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Updated: April 4th, 2014 10:01am
Mackey: Enough is enough. It's time for MLB to use electronic K-zones

Mackey: Enough is enough. It's time for MLB to use electronic K-zones

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by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com

Thursday's game between the Twins and White Sox provided further evidence for why there's a solid argument to be made for Major League Baseball implementing an electronic strike zone at some point in the near future.

A classic #UmpShow by home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor, particularly on a pitch to Oswaldo Arcia and one to Joe Mauer. Both pitches were well off the plate and incorrectly called strikes.

I understand baseball traditionalists wanting to maintain some semblance of purity and "human element." But to me, the human element is about allowing players to decide games, not umpires making horribly incorrect calls. And while MLB should be praised for finally implementing an expanded replay system, at some point they'll probably have to address the nearly 10% of missed ball/strike calls, on average, by (human) umpires - a pretty big deal, considering balls and strikes are the pulse of the game.

And don't tell me we don't have the technology yet... We have phones that double as high-def cameras and GPS systems. We have planes that essentially fly themselves from Los Angeles to Tokyo.

The only issue would be pitchers potentially getting shelled if the electronic zone ended on the edges of the plate. MLB might want to consider expanding it by a couple inches on either side, like most umps do -- inconsistently -- anyway.

According to a Wall Street Journal study last year, 26% of pitches taken inside the strike zone were erroneously called balls on 0-2 counts. Similarly, 12% of pitches taken outside the strike zone on 3-0 counts were mistakenly called strikes.

Mariano Rivera - a legendary closer who had gained subconscious respect from umpires - had 14% of his pitches outside the strike zone called strikes.

Carlos Quentin, who habitually crowds the plate, thus fooling umpires, saw 22% of pitches he didn't swing at inside the strike zone called balls. That's incredible. 

And for Twins fans, how about this: Only 79% of Kyle Gibson's strikes were correctly called strikes last season.

If you can live with this many egregious mistakes during an era in which we have technology to fix them, you are a more patient person than I am.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Oswaldo Arcia, Joe Mauer
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