Up And In Episode 2: "Is It Big Or Is It Small?"

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Table Of Contents

0:00 Welcome: Agenda review, how to get a hold of us, waiting for Steve Jobs to listen

5:17 Viewer Mail: "We" vs. "They", playing the hipster card, a long discussion on shirts

11:12 What We've Been Watching: Beginning of the ump talk, more shirts, a brief tirade against those (some) that scout by video

29:55 Deep Thoughts: Untrustworthy first place rotations, Bryce Harper's leverage, bottled water vs. tap

47:28 The Big Issue: The problem with modern umps, a robotic Joe West that fires missiles (Special guest Jay Jaffe)

61:39 NOT Jim Tracy: On umpiring

63:53 This Week In Culture: A tribute to Gary Coleman, I'm comfortable with my beverages, the very special episode

74:36 Finishing Up: The draft bunker, finishing assignments, what's coming up this week, why Jason sounds sad

Music is Handsome Boy Modeling School from the album So. . . How's Your Girl?, copyright 1999 – Elektra Records.

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I guess I'm a little surprised that you're not in favor of balls and strikes being called correctly. At the risk of sounding like Joe Sheehan, the highest priority should be getting the damn calls right. It is only fair to both batter and pitcher that they work within a consistent strike zone. I do agree with you that it could (likely would) materially change the batter/pitcher matchup, but such changes have taken place many times throughout the game's history. You mentioned the 1960s pitcher-dominated era, and another that comes to mind is when major league baseball changed the ball itself which resulted in a spike in offense. I'm not concerned about that. Baseball adapts. I'm not sure in which direction a 100% accurate strike zone would push the game. My inkling is that it would benefit pitchers, under the assumption that "the technology" would call the rulebook (i.e., taller than today's convention) strikezone. This taller strike zone might, however, be offset by a narrower strike zone. Such a strikezone would affect pitchers in different ways. Perhaps a power pitcher that throws high and hard would benefit, while a pitcher who works the edges would be "squeezed." On the other hand, perhaps batters could be more confident about taking borderline pitches and not have to process "who's the umpire?; is he calling a wide zone today?; etc." This could lead to an increase in walks and/or hard hit balls and result in a higher offensive environment. The bottom line is that somehow, the run environment will change, but in and of itself, that's not a big deal. The players will adapt to the new environment just as they always have. Such a change would lead to fewer arguments with umpires and less opportunity for umpires to become the story of any particular game.