Roegele: The commissioner speaks: Imagining a redefined strike zone

From SABR member Jon Roegele at The Hardball Times on July 2, 2015, with mention of SABR member Eno Sarris:

Before the season, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reported that the strike zone would be monitored this year by the MLB Playing Rules Committee. With run scoring falling to its lowest level since 1981, the committee was thought to have the potential to recommend a change to the rulebook strike zone as early as 2016 if it deemed such a move prudent for the welfare of the game.

Eno Sarris recently had the opportunity to ask new Commissioner Rob Manfred about the strike zone, and this is what he had to say:

It’s a work in progress (referring to fact that the zone got smaller and then bigger over the course of the first two months). First of all, all of these changes you’re talking about are minuscule in terms of magnitude. Having said that, there has been absolutely no direction given to the umpires this year that is different from what we’ve given them the last few years, which is to call the strike zone consistent to the rules. Our focus with respect to the strike zone has not been on changing it in any way; to the contrary, it has been on making it more consistent across umpires. We think we’ve made progress in that regard.

Conceptually — that was the facts, what’s out there — conceptually, I would be reluctant, even if someone said you have X problem, and the way to fix it is to give instructions on changing the strike zone, I would be reluctant to do that. Because when you talk to baseball people, baseball people you respect, and you say to them what happens if I do this with the strike zone, you don’t get any consistent response. I am very disciplined to make changes with respect to the play of the game on the field where we don’t have a pretty good idea of what the outcome is going to be.”

There is a lot of information in this quote from the commissioner, so let’s examine his statements piece by piece.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: July 7, 2015. Last Updated: July 7, 2015.