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BCB After Dark: Is that a strike?

The after party for night owls, early-risers and Cubs fans abroad asks if the K-zone on TV does more harm than good.

MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the hip afterparty for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. So glad you stopped by again tonight. I hope we can help you finish your evening in some style. We’ve saved you a table in the second row. Please bring your own beverage. The hostess will seat you now.

BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.

Last time I asked you to take a look at the “Golden Era” Hall of Fame ballot and whom you thought was most worthy of being inducted into Cooperstown from those choices, if anyone. No one got close to 75%, but that’s to be expected since you could only vote for one of the ten. But all ten candidates got votes as did the “none of the above” option. But overall, the one who got the most votes as the most worthy candidate was slugger Dick Allen, with 20% of the vote. Then there was a three-way tie for second place between Gil Hodges, Tony Oliva and Minnie Miñoso at 15%. Jim Kaat was in fifth with 11%.

On Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, I don’t do a full edition of BCB After Dark, leaving out the movie talk. Although as always, you’re free to put your own film thoughts down in the comments. But I always have time to find some jazz track on YouTube, so I’ll include that here. If you’re going to skip that, now is the time to jump to the bottom.

When you think of Bakersfield, California, you probably don’t think of jazz. If you think of Bakersfield in a musical sense at all, you almost certainly think of the “Bakersfield Sound” of country music that was most represented by Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. It represented a kind of music that positioned itself as a rawer and purer version of country than the more commercial stuff that came out of Nashville.

But Gregory Porter also grew up in Bakersfield, and he’s one of the best modern jazz vocalists. He also sings soul and gospel and certainly you can hear both of those genres in the track presented here. Here’s Gregory Porter singing “Take Me To The Alley.” It’s a beautiful song and I’m not sure how anyone could listen to it and not become a fan of Gregory Porter.

Welcome back to everyone who skips the music.

There was an article on Baseball Prospectus on Tuesday by Craig Goldstein and Patrick Dubuque that argues that we need to get rid of the K-Zone in telecasts. (Free registration required.) That’s the little rectangular box on our screens over home plate that tells us whether or not a pitch was in the strike zone.

Except, as Goldstein and Dubuque argue, it really doesn’t do what it claims to be able to do. It’s not the rule book’s strike zone nor is it the strike zone as called by the umpires. It’s someone’s guess as to what the strike zone should be, as programmed into a computer. They argue than rather than following what is actually going on in the game, it only serves to distract our attention and create a lot of angry fans.

It’s an active counterfactual that only serves a grievance culture we’re frankly all too familiar with everywhere else in our lives. It no longer becomes about the failure of the batter to know the zone or the execution of the pitcher, or even the framing skill of the catcher we’ve learned to appreciate, but instead the blame gets placed on umpires for calling strikes based on a rectangle they can’t see and which doesn’t correspond to the zone they’re intending to call in the first place.

Anyway, the article is free to read with registration, so go check it out and make up your own mind. Do Goldstein and Dubuque have a good argument? Has the “K-Zone” simply made us a bunch of grumpy fans without actually enlightening us, or is it a useful tool to know where the pitch was? Goldstein and Dubuque argue that the box on the screen isn’t the actual strike zone, but is this approximation useful anyway?

I’m under no illusions that the broadcasters will actually get rid of the rectangular box anytime soon. But the question tonight is should they? Should TV broadcasts continue to show that box or is it just distracting us from the actual game in front of us?


Should TV Broadcasts continue to show the rectangular strike zone?

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    (73 votes)
  • 23%
    (28 votes)
  • 15%
    Only use it in replays.
    (19 votes)
120 votes total Vote Now

Thank you again for stopping by. Be sure to bundle up as it’s getting cold this time of year. We’ll have someone bring your car around. Be sure to tip your waitstaff and please stop by again tomorrow night for another edition of BCB After Dark.