This article in WIRED claims that research drawn from thousands of pitches thrown in game situations indicates that when an objective measure is used, in this case, the official pitch tracker, umpire balls and strikes decision accuracy is only at chance. http://www.wired.com/playbook/2011/01/data-proves-bias-umpires/
Are you buying this?
Personally, I think that game situation umpiring flexibility is crucial to the game. Different pitchers have different talents, and umpires have to balance the pitcher's abilities with the hitter's capabilities, and these skills change from situation to situation. Tighter strikes zones, on the other hand, effectively means more runs because batters can expect pitches to be thrown to a specific location with certainty, much like the vintage rule that forced pitchers to throw to the specific spot requested by the batter.
Its not a secret that baseball's owners want more offense as they believe that offense equates to revenue, so is this baseball's next gimmick now that the game's "wink and nod" approval for steroid use has been exposed? Thoughts?