MLB Should Join Us in the 21st Century

I am a great fan of baseball.  When it gets to be October, there are very few LA Angels games I have not watched during the season.  When watching games on TV, it is rare that announcers don’t make comments about bad calls being made by the umpires.

When baseball started more than 150 years ago, there were no television cameras, no instant replays, and there was no electronic means for calling balls and strikes.  The game had to rely on umpires acting as the impartial eyes of the game action.  Until we entered the 21st century, umpires were the only option.  But that isn’t the case now.

During just about any baseball telecast, the broadcasters have the capability to show whether a pitched ball is or is not in the strike zone.  There are enough television cameras recording the game action that there is rarely a play that cannot be scrutinized.  All of this technology is available to make the calls for plays during a major league game fair and accurate.  But, with the exception of home run disputed calls, none of this technology is available for use in making fair calls during play.

I have to laugh when team managers object to how the home plate umpire is calling balls and strikes.  Managers and players frequently voice displeasure with calls that are made during a game.  The amazing thing is that, supposedly, neither players nor management in major league baseball want to change the status quo concerning the use of technology to make or verify calls during games.

I guess it is a matter of job security.  If technology was used for verifying calls, there would still be a need for umpires during a game.  But the home plate umpire would no longer be responsible for calling balls and strikes.  Umpires would continue to make calls of foul balls, hit batter, and fair catches.  The only thing that would be called electronically every time would be balls and strikes. For all the other calls made by umpires, there should be a limited number of challenges that could be made by either team to look at instant replays.  This would be similar to what football does and would limit the delays during a game.

For me, games would be much more enjoyable if I knew that the calls being made during the games were fair to both teams.  I don’t like seeing bad calls that affect the outcome of a game for either team.  But until the teams and players demand a change, I don’t feel sorry for a team that suffers from a bad umpire call, even my team.

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