It’s a hard, unforgiving and under appreciated job being an official in any sport. It’s not new that everyone hates refs, umps, officials and basically everything they stand for. This week umps are taking an especially brutal beating in the MLB.
Ben Zobrist has reignited one of my least favorite debates; electronic strike zones.
Ben Zobrist to umpire Phil Cuzzi: "That's why we want an electronic strike zone."
— NBC Sports Chicago (@NBCSChicago) August 14, 2018
I personally despise the idea of electronic strike zones. Listen, I get it. They’d always be correct and it would put a halt to altercations like the one with Zobrist. Let’s be honest though, the pageantry of popping a lid on an umpire is one of baseball’s great past times. It’s a great way to get the team fired up and it adds an element to the game that is irreplaceable.
Even with an electronic strike zone, there is no way that players and coaches would be content with every call made by a computer. Baseball guys don’t operate like that. There’s got to be someone to blame for missing a pitch or not getting one at the plate. It makes for a level of adversity in a game that absolutely plays a part as a fan and a player.
There’s plenty of storylines that could substitute in for arguments at the plate though. So the argument is why not just implement the perfect strike zone, get every call correct and call it a day?
I want anyone who stands on that side of this argument to get out of my face. You’re going to sit there and tell me that baseball needs LESS of this.
And especially this…
You’re lying to yourself if you think baseball shouldn’t have a punching bag for angry players and managers behind home plate. Whether it’s balls and strikes, or just generally calling a game behind the plate, umpires matter.
For better or worse they need to be there forever. Otherwise I’m putting MLB’s ass in the jackpot and that’s a promise.