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Editor’s note: Throughout the 2018 midterm election season, The Observer sat down with various student organizations and professors to discuss political engagement and issues particularly pertinent to students. In this ninth installment, Saint Mary’s students discuss problems they have faced while trying to vote.Leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, many Saint Mary’s students realized their names had been removed, or purged, off voter rolls in their home states. Some students discovered this fact just days before the election.Political Science professor Patrick Pierce said one of his students and her entire family were purged from the voter rolls in St. Joseph County, Ind. Pierce said purging procedures vary on a state-by-state basis, and usually occur when a voter has not cast a ballot in recent elections. “Typically, [voter purging] pertains to removing someone from the voter rolls if they haven’t voted for a certain number of elections,” he said. “There was a relatively recent ruling [by the Supreme Court] that, if you didn’t vote in an election or two, you could be purged from the rolls, but that varies by state.”When a voter has failed to vote in recent elections, a confirmation notice is sent to the voter. If the voter does not respond to the notice in time, their name is purged from the role. Junior Guadalupe Gonzalez, president of the Saint Mary’s Define American club, said many Saint Mary’s students discovered they were purged from the rolls after checking their registration status online or by calling their local representative. “No warning was sent [but] thankfully, our students knew their right to a provisional ballot,” Gonzalez said. “But how many other people know about provisional ballots? This information and the process need to be more transparent.” Gonzalez said she has helped Saint Mary’s students register to vote during past elections, so she has witnessed the difficulties that many have to face just to get registered. “Every state has different policies, some more difficult than others,” she said. “We have students from Michigan who could not vote because Michigan demands first time voters vote in person — they cannot ask for an absentee ballot for their first time. Being a student compromises your ability to vote because you might not be able to take a day off to drive up.”Junior Mary Stechschulte, a Michigan resident, said she was not able to vote during the 2016 presidential election despite having registered to vote well in advance. During her freshman year at Saint Mary’s, Stechschulte said she registered to vote at a campus event and then drove home to vote at her designated polling place. But, when Stechschulte entered the polling place, she discovered she was not actually registered to vote. “I walked into the polling station, and the lady checking IDs’ face dropped after looking up my name,” she said. “She said that I had not registered to vote. I was in shock; I had taken all of the necessary steps to be able to vote, even taking four hours from my busy college life to vote and the machine still said I had not registered.”Stechschulte said she was devastated walking out of the polling station.“I felt heartbroken,” she said. “I wanted to do my part for the election and vote for what I believed in.”Stechschulte said she and her family did everything they could to get her registered — they even sent a letter to the Secretary of State — but the problem was discovered too late to allow Stechschulte to vote in the 2016 election. When Stechschulte returned to campus, she said she discussed what had happened with her friends. She soon realized she was not the only student who did not get to vote in the election. “After some more discussion with my friends, I realized that I was not the only college-aged student who mysteriously did not get registered to vote,” she said. “I did receive my registration confirmation from the Secretary of State a few days after the official numbers came back from my home state [of Michigan], but it was too late for me to vote.”Junior Genesis Vasquez’s early voter registration was rejected two days before the midterm elections. She said she applied for an absentee ballot but never received it. “Two days before the election, I got an email saying I would not get the ballot because my signature did not match and I may not be registered where I indicated on my application,” she said. “Which was a lie, because before I did the application, I updated my address.” Like Stechschulte, Vasquez said the right to vote is not something she takes for granted. “Voting is really important to me because my parents have had trouble becoming citizens and cannot vote,” she said. “I vote for them, and I vote to have good people in office that will make a positive change and do something new that will benefit the people.” Despite never receiving an absentee ballot, Vasquez said she was able to return to her hometown of Chicago and cast her vote in the midterm elections. However, Vasquez said she feels it was not a fluke that her registration was rejected. “I know I was not the only one who had a similar experience to this,” she said. “My friend and I said, ‘The system tried to not let us vote, but we were not going to let that happen.’ I was very fortunate that I am from Chicago and I could have gone to vote.”Pierce said he also knew of students who have experienced trouble obtaining an absentee ballot. Pierce said these election administration issues have always been apparent, but they were more evident during the recent midterm elections because of the high level of turnout among young people. “You’re seeing the problem amplified because turnout is higher,” he said. “You have more people who want to vote, so when the system isn’t operating effectively, you’ll have more evidence of that ineffectiveness. This was an extraordinary election for young people in terms of turnout and partisanship, because you saw them breaking for the Democrats far more strongly than young people ever have.”Gonzalez said the midterm election and even the past presidential election raise the issue of voter suppression. She said she feels that most Americans do not see voter suppression as “a real issue.” People will look for obvious intent behind acts of voter suppression, but Pierce said voter suppression often occurs because of structural issues.“Counties have gotten used to getting by with what they have — they have increasingly faced tough fiscal situations, so they’re looking for areas to cut,” he said. “That gets manifested in reducing the number of polling places and having fewer staff within the county offices. You will find those issues affecting counties with poorer citizens.”This kind of voter suppression can manifest itself as long lines for the polls, shortened deadlines for early voting and malfunctioning voting equipment, Pierce said.Often, Gonzalez said, voter suppression occurs in underrepresented or marginalized communities and many Americans do not hear about the issues that plague these communities. For example, in the midterm election, some polling places opened late, disrupting people’s work schedules and daily lives. “We’ve heard how some polling places were not open until noon, and if they were open, there were only three machines and a waiting period of hours to just vote,” Gonzalez said. “When you are an individual that depends on that paycheck, it takes a real effort to take even 30 minutes out of a work day to vote.” Pierce said that the public should pay more attention to acts of voter suppression, with a focus on voting purges and Voter ID laws.“Voter suppression is certainly something that’s out there and you can witness it most easily in the purges and Voter ID laws — those are probably the two egregious examples of voter suppression,” he said. Pierce said civic engagement has seen a shift in concern, from a worries about increasing voter turnout to a concerns about the “false issue of voter fraud.” The concept of voter fraud was referenced by President Trump in early 2017, who established a presidential commission to study alleged voter fraud.“There is simply no evidence of any significant and meaningful voter fraud going on,” Pierce said. “You’ve distracted people and redefined the issue so that it’s not longer about a democracy and engaging everyone to participate in the process.”Pierce said Americans should be more concerned about Voter ID laws than voter fraud. “Voter ID laws are really important and awful,” he said. “They’re new, so there’s not much political science literature on the topic, but the most important work, which was done by a couple of folks who are at [University of California at] San Diego, found that Voter ID laws significantly reduced turnout among folks of color and folks who were liberal.” Gonzalez said news about voter suppression should move people to action. Some of the ways to prevent voter suppression, she said, include educating ourselves on the history of voting rights in America, engaging in conversations about voting rights and volunteering to help register people to vote. “Research who is running and pay attention to their campaigns,” she said. “It is also so rewarding to be part of elections by volunteering. I cannot vote, but I still consider myself American and I understand my civic duty as raising awareness and encouraging participation. I find volunteering in this way does work as a catalyst.”Part of this awareness involves encouraging and teaching students to follow up on their registration, Gonzalez said. “We could set up times where we tell students, ‘it’s time to call your polling place,’ just to be completely sure,” she said. “And again, we just need to really work on preparing students for what to do if [their vote] has been rejected.”Gonzalez said every American should have the opportunity to vote in every election. “How can we call ourselves a democracy, an exemplary one at that, if there is no equity in access so every citizen can vote and guarantee that every vote will be counted,” she said. Tags: Midterms, president trump, voter suppression, voting, voting purge
The first phase of the programme was concluded in 2008, with the training of 765 matriculants in the International Computer Driving Licence, a globally recognised ICT literacy certification programme. At the same time, the programme would help address the shortage of skills needed to respond to South Africa’s growing ICT needs. 21 October 2009 Launching the programme in Rustenburg this week, Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda said youngsters would be recruited and trained to provide technical support in various areas, including clinics and police stations. The programme provides people between the ages of 18 and 30 “with an opportunity to contribute towards civic responsibility and reconstruction while acquiring skills to enhance their entrepreneurial capacity,” Nyanda said. “We believe that ICT can create greater access to opportunities, redress inequalities, and improve the quality of teaching and learning,” the minister said. Source: BuaNews The South African government’s e-Cadre Programme, officially launched this week, offers information and communication technology (ICT) training to unemployed youngsters from rural areas – then deploys them to help their communities access government services. The programme has already seen R8-million spent on ICT literacy training for 765 matriculants through 15 Further Education and Training (FET) colleges. The programme, a partnership between the Department of Communications, the National Youth Service and 15 Further Education and Training (FET) colleges, has three phases: formal training, service deployment, and an exit strategy. Nyanda said his department had already spent about R8-million since the programme was introduced. This amount covered the tuition and assessment fees for the training, the life orientation module, a stipend and travelling and accommodation fees.
“He’s hurting right now,” said Perasol. “I’m just hoping he’s going to be able to play in the next games. We all know he’s going to be needed this campaign.” Unfortunately for UP, the Bulldogs were able to capitalize on Manzo’s absence and took the 77-70 victory.The Fighting Maroons settled for a 3-4 record, a game behind fourth seed Far Eastern University.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“That was a big blow for us,” said UP head coach Bo Perasol in Filipino. “Manzo is someone we rely on in the end, that’s his role. We had to pick somebody and somebody had to step up in his place.”Manzo has been a reliable scoring option for the Maroons late in games and he showed that in UP’s 98-87 win over defending champion La Salle where he put up nine of his 17 points in the final period. BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:36Archers, Eagles favorites to win UAAP Season 8001:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netUniversity of the Philippines was poised to gain a share of the fourth spot in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament against National University at the end of the first round.The Fighting Maroons were ahead 43-39 in the third and were keeping the Bulldogs at bay when NU center Issa Gaye accidentally landed on Jun Manzo’s right ankle causing the Maroon to leave the game at the 7:55 mark of the quarter.ADVERTISEMENT LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Read Next LATEST STORIES Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City MOST READ For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Sharapova gets red-hot Garcia in tough Tianjin opener Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
By Amanpreet Singh Jakarta, Aug 31 (PTI) Not long after giving up text books, Varun Ashok Thakkar and K C Ganapathy are happily writing their own scripts — in water — and feel the plunge into sailing was a risk worth taking. They don’t regret dropping out of full time school, and the bronze medal at the ongoing Asian Games vindicates their decision as well as the feeling. Once fierce rivals, Thakkar and Ganapthy today joined forces to clinch a bronze medal in 49er event after finishing third with 43 net points. They were disqualified in the penultimate race (14th) but held their nerves to win the final race. Ganapathy, who was smiling ear to ear, gushed even as Thakkar, who was at the helm position in the race, had his emotions under control. “We used to race against each other in our junior days. It’s great to win this medal with this guy. We were rivals but became a team in 2011,” said Thakkar, who required a surgery to heal a dislocated shoulder a year from the Games, said. “It’s been a long time we have stuck together. I was in class IX when I decided to quit school and learn through an open education system,” the 22-year-old Ganapthy said. But could they not pursue academics and sport together? “I was allowed to take just 10 days leave in a year at my school (The School, KFI). With that, it was not possible to pursue sailing. It’s not easy. Sailing is full time job,” said Ganapthy.advertisement Since 2011, they practised together in Chennai six days a week, and were supported by their parents in making the life-changing decision. “My dad was very supportive. Since he himself had done a bit of sailing, he understood what I wanted,” said Thakkar, whose father Ashok is president of the Tamil Nadu Sailing Association. Ashok said he it was not difficult to accept his son’s choice. “He could always go back to academics but he would not have got his age back, those years back. And see they have the result today,” Ashok said. Ganapathy has enrolled himself at an Open school while Thakkar is a B.Com student in Wales. Varsha Gautham, who won a silver in women’s 49er FX event with Sweta Shervegar, said it’s easy to sail than study. “It’s much better than text books. Sailing is relaxing. It’s fun out there in the water. It may look dangerous to a layman but it is really fun. More people should join sailing,” she said. Talking about the race today, Thakkar said, “It was choppy, there were waves but there was right trend to the waves.” Ganapathy was livid with the judges who disqualified them after protests from winners Japan. “There was no incident (obstruction in way). They cheated. We could have won gold if it was not for disqualification. We gave everything in the final race,” he said. PTI AT AH
zoom As part of its fleet renewal strategy, LPG shipping company StealthGas has sold two of its oldest vessels, the 1992-built Gas Moxie and the 1996-built Gas Nirvana.Both ships were sold for further trading and at a very good premium above their scrap values, 78% and 220% respectively, Board Chairman Michael Jolliffe, commented.Harry Vafias, StealthGas CEO, said that these ships were destined to go for scrap if the market hadn’t recovered, but instead, they fetched really good prices.“So that means that there’s a shortage of good ships, and that people that have the cargoes need to get ships of any age to move their cargoes,” Vafias said.The sales come on the back of the disposal of two other older vessels, which were sold in the second quarter of the year, the Gas Emperor and the Gas Icon, both built in 1994. According to Jolliffe, they were both sold at about 150% premium above scrap value.“These sales took place in order to further boost our liquidity and ease our operating cost base. We still maintain strong earnings visibility and have a strong fleet coverage of 63% for 2018.As our market fundamentals are improving and look promising for the future, we hope to further improve upon our performance – increase our revenues, strengthen our profitability and continue to contain our costs,” Joliffe added.In the third quarter of the year, StealthGas saw a 12 percent increase in revenue when compared with the last year’s Q3, reaching USD 38.5 million. The company’s adjusted EBITDA amounted to USD 15.3 million for the quarter.This increase was attributed to the high utilization of the fleet, with the company’s operational utilization coming close to 96% compared to 88% for the same period of last year.The company managed to secure 16 new charters and charter extensions, the majority of which were booked at rates about 15% higher than where the market was six months ago, Joliffe said.“Currently, the average duration of our charters is around nine months, as we strategically do not want to commit our vessels for long periods now that the market fundamentals and day rates are finally improving. We have strong period coverage, which currently stands at about 90% for the remainder of 2017 and 63% so far for 2018,” he added.The market fundamentals look good when considering demand-supply balance.In terms of scrapping activity, since the beginning of 2017, 10 LPG vessels were scrapped, including some small semi-ref vessels.“Taking into account the 22% of the small LPG fleet is above 20 years of age, it’s anticipated that scrapping will accelerate further in the years to come. As per published orders, there are six vessels on order that is only 1.7% of the total fleet to be delivered in the period 2018-2019. The limited order book of our segment is another positive factor for rates and existing tonnage demand,” Vafias noted.Revenues for the nine months ended September 30, 2017, amounted to USD 115.9 million, an increase of 8.6%, compared to revenues of $106.7 million for the same period a year earlier.Adjusted nine-month net income was USD 4.7 million, compared to the adjusted net loss of USD 3.8 million for the same period of last year.
Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama announced a $1 million donation to support One Summer Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s youth employment program to keep kids safe, engaged, and learning new skills during the summer months.Under the Mayor Emanuel’s leadership, Chicago has steadily increased its investment every year in mentoring and other youth programs to address some of the most urgent needs facing the city: keeping youth safe, improving school outcomes and reducing crime. In the past six years alone, One Summer Chicago has more than doubled to meet the overwhelming demand for these programs, serving more than 130,000 youth to date with valuable job training and work experiences.“The Obamas’ contributions to the city of Chicago are already immeasurable and their legacy here is just beginning,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Their generous gift to One Summer Chicago will change countless lives and help more young men and women connect to a successful future. Chicagoans could not be more proud of the example the Obamas’ have set, are inspired by this big-hearted gift, and look forward their continued and enduring impact on their hometown.”One Summer Chicago 2017, a McCormick Foundation Fund, is the charitable fundraising arm in partnership between the City of Chicago and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s One Summer Chicago brings together government institutions, community-based organizations and companies to offer over 31,000 employment, internship and other opportunities to young adults ages 14-24. The program aims to build stronger, safer communities, keeping some of the city’s most at-risk youth engaged and active, learning new skills during the summer months.“We are so honored that the Obamas stepped forward with a substantial gift to help One Summer Chicago bring summer opportunities to Chicago’s young people, keeping them on a pathway to high school graduation and career success,” said David Hiller, President and CEO of the McCormick Foundation. “We hope their gift inspires thousands of other to support this effort.”To donate, visit www.onesummerchicago.org/donate or send a check/money order to “One Summer Chicago 2017,” 23912 Network Place, Chicago, Illinois 60673-1245.Youth interested in summer opportunities with One Summer Chicago can visit www.onesummerchicago.org.
The strike zone shrinks by as much as 20 percentage points in the top and bottom. With two strikes, borderline pitches — those that are ordinarily 50/50 calls — become 30/70 calls (30 percent strikes, 70 percent balls) for the average umpire. And with two strikes, the most biased umpire calls balls on borderline pitches almost every time. On close calls, umpires act as if they would rather give the batter another chance than call a third strike.In both maps, the biases are greatest where the boundaries of the official strike zone are least apparent. What matters most is the vertical location of the pitch. Standing behind the plate, the umpire can easily tell whether a pitch is too far inside or outside. But it’s harder to know where the pitch is relative to the batter’s knees and chest. We would expect this uncertainty to breed inconsistency. But it also seems to induce the greatest bias. The highest peaks and the deepest parts of the moat are at the top and bottom of the strike zone.Finally, we see that the strike zone shrinks again when the previous pitch in the at-bat was a called strike.Change in the Probability of a Called Strike When the Previous Pitch Was a Called Strike The official strike zone is the red rectangle beneath the heat map. The color and height of the heat map measure the change in the probability of a called strike when the count has three balls versus when there are two or fewer balls. The deep blue signifies no change — these are the pitches that are so obviously a ball or strike that not even a three-ball count changes them. In the center of the official strike zone, obvious strikes are still strikes; on the periphery, obvious balls are still balls. But on the edge of the official strike zone — in the band of uncertainty — a ring of mountains rises from the plane. The strike zone expands in three-ball counts, particularly at the top and bottom of the zone’s vertical axis. Borderline pitches, which are normally called strikes 50 percent of the time, are called strikes about 60 percent of the time with three balls in the count. Umpires act as if they would rather keep an at-bat going on a borderline pitch than issue a walk.In two-strike counts, we see the inverse effect. For close pitches, a strike is now less likely to be called, which makes our heat map look like a moat.Change in the Probability of a Called Strike With Two Strikes The plane at the bottom of the figure is the plane that rises from the front of home plate — the same one on which the official strike zone is occasionally rendered in television replays. The thick red lines on the axes denote the strike zone. The red on the horizontal axis is the width of home plate; the red on the vertical axis is the normalized distance between the batter’s chest and the bottom of his knees.3MLB’s Pitch f/x system provides measurements of the top and bottom of each batter’s strike zone, which we used to normalize the height of the strike zone for each batter. If you were a home-plate umpire, you’d be looking down through the plane, over the catcher’s head and towards the pitcher.The 3D heat map rising from the plane measures the probability of a called strike at each location on the plane. Home-plate umpires are good at calling the obvious. Pitches that travel right down the center of the official strike zone — through the red at the top of the heat map — are called strikes more than 99 percent of the time. Pitches that cross the plane well outside the official strike zone — where the heat map is its deepest blue — are called strikes less than 1 percent of the time.Umpires are inconsistent at the edges of the official strike zone, where the heat map turns green. Here, pitches that cross the plane in the same location are sometimes called strikes and sometimes called balls. This band of uncertainty is wide: about six to eight inches separate pitches that are called strikes 90 percent of the time and pitches that are called balls 90 percent of the time.There’s a difference between an umpire being inconsistent and an umpire being biased. Inconsistency usually takes place within that band of uncertainty, when the umpire makes different calls on pitches at the same location. But he is biased when those differences correlate with factors other than pitch location, like the count. Where umpires are inconsistent, they also happen to be biased. To see this, consider two versions of the figure above: one for when the count has three balls, and one for when the count has fewer than three balls. These heat maps should be the same. Whether there are three balls in the count shouldn’t matter. All that should matter is the location of the pitch.When we look at the difference between these two heat maps, we should see no difference — a flat plane. But we don’t. We see an expansion of the strike zone in three-ball counts.Change in the Probability of a Called Strike With Three Balls Here, the shrinkage is more uniform — about the same on the sides as on the top and bottom. The blue tips of the moat are about 15 percentage points deep: 50/50 calls become 35/65 calls when the last pitch in the at-bat was a called strike. Umpires appear reluctant not only to end the at-bat but also to call two strikes in a row. (Interestingly, there is no change in the probability of a called strike when the last pitch was called a ball.)These mistakes are frequent — pitchers tend to pitch to the borders of the official strike zone. And they are consequential — they happen in the most pivotal calls. When a 50/50 call becomes a 60/40 call, as it does with three balls, umpires are mistakenly calling strikes on 10 percent of borderline pitches. When a 50/50 call becomes a 30/70 call, as it does with two strikes, umpires are mistakenly calling balls on 20 percent of borderline pitches.Major League Baseball has embraced technologies that are meant to make calls on the field more consistent. The league has long used pitch-tracking technology to encourage home-plate umpires to behave more like machines, evidently without complete success. This past offseason, the MLB extended replay review to cover essentially all umpire decisions — except ball and strike calls. Now as before, no justice will be served when a pitcher throws a strike and the umpire drops the ball.This article is adapted from “What Does it Take to Call a Strike? Three Biases in Umpire Decision Making,” which the author wrote with David P. Daniels. Consider a forgotten game in April 2010 between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox were up a run with two outs in the eighth. Their set-up man, Matt Thornton, was on the mound, protecting a lead with a runner on first and the right-handed Jhonny Peralta at bat. Ahead in the count with one ball and two strikes, Thornton froze Peralta with a slider on the outside half of the plate, a couple inches below the belt. For a pitch like that, the umpire, Bruce Dreckman, would normally call a strike — 80 percent of the time, the data shows. But in two-strike counts like Peralta’s, he calls a strike less than half the time.Sure enough, that night Dreckman called a ball. Two pitches later, Peralta lashed a double to right, scoring the runner and tying the game. Neither team scored again until the 11th, when Cleveland scored twice to win the game. Had Peralta struck out to end the top of the eighth, Chicago almost certainly would have won.1When the home team carries a one-run lead into the bottom of the eighth, it wins 89 percent of the time.This one call illustrates a statistical regularity: Umpires are biased. About once a game, an at-bat ends in something other than a strikeout even when a third strike should have been called. Umpires want to make the right call, but they also don’t want to make the wrong call at the wrong time. Ironically, this prompts them to make bad calls more often.That’s according to research I did with David P. Daniels showing that the strike zone changes when the stakes are highest. We looked at more than 1 million pitches, almost all ball and strike calls from the 2009, 2010 and 2011 regular seasons, and found that the strike zone expands in three-ball counts and shrinks in two-strike counts.2Baseball observers have previously documented how the strike zone changes with the count. Other researchers have shown that the count changes how likely umpires are to call a strike outside of the official strike zone or a ball within it. It also shrinks again when the preceding pitch in the at-bat was a called strike. To put it another way, on close calls, umpires are unlikely to call a fourth ball, a third strike, or a second strike in a row. Umpires call balls and strikes as if they don’t want to be noticed.The umpire’s job is simple: Call a strike when the pitch crosses the official strike zone; call a ball when it doesn’t. When the right call is obvious, umpires make it almost every time. One way to see this is to look at the probability of a called strike by pitch location.Probability of a Called Strike