Back in June, Dave Cameron caught a lot of crap for an idea he expressed regarding the length of baseball games. “The only way to shorten a Major League game is to make the strike zone bigger,” he wrote. The comments poured in, many of them critical of Dave’s take. Of course there are other ways to speed up the game, they said. And yes, there probably are. But no one thing would speed up the game to the level that widening the strike zone would.
In yesterday’s New York Times, Stuart Miller writes a column dedicated to this very topic. It’s a worthy read, with plenty of reactions from former and current players about how umpires call balls and strikes. It seems that everyone quoted in Miller’s article agrees with Cameron. Games will not only be shorter, but paced more quickly, if umps call the high strike. There was even one former ump who called for a 22-inch, rather than a 17-inch, wide plate.
There is also an accompanying Bats blog post that contains some more quotes, specifically from Curtis Granderson. It also cites John Walsh’s study that shows umpires widening the zone on 3-0 and shrinking it on 0-2.