Where is the lower limit for a (baseball) strike?


Yesterday, watching the Pirates-Mets game, I saw the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen called out on a third strike. The pitched ball was clearly over the plate, but "low." IMHO, it should, or at least could, have been called a ball.

In addition to being over the plate, the pitched ball must fall between the players' shoulders and knees. It was the "knees" part that confused me.

I was taught that "at the knees" meant at the level of kneeCAPS. Is that too high; that is, is there a definition of "knees" that is lower than the kneecaps?

Is it true that umpires have been informally expanding the strike zone, so that almost anything that is "over the plate" is called a strike as long as it is not in the dirt, even though it's technically "below the knees" (basically at the shin, as opposed to ankle, level)?

Could camera angles have caused a difference of opinion? That is, I saw a "flat" pitch "below the knees" through a TV camera, while an umpire, standing behind the...

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I took an umpiring class this past Spring (2012), so I can offer what we were taught.

Regardless of whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, we were taught to wait a "tick" to be sure of what we've seen. If nothing else, this mindset helps one watch the pitch all the way into the glove.

If the call is a strike, one should rise from the slightly crouched stance, raise the right hand into a fist and pump it forward with authority and confidence while calling out 'HIKE'.

Why 'HIKE' and not 'STRIKE'? Simple, it's easier to call (especially for 7, 8, 9, or more innings), and it sounds close to the same.

The main point is to both call and signal the strike with authority. Oh, and swinging strikes are signaled, but not called out.

In addition, we're taught to make all strike calls, including strike three, where we're allowed a little bit of showmanship, while facing forward – not looking to the right.

Why? Well, home plate umpires in MLB, and I...

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Strikes have always been tallied for a batter. Since the era of "pitch counts," they have been counted for a pitcher also, to estimate his efficacy.

My understanding is that any pitch in the "strike zone" (over the plate, between the shoulders and the knees), counts as a strike for the pitcher, whether it actually is, is put into play, or is fouled by the batter for "no third strike."

But suppose a pitcher throws a pitch that is objectively a ball (outside of the strike zone). Except that the batter swings with one of the following results: 1) puts the ball in play, 2) swings and misses or fouls for a strike 3) swings for a foul, no "third strike."

Is this pitch counted as a strike under any or all of the above three...

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According to MLB's definition of terms, a strike is a pitch in which "any part of the ball passes through any part of the strike zone" and called by the umpire, regardless of whether the catcher catches the ball or not.

An instance in which this is significant is when it is the third strike. If the catcher doesn't catch the third strike, the batter can become a runner (see rule 6.09 (b) quoted below). Base runners, if any on base, can also attempt to proceed when the catcher doesn't catch the ball, but this is more common on wild pitches.

A STRIKE is a legal pitch when so called by the umpire, which --

(a) Is struck at by the batter and is missed;

(b) Is not struck at, if any part of the ball passes through any part of the strike zone;

(c) Is fouled by the batter when he has less than two strikes;

(d) Is bunted foul;

(e) Touches the batter as he strikes at it;

(f) Touches the batter in flight in the strike zone;...

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The rules of baseball differ slightly from league to league, but in general share the same basic game play.

There are several major rules, which differ only slightly.

The "Official Baseball Rules" govern all professional play in the United States and Canada, including the World Baseball Classic. The complete rules are published as the Official Baseball Rules at MLB.com, the official web site of Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada. The rules are also published in book form in North America by the Sporting News. Many amateur and youth leagues use the "OBR" with only a few modifications for safety.

Other slightly modified versions of the "Official Baseball Rules" are used in competitions operated by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), including the Olympics and the World Cup, most leagues outside North America (such as Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball), and youth baseball organizations such as Little League, PONY League, and Cal...

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It is at the Little League level of baseball that players actually begin to learn about the strike zone. Before entering Little League, which is for youth 9 to 12 years old, players typically participate in a league in which a machine or coach does the pitching. The definition of the strike zone for Little League Baseball is a modified version of the definition in the Official Baseball Rules that govern Major League Baseball.

In Little League Baseball, as in all levels of play, the strike zone defines the exact area to which the pitcher must deliver the ball for it to be a strike. If the baseball fails to enter the area defined as the strike zone and the batter does not swing at the ball, the umpire should declare the pitch a ball.

The first condition for determining the strike zone for Little League Baseball is the ball must pass over home plate. This condition is not unique to Little League Baseball -- it is a...

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The strike zone in baseball is a three-dimensional area that has a width and depth that mirror the shape of home plate and that ranges in height from about the batter's knees up to his or her chest. Different baseball leagues and organizations define the highest and lowest boundaries of the strike zone differently, but they all agree on the width and depth of the zone as well as its purpose and use. If a batter doesn't swing the bat at a pitch and any part of the baseball passed through the strike zone without first hitting the ground, then the umpire will call the pitch a strike; otherwise, it will be called a ball. A strike is beneficial to the pitcher: after three strikes, the batter is out. A ball is beneficial to the batter: after four balls, the batter is allowed to advance to first base.

The Strike Zone's Boundaries

In every set of baseball rules, the left and right sides of the strike zone as well as its depth are determined by the size and shape of home...

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Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The goal of baseball is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four markers called bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot square, or diamond. Players on one team (the batting team) take turns hitting while the other team (the fielding team) tries to stop them from scoring runs by getting hitters out in any of several ways. A player on the batting team can stop at any of the bases and hope to score on a teammate's hit. The teams switch between batting and fielding whenever the fielding team gets three outs. One turn at bat for each team constitutes an inning; nine innings make up a professional game. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins.

Baseball on the professional, amateur, and youth levels is popular in North America, Central America, parts of South America and the Caribbean, and parts of East Asia and Southeast Asia. The modern...

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The 1981 baseball strike was the fifth work stoppage in Major League Baseball history. The strike began on June 12 and forced the cancellation of 713 games (or 38 percent of the Major League schedule) in the middle of the regular season.

An estimated $146 million was lost in player salaries, ticket sales, broadcast revenues, and concession revenues. The players lost $4 million a week in salaries while the owners suffered a total loss of $72 million.

The Strike DeadlineEdit

The Executive Board of the Players' Association voted unanimously to strike on May 29 due to the unresolved issue of free agent compensation. The deadline was extended briefly, however, after the Players' Association's unfair labor complaint was heard by the National Labor Relations Board.

Reasons for the StrikeEdit

The strike was called in response to the owners desperately wanting to win back the prerogatives over the players. The owners had already lost at the...

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Image Credit:

Courtesy :http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/troufs/tr/strike_zone.html

Main Image:

Balls and strikes may be common to many games but a strike zone is basic to the game of baseball. The strike zone in baseball is widely misunderstood and poses confusion to many of the professional players and fans alike. The strike zone in baseball is made of two elements. The first element is the same for the batters while the second element of strike zone in baseball is determined with respect to the stance adopted by the batter as he prepares to swing at the ball pitched towards him. The second element is also subject to the physical features of the batters as listed out by the MLB Strike Zone.

What constitutes the Strike Zone in Baseball?

As per MLB rules, a home plate is defined as a 12-inch square, having two filled in corners. This would mean a leading edge of 17 inches width, two edges of 12 inches and...

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A view of the playing field at old Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri

Baseball is a team sport popular in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean and East Asia. The modern game was developed in the United States from early bat-and-ball games played in Britain and is known as the "national pastime" of the United States, although American football may arguably draw more fans and television viewership.

Baseball is a rare sport in which there is no time limit for play and the defensive side controls the ball. The game also involves a unique combination of individual competitiveness between pitcher and batter and total strategic involvement of the team when the ball is put in play. When played on a high level, baseball involves many subtle adjustments on defense, often depending on the presence of base runners; specialized pitches that vary in movement and velocity; arcane signals; and the execution of precise offensive plays for strategic objectives.


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The rules define it clearly, but working – and understanding – baseball's strike zone is a delightfully inexact science

Oriole manager Earl Weaver had a difference of opinion with… (William Hotz, Baltimore…)

|By Jonathan Pitts, The Baltimore Sun

The heater rides in at 91 miles an hour, belt-high and straight, giving Orioles hitter Matt Wieters a good view of what looks like a strike in the making. As it reaches the plate, it dives toward the ground.

No mortal can say for sure whether the fastball from Angels pitcher Jered Weaver would have grazed the imaginary border of the strike zone, located at Wieters' knees. But umpire Kerwin Danley has called "strike" on two previous close pitches. Wieters swings, awkwardly. His slow roller ends the inning.

It's a single at-bat, one of 98 in a midseason game between contenders. The box score will say Wieters left a runner on base. But his failure is a collective event, a three-way collision between...

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Now what we're going to talk about is knowing the strike zone. Now whether you're in little league, you play in high school, you play in college, you know you play in the pros, they have their own little nuances, small little variables, but essentially the strike zone is this. It's from just under his peck here, to just above his knees right here. Now obviously you know in the prows maybe they lower it a little bit, maybe they raise it up a little bit, it's a little more open for little league things like that. But again, the essential zone is from here right below his pecks to about his knees. So, if you think about it, you only have to look at pitches this high. This is why keeping your eyes on the ball is such an important thing. If a ball is way up here at his head, he doesn't want to swing at it, if he doesn't have his eyes on the ball, doesn't know where it's at. Always got to have your eyes on the ball, that way you know the zone, it's a big part of knowing the zone. Also...

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The playoffs are here, which means games are scrutinized more than at any other time in the season, with millions of extra eyeballs watching and every game crucial to the outcome of such short series. One of the most controversial aspects of each game is the called strike zone, with seemingly no game passing without at least one team, if not both, unhappy with the performance of the home plate umpire.

My approach involves splitting up the front plane of home plate into a grid of 1-inch-by-1-inch cells, and calculating the percentage of called pitches that crossed the plate in each grid cell that were deemed strikes. Every cell location that is called a strike more often than a ball is included in the strike zone for a given season.

What I found was perhaps not surprising—the strike zone did continue to expand, and that expansion was almost entirely due to the bottom of the zone dropping once again. What surprised me was that this season saw the largest single-year...

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Get all of Cliff Corcoran’s columns as soon as they’re published. Download the new Sports Illustrated app (iOS or Android) and personalize your experience by following your favorite teams and SI writers.

According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, Major League Baseball’s competition committee initiated two significant rules changes at the owners meetings in New York this week. Though both still require approval from the playing rules committee and wouldn’t be imposed until next season even if approved, the competition committee approved a motion to raise the lower limit of the strike zone from below the knee to above the knee and to eliminate need for pitchers to throw four balls in order to issue an intentional walk.

The strike zone change is one that has been under discussion for some time and is motivated by a desire to increase offense as well as the number of balls put into play. It’s one I heartily agree with. Strikeout rates have been trending upward since the 1920s, but...

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A labelled drawing of the strike zone superimposed onto an image from a game, showing a






. The batter attempts to hit a baseball pitched by the


(not pictured) to the catcher; and the umpire decides whether pitches are balls or strikes.

In baseball, the strike zone is the volume of space through which a pitch must pass in order to count as a strike (if the batter does not swing). The strike zone is defined as the volume of space above home plate and between the batter's knees and the midpoint of their torso. Whether a pitch passed through the zone or not is decided by an umpire, who is generally positioned behind the catcher.

Strikes are desirable for the pitcher and the fielding team, as three strikes result in a strikeout of that batter. A pitch that misses the strike zone is called a ball. Balls are desirable for the batter and the batting team, as four balls allow the batter to take a base on balls.

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The High School Strike Zone

The High School Strike Zone

How it's taught to be called

Every pitch that leaves the pitchers hand is a strike until it's proves to you that it's not. Keep the game moving, make the batters swing the bat. This makes for a better game and it all has to do with the strike zone According to National Federation rule 2.35.1 "the strike zone is that area over home plate, halfway between the batter's armpits and his waist and the top of his knees". In reality that's not the case, depending on the umpire and the level of play the zone could be from "toes to nose and box to box" or from below the belt to the knees and over the plate. Wherever you establish your strike zone the most important job as an umpire is to call the first pitch of the game with the same consistency as the last pitch of the game.

BE CONSISTENT! In calling the strike zone, coaches want consistency more than anything else. A key ingredient to consistency is proper...

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The Strike Zone: A historical timeline

1996 - The Strike Zone is expanded on the lower end, moving from the top of the knees to the bottom of the knees.

1988 - "The Strike Zone is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the top of the knees. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter's stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball."

1969 - "The Strike Zone is that space over home plate which is between the batter's armpits and the top of his knees when he assumes a natural stance. The umpire shall determine the Strike Zone according to the batter's usual stance when he swings at a pitch."

1963 - "The Strike Zone is that space over home plate which is between the top of the batter's shoulders and his knees when he assumes his natural stance. The umpire shall determine the Strike Zone...

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The Strike Zone is expanded on the lower end, moving from the top of the knees to the bottom of the knees (bottom has been identified as the hollow beneath the kneecap).


The Strike Zone is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the top of the knees. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter's stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.


The Strike Zone is that space over home plate which is between the batter's armpits and the top of his knees when he assumes a natural stance. The umpire shall determine the Strike Zone according to the batter's usual stance when he swings at a pitch.


The Strike Zone is that space over home plate which is between the top of the batter's shoulders and his knees when he assumes his natural stance. The umpire...

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Rule 2.00: The Strike Zone

The STRIKE ZONE is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter's stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.

Rule 3.01: Pre Game

Before the game begins the umpire shall:

Require strict observance of all rules governing implements of play and equipment of players; Be sure that all playing lines are marked with lime, chalk or other white material easily distinguishable from the ground or grass; Receive from the home club a supply of regulation baseballs, the number and make to be certified to the home club by the Office of the Commissioner. Each ball shall be enclosed in a sealed package bearing the signature of the Commissioner of Baseball, and the seal shall not be broken until just prior to game...
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Baseball has lengthened the strike zone in order to shorten games.

In an official announcement yesterday by the Rules Committee of Major League Baseball, the lower limit of the strike zone was dropped from the top of a batter's knees to the hollow beneath the kneecap for pitches going over any part of home plate. The new zone will go into effect when spring training games begin next week.

This rule clarification is designed to return the strike zone to the previous definition," said Bill Murray, the committee chairman. The upper limit of the zone remains a horizontal line midway between the top of the shoulders and the top of the belt line.

The change grew out of a series of recommendations by a committee last year that sought to reduce the time it takes to play a nine-inning game....

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The first month of Rob Manfred's tenure as MLB commissioner has been filled with discussion about his progressive ideas to alter the game of baseball.

Add changing the strike zone to the list of hot debates.

MORE: Famous blown calls in postseason | Spector: Manfred wrong about shifts, right about pitch clocks | International expansion favored

MLB is considering raising the lower portion of the zone, according to Yahoo! Sports. The lower limit of the current zone, which was put into place in 1996, is the hollow of a batter's knees.

An increase in called low strikes in recent years is seen as one big reason for depressed offensive production, the report said. Batters generally aren't able to drive the ball when it's that low, thus the proposal to raise the limit and force pitchers to throw higher.

Studies included in the report show that the average umpire's strike zone has expanded significantly since 2009, and that teams averaged 4.07 runs per...

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DALLAS, Dec. 7— Baseball's rules committee officially shrunk the strike zone today but said it actually enlarged it. Nevertheless, the new upper limit of the zone still doesn't conform to the reality of the strike zone that umpires use in games.

The committee's action, which it took after a season in which a record number of home runs were hit, came as trade talks at the annual winter meetings slowed considerably because general managers were tied up most of the day in meetings dealing with major league operations.

Among matters that were resolved, the Houston Astros filled the remaining general manager's vacancy, naming Bill Wood, who had been their assistant general manager for two years. Wood replaces Dick Wagner and becomes the sixth new general manager named since the end of the season. Salary Arbitrations Offered

Clubs also offered salary arbitration to free agents and signed other free agents. When...

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