Assume that we’re all optically challenged in one way or another.Put a graphic up on the TV screen that’s supposed to represent an MLB batter’s box, and it can mess with our viewing experience.Add to that another strike zone visual, from a different MLB media platform, and now you’ve forced a call to the eye doctor for an emergency checkup.More than likely, those watching the Dodgers-Mets NLDS on TBS’ TV coverage aren’t also consuming it through the MLB.com Gameday app on a mobile device. But for those multi-taskers who’ve tried, the exercise can leave them cross-eyed and crossed up. For a second opinion, the MLB.com app provided by MLB Advanced Media for the first time this season was showing something a little different. And not just because it flipped the view of the pitch, showing it as the batter accepted it versus how the pitcher/center field camera viewed it.One at-bat in particular from Game 1 involved Clayton Kershaw hitting against Jacob deGrom in the second inning. The first two pitches Kershaw watched go by appeared to be border-line low. Porter called them strikes. TBS’ PitchTrax showed them to be below the zone. The MLB.com app had them both within the shaded strike box.There are websites using similar software that tracks balls and strikes of each game — only the pitches that the umpire calls, not ones that batters offer at. From that data, the argument could be made that Porter actually did a swell job. But you’d probably never come to that conclusion watching on TBS.More research has been done to support the hypothesis that umpires have the tendency to expand their strike zones in the postseason, so maybe the TV graphics are generally accurate.But if this whole process is showing too many false positives or contradictory negatives, why mess with any of this at all?A few years ago, we posed that same question to the Fox folks as they began to televise the World Series. Fox wasn’t using any kind of batters-box graphics.“The question is: What serves the viewer best?” asked play-by-play man Joe Buck. “I’ve been told by our people during seminars that it drags us into an area where now all we’re doing is basically grading the umpire. “I think the game is really between a pitcher and a batter, and now we’re taking viewers’ eyes away from that matchup and looking to the bottom right after every pitch. It’s just kind of superfluous in a way.”TBS analysts Ron Darling and Cal Ripken hardly referred to discrepancies in umpire’s decision-making in light of what the screen graphic indicated. It rarely came to a point to where it provided debate material about an umpire’s performance.In Saturday’s NLDS Game 2, the Dodgers’ Zack Greinke took a called strike three in his third-inning at-bat against the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard. The TBS graphic showed the pitch to be outside. A replay with another overhead graphic of home plate with a blue stripe following the ball path. Again, it appeared to be outside.“Nothing you could do there, almost a perfect pitch by Syndergaard,” said Darling.For those able to watch Dodgers game this season on SportsNet LA, a strike-zone representation next to the batter was used judiciously, and only on replays.If you really want to go further down this rabbit hole, consult a new snarky Twitter account called “TBS Strike Zone,” which posts as if it is the voice of the graphic responding to criticism. It goes by the motto: “Ball, Strike, who gives a (bleep).” It had 10 followers and was following only two accounts as of Saturday.At one time during Friday’s game, it posted: “If you’re bitching about me, try actually watching the game instead of a graphic. #NLDS #Dodgers #Mets.”Who’s watchingTBS reports that Nielsen’s overnight numbers for the NLDS Game 1 between the Dodgers and Mets did an 8.8 rating in L.A. and 10.0 in New York. But that means the two largest TV markets in the country could only produce 4.7 million total viewers in primetime on Friday. There are 12.7 million TV homes combined in the N.Y.-L.A. markets, making about 11 percent of the total U.S. population. Which makes it more strange that the NLDS Game 1 earlier in the day between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals did better — an average of 5.3 million viewers, the most-viewed NLDS Game 1 since 2008. Chicago, the No. 3 TV market, had a 16.8 rating for that one, and St. Louis, ranked 21st, did a 27.8 rating.The Chicago and St. Louis markets combine for 4.6 million TV homes, or about 800,000 fewer than L.A. alone.Nationally, the Dodgers-Mets Game 1 had a 3.0 rating; the Cubs-Cardinals were at 3.3.Best wishesDuring the fifth inning of Saturday’s Game 2, TBS’ Ernie Johnson made note of the absence of Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, and “we certainly thank him for the use of his booth here at Dodger Stadium. This is an honor.”Replied analyst Darling: “It might be blasphemy to be in this booth.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Which graphic box is accurate, which isn’t, and do either of them unnecessarily box in the home plate umpire?On one side, TBS’ PitchTrax is based on PITCH f/x camera technology supplied by a company called Sportvision, the same folks who do it for ESPN and Fox Sports. Each use the screen presentation differently, but the same metrics are in play.Because the center-field TV camera isn’t completely looking straight on at home plate, the pitch you see thrown is misaligned from what the umpire sees, and from what the on-screen graphic says about its placement.The Sportvision system, which is a 3D presentation if need be, calculates the point where the ball crosses the front of the plate — not where the catcher gloves it. They say the pitch is accurately noted to within a quarter-inch or less of where it crosses. When Game 1 home plate umpire Alan Porter was calling strikes on pitches that appeared to be low on the TBS graphic, a red flag went up. Was Porter expanding his strike zone, just as it appeared home plate ump Phil Cuzzi did in the Cubs-Cardinals NLDS Game 1 earlier Friday, also carried by TBS? Or did the TV graphic need some re-calibration?