Coppola: That Darn Strike Box

By William Coppola: Contributing Writer Bronx Chronicle Sports

Balls and strikes in this World Series have become a focal point on too many pitches and the whole game has become too technical in how we watch it. Fractions of an inch are deciding close plays and broadcasters are fueling the controversy throughout the games. I understand that it is the entertainment business but I feel bad for the fans and even the players who never watched baseball before all this technology.

The Nationals have been complaining vehemently about balls and strikes as they watched their two game lead dwindle down to where they are now one game away from being losers in this years fall classic. They have an absolute right to complain, that’s baseball.

Yet balls and strikes are not why the Nationals are now behind three games to two, it is their lack of moving runners around the bases. In the last three games, how many times have we seen them put the lead runner on base in an inning then add another and not score a run? You can win against teams like Miami and Baltimore doing that but not Houston.

The umpires in this World Series are the best in the game and I find it disgraceful that their judgment is being questioned so much on TV.  Baseball is a game that is not supposed to be perfect. 60 feet 6 inches is not perfect. The outfield fences are all different. It works. The only thing “Fair” in baseball is what is inside those long white chalk lines.

I wish they didn’t use that strike box on TV. Is it a true zone? Does it really give depth? Is it at the front of the plate, middle or back? It does go up and down (Except for Aaron Judge for some reason). All it does is get people mad at the umpires.

The combination of the overhead shot (Can’t figure out how they do that) and shots from the side for up and down on a pitch are the only replay that gives you an accurate sight of the pitch. But the plate umpire doesn’t have that view and he is watching at “Star Trek Warp Speed.” Do we need Mr “Robo Ump” behind the plate next year? I certainly hope not.

The game is becoming unrecognizable as we see the starting pitcher going more than six innings a rare feat. The thought of calling a “Great game” by a starter who gets into the eighth inning is a joke. Strikeouts don’t mater and homers are all people want to see. Analytics, crazy uniforms on “Theme weekends” is not real baseball. Guess that’s what we have and just better get used to it.

Sure, like everything else, things evolve and the mantra of “Baseball has to keep up with the times” is pushed on us everyday. Oh it’s too slow? Let’s speed it up by not throwing four pitches on an intentional walk. Major league teams averaged 11 of those this year with Houston not giving any until the second game of this series! Wow, great thinking here fellas.

Oh and about being slow? Take your stop watch out and time the true action of a football game. An average professional football game lasts 3 hours and 12 minutes, but if you tally up the time when the ball is actually in play, the action amounts to a mere 11 minutes. plus there are 100 commercials to fill your brain with stupid stuff.

My God, did I just mention “Football “ during the World Series? Yikes! That is totally unacceptable.

I know, all of this technology is not going away and more mind boggling stuff is on the way in all sports viewing. That’s just the way it is. For now the best I can do is turn off the sound during the games. I just can’t think of a way to block out that darn “Strike box!”

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