Hoornstra: Baseball’s unwritten mercy rule is a human quirk of the information age

From J.P. Hoornstra at the Orange County Register on September 12, 2018:

Data has observed the presence of baseball’s unwritten mercy rule for years. A 2010 study published on The Hardball Times (with the appropriate title “The Compassionate Umpire”) used Pitch F/X data to quantify the changing size of the strike zone. By plotting the location of 200,000 pitches thrown to right-handed batters, the study determined that the strike zone can differ by more than a full square foot depending on the count.

Then as now, Major League Baseball has used computer-generated data points to privately audit each umpire’s strike zone for accuracy. You wouldn’t need to bring a Vulcan to a game to observe the effect: Strike zones are more uniform now than a generation ago. Strikes don’t always fall within the floating white box superimposed over home plate for television viewers, but there are generally fewer errant calls now than ever.

And yet, the mercy rule persists.

Read the full article here: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/09/12/baseballs-unwritten-mercy-rule-represents-a-human-quirk-of-the-information-age/

Originally published: September 14, 2018. Last Updated: September 14, 2018.