And now for something completely different
the Mariner point of view is ...


Meg Rowley looks at each of the 197 ejections that occurred last year, and writes them up using a Listverse-caliber sense of color and inventiveness.  Probably the most sheer fun we've had reading baseball since the Royals lifted the cup ... wait, who won last year?  The Astros pulled it out, right?  And is it a crsytal bowl or a real "pennant" or what do you get...

That's way off topic.  Rowley starts with Buck Showalter and the lines we draw between Some Talking, A Lot of Talking, I Kept Talking, and so forth:

But they don’t stay at Some Talking. The lousy trick of Some Talking is that it assumes, despite innings and innings of evidence to the contrary, that talking will be persuasive. And, of course, it isn’t. Buck isn’t going to get this umpire to ask his colleagues for help or to put the runner currently on third back on second or to avoid extra innings. And once the guy doing Some Talking realizes he’s not getting that called third strike back, his loquacious little heart Keeps Talking, so he is soon doing A Lot of Talking. The stages of I Kept Talking can change on you so quickly.


Meg's fine, colorful writing goes even better with the animated .gifs therein.  Next up, she considers Joe Girardi's "persnickety, fussy" approach to arguing with umps, and jumps from there to a random case, that of Josh Donaldson (intentionally?) getting the ax after 18 innings' worth of play.


Most ejections seem to occur after a player or manager argues balls and strikes, as this USA Today slideshow indicates.  Fangraphs has an analysis that says the run environment would go from 4.1 runs per game to nearly 5, finishing with the delicious conclusion that some players (like Robinson Cano) might NEVER strike out.  Well y'know.  For some hitters, the "generous outside corner" seems to be the main way they find strike three.

Eric Byrnes, who has pushed for the robot umpiring, thinks that the main obstacle to the automated zone is that --- > the PLAYERS don't want it.  Now here is where the article stops, because somebody ELSE will have to tell ME why that is.  I'd really like to know.  Baseball would be such a tremendous game if it were played with real balls and strikes.  Justin Verlander "hitting" a strike would be like Steph Curry hitting a three, with the swish of a net (a bank of red lights behind the catcher lighting up).

Hope we see it in my lifetime.  Occasionally you find yourself in a situation where you KNOW, absolutely, that 50 years from now, we'll all be doing a certain thing a certain way.  Nobody will be texting while driving, for example, because the tech will prevent it.  You find yourself fighting an imperative, you're being a fool.


The Mariner point of view here, always included free with your BOGO purchase, is that --- > the sooner the umpires treat the Seattle Mariner as equals to their opponents, during the game, the happier Dr. D will be.

One last Mainframe Crunch in this rhapsody of a chaotic post:  Mike Zunino is an authoritative hitter now, and he barks at the ump after blown strike threes.  This is a marked plus, as it pertains to Zunino's career arc, but.  Do you think this will affect his framing results?  No idea myself.

Besides this morning's two articles, there are two more perfectly decent weekend articles to your right, awaiting discussion.  'ave at thee, varlet.


Dr D



FWIW... I believe I heard or read that Zunino has been getting worse at framing / stealing strikes the last 2 years... and that fact is unusual since most catchers get better or stay the same with age.


But what related to pitching wasn't?  Who's on the mound can make a difference in the calling too.  For now I'm going to lump his framing from last year in with all the pitching stats I choose to ignore as outliers.  Hopefully that's all it was.

There was a video compilation of somebody's out pitches this week that inadvertently showed Zuninos solid frame-work (never used the phrase that way before).  


It seems more of a trend that can't be explained away by sample sizes previous being small.  Good pitching=stellar framing doesn't seem to line up for him either.  2014 he was stellar, 115 team ERA+.  2015 very good framing, 92 team ERA+.  2016 decent framing but no longer close to elite, 102 ERA+.  Still ignoring 2017 where both were just horrible.  But that's 3 years dropping from #2 in the majors in '14.

That's superficial, without diving into who he caught each time.  I think there's certain pitches that tend to get called more one way or the other, so understanding that and diving into repertoires could help figure out the situation too.


For years I have opposed ths automated strike zone.  I am now in.  A missed call on the first pitch has such a profound impact on the expected outcome of an AB that it screams for absolute consistency.


You'd find yourself siding with Eric Byrnes?  Yeah, I'm in agreement except they can keep the ump there with gooogle glasses or the like to relay the call.  Then it seems exactly the same except it's called correctly.

Speaks to pace of play because who's arguing with the messenger?  "Go back to the dugout Scioscia, It wasn't my call"


Seconded, Matt (thirded, Doc?). Sounds like an optimal viewing experience for the fans: one that might even create a slight uptick in enthusiasm for the sport. Gotta wonder what's keeping the commisioner from making this incredibly obvious change. Big Ump lobbyists?

“You find yourself fighting an imperative, you're being a fool.” – that right there, that’s why you’re the kind of conservative I like, Doc. I won’t begrudge someone the general sentiment, “things should change less rather than more, become simpler rather than more complicated.” Just so long as we stay on the right side of Imperatives, I'm happy to debate the rest.

As for why the hitters like umps, here’s my best guess: covering their backsides. Think about it. They already hate striking out looking, so much so that it leads to lots off extra swinging Ks. But in the humiliating event of an impotent backwards K, isn’t it better to for them to return to the dugout barking about a missed call than it would be for a red light to flare up behind them to highlight their emasculation?

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