Since I’ll be spending the bulk of my day in Baltimore, Maryland for the Orioles game – Go O’s! – I figured this would be an apropos opening post. A minor league baseball organization is implementing robot umpires.
The independent Atlantic League became the first American professional baseball circuit to let a computer call balls and strikes Wednesday night at its All-Star Game. Plate umpire Brian deBrauwere wore an earpiece connected to an iPhone in his pocket and relayed the call upon receiving it from a TrackMan computer system that uses Doppler radar.
He crouched in his normal position behind the catcher and signaled balls and strikes. It didn’t appear deBrauwere had any delay receiving the calls at first but players noticed a big difference.
‘One time I already had caught the ball back from the catcher and he signaled strike,’ said pitcher Daryl Thompson, who didn’t realize the technology was being used until after he disagreed with a call.
I think this is a stupid, stupid idea. Technology is ruining sports in my opinion. Video review to confirm or reverse calls, robot umpires, slo-mo to see if a soccer ball fully crossed the goal line, etc., etc. All this does is remove the human equation and it transforms sporting events into a video game.
Sure, the calls and plays will be more “accurate,” but at what cost? NFL video review takes forever, and it slows down an already lethargic game. What will baseball look like? If strikes are not called until after a pitcher receives the ball from the catcher, we’re looking at what, four-hour games?
Technology, for the most part, is great, but if you’re relying on computers to judge or referee a game, then fire all the referees and umpires. You’ve always shown you don’t trust them.