The Strike Zone is Growing Downward in Rapid Fashion and Other Bullets

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The Strike Zone is Growing Downward in Rapid Fashion and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

umpire strikeI just purchased a wi-fi range extender from Amazon after noticing some dead zones in our bedroom (can’t have that!), and I may have been a little over-excited to receive it. I literally had a dream about plugging it in, and seeing all of my devices improve to lightning speed all over the house in an instant. I don’t think it will quite work that way, but I am a huge dork, and I look forward to setting it up today.

An obligatory reminder: if you want to purchase a wi-fi range extender and have your dreams improved, or if you want to purchase just about anything else under the sun, I highly recommend Amazon. Sure, when you use this link to buy stuff at Amazon, it supports BN financially, but I also genuinely think the place is awesome. I recommended it to people for years before I had any skin in the game.

  • We’ve talked about the impact of the expanded strike zone on the deteriorating offensive environment in baseball before, but Jon Roegele has a deep dive at The Hardball Times on the issue, complete with graphs and charts that really drive the point home. That point? In the last few years, the strike zone has expanded downward rapidly and dramatically, with about three full inches added to the zone (in terms of what are typically called strikes). As we know, lower pitches are much harder to do serious damage with (plus, a larger strike zone favors pitchers generally). Moreover, pitchers are focusing on that part of the strike zone more frequently, compounding the issue. Add it all up, and you’ve got a situation where, together with all the other stuff – PED usage decline, shifting increase, reliever specialization, etc. – of course offense is going to decline.
  • The real tricky part here is that the expansion of the strike zone downward isn’t so much an “expansion” as it is the umps calling the zone more accurately in the era of PitchF/X and camera monitoring. So, I’m not sure what the “fix” is here, if you really wanted a fix, other than to change the zone, or to do other things to increase offense (lower the mound slightly? add the DH in the NL? implement the pitch clock to improve pace AND make things a little harder on pitchers?).
  • If this is the future, by the way, you’ve got to figure that pitchers with superlative command down in the zone become even more valuable, as do great low-ball hitters.
  • Yesterday was an off-day league-wide in the AFL.
  • A Tribune piece on former Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who seems to be comfortable and successful as the Royals’ hitting coach.
  • Tony Andracki on Cubs reliever Neil Ramirez’s breakout year, and his excitement looking forward to 2015.
  • Harry Pavlidis on the FoxSports1 sabermetrics simulcast experiment for Game 1 of the NLCS. A step in the right direction, if tough to pull off.
  • Today in email spam fun, an email “from the FBI” warning me, among other things, about FBI impostors:


This is to officially inform you that it has come to our notice and we have thoroughly Investigated with the help of our Intelligence Monitoring Network System that you are having an illegal Transaction with Impostors Claiming to be the Secretary General of the United Nation, Ban Ki-Moon, the Director of First Bank, First Commercial Bank, the CEO ABSA Bank, General Manager ABSA BANK, none officials of ABSA Bank, FNB, FIFA President, Chief Security Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Communications Officer, Chief Operations Officer, Chief IT & T Officer, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer, Chief Transport and Logistics Officer. Impostors claiming to be the Federal Bureau of Investigation. During our Investigation, we noticed that the reason why you have not received your Payment is because you have not fulfilled your Financial Obligation given to you in respect of your Contract/Inheritance Payment.

The World Bank, FBI and Paris Club introduced this payment arrangement as to enable our contractors/inheritance beneficiary to receive their funds without any interference.

The ATM Master Express Credit Card was contracted and powered by GOLD CARD WORLD WIDE.

Below are few list of tracking number you can track from UPS website to confirm people like you who have received their payment successfully.

There’s a lot of fun in there, but perhaps the best part is letting me know that those transactions I thought I was having with the president of FIFA were not legit. Damn. Those diamond-clad soccer balls aren’t coming, are they?

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.