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Umpires get ball/strike calls wrong 14% of the time, study finds

BaseballSportsWorld Wrestling Entertainment Inc.WrestleManiaAndrew McCutchen

Ever wonder just how accurate major league umpires are at calling balls and strikes? They obviously aren't as accurate as us fans sitting in the seats -- after all, we're always right. But what percentage of ball/strike calls would you guess that umpires botch? 5%? 8%?

Would you believe 14%?

Researchers Brayden King and Jerry Kim analyzed more than 700,000 pitches thrown during the 2008 and 2009 seasons and found that about 14% of non-swinging pitches were called erroneously. King and Kim made their study by analyzing pitch-location data compiled by the high-speed cameras used by Major League Baseball to monitor umpires’ accuracy.

Here are some of the more notable ways they say umps make mistakes:

--Umpires tended to favor the home team by expanding the strike zone, calling a strike when the pitch was actually a ball 13.3% of the time for home-team pitchers.

--Umpires were 13% more likely to call a strike a ball in the bottom of the ninth inning of a tie game than in the top of the first inning, on the first pitch.

--When the count was 3-and-0, umpires mistakenly called a strike 18.6% of the time.

--Umpires were 10% less likely to expand the strike zone for African American pitchers than for Caucasian pitchers.

You can read more about the study here.

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