Like any normal baseball fan, I was freaking raging in the moment.
You know the moment I’m talking about: the strike three call to Tony Kemp in the 9th inning, recording the first out for a very wild closer would later go on to put the tying run on base. It was such an absurd and embarrassing hose job that I couldn’t avoid typos in my rage:
PITCH 5 WAS EVERY BIT AS HIGHT AS THIS CHART SHOWS AND IT WAS CALLED STRIKE 3. pic.twitter.com/mSk6tnKmXd
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) August 14, 2019
Everyone, from Kemp to the catcher to the Cubs’ dugout to even Phillies fans in the stands (they showed them on the broadcast!) couldn’t believe that was called a strike. It was so far from being a strike that it had zero chance of being called a strike:
According to @ESPNStatsInfo the strike 3 call on Kemp in the 9th inning had a 0.00 percent chance of being called a strike. (Based on history of that pitch)
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) August 14, 2019
There’s no reasonable explanation for this being called a strike, other than perhaps the umpire sneezed at the moment the pitch arrived and he had to guess:
Suffice to say, it was a very bad call. And, thanks to the current system being “whatever the human eye sees and brain processes is the call no matter what reality is,” that was a strikeout.
Kinda like this one, from the same umpire, Marty Foster, some years back involving familiar faces:
That Tony Kemp strike three call was almost as bad as the Ben Zobrist one pic.twitter.com/Lv3WSw68Gs
— ⚾️ trent (@RizzoDarkThirty) August 14, 2019
What do you even say that Joe Nathan’s reaction didn’t say? “Wow.”
Anyway, you probably know my position now on this stuff: it has passed the point that we can keep tolerating obviously mistaken calls just for the sake of it. If we’re not there for a full electronic strike zone, fine, then implement a fast challenge system like they have in tennis. It would take five seconds for the pitcher or batter to challenge, the umpire to get buzzed from up top whether the call was a mistake. Give each team two of those per game (you don’t lose them unless you’re wrong). Boom. Done. Tony Kemp is still batting.
To his credit, Kemp was about as charitable as humanly possible after the game:
Kemp on called third strike: pic.twitter.com/JeVVzp2HJq
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) August 14, 2019
Tony Kemp is a good dude. And I am still very pissed.