Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Do Umps Need iPads?

This is a follow up to Rick's latest rant about the need for video replay and for more intelligent use of it. It was indeed bizarre that an obvious home run was taken away from the A's. Of course in keeping with the umpire's need to defend the indefensible the A's manager was ejected from the game for arguing the rotten call.

Coincidentally, the manager who benefited from the screwed up call was Tribe skipper Terry Francona, who got thrown out of a game on Sunday for using video himself. As readers will know, players and managers cannot, at least at length, argue ball and strike calls. There are just too many of them and the games are too long anyway.

Check out how much Michael Brown is enjoying it all.
So when Francona, who the game before had questioned a call made on the base paths by Sunday's plate ump Bill Welke, stormed out of the dugout to argue a strike call on Nick Swisher that looked outside you knew he was gonna be tossed.

What made things considerably worse for Francona was that he told Welke that he had gone into the clubhouse to look at some of his previous ball and strike calls and believed a lot of them were also wrong. Talk about pissing an ump off before you even begin!

I've been a pitcher, hitter, third baseman, and umpire and I really believe that the umpire has the best angle, even though he can be blocked somewhat by the catcher and may be to the left or right of the middle of the plate to see around him. 

The thing is that the decision is supposed to be made on the basis of where the ball was when it crossed over the plate and television cameras just do not show that very well. Even on calls that seem obvious to the viewer - because the balls ends up high or outside - the 95 mph pitch may have actually been a strike a split second before it ends up seeming four inches outside. 

If you want to take the time, here is where you can see the call and the argument.


Baseball, which has so many plays in a game, may never figure out a solution. Tennis and hockey have done pretty well, football not badly, but baseball may just have to put up with being officiated by fallible human beings. A golfer who tees off at 8 a.m. may not experience the same weather as another who tees off at 11. Is that fair? Probably not. Is there a solution? Not really. And if, as Rick demonstrates, they can't even call home runs correctly will baseball ever find the answer?

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