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The lie behind baseball’s strike zone

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Rockies news and links for September 10, 2017

Colorado Rockies v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Baseball’s great debate: the automated strike zone | The Denver Post
Patrick Saunders spoke to a bunch of Rockies players about automated strike zones, and he pulled out a lot of differing views. This one from Adam Ottavino is the most revealing: “I didn’t use to be for automated balls and strikes, but for me, it’s become more and more frustrating,” he said. “When you go back and look and see where the pitches were and realize you got the wrong end of the stick, it’s frustrating."

The key part here is "go back and look and see where the pitches were." This debate tends to revolve around using available technology to enhance the precision of the strike zone. But what that framing ignores is that technology itself has created the false impression that something close to the rulebook strike zone has ever existed. Ottavino probably doesn’t mean “go back and look at video from the game.” He probably means “go back and look at where the ball landed in the digitized rectangle called the strike zone.”

There has always been a de jure strike zone written into the rulebook; however, for as long as baseball has been around, the strike zone has been a de facto negotiation between the pitcher, catcher, batter, and umpire. Once things like the Auto Company Sponsored Strike Zone began decorating television broadcasts, it game the impression that the de jure and de facto strike zones were the same thing. They aren't and never have been. This debate would be better served by moving away from the "human element" argument and focusing a little more on how the "technology element" has changed perceptions of what the strike zone really is.

In conclusion: Say no to robo-umps.

Saunders: 2017 will be remembered for Charlie Blackmon’s greatness | The Denver Post
It's hard to argue with this. Following Charlie Blackmon's progression over the years has been a joy, and it looks like 2017 will stand out as the year Blackmon turned it up to 11.

How each NL Wild Card contender stacks up. | Sports on Earth
Will Leitch looks at how the Rockies stack up compared to the Cardinals and Brewers, the two teams closest to the Rockies for the second Wild Card spot. While it's close, Leitch thinks the Rockies will end up capturing the spot over those two NL Central teams.