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OM in the News: Need a Poka Yoke at San Francisco’s Baseball Stadium?

July 29, 2013
$99 batter's box template

$99 batter’s box template

Crooked batter box at AT&T Park in SF

Crooked batter box at AT&T Park in SF

Though it doesn’t take long for them to get destroyed and disappear, the batter’s boxes originally drawn in for this week’s Reds-Giants baseball game at San Francisco’s AT&T Park “may be the most crooked and awkward looking we’ve ever seen,” reports Yahoo Sports (July 25, 2013).

Of course that also means they were not up to Major League Baseball standards — or sandlot ball standards, for that matter — but no one on the field seemed to notice or care — most notably home plate umpire Chris Guccione — as the game started and carried on without the lines being corrected.  The umpires collectively missed it or ignored it.

Most hitters, like Miguel Cabrera, can sense when a line is an inch too long or too close to the pitcher’s mound. A lot of that is based on routine. A lot of that is based on instincts. But, in this case the errors weren’t even marginal. Both sides were angled so noticeably. The cure is a poka yoke like the one shown here, available for less than $100 on-line. (For more on poka yoke, see Chapter 6, Managing Quality).

Discussion questions:

1.  Why does the crooked batter’s box make a difference?

2.  Name some other popular poka yokes.

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