Eddie Mendieta - The Human Element


The Human Element by Eddie Mendieta

(Here lies the inaugural Mack's Mets article for Eddie Mendieta - 
read and enjoy, folks).

So Tuesday night’s World Series game had Cleveland’s Starter Corey Kluber Strike out 8 batters in the first 3 innings and 9 total for the game. A masterful performance, or was it...
On Mike and Mike’s morning show it was reported that the Umpire’s strike zone was 93% accurate. As I watched the game, I noticed that there were many pitches I did not agree were strikes, up to 2-3 inches off the plate. Then questions arose, and they said “it’s the Human Element.” 
Now I do like the “Human Element”.   I enjoy when a player slides on the perfect side of the bag to avoid what should be an easy out. 

I love when a base runner on third base runs down the line and draws a balk from the pitcher. 

However, when a call is wrong or in this case a ball is called a strike, we catalog it under the umbrella of “The Human Element”. This makes no sense. 
Both the batter and the pitcher should know what is going to be called a ball or  strike every game, every time. We all see on TV when the Umpire is wrong. Now we even have statistics that can say how accurate the “Human Umpire” was. 

Well, 93% is far too low a percentage. In the post season, those 7% may actually have been the difference in why Cleveland was victorious. 

One hundred percent may not be possible but having the number raised to 98%-99% should be. 
Now that works both ways, for every ball called a strike there is a strike called a ball. I am willing the bet Syndergaard, Harvey, and Degrom throw extra pitches (raising pitch counts) on missed calls and would prefer to know that if they execute the same pitch in the first or the sixth inning they would receive the same results.  

The technology exists.  

As fans we invest our money, time and passion, and I expect the same on the field.

What do you think, folks?


Mack Ade said...

Welcome Eddie.

I'm old school.

I don't like instant replay of electronics on my TV screen telling me if the pitch ended in the box. In my day, it wasn't always where it ended, it was also where it crossed.

We had an umpire in our choose up games at Victory Park (Forest Park, Queens) named Armonndo, who doubled as the janitor and a drive for Tony One-Ball Napolitano (Gotti family). He couldn't see past his nose so he called every pitch a strike. We knew we had learn how to hit everything and it actually made us all into better hitters.

Thomas Brennan said...

Great article, Eddie. Welcome.

Echoing Mack, two great bad ball hitters were Yogi Berra (Hall of Famer) and Manny Sanguillen.

If they ever used electronic strike calling years ago, Tom Glavine would have been average. He probably got 10,000 balls called strikes in his career.

I know when Addison Reed came into the Wild Card game, he threw 4 great pitches in a row at one point, all of which were in the STRIKE box on the screen - but 3 of the 4 were called balls. It extended his inning, and he walked off jawing with the ump. Terry is very by-the-book, but if not for the extra pitches caused by those ball calls, if I were manager, Reed also pitches that 9th inning. We might still be playing.

Amazingly, watching Thor pitch, it seemed every pitch that was just out of the zone by an inch or two, per the box, was called a ball, and several hitting the edge of the box were called balls. It did increase his pitch count over his 7 innings by perhaps 10-15 pitches. I only saw maybe one pitch that was a ball called a strike during his 7 brilliant innings.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

Seriously, back in my day we scored very little runs in the first three innings. I was the lead off hitter and it was my job to begin the process of supplying to the rest of the team what kind of strike zone the umpire was calling. My job on that first at bat was to get a walk, not a hit, or go back to the dugout with a strikeout and some good info.

Eddie Corona said...

Thanks guys...
@Mack you forgot Vladimir Guerrero... who was better bad ball hitter than he... and I've played in Victory park... Man i have to visit home soon...
@Thomas... I said the same thing about Reed that game...
I may not be that young (though that's hard to admit) but I am all about getting it right. And at the major league level where pace of play is discussed , drawing the New fans, and advance Metrics are now part of the game, technology needs to be employed...

Eddie Corona said...

Thomas.. Your so right about Tom Glavine... But to the point.. He was a average pitcher... He was great because the Umps called it wrong...

Thomas Brennan said...

you got it there, Eddie. He lived 6-8 inches off the corner consistently getting called strikes.

Mack, those were the days, weren't they?

I was a 13 year old imitating Willie Stargell as a lefty hitter, hitting balls up on the school roof (about 180 feet away, 40 feet high, slightly foul, in RF). Did not mind losing those old balls. I was Stargell hitting them on the roof at Forbes Field.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

They're still up there Tom. They're still up there.

Hobie said...

Was not a fan of instant replay and could still easily chalk up those plays reversed by super-slow, telescopic replay to "human element" and live with it. The major botches could be rectified retroactively.
, I suppose.

But BY FAR the most missed calls in any game are balls/strikes. There an electronic ump could improve the integrity of the game. (the result would have to be instantaneously displayed to catcher, audibly or little red/green LED's on the plate.)

Gary Seagren said...

Leave the ump behind the plate and give him a devise that would vibrate differently say for a ball or strike based on the read of an electronic strike zone. That way the calls would be correct the fans happy (if that's possible) and we leave the umps alone.

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