May 11, 2010, 9:22 AM EST
Every umpire has a reputation, but some teams aren’t content with simply knowing if a guy is a pitchers’ ump or a hitters’ ump. They’re getting detailed with it
Ron Washington flips the pages of his three-ring notebook, filled
inside info on the other team’s pitchers and hitters. The Texas manager gets to the back of the black binder, reaches into
pocket and pulls out another scouting report–on that night’s home plate
It’s a color-coded computer printout showing his strike zone–how he
to call balls and strikes–and whether he usually gives the pitcher a
the ball sails just off the corner of the plate. In this ump’s case, the
on the edges are too inconsistent to be predictable.
“We do have their tendencies in the dugout on the wall. The name of the
umpire and his tendencies, what they call and what part of the zone they
strikes,” Washington said.
Any bit of information helps, I suppose, but at some point you have to wonder if hitters are getting too much information. I mean, between knowing what the pitcher’s tendencies are, how the defense is playing you, what sign you have from the third base coach and then actually, you know, watching the pitch as it comes in, whether the ump likes to call outside breaking balls strikes on 3-2 counts approaches overload, doesn’t it?
Either way, I like the fact that Bobby Cox and the Braves don’t compile these things. Not that it wouldn’t help — God knows the Braves could use help with the zone — but because if they did it, they’d probably all read the same: “Has a short fuse; likes to eject the manager.” “Gets angry easy; prone to ejecting the manager . . .”
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