Leonard Koppett completes his two-part series on the strike zone at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer online. Koppett has a similar tale to tell about the fall of the strike zone that I spelled out. However, he finds that the ceding of the outside strike to the pitcher occurred in the Sixties whereas I saw it happening in the mid-Eighties. PoTAto/POtato.
Koppett also expresses a dsitrust of the QuesTec system though he does not refer to it by name:
Sandy Alderson, who supervises the umpires, is striving for a uniform strike zone, using television and computer technology to define it.
This is utter nonsense. Alderson, an intelligent man, has zero experience with on-field baseball reality. What matters at home plate is what two humans -- batter and umpire -- see with their eyes in three dimensions, not what some equally inexperienced programmer feeds into a computer-generated picture. Nor have rulebook words and diagrams ever perfectly defined the strike zone's volume.
In opposing this, the umpires are dead right. So are the players and managers, but they must hold their tongues for fear of retaliation.
In the end, Koppett blames the lack of strike zone consistency to the influx of umpires in the expansion era. It's an interesting idea that poor umpiring could be the byproduct of expansion.
Most of all, I am uncouraged to hear another intelligent voice questioning the QuesTec. It seems that the sabermetric world is happily goose-stepping along with this ill-conceived notion even though it comes from the office of Bud. Wha'appened?