You know what would be so cool? If the fat guy who picked up the ball was Jeffery Maier.
That's a bad umpire, that's what that is. Ask to see the ball, dude.I am on record as a 100% umpire fan. I think they do a very difficult job exceedingly well. But this is bad umpiring when it's easy to do good umpiring, and I don't like that.
Sad to see a franchise where fan-assisted cheating is so institutionalized as to be celebrated in this way. At this point contraction or relocation may be the only possible remedies.
I still think that computer strike zones make more sense than human error strike zones. Why should we celebrate random (or non-random) error? Why should Justin Verlander have a bigger strike zone than Ubaldo Jiminez?
Random error probably keeps down the number of walks. Wherever baseball is played, a batter facing a two-strike count is encouraged to swing at anything close to avoid the possibility of taking a called third strike that may or may not be over the plate. If a professional hitter knew that there would not be a strike zone error on a two-strike pitch, he might be marginally less likely to swing at a pitch out of the zone and marginally more likely to walk. While earning walks is certainly a skill and obtaining a walk is certainly beneficial to a team's effort to score runs, the actual act of a walk is boring. Baseball doesn't need more boring. Baseball, as a form of entertainment, needs more balls in play and fewer walks.
Speaking of bad umpiring, is the third out of the seventh inning of a 4-0 game in June really worth showing up an umpire that badly? Wise better get used to swinging at everything whenever DiMuro is behind the plate.
Rational self-interested batters would only have a greater incentive to swing at a marginal ball if they believed that there was a bias in favor of expanding the zone that exceeded the difference in expected value of a swing on a ball slightly outside the zone versus the expected value of taking a ball. Some hitters favor pitches out of the zone, but most do most of their damage with balls in the zone, so the bias in favor of strikes on marginal calls would have to be high. If it were truly random, it shouldn't change the results. And even if it did create a swing incentive on two-strike counts, it would create a swing disincentive on three-ball counts.
I think the argument in favor of a computerized strike zone is strong, but you also seem to be arguing from a dramatic change in the rules. Any two players will have different strike zones so long as we're using things like letters and knees to determine strike zones. And if we STOP using such things to determine them, then we're introducing different kinds of unfairness. So given that the stroke zone is fairly subjective to being with, I'm not that bothered by the additional subjectivity of umpires. But I'm not particularly bothered by letting computers call balls and strikes either.
The fan didn't assist, except insofar as he didn't directly tell the umpire that Wise cheated. Wise held up an empty glove, and the fan held up the ball. Wise cheated, and the umpire fell down on the job.The fans certainly did celebrate, though.
You can pretty quickly calibrate the upper and lower bounds of the strike zone (if it's letters and knees, so be it, though the rule book says "mid-point between top of shoulders and waist"). In fact, that's what MLB does when it uses the current computerized system to evaluate umpires' accuracy for quality-control/job evaluation purposes. We have no trouble getting real-time PitchFX evaluation of strike zones in an objective, not subjective way. And even if this did require standardization of the strike zone across batters (which I'm not advocating), it's not as if baseball hasn't changed the size of the strike zone before, officially at least a few times, and unofficially all the time.
Incidentally, Duvall's comment about showing up the ump is the smartest thing I've seen written about this play.