Over the weekend after taking a mow and getting cleaned up I was watching baseball on TV while I relaxed. The announcers were chatting about the idea of the computer calling balls and strikes at the Major League level. I can think of very few worse ideas.
I'm not anti-tech by any means. I love technology. Makes a ton of things way better! But in this case it would be disastrous. MLB right now has some major issues, and many are tech based. Analytics has killed much of the good of the game, and now the game needs to adjust. We look at hitters data, have shifts for every hitter and getting hits is harder than ever with 4 players at times on the same wide of the infield. SO - the hitters try to hit OVER the shift and launch huge home runs - Some of the time they do. But mostly they strike out or hit grounders that can't find a hole because of the wall of infielders. Strikeouts are at an all-time high. And that is killing the game slowly. But that's another subject for another article and we will do that too.
But the computer calling balls and strikes would be yet another tech-botched idea and here's why. First it's a program a machine, and has no real common sense or adjustment capability. You see the box they put on TV now and you think that's the strike zone, and it sort of is. But the ump behind the plate may see it a bit differently. After an inning or two both pitchers and hitters understand this and we play on. Does the ump make mistakes? Well, yes. He's human. Does it generally work itself out. Yes. Can it cost your team a game? Yes. But it's still way better than this.
If they institute an absolute computer strike zone this is what WILL happen. Pitchers who can throw REAL hard will pepper the top of the absolute strike zone with 100 MPH fastballs. The computer will call it a strike, and the hitter can't hit it. It's the rare hitter who will hit a hard fastball at the top of the zone in play. You think there's a lot of strikeouts now? You just wait. You also may see managers pitch a guy only an inning or two. Just throw high fastballs only as hard as you can. Then the next guy, and so on. And don't throw anything below the belt. Sure, they could the adust the zone, but it could be so tight that games could go on longer than ever.
Also, there will be no argument with a computer. It's absolute and there can be no adjustments. This bozo move would only make the game have less action than it does right now. It wouldn't speed the game up, in fact it would slow it down with pitchers having to make pinpoint pitches, and hitters striking out even more. Toss in the shifts and you've got a real problem. Fans who THINK they want this don't know who much they really don't.
Hey, umpires make mistakes and sometimes have strange strike zones, there's no argue in that. Yeah the umps blow it sometimes and that stinks. And hey, it frustrates me too sometimes. But in the end, it generally works itself out. I think it may be some fans who feel "wronged" for some reason that there is this really bad idea floating around out there. Guess what, things aren't always fair. But if you are a fan of the game, then lets keep it a game played by humans, for humans, decided by humans.
It's worked for 150 years so far.