There’s been a lot of talk about an electronic strike zone maybe being in MLB’s near future, but commissioner Rob Manfred was quick to shut down that idea.
The human element to the game is clearly a priority for Manfred, who doesn’t seem to trust the technology to get it right more than current umpires already do.
“It would be a pretty fundamental change in the game to take away a function that has been performed by our umpiring staff, really with phenomenal accuracy. The fact of the matter is they get them right well over 90 percent of the time.
“And there is a human aspect to that, a work aspect to it that’s always been an important part of our game. I don’t think you can just jump to the conclusion that if you have (the) technology to do it that’s the right thing for your product.”
Baseball is often criticized for being stuck in its old ways. Some might argue that not switching to an electronic strike zone is an example of that. However, I side with Manfred here. Home plate umpires make mistakes (just ask Ben Zobrist) but there’s no way of knowing technology will be a drastic improvement. I don’t trust a computer to get it right if Clayton Kershaw throws a nasty 12-6 curveball that starts at the top of the strike zone and lands in the dirt.
If you’re going to switch to robot umpires, the success rate needs to be at least 99.9 percent. Test it out on lower levels and if it’s successful, it can become more prominent over time.
Until then, cussing out home plate umpires for horrible calls should remain a part of America’s pastime.