is wrong, regardless of whether or not everybody is doing it ...... and that he would make the calls as he saw them.

Somewhat similar to Earl Strom, the Hall-of-Fame referee who went out of his way to defy the home teams' fans in terms of appeasing them with the calls that he made.

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Considering all catchers are doing this, while not on every pitch, how are you going give extra scrutiny.

That's also a valid point though, considering that it is very likely that every catcher in MLB is an offender.

I haven't done any research and/or studied films of all of the catchers in MLB in this particular aspect, but I suppose that it is possible that some catchers do it more often and/or more fragrantly than others.

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Every catcher since JV ball has been taught to do this.

I've up umpired woman's softball games at the Varsity level and unlimited leagues. The experience with dealing with this subject is pretty easy since you determine if the glove is set up on/off the plate (if the pitcher throws right into the glove is it indeed a strike?) , second look for movement of the glove in order to catch the pitch....is the direction away from the plate as pitchers usually aim for the corners.

Despair the criticism from fans, parents, and media it's a hard job. Umpires tend to have their own interpretation of the strike zone....in Softball it is from the ladies arm pit to knee. If you called anything above the belt in a Varsity game in anything other than a blowout the reaction from the coaches, players, fans would be over the top....the would file a complaint....and I didn't have to deal with slow motion replay technology.

Again it's a hard job....at some point I had always thought that a sports enthusiast scientist would invent glasses that would assist in those calls....don't know how it would work or what it would be ....but I've figured sooner or later someone would come up with something....each year they try to improve the players equipment, bats that are harder, lighter, balls with a harder core, manipulated stitches to aid grip on the ball, why not try to come up with something to aid the officials.

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I've up umpired woman's softball games at the Varsity level and unlimited leagues. The experience with dealing with this subject is pretty easy since you determine if the glove is set up on/off the plate (if the pitcher throws right into the glove is it indeed a strike?) , second look for movement of the glove in order to catch the pitch....is the direction away from the plate as pitchers usually aim for the corners.

Despair the criticism from fans, parents, and media it's a hard job. Umpires tend to have their own interpretation of the strike zone....in Softball it is from the ladies arm pit to knee. If you called anything above the belt in a Varsity game in anything other than a blowout the reaction from the coaches, players, fans would be over the top....the would file a complaint....and I didn't have to deal with slow motion replay technology.

Again it's a hard job....at some point I had always thought that a sports enthusiast scientist would invent glasses that would assist in those calls....don't know how it would work or what it would be ....but I've figured sooner or later someone would come up with something....each year they try to improve the players equipment, bats that are harder, lighter, balls with a harder core, manipulated stitches to aid grip on the ball, why not try to come up with something to aid the officials.

They have... We just need to start using it.

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They have... We just need to start using it.

Watch any tennis match and you can see that they can place were a 120+ MPH serve lands within a millimeter and its pretty obvious the technology exists to aid Umps but that its not currently being utilized or applied. Not a criticism as there are arguments for and against implementing such technology, just an observation.

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Considering all catchers are doing this, while not on every pitch, how are you going give extra scrutiny.

Well, when a buddy sends me a link to me getting fooled by a catcher's frame job, I'm going to remember which one it was.

When I get my performance review, you know after every game I ump behind the plate, I'm going to remember which catchers deceived me into miscalling pitches.

I get graded on my performance. I get plum post season assignments partially based on my performance.

If a catcher's tricks are causing my performance to dip, I'd see to rectify that situation.

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Well, when a buddy sends me a link to me getting fooled by a catcher's frame job, I'm going to remember which one it was.

When I get my performance review, you know after every game I ump behind the plate, I'm going to remember which catchers deceived me into miscalling pitches.

I get graded on my performance. I get plum post season assignments partially based on my performance.

If a catcher's tricks are causing my performance to dip, I'd see to rectify that situation.

I get your point but it sounds like a personal problem for the umpire. He should be making the calls based on the pitches, not on where the catcher moves his glove. It's not like there has to be a catcher there in order for you to know whether the pitch is a ball or strike.

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I get your point but it sounds like a personal problem for the umpire. He should be making the calls based on the pitches, not on where the catcher moves his glove. It's not like there has to be a catcher there in order for you to know whether the pitch is a ball or strike.

I agree, but if you miss more calls when a particular catcher is in the game it would behoove you to pay extra attention when he is in the game.

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Watch any tennis match and you can see that they can place were a 120+ MPH serve lands within a millimeter and its pretty obvious the technology exists to aid Umps but that its not currently being utilized or applied. Not a criticism as there are arguments for and against implementing such technology, just an observation.

I think the biggest problem with implementation in the MLB is that for tennis you're dealing with static boundaries, while there is a dynamic batter-to-batter strike zone in baseball. Resetting the machine every batter would be a bit difficult and inherently subjective. While the current system is subjective, I think I am more comfortable (and I assume many others are as well) with such a ruling coming from a human than a machine, as that becomes a bit black box.

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