April 29, 2013

Guess The Count #1 - With Marvin Hudson

Good morning, and welcome to Guess The Count!, the umpiring game where we give you the pitches and you make the calls. Test your skills as an arbiter against those of a real Major League Baseball umpire.

Today's man behind the plate is Marvin Hudson and we will be looking at the Astros/Red Sox game from Saturday, April 27, 2013. Make your guess and then see how you matched up against our big-time ump. One explanation before we start: There are no tricks. All of the pitches were taken by the batter; he did not swing at any of them.

Ready? Let's begin! We'll start off with an easy one. The pitcher has made one pitch ... and it's time for you to ... guess the count!


How about this one?

Check the comments for how Hudson called the pitches. ... How did you do? Do you have what it takes to be a major league umpire? If not, better luck next time!

And that's all for today from ... Guess The Count!


allan said...

1-0 to David Ortiz, 7th inning (ball)

1-2 to Daniel Nava, 4th inning (called, ball, called)

3-2 to Jose Altuve, 4th inning (ball, ball, called, ball, called)

FenFan said...

Is this the part where I yell "Yahtzee?" :-)

dasfunk said...

Not to be a contrarian, but the Amica Pitch Zone seems erratic and mis-calibrated.

PitchFX at Brooks Baseball has some very different reads on the same pitching sequences - for example, the 4th inning Altuve-Doubront AB, seen here:


In the PitchFX read, pitch 1 (called a ball by Hudson) was actually a high strike, but pitches 3, 5 and 6 (the ball Alutve put in play) were all strikes.

allan said...

das: yeah, i looked at brooks before i posted this and the only one that is really off is the ball to ortiz. the three to nava are all borderline and could go either way, though hudson is inconsistent. i've often thought that amica's zone stopped at the batter's waist (or so) and went no higher. the pitches to altuve prove this pretty well.

FenFan said...

dasfunk, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that the Amica Pitch Zone is not calibrated correctly.

What drives me nuts as a fan is when you watch a pitch sequence, see a close pitch called a ball (according to the APZ), then see one that is supposedly further outside the strike zone called a strike.

Even worse is when NESN shows a replay of said pitch and the only response from Don and Jerry is a subtle grunt. Just once, I'd like to see them expand on that analysis, but I'm guessing that would break some unwritten rule about announcers questioning balls and strikes.

9casey said...

The technology behind the system is actually quite complex. Due to varying heights and batting stances of players, the strike zone is not the same for every batter. As a player places his front foot down in the batter’s box to take his stance, a KZone technician ’sets’ the strike zone based on his position in the box and his height. Special ’sensor’ cameras are mounted in center field, high above home plate, and down the first and third base lines. These cameras, which are not used for video broadcasting purposes, track the pitch as it crosses over the plate. The data from the cameras is sent to four computers running a sophisticated algorithm which compares the pre-set strike zone and the location of each pitch. This data is then used to generate the three dimensional image which we see on television. Sportsvision claims that the system is accurate to within 2/5ths of an inch.

I found when I was an umpire that I would be blocked on many pitches by a catcher or a hitter. It is so much harder than it looks. I have always thought the easiest place to call balls and strikes would be behind the pitcher. Just like when they would ask a father to do it in little league. Umpires are very rarely over the center of the plate when the set up. They never have a perfect angle.

allan said...

So does NESN get the same data as Brooks and Gameday, but simply has drawn a much smaller zone? In years past, I have seen a pitch come in at the belt and it's shown as being along the horizontal top line of Amica's zone. So is NESN showing only the bottom half of the zone?

laura k said...

It is so much harder than it looks.

Most things are. But it's not wrong to expect excellence at the highest level of play.

9casey said...

L, I agree. That is why Allan wants robots. It is impossible for a human to make very call. And Allan to know where the acutual strike zone is , does anyone really know?

9casey said...

1996 - The Strike Zone is expanded on the lower end, moving from the top of the knees to the bottom of the knees.

1988 - "The Strike Zone is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the top of the knees. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter's stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball."