Research concludes umps make more errors with All-Star pitchers
Research conducted by two business professors examining Major League Baseball strike zones concluded that umpires make more errors in favor of pitchers with All-Star appearances, reports the New York Times.
Columbia Business School's Jerry W. Kim of and Brayden G. King of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management analyzed data on 756,848 pitches over 313,774 at-bats in 4,914 games during the 2008 and 2009 seasons, according to the report.
The research found that a pitcher with five All-Star appearances had a 14.9 percent chance of a true ball being called a strike, a nearly 17 percent increase over the chance a pitcher with no All-Star credentials will benefit from the same call.
The research also concluded that a five-time All-Star batter had a "five percent or six percent" chance of getting favorable ball-strike calls.
For pitchers, where correlation was stronger, 18.8 percent of pitches surveyed that were out of the strike zone were called strikes and 12.9 percent called balls were actually strikes.
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“I don’t know the science,” umpire Fieldin Culbreth said. “And I wouldn’t understand it even if you tried to explain it to me. I umpire from here and here,” he said, indicating his head and his heart.
Mike Winters, who has been a major league umpire for 24 years, put it simply: “I wouldn’t expand the strike zone for anyone.”