A new study is certain to raise some eyebrows as it suggested Major League Umpires discriminate against non-white players, according to Hank Snowdon, a student at Claremont McKenna.
The study used balls and strikes data from the past 13 seasons to determine the rate of missed calls against certain players. Snowden added that should-be strikes were called balls, which balls were erroneously called strikes and then looked at the race of the umpire, batter and pitcher, according to Yahoo.
The difference amounts to 0.3 percent:
“These effects are small, but also large enough to be noticeable. Mistaken calls are about 0.3 percentage points more likely due to race effects, according to the study. Snowdon estimates that umpires called about 18,000 pitches differently over the 13-year period of the study because of racial bias, meaning a little more than a thousand changed calls per year. Any individual player might only receive a handful of these in a season, but for Black players in the league already struggling against discrimination in other regards, any additional barrier is a significant problem.”
What was also pointed out was that 90 percent of the umpires in MLB were white over the period in which the study was conducted. Snowdon’s study found that Latino umpires also show bias toward non-white players.
Over the past few years, there have been calls to use robot umpires, but we are still many years away from Major League Baseball even considering making such a drastic move.
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