It's tough being a Colorado Rockies fan right now.
The team has lost seven of its last eight games, is already mired in injury hell and even somehow lost two separate games in which it stormed back from six- and seven-run deficits.
Rockies hurlers can't seem to execute that one key pitch they need to get out of the inning. And, even when they do make the pitch, more often than not it has resulted in a broken-bat flare or 300-bounce grounder that somehow winds up in the outfield. When Colorado is at the plate, scorched line drives always seem to end up in a glove, and would-be home runs keep getting taken away by the newly raised right-center field fence.
As if all of that isn't enough to make you sick to your stomach, the Rockies also keep getting jobbed by the umpires.
It happened in Cincinnati, when umpires failed to see that before Dustin Garneau appeared to score the tying run in a key spot, he tripped over third base rather than completely missing it, as was ruled. It happened in Game 1 of the Rockies' series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, when Walt Weiss and Ryan Raburn were thrown out of the game for arguing horrible strike calls.
And it happened again on Wednesday night, when with runners on second and third in a one-run game with two outs in the bottom of the 12th inning, Trevor Story was saddled with a called third strike by Ramon DeJesus that made the calls linked above look flawless.
The call looks bad in live, regular speed. It looks even worse slowed down -- and it looks downright horrendous when looking at it in strike zone plot form:
Via Brooks Baseball
Story, who set a National League rookie record by hitting his ninth April home run earlier in the game, had a good chance to tie the game or even give the Rockies an important win. Instead, he was left walking back to the dugout with a familiar feeling. The 23-year-old shortstop has struck out in 37 percent of his major league plate appearances; he doesn't need any help in that department. DeJesus gave it to him anyway.
One argument I saw is that DeJesus "called that pitch a strike all night." A simple look at the graphic above proves that's really not the case. Another defense was that Story "was too aggressive," putting the umpire in a position to favor the pitcher. And in fairness to Pirates closer Mark Melancon, that pitch was right on target.
It seems the best way to eliminate all of the gray area would be to, you know, make calls based on the actual strike zone. Or does that take away from the "human element?"
Baseball has done well to examine its rules and determine which ones need to be implemented differently or changed altogether. Balls and strikes -- and specifically, how they're called -- should be high up on that list. For as much as this sport cares about "integrity of the game," it seems logical that changes are made to a system that allows for games to be decided by people other than the players.