I was watching a game between the Blue Jays and the Rangers and several times the ball was clearly in the strike zone, but balls were called and vice versa. The Blue Jays coach was furious and got sent off after the 3rd inning.

My question is the following. When an umpire has a very inconsistent strike zone that, does the league offer any recourse for teams to challenge this? Do they not have access to video reviews for these kind of calls?


Rule 9.02 in the MLB Rule Book covers judgment calls made by the umpire (which includes determining whether a pitch was a ball or strike). What is not reviewable is covered in a MLB FAQ.

In short, this type of judgment call is not subject to objection1 or review2. If there is reasonable doubt, the manager may appeal the decision3 as a recourse. Then, umpires may consult4 to make a final determination.

1 - Rule 9.02a, 2 - aforementioned MLB FAQ, 3 - Rule 9.02b, 4 - Rule 9.02c

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  • I don't think you can appeal a strike/ball call. No other umpire has position to have a useful opinion. I suppose you could protest the game, but it's unlikely that could possibly have any impact unless you found evidence the umpire was bribed or betting on the game or something extraordinary like that. – Joe May 20 '16 at 19:17
  • The contentious nature of this particular issue in recent history makes me think something is gonna change here. Statcast proves that the level of accuracy available with computers surpasses that available to human eyes. It might take 10 years or more, but it's coming. – dgo May 20 '16 at 21:17

There is no immediate recourse, as mentioned by Mastermind_Ed, but, long term, if there is an issue, a team can let the league know they have concerns, and the officials are constantly having their work reviewed, graded and evaluated (as they are in all sports at almost all levels). If an umpire can't consistently call balls and strikes, they will be replaced and will not be assigned to those duties at that level.

Letting the league know one has concerns, especially with today's technology in looking at where the ball crosses the plate in relation to the strike zone, can probably bring attention to and accelerate a review where necessary.

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