Stealing strikes is ok but stealing signs is not?

Aug 11, 2019
387
As seen in the Boston Herald and MLB Trade Rumors, more catchers are adopting a new receiving stance, "lowering one knee to the ground to give them a stronger base and allow them to better frame pitches for the umpires." The umpire gets a better view of balls and strikes but it makes it harder for the catcher to block pitches when there are runners on. According to Roenicke, "The big thing with catcher is, how many strikes are you stealing in the game? That’s how they’re compared to other catchers." Vazquez finished fifth in statcast's Runs from Extra Strikes metric last year.
 

LogansDad

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
17,988
Alamogordo
Um, I don't see how allowing the umpires to see better and giving yourself more of a chance to maintain the catch in the zone is stealing, besides the terrible wording in the article.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
48,900
But to answer your macro question, no, we should have an electronic strike zone ASAP as well as electronic communication between the catcher and pitcher. A strike should be a strike no matter how it is caught, framing should not be something a catcher should have to care about.

I remember thinking about this last season, how ludicrous is it to have pitches that are designed to be just outside the strike zone in the hopes that the ump will wrongly call them a strike? Talk about speeding up the game, get rid of that shit and the sport will instantly improve.
 
Aug 11, 2019
387
I remember thinking about this last season, how ludicrous is it to have pitches that are designed to be just outside the strike zone in the hopes that the ump will wrongly call them a strike?
There has been a study done on "false" strikes and balls and the age of the pitcher/batter with a lot more "false" strikes being called when the pitcher had much more experience than the batter and vice versa. The summary of the stduy:
-- Umpires absolutely favor veterans with respect to false strikes
-- Umpires most likely favor veteran pitchers with respect to false balls
-- No evidence of benefit to veteran hitters [on false balls]
Unfortunately, the link on Phil Birnbaum's site to the slides from the original study based on PITCHf/x data (2009-2010) no longer works but the False Strike Percentage table is available and may be enlarged by clicking on it. Birnbaum does have some criticism of the study but also says, "Still, it seems to me that there's a good chance that Pat and his colleagues have found a real effect." If you click on Comments, you need to scroll to the top of the page to see all of them.
 

Plympton91

bubble burster
SoSH Member
Oct 19, 2008
12,408
I have two rules on the question in the title

1. Is it available to everyone — yes
2. Are there health risks involved — no

If so, then I’m not getting bent out of shape about it.
 

moretsyndrome

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 24, 2006
600
Pawtucket
There has been a study done on "false" strikes and balls and the age of the pitcher/batter with a lot more "false" strikes being called when the pitcher had much more experience than the batter and vice versa. The summary of the stduy:

Unfortunately, the link on Phil Birnbaum's site to the slides from the original study based on PITCHf/x data (2009-2010) no longer works but the False Strike Percentage table is available and may be enlarged by clicking on it. Birnbaum does have some criticism of the study but also says, "Still, it seems to me that there's a good chance that Pat and his colleagues have found a real effect." If you click on Comments, you need to scroll to the top of the page to see all of them.
They could have saved money on the study by just watching a handful of '90s Braves games on TBS instead.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
9,817
Is this any different than Ricky Henderson's crouch when he would deliberately try to shrink the strike zone? No, it's not. Move on, nothing to see here.
 

Average Reds

Dope
Staff member
Dope
V&N Mod
SoSH Member
Sep 24, 2007
27,639
Southwestern CT
I remember thinking about this last season, how ludicrous is it to have pitches that are designed to be just outside the strike zone in the hopes that the ump will wrongly call them a strike? Talk about speeding up the game, get rid of that shit and the sport will instantly improve.
Isn't it more that the pitch designed to be just outside of the strike zone is intended to generate a swing resulting in a strike or weak contact?

The bad call made by the ump is aggravating, for the reasons discussed above. But it's hard for me to say that the intent of that pitch is to trick the ump when, for as long as I've been following MLB, I've always understood the intent of that pitch to be to trick the batter.
 

cromulence

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 25, 2009
4,487
Isn't it more that the pitch designed to be just outside of the strike zone is intended to generate a swing resulting in a strike or weak contact?

The bad call made by the ump is aggravating, for the reasons discussed above. But it's hard for me to say that the intent of that pitch is to trick the ump when, for as long as I've been following MLB, I've always understood the intent of that pitch to be to trick the batter.
I think JA was more referring to when, for instance, an ump has established that he will consistently call a pitch just off the plate outside as a strike, the pitcher will try to keep hitting that spot because he knows he's getting a "false strike". Yeah, the hitter can try to adjust and cover that outside pitch, but he shouldn't have to because it isn't a strike.
 

Average Reds

Dope
Staff member
Dope
V&N Mod
SoSH Member
Sep 24, 2007
27,639
Southwestern CT
I think JA was more referring to when, for instance, an ump has established that he will consistently call a pitch just off the plate outside as a strike, the pitcher will try to keep hitting that spot because he knows he's getting a "false strike". Yeah, the hitter can try to adjust and cover that outside pitch, but he shouldn't have to because it isn't a strike.
That is absolutely a thing. (It’s what I was talking about when I mentioned the “reasons discussed above.”)

It’s aggravating, but, again, part of the game. Unless we want to take balls and strikes away from the ump. Which is fine by me.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
48,900
Yeah, I'm talking about the last few years of Tom Glavine's career or that ridiculous Livan Hernandez postseason game.
 

cromulence

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 25, 2009
4,487
That is absolutely a thing. (It’s what I was talking about when I mentioned the “reasons discussed above.”)

It’s aggravating, but, again, part of the game. Unless we want to take balls and strikes away from the ump. Which is fine by me.
Exactly, which is what JA suggested in that post. Of course, while those kinds of strikes would go away, there'd be a new frustrating kind introduced: curveballs that barely clip the bottom of the zone and end up almost in the dirt. Never ever called a strike now, but it theoretically would be.
 

Max Power

thai good. you like shirt?
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
3,908
Boston, MA
Exactly, which is what JA suggested in that post. Of course, while those kinds of strikes would go away, there'd be a new frustrating kind introduced: curveballs that barely clip the bottom of the zone and end up almost in the dirt. Never ever called a strike now, but it theoretically would be.
Almost every batter sets up as far back in the box as possible to get more time to see a pitch coming in. I wonder if something like this might lead to hitters standing even with the plate. You'd lose a small fraction of a second of reaction time, but wouldn't be as susceptible to late movement.
 

Just a bit outside

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 6, 2011
3,789
Monument, CO
As long as there are human umps there will be catcher framing. The eyes are not good enough to see where the ball crosses the plate so the view the catcher gives the ump makes a huge difference. I love it but it may because I was catcher through college and I took great pride in giving the umpire a good look and stealing strikes for my pitcher.
 

The Gray Eagle

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2001
13,391
I am confused by the thread title. Stealing signs has been okay in baseball as long as there have been signs to steal. It's not allowed to use technology to steal them, but the players on the field or even in the dugout stealing them is considered absolutely fine.