Daily Archives: July 29, 2009

FYI Blue, the strike zone is described in the rule book

Just had to bring this one up after finishing up the season. The rule book of every major organization takes the time and ink to print its definition of the strike zone in its respective rule book. So why do some umpires feel they need to develop and call their own strike zones?

This past weekend we had one umpire in particular who was just unbelievable. His strike zone appeared to be the size and shape of a shoebox. Not even a good pair of Timberlands either. More like a pair of pumps from the Junior Miss area.

We were in the field, our pitcher threw a pitch that crossed the plate above the knees. The Blue called it a ball. We asked where the pitch was and he indicated it was too low. He also wasn’t calling anything on the outside corner, and God forbid you should let the ball get any higher than the waistband. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room, especially for a finesse pitcher. What you wind up with is a lot of easily hit balls.

As reminder to the men and women in blue, the strike zone extends from the top of the knees to the armpits, and from one side of the plate to the other. The entire ball does not have to cross the plate to be a strike. As long as some part of the ball passes some part of the plate within the height detailed above it is a strike. That also means if you see a curve ball that actually curves as it crosses the front part of the plate, if it nips the plate it is a strike. Also, the height is determined by where the ball crosses the plate, not by where it is caught by the catcher. In other words, if a drop ball crosses above the knees while over the plate and winds up on the ground behind the plate, it is a strike.

I know a lot of you know it, and call it that way to the best of your ability. I also know it’s not easy to do — I’ve done it.  I hope that when you work with someone who decides the book rule isn’t good enough for him or her and decides to redefine the strike zone you will say something — either to the UIC, or to whoever runs the scheduling. The game is a lot more fun when you let the players play it.

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