Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ejections: D.J. Reyburn (2)

HP Umpire D.J. Reyburn ejected Brewers third baseman Casey McGehee for arguing a strike three call in the top of the 4th inning of the Brewers-Cardinals game. With two out and two on, McGehee took a 1-2 fastball from Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was borderline; Pitch f/x indicates a px value of 0.977, which is within the acceptable range for calling a strike, the call was correct.*^ At the time of the ejection, the contest was tied, 0-0. The Cardinals ultimately won the contest, 2-0.

This is D.J. Reyburn (70)'s second ejection of 2011.
D.J. Reyburn now has 10 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (5 Previous + 3 AAA + 2 Correct Call = 10).
D.J. Reyburn was not drafted in 2011.
*This call is correct per UEFL Rule 6.b.ii.a., also referred to as the "Kulpa Rule."
^Quality of Correctness was challenged and summarily confirmed ("Correct" ==> "Correct").

This is the 184th ejection of 2011.
This is the 82nd player ejection of 2011.
Prior to his ejection, McGehee was 0-2 in the contest.

Pitch f/x courtesy Brooks Baseball


Anonymous said...

I know we've argued the Kulpa rule to death, but in no way is this a strike.

Anonymous said...

This is one of those situations where pitch f/x margin of error makes the pitch a strike when it probably isn't one. Unfortunately, there's really no definitive replay angles shown on the broadcast, so I don't think there's really a way of proving that it wasn't a strike.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely a strike. Catcher sets up right on the corner and doesn't move the glove. Pitcher nails the target. Sit down and have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

Since when is it a strike because the pitcher hit his target? Pitch was clearly outside

James said...

@Anon 8:06

Sure he hit his target, but that has nothing to do with why this is a strike. This is a strike because of the Kulpa rule, which is correct.

There's no point in arguing the rule, because it's been done a billion times by people who don't know what they're talking about. It makes sense if you think about it... which is banking on whether or not you've even bothered to read the reasoning behind the rule, which a lot of people haven't.

Jack said...

I remember at the beginning of the season when we had someone basically challenging every play for no good reason. I'm going to go ahead and challenge this one because I am curious to see how the UEFL rules on a pitch that looks like a ball on TV as well as is outside the zone on the graph, yet the numbers the computer generates call it a strike.

In other words, does the computer's math trump what the pitch appears to be (like it does now under the kulpa rule), or is there any lee-way for replays and non-computer perspectives to have an influence? Or better yet, is there enough of a clear and convincing type of evidence out there to unequivocally call this pitch a ball (or a strike)?

So I challenge. I'd hate to rule on this challenge, and I can see it going either way because it's such an interesting issue (computer vs what the eye sees), I'm just curious what this site has to say about it.

thexfactor264 said...

The first time I watched this video, I thought the pitch was outside for sure. After watching it a second time, I can see it definitely got the outside corner.

Big Marc said...

100% agree X

Lindsay said...

This ruling has been challenged; due to the computer's instantaneous production of a px value, this challenge may be summarily ruled upon.

After summary review, Quality of Correctness has been confirmed. The call is still "correct."

The following is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's explanation of pitch f/x, its usage as it relates to D.J. Reyburn's called third strike, and the reason why we rule the call on the field to be correct:

When we reviewed this play at the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League, we credited Reyburn with a correct call. Here's why: When determining Quality of Correctness for balls/strikes calls, we consider a few dynamics. In regards to this particular sequence, there are two key considerations to keep in mind. Several months ago, we did a feature called "Ending the Game with Science" regarding the pitch f/x technology. I hope you enjoy sports science... and math.

First, we must determine the width of the working horizontal planar strike zone. We know the plate is 17" in diameter, or 8.5" on either side (radial value, Rule 1.05). We also know a regulation MLB baseball must have a circumference no greater than 9.25 inches (Rule 1.09). Circumference = pi * diameter; therefore, diameter = circumference / pi; diameter = 9.25 / 3.14159 ... = a baseball's maximum diameter is 2.944 inches. Since there are two sides of home plate that any part of the ball may pass through and still be within the strike zone, the working horizontal planar strike zone is 17" + 2.944" + 2.944", or 22.880 inches wide. The radius, therefore, of the working zone is 11.440 inches, which converts to approximately 0.953 feet (pitch f/x charts use a horizontal unit of feet).

Pitch f/x carries with it a margin of error of approximately one inch, per the manufacturer. One inch is 0.0833 feet. By adding and subtracting 0.0833 feet to the observed px [horizontal] value, we create a confidence interval (of 100%): we know the pitch definitely was somewhere within this range. Computing the confidence interval (CI) for Reyburn's strike three pitch yields a lower bound of 0.894 ft and an upper bound of 1.060 ft (Pitch f/x generated a px [horizontal] value of 0.977 ft). Per our calculation above, the range of "definite strike" includes values between -0.953 feet and 0.953 feet, where negative values refer to the graph's left side [right handed batter's side] and positive values refer to the graph's right side [left handed batter's side]. Subtracting 0.953 from 0.894 yields approx. absolute value 0.059. Subtracting 0.953 from 1.060 yields approx. absolute value 0.107. Using this information, we find exactly what percent chance the pitch was actually a strike and what percent chance the pitch was actually a ball. For this pitch, it comes out to 36% chance strike & 64% chance ball.

For us at the UEFL, a 36/64 split means there is a significant chance of the pitch being either a strike or a ball. Under the Kulpa Rule, we call this "borderline." For us, a determination of "borderline" routinely reflects the call on the field as correct. Generally speaking, we consider any legal pitch between 0 and 0.900 to always be a strike, between 0.900 and 1.000 to be borderline, and above 1.000 to be a ball (if there was no swing, etc.).

Summarily Denied.

Jack said...

Wow that is one doozy of a response to my half-hearted challenge. I really appreciate the detailed explanation. I think I'll leave it to you guys to keep on doing the math to rule on balls and strikes. Looks like you have the numbers game down pat. I never knew you could use math & margin of error to calculate the percentage that any given pitch is a strike or a ball.

All in all though I think that just reinforces how tough the plate umpire's job really is. That also reinforces how baseball really is a game of inches. If I'm reading that right, it's two inches - which is slightly less than a baseball's width - of possible pitch location for each pitch. Who knew "The Kulpa Rule" had so much math involved.

Anonymous said...

"For this pitch, it comes out to 36% chance strike & 64% chance ball."

"For us, a determination of "borderline" routinely reflects the call on the field as correct."

Well at least now we know the final result isn't a result of objective analysis, it's about an admitted bias in favor of an umpire's call.

To be expected from a pro-umpire (and not a neutral) website.

Anonymous said...

@724pm, if you knew anything about statistics and numerical analysis, you'd know 64% isn't a significant probability of anoccurance. If you take the time to read through, learn, and understand the science, you'd realize that when this site says objective, their methodology really does end with a scientifically objective and accurate result.

To the operators is this website, well done. This is exactly what sports science and mathematics is all about, at least as relates to officiating.

Big Marc said...

FYI- I lose all the time in hold'em when I'm a 60-40 (64-36) favorite. In poker, that's a coin flip.
@10:14pm- Great post! thanks for the input.

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