Who wants it? Raise your hands. Hmm, looks like quite a few hands in the air. You sure about that?
MLB players are never quite pleased with the call on close pitches. The TV’s vertical box, super-imposed over the strike zone, appears to be the most accurate piece of information that’s come along since the implementation of instant replay. From all accounts, the strike zone’s linear confines offer clear evidence if a pitch is in or barely touches (or outside) the zone, which includes the pitch’s depth through the zone. That all said, the pitch that would, in my opinion, cause hitters the most grief, is the pitch that the catcher snares near the ground; that pitch that shows that it indeed sailed through the linear zone, completely in or barely, but appears to everyone on the planet that it was a ball.
If there’s not a question of the equipment’s accuracy, then what’s the problem? A strike’s a strike, right? A ball’s a ball, no?. If that’s the case, why not use the camera to call half-swings? If the bat breaks the plane, it’s a swing, right? While we’re at it, why not have the technology utilized to make all the calls? Ya know what, let’s have the cameras make all the calls, in all the sports! How’s that for solving the officiating dilemma?
Once that’s complete, let’s do away with errant throws, missed baskets, poor goal tending, fumbles, interceptions, etc. Let’s just eliminate all human imperfection in sports. Then, we’ll all be happy, right? Nothing to complain about. No what ifs, no would’ve, could’ve, should’ve. Well, of course, there would be no home runs, no wild throws, no diving catches, no kick-saves, no 99-yard run-backs, no interceptions, no reason to watch. There would be no officials to blame, for anything, because there would be only perfection. With all the players playing perfectly, there might be one little problem: No team would win. No team would lose. Remember, in this scenario, every player plays optimally. How could Jacob deGrom strike anyone out if the hitter is perfect? How could he be perfect if deGrom is perfect?
You must see now, no one’s perfect. Hence, officials aren’t perfect. Even electronic video games cannot play at perfection. Sure there are officials that are less talented than others, just like there are .240 hitters that are in the lineup with .300 hitters. You want your cake and eat it too? You can. You can purchase it, not expect it.
Zach Rebackoff is a retired professional baseball umpire and author of “Unmasked”