Wednesday, October 9, 2019

James Hoye Calls Within a Pitch of Perfection in ALDS

MLB Umpire James Hoye recorded the second-highest plate score in UEFL f/x postseason history during Game 4 of the Astros-Rays Division Series, registering a 99.3% rating on 137-of-138 correct pitch calls, second only to Joe West's 99.4% mark set during the 2018 ALCS.

This is the second time UEFL f/x has tracked an umpire coming within just one pitch of a perfect game in the postseason, and marks an umpire falling just one pitch shy of perfection for the second-straight year, and first in the Division Series...did Hoye just get himself a World Series assignment (Hoye worked the 2018 ALCS with West)?

Speaking of which, and for reference, Hoye matched his 2018 ALCS crew chief's accuracy mark in raw number of pitches missed (just one) in Tampa Bay on Tuesady, but Joe saw more pitches during Game 3 of the 2018 Red Sox-Astros American League Championship Series: 160 total, to Hoye's 138 total pitches the rules of math, that makes West's percentage one tenth higher than Hoye's (99.4 vs 99.3).
Related PostJoe West Sets % Record in Near-Perfect Game in ALCS (10/16/18).

SIDEBAR: For more information about UEFL f/x and how we calculate plate scores, see:
Related PostUEFL f/x vs K-Zone and the Player-Umpire Disconnect (10/4/18).

Hoye missed just one pitch on Tuesday.
Hoye's sole miss came early, in the bottom of the second inning, when he called a ball on the first pitch pitch thrown by Houston's Justin Verlander to Rays batter Tommy Pham (px -0.22, pz 1.59 [sz_bot 1.59]). Replays indicate the pitch appeared to have been received rather poorly by Astros catcher Robinson Chirinos, which likely contributed to the ball call.

FoxTrax appeared broken at the Trop.
You may have also noticed that Fox Sports' FoxTrax graphic malfunctioned in the second inning of the game; the pitches were still being tracked by the system, but the application that converts the raw numbers to balls and strikes via user-friendly image output (PitchCast) either failed or otherwise was not "show ready."

A certain balancing act exists when it comes to PitchCast—whether deemed Fox Trax (by FOX), PitchTrax (by TBS), or K-Zone (by ESPN)—wherein television production personnel must decide at which point a clearly inaccurate graphic should be removed from the broadcast, which competes with media's strong desire to have the strike zone box overlay appear on the screen on a consistent basis (e.g., for every pitch). In order for this second goal to occur, there usually is a sacrifice of the accuracy element, which occurred when FoxTrax was restored for the third inning of play, as evidenced by the accompanying still.

Gil's Call: Games are much more enjoyable to watch without an overlayed strike zone box. It feels more relaxed, and fans as a whole aren't subliminally cued to be on edge, ready to pounce anytime the umpire's call may conflict with the electronic-yet-erroneous graphic with the implied message that a viewer is expected to compare (and contrast) every umpire pitch call to the graphic's output. One reason I prefer MLB Network's coverage of baseball games is precisely because MLBN tends not to use the real-time box overlay. In my experience, it's a much easier and less stressful way to watch a baseball game.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Hoye turns in near-perfecto as strike zone graphic malfunctions (CCS)


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