Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

All-star pitchers will hate instant replay, according to new research

Date:
June 23, 2014
Source:
Columbia Business School
Summary:
It's a historic year for Major League Baseball, as the organization introduces its expanded use of instant replay, allowing umpires to review home run calls, forced plays, foul balls and more. But the one decision still left fully in the hands of umpires is the calling of the strike zone. Should the rules be expanded for review of those calls?

It's a historic year for Major League Baseball, as the organization introduces its expanded use of instant replay, allowing umpires to review home run calls, forced plays, foul balls and more. But the one decision still left fully in the hands of umpires is the calling of the strike zone. Should the rules be expanded for review of those calls? A new study from Columbia Business School's professor Jerry Kim says reviewing strike zone calls may be the one call All-Stars pitchers would want reversed.

"Instant replay will become public enemy no. 1 for All-Star pitchers this year," said Professor Jerry Kim, assistant professor at Columbia Business School and author of the research. "Our empirical evidence proves that most of the wrong calls during at-bat scenarios are in the ace's favor. The Clay Kerhsaws, and Yu Darvishes of the world better watch out."

The research is titled, "Seeing Stars: Matthew Effect And Status Bias in Major League Baseball Umpiring," and is soon to be published in Management Science. Kim and his research partner, Brayden King, associate professor of Management and Organizations at Kellogg School of Management, found that status, as measured by the average number of All-Star appearances (per year) the pitcher had made, clearly influenced umpires' calls. The results were as follows:

  • 68, 863 mistaken pitches should have been called a ball and were called a strike
  • An umpire is about 16% more likely to erroneously call a pitch outside the strike zone for an All-Star pitcher than he is for a player who has never gone to an All- Star game.
  • An umpire is about 9% less likely to mistakenly call a real strike a ball for an All- Star.
  • The strike zone gets bigger for All-Star pitchers and tends to shrink for non-All Stars.

Even more surprising is what the research identifies is the intriguing source of distraction for these men whose job is to make sure the integrity of the game is sound in an objective, unbiased way: the umpires can't help but be 'star-struck' over the All-Star pitchers.

Kim and King found that umpires, just like all humans are hard wired to place rankings on people and use that information to make decisions. Time and time again, the umpire's subconscious mind was influenced by status and reputation causing what the research refers to as the 'Matthew Effect', or an accumulated advantage.

"Ultimately, non All-Star players, with good performance, find themselves handicapped by comparison, while All-Star players may find themselves rewarded even when they are undeserving," said Kim.

The Research

Kim and King reviewed nearly 800,000 pitches using the MLB's four high-speed cameras installed in each League stadium. The cameras take 25 snapshots of each pitch, capturing the speed and spin rate of each pitch from different angles, and recording where in the strike zone each pitch lands.

This data, from almost 5,000 games in 2008 and 2009, gave the researchers exact measures of quality that they could compare to umpires' actual calls, which they compared with player stats and All-Star Ballot standing. The two used the MLB's official strike zone images, alongside the exact coordinates from the videos to determine whether the pitch was an actual ball or strike.

The researchers looked at pitches where the ball was outside of that strike zone, but the umpire called a strike or conversely when the pitch was inside of that strike zone but the umpire called a ball.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbia Business School. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jerry W. Kim, Brayden G King. Seeing Stars: Matthew Effects and Status Bias in Major League Baseball Umpiring. Management Science, 2014; 140527110959005 DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.2014.1967

Cite This Page:

Columbia Business School. "All-star pitchers will hate instant replay, according to new research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623142009.htm>.
Columbia Business School. (2014, June 23). All-star pitchers will hate instant replay, according to new research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623142009.htm
Columbia Business School. "All-star pitchers will hate instant replay, according to new research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623142009.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins