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A uniform strike zone on the way?

If you haven't been following PA long, you might not know that I'm a huge proponent of using technology to better the officiating of baseball.

'Questec' was the first step, then came homerun video review, and now 'Zone Evaluation', which will be used in all 30 ML parks. It will "monitor umpires' pitch calls" using "pitch-tracking data already collected at every venue and distributed through MLB.com." This is basically what we've see on MLB.com's great 'Gameday' program.

This will hopefully give us a uniform strike zone that remains consistent among umpires, batters, pitchers, games and seasons.

I for one am sick of guys like David Ortiz who get the benefit of nearly every borderline pitch just because they're a star. The same goes for pitchers like Tom Glavine. If those players are so good, they shouldn't need the umpires' help. In no way, shape or form should a rookie be squeezed where a veteran 'gets the call'. The age or quality of a player should have nothing to do with whether someone gets the benefit of the doubt.

We should look forward to a time when hitters, pitchers, managers and fans know when a pitch is a strike (or not). We'll hopefully see all players competing on a level playing field, immune to the whim of whoever's behind the plate that day. ZE doesn't see David Ortiz or Tom Glavine out there - it simply sees a hitter and pitcher, the same as any other, completely objective.

Here's Rob Neyer's take:

The umpires -- as a group, i.e., their union -- will never be pleased with anything resembling an objective evaluation, because it's difficult to game a system based on objective evaluation. Port is right: Umpires don't want to miss pitches. It's not the way it used to be, when a great many umpires would boast about having "my" strike zone. As Joe Morgan loves to say, it's not their strike zone; it's baseball's strike zone. During the past decade or so, that message has gotten through, finally.

It should help pitchers, and therefore, shorten games. Does anyone really object to that? The rulebook strike zone might be narrower on the sides, but taller up and down.

More than that though is the three-dimensional aspect ZE brings to umpiring. The strike zone is not two dimensional, but three, ranging from the front of homeplate to the back. If a pitch crosses the front, lower edge (on the way down), it will be a strike. When it reaches the catcher, it might very well be a few inches off the ground. Conversely, a pitch that drops onto the back, top edge will also be a strike. Batters will have to be more aware of the full strike zone.

This is positive in so many ways. MLB really hasn't defined how ZE will affect umpiring, and it might not happen this season, but it's a big step in the right direction.