Anybody Got a Rulebook?

For as much baseball as they watch, the knowledge that announcers lack of the rules is often surprising. Yet every game or two there will be a pitch that a batter kind of swings at.

The announcers will list off one of many explanations as to why the batter did or did not swing at the pitch:

  • The bat crossed the front of the plate!
  • He was more than halfway through his swing!
  • He didn’t rotate his hips!
  • And perhaps most common: That’s a strike, he ‘broke’ his wrists!

Whether they realize it or not, each and every one of these comments has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not a pitch was a strike or not.

The rules say a strike is “a legal pitch… is struck at by the batter and missed.” That’s it.

It’s a pure judgment call on the part of the umpire, there is no pass/fail test that it can be put to… which will probably make it tough for those robotic umps to figure out.

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