Interesting story over at the Wall Street Journal: it seems Stephen Strasburg’s pitches have so much movement on them that they’re frequently deking umpires into calling pitches balls that really are strikes. There are lots of neat quotes from the umps and examples of previous pitchers who had this problem such as a young Dwight Gooden and Jeremy Bonderman.
And while I’m sure some of you will take issue with umpires calling pitches based on where they expect them to go based on where they actually go, the problem makes sense. People are conditioned to comprehend things based on what came before. If you’re seeing something unprecedented, your mind is going to try and fit into some old box before it can make sense of the new thing. A big curve that starts way the hell out of the zone? No way that comes back, your brain thinks. It’s understandable.
But it’s also a little terrifying. I mean, if the umps in the article are right and that they’ll eventually adjust and stop missing calls with Strasburg, it suggests that he will be even more dominant going forward, doesn’t it?