As Made Yankee Fan in Boston kept an eye on the New York-Tampa Bay tilt last night on ESPN, we found ourselves increasingly annoyed with its K Zone feature, which we’ve apparently managed to avoid for the past ten years.
From ESPN Front Row:
Happy 10th birthday, K Zone
Ten years ago Friday, ESPN took major steps to enhance the Major League Baseball viewing experience by debuting the “K Zone” on Sunday Night Baseball.
The 2002 Sports Emmy award-winning “K Zone” is a computer-generated, on-screen graphic.
It’s calibrated specifically for each batter, calculating the speed and showing the location in which the ball crosses the hitter’s strike zone.
In 2006, ESPN unveiled “K Zone 2.0,” which added the ability to track the path of a ball from the pitcher’s hand to home plate and the ability to show a complete sequence of pitches to a batter shown in numerical order.
In 2011, ESPN began utilizing this technology during live game telecasts with “K Zone Live.”
K Zone Dead would be an even better innovation.
As the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick wrote last spring (via TVNewser):
“The K box serves the dual purpose of being annoying and misleading. It asks us to consider balls and strikes as seen in one, faulty dimension. This isn’t stickball, you geniuses! Yet, ESPN’s has painted a strike box to a virtual handball wall to help us grasp big league baseball!
Stop wrecking these telecasts! Please! If fans wanted to watch pitches thrown toward a box in front of the catcher, teams would dangle one from a hook behind home plate. Let us watch the games. That’s all we’ve ever asked.”