The last stat on that chart is the truly galling, baffling, and really brain-melting number. Over a third of the called strikes Eddings labeled a strike were in fact balls. 25 of 70! We don’t have any technology or camera or confused beaver that could do better?
Maybe you need some video. Maybe you’re not a stats-person. No problem:
But even the calls he missed aren’t the whole story. If you watched the whole game, as I did to affirm that I’ve truly lost my way, the edges of the zone that only Eddings could see moved throughout the game. It’s one thing to be bad, but hitters and pitchers will tell you they can grit their teeth and get through it as long as the zone stays there all game, even if it extends from Union Station to Hegewisch. But there were several pitches that, yes, were balls but Eddings had been calling strikes all night and then just decided they weren’t anymore. Pitchers, catchers, and hitters were mystified all night. Doc Ellis had a better concept of the zone. By the time the game got to the late innings, much less extras, Eddings clearly was just making it up as he went along. As strange as it sounds, you can’t really market correct midgame when you’ve been this bad. You have to ride it out because that’s how you’ve laid it out to hitters and pitchers alike and they adjust to that.
It eventually went from a baseball game to a performance art piece that had every viewer guessing about the meaning of it all. Or maybe it was an installation, because Eddings certainly hung over the game in a mysterious and confusing way. If the point was to question our existence and what exactly had brought us all there to be subjected to these spasms of befuddlement, well then bravo, Doug. I’m still trying to interpret it.
So really, how could whatever technology that is currently available not be better than this? At least it would keep the zone in one place, instead of shapeshifting based on Eddings’s mood at that particular moment. I don’t care if that one place is different than we might expect. That expectation is built on years and years of watching different umps Pollock-painting their way through games. This simply can’t be the way.
Whatever ya got, bring it to us.