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October 20, 2019

It's Time For Automated Ball And Strike Calls In MLB

The Yankees got beaten fair and square, and they have nobody to blame but themselves. And the crap calls at the plate hurt both teams last night, so this isn't a partisan gripe about the inherent unfairness of MLB toward The Yankees (that's for another rant).

But the strike zone last night was pathetic, and it affected the play of both teams. When a batter has to wonder where the strike zone is, in addition to having just a split-second to decide whether to swing, it plays havoc with the essence of the game.

Whose fault is that? Well, MLB does not have sufficient controls in place to moderate the often overbearing and ridiculously sensitive behavior of its umpires, so they have the well-founded impression that they can do no wrong. As Lord Acton famously said:

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely
And is there a more corrupt and capricious and arrogant group than MLB umpires? Is there another sport into which the officials inject themselves to such an extent?

And I'm not talking about the outliers on the asshole scale like Joe West and Angel Hernandez. Even the relatively good umpires have vast egos and are unwilling to tolerate any challenge to their authority, even when it is completely obvious that they have screwed up. Their prickly insistence on total obeisance from the players and managers is an affront to the game.

The frustrating thing is that the number of bad calls in the field is minuscule compared to the pathetic and subjective job the umpires do at the plate. Perhaps that is a function of the increase in velocity of the average pitch, or maybe (and I am guessing here) evolutionary changes in pitches so that there is simply too much movement for the home plate umpires to judge them with any degree of accuracy.

It's simple...let the software call balls and strikes, and the home plate umpire can concentrate on other things like whether the batter has swung, or been hit by a pitch, or fouled off a pitch, etc. Or, and this is my preferred solution, publicize the accuracy statistics that MLB keeps on their umps, and have the software call balls and strikes for the bottom half of the umpires for the month following their low ratings. And if they remain in the cellar for the month after, suspend them.

Below the fold are some videos that should bolster the point that something has to be done. Let's start with forcing Joe West to lose about 100 pounds!


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posted by CBD at 03:05 PM

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