After reading an offering at Fairball from Mike 'Doc' Lantiere, assistant UIC at East Region, I decided to post, to hopefully allay my confusion. He was opining about batting average of an umpire as a potential criteria for "umpire ability", but that is not the source of my consternation.
From Doc: "In conclusion, remember that if any part of the ball passes through the majority of the strike zone, we have a strike."
Wait. Huh? It's the "passes through the majority of the strikezone" part that has me flummoxed. The ball clips the zone IMO, it's a strike. I certainly may process one that is fully in the zone or one that just clips the zone, but 55% v 45% for example? I'm not judging majority of the plate there, my apes brain just ain't that good. Am I misunderstanding the intent of the comment?
From Doc: "It is not necessary that the whole ball be over the white of the plate. The black of the plate is merely decoration, but if any part of the ball over the black is touching the white, we have a strike."
Yep, agree. Doesn't this 2nd statement conflict with the 1st?
I've met Doc at ER clinics. Very knowledgeable guy. A dentist by trade, I believe. Doc, are you reading this?
Time wounds all heels.....
I noticed that this afternoon also. It's like the words, "the majority of" shouldn't be in there. I assumed it was an editing mistake. As most of us hopefully know any part of ball crossing any part of the strike zone is a strike.
Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it!
If you're a decent umpire, you've tossed out the book definition of a strike long ago. You need to know your audience, and what they consider a strike. We're not calling the same zone in a LL minors game, as we do in a Senior one, although the book defines them the same. A belt high ball a little inside might be a strike if the batter is crowding it. Strike one in the third, may not be strike three to end a game, etc. It takes experience, and some good teachers along the way, to know this stuff.
Doc is making generalities to the masses. There's stuff you just don't put in print, as an authority, that you just have to learn in the field.
I agree with Kyle:
Forget about the book definition of the strike zone. When read the definition there is not an addendum after if saying something along the lines of
However, if you are 9yrs. old the strike zone is this or if you are 15 the strike zone is this etc. etc.
The book definition is simply a reference point.
The best definition IMO is this:
The strike zone is that which is accepted in the leagues we service.
You cannot expect a 10 yr. old kid to have the same control as a college player.
My OP had nothing to do with the book "definition of the strike zone". (How did it so quickly get off on that tangent? Usually that doesn't happen on this board until "later" replies)
While I agree with most of what Kyle and Pete state, neither of their responses to my OP address the "majority of the strike zone" statement, of which I took issue.
Time wounds all heels.....
I don't know where Doc was going with the majority statement, but it is incorrect. If the ball hits the zone, it's a strike, it doesn't mattter the level or how you are calling it, if it hits it, it's a strike.
Michael S. Taylor
In fact, FWIW-----
Doc's "majority" comment runs contrary to LL's comment on page 9---"Make The Right Call"---wherein it states:
"Think strikes!" Borderline pitches should be called strikes. This encourages the offensive team to become more aggressive while at bat and provides for a more exciting game."
While Doc's "majority" comment is conceptually correct as being a strike---it doesn't recognize a pitch that crosses any part of the "minority" plate as bring a strike.
And if I may add----the black of the plate is not a "decoration"-----it has a (safety) purpose----home plate being "fixed" in place, the black is/was beveled to minimize the chance of a sliding runner suffering an injury.
Happy Thanksgiving To All ----
The LL RIM, The RIght Call, and the LL rulebook are all solid foundations to start with. What they don't teach is real world stuff, and rarely delve into 90' issues. Sure, it's cool to tell rookies to think strikes, and that's a great mindset to start out with. But if you're calling the lower part of the ball nicking the upper part of the armpit, in any game outside of a 9u regular season game, expect to get properly yelled at. Try that in a Senior league game (15-16's), and prepare to duck and cover.
Doc is speaking to the LL masses. That's cool, I get that.
Beak, back on point, You're correct in pointing out that Doc's statements conflict with themselves. It's just that we say both of them as questionable.
"If the ball hits the zone, it's a strike, it doesn't mattter the level or how you are calling it, if it hits it, it's a strike."
"I don't call the armpits at any age. It is not a strike and shouldn't be called."
Alright, Miguel, which is it? 'Cause WP says the armpits are in the zone.
From what I see from a lot of responses are "Making up their own rules" and using age difference to justify this. The rules are there for a reason and we do not have the authority to change them just because there might be some heat coming from participants. If you are consistant the heat will deminish. TM
Strike one in the third, may not be strike three to end a game,
Except for the above, I don't disagree with what you said.
With the possible exception of an out of control game, we DO owe it to the players (and coaches) to be consistant.
Even at a young level, I want the coach to be able to tell his players, "That's been a strike all day" and teach them to recognize it and learn from it.