Instant Opinion is FBb's occasional series of hastily written, barely-informed blather. I guarantee to spend not more than 60 minutes on each one!
Sometimes I post Pitch F/X plots of balls and strikes in my post-game WPA articles if the Nats lose and I think bad umpiring played a role. Last night, the Nats won, so I didn't put even look at the Pitch F/X, despite seeing some pretty heinous-looking calls while I was watching the game. If the Nats win, I should be happy and not pile on to the ump. But I couldn't resist clicking a link in the comments just now, and... wow. Dan Iassogna is bad at umpiring.
How bad is Dan Iassogna at umpiring?
Take a look at some of this graphic (and I mean graphic) evidence from Brooks Baseball's invaluable Pitch F/X tool. Remember, called strikes are in red, and called balls are in green. Squares are pitches by Nats pitchers, and triangles are pitches by Os pitchers. The view is from the perspective of the catcher. The solid black box is the rule book strike zone, and the dashed box is the typical "as called" strike zone.
First up, the zone to lefties:
via www.brooksbaseball.net (click to embiggen--if you DARE)
What the heck? Balls in the middle of the zone! Strikes way under and above the zone! Wild inconsistency! Well, maybe he's just bad at calling the zone to lefties. How about we see what he did with the righties?
via www.brooksbaseball.net (click to embiggen, although it just gets uglier)
Aaggh! My eyes! High strikes! Low strikes! Balls on the top and bottom edges of the zone! Balls over the heart of the plate! Has Iassogna even seen an MLB strike zone before? It's like he's making calls based on a coin flip! I get that umpiring is a difficult job, but at least try to be consistent, right? If you're not going to call the rule book zone (and most umpires don't, hence the "as called" zone) at least call the same zone for both teams for the whole game. This is just... not that. Dan, if you run out of your disposable contact lenses, don't try to tough it out by squinting and guessing. This is what happens.