Every year there is a new bit of technology that television broadcasts implement in hopes of enhancing the viewing experience. However, fans watching postseason baseball on TBS has some fans a bit confused.
Since the start of the postseason, TBS has featured a pitch tracker on their screen with a virtual strike zone. In theory, it allows viewers to see where each pitch is and whether the umpire made the correct call. In practice, well, it’s been interesting.
Bit of a difference between actual pitch and TBS strike zone graphic on the Bryant strikeout. Still a ball, but … pic.twitter.com/lYGMpV44zR
— Ryan Fagan (@ryanfagan) October 12, 2015
— Rad Dad gone bad (@ByronThurmond) October 14, 2015
The strike zone has been consistently smaller than the zone being called by the umpire, regardless of who is calling balls and strikes.
From the Wild Card game through the first two NLCS games, the zone has confused and frustrated not only baseball fans, but also current and former players.
@manbearwolf TBS's tracker is a mess.
— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) October 18, 2015
While the TBS zone shows the umpire calling an unusually large zone, the opposite is the truth in reality. According to FanGraphs, the umpires have, if anything, called a tighter zone than they should.
As FanGraphs notes in a separate article, the issue comes down to reality vs. the rule book. The TBS strike zone may, and likely is, correct according to the MLB rule book. However, after a full season of games, that’s not what umpires are calling.
A change, at this point, seems unlikely. So fans will just have to ignore the skewed zone.