It is time for Major League Baseball to implement the electronic strike zone and it must happen next season


Courtesy of NBC Sports

The strike zone has always been a very controversial topic in baseball

For too long, Major League Baseball has experienced problems with the strike zone. Strikes are being called balls and balls are being called strikes seemingly every game at an alarming rate. Managers and players have been ejected, fined and suspended frequently arguing these calls but nothing has been done.

Currently, a strike zone graphic appears for every hitter during the broadcast. The strike zone goes from the letters of the players jersey to their knees and the edges of the plate. The broadcast is able to seamlessly adjust it for every hitter instantly. Every time a pitch is thrown, a dot pops up on the screen showing where the pitch landed and you can clearly tell whether it was a ball or strike. This exposes all of the missed ball and strikes calls that the umpire makes every game. 

Clearly, the technology to get every pitch right is available so why don’t we utilize it? This has been a question that baseball fans have been asking for a long time. Teams have lost games because of the strike zone and it costs them in the standings. These games add up and can be the difference between making and not making the playoffs. It ruins the experience for fans and sometimes makes baseball unwatchable. 

Inconsistency is the worst part when it comes to the strike zone. Every umpire has their own zone and it is up to the players to figure it out as the game goes along. Sometimes there will be a pitch low and away that is off the plate and called a ball as it should be and then the very next pitch goes to the exact same location and is called a strike. There are times where an umpire will give the pitcher an inch or two off the plate and call it a strike and then as the game goes along, that pitch starts becoming a ball. The players are left guessing and even in the later innings, they still have no idea what is a ball or a strike. Utilizing the electronic strike zone would solve these issues.

To implement the electronic strike zone, each stadium should put a screen behind home plate for the fans on TV to see and in the outfield for the home plate umpire to see with the strike zone and pitch dot. Similarly to the replay system in tennis, the computer would automatically be able to decide the call and then the word “ball” or “strike” would pop up. The umpire would still then signal ball or strike to eliminate losing some of the human factor of the game. This way, every ball and strike call will be correct and there will never be any arguing when it comes to the strike zone.

Umpires are not completely at fault when it comes to this issue. They are human and they make mistakes just like anyone else. It is almost impossible to call every ball and strike correctly. Umpires sometimes catch too much heat for very close pitches that are called incorrectly. However, we now have all this technology to get every call right so using it would benefit the umpires, the fans and the players to make baseball less frustrating and more enjoyable to watch.