The Ump's Not Blind (But He May Be Racist)

Baseball umpires treat same-race pitchers more kindly
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 14, 2007 11:58 AM CDT
The Ump's Not Blind (But He May Be Racist)
Home plate umpire Angel Campos (84) and Texas Rangers catcher Gerald Laird look on as Tampa Bay Devil Rays' Akinori Iwamura (1) of Japan follows through on a swing in the first inning of a baseball game in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Aug. 10, 2007. Iwamura was 0-4 with one run in the 7-4 loss to the Rangers....   (Associated Press)

Major League Baseball umpires call more strikes when they share a race with the pitcher, and they call more balls when they don’t. The disturbing trend mostly benefits white players, since 71% of pitchers and 87% of umps are Caucasian, Time reports. Documented race-based misjudgments only occur in 1% of pitches, but that's enough to make a ballgame.

Inspired by a similar study of basketball referees this May, researchers in the new study contended their finding is more significant, as more close calls in baseball are made by just one official. They also said the racist margin could affect a pitcher, who might aim for the corners if he feels an advantage and play it safe if he feels calls won’t go his way. (More racism stories.)

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