Re: Improving the umpires ...
posted at 4/14/2013 10:28 AM EDT
I think we should have the best available umps on the field, even if they don't have the most seniority.
they do do that for the post season
In order for things to change, I think we need to be willing to consider further use of technology at hand.
they R working on it
There's a whole other entity for balls and strikes: the Zone Evaluation system. That was put in every park in 2009 to replace QuesTec, and it measures practically every pitch called by an umpire; batted balls are discarded. Cameras record the pitch in flight more than 20 times before it reaches the plate.
As of mid-August, umpires were calling pitches correctly at an average rate of more than 95 percent, by the league's numbers. Marsh said about a dozen umpires had called every pitch in a game correctly.
Only rarely is a pitch an umpire calls not calculated in the Z-E score.
"Occasionally, the catcher's movement is taken into consideration, as, at times, the catcher completely blocks out the umpire by moving up or sideways," Marsh said. "Usually, those are bad pitches anyway, but sometimes they are close."
The day after every game, home-plate umpires receive a breakdown of how they did.
"It will tell whether a pitch is 2.6-7 inches outside or 3.4 inches inside, or how many low or how many high," Marsh said. "It will tell them everything about that pitch, plus give them video of it, a graphic of it, where the pitch crossed the plate or didn't cross the plate."
Umpires themselves can review any play or pitch they want immediately after a game finishes. Their locker rooms league-wide are mandated to have video equipment for that purpose.
Incentives, corrective measures and philosophy
Besides the day-to-day looks, umps get a thorough vetting after both halves of a season.
"Mid-year evaluations go over everything they accomplished in the first half of the season, their Z-E scores, any plays that stood out -- any plays that they may have missed are itemized in that," Marsh said. "Any plays where they are assigned -- we call it 'does not meet,' meaning something happened on the field that they did not handle appropriately. There's a red mark and a 'does not meet' and a complete explanation of why they got it. All those things are on their mid-year evaluation for them to review. Every guy has to sign off on it; they have to read it and sign off on it. They go through the whole thing at the end of the season as well."
A tangible motivation for umpires to perform well is postseason money. Only the best umpires work the postseason, and that's based on all of the accountability work put in ahead of time. Making it to October baseball is a major goal.
you should read this
Complex system in place to evaluate umpires