With the increased use of technology in sports, is it time for the MLB to implement an electronic umpire of sorts?
Recently, as technology continues to evolve, there has been a push from fans and players alike for the MLB to implement the use of an electronic strike zone. However, as we stand right now, only weeks before Opening Day of the 2016 season, nothing is likely to change anytime soon and umpires will continue to have to make split second decisions on pitches that are 100+ MPH.
— Inside Gadgets (@GoInsideGadgets) July 31, 2015
Forget baseball’s reluctance to change in order to preserve elements of “the Old Ball Game,” it’s 2016 and we need to make every effort to make this sport as fair as it can be for the players’ and the fans’ sake. It’s time to implement the electronic strike zone.
Strikes and balls calls, at its essence, are the most important calls in any baseball game. Period. On average, every MLB game has around 250 to 300 pitches a game. Each one has the ability to start a big inning for the batting team or shut them down to a 1-2-3 inning. Right now, we are relying on a single umpire to determine the outcome of each and every pitch.
The problem is every umpire has a modified version of a strike zone. Some umpires have a more forgiving and wider strike zone, while others have a stricter and smaller strike zone. In order to keep this game fair for the players, we need to make the strike zone is the same for every pitcher in every game.
When we listen to broadcast of baseball games, we always hear the announcers talk about how the pitchers are throwing to figure out where the umpire is calling the strike zone on a particular day. Well, that shouldn’t be the case. The pitcher should know exactly where the strike zone. In basketball, the rim is at 10 feet for every single game. NBA players don’t don’t have to sometimes shoot at a 9-foot rim on some nights then an 11-foot rim the others. The electronic strike zone provides fairness for all the pitchers across the league.
Implementing the electronic strike zone would also inherently increase the runs produced. Fans always talk about how they want to see more runs and Commissioner Rob Manfred is trying to figure out a way to make that happen. Well, an electronic strike zone would be part of the solution. Hitters would also get a consistent strike zone each and every game. On pitches near the boarder of the strikezone, batters won’t have to guess where the umpire might call a strike and will be able to swing away more freely. This will lead to more hits and more runs scored. Plus, managers and players wouldn’t get ejected anymore for contesting strike calls. If the better players don’t get ejected and stay in the game, more runs are inevitable.
Implementing an electronic strike zone wouldn’t be difficult. The technology is already implemented in all 30 MLB ball parks. It’s even on most TV broadcasts. Now, it comes down to Commissioner Manfred’s decision. It should be a no brainer. It would make the game fairer. For a game that brings in millions of dollars of revenue each day, we need to make it as fair as possible. Why turn down something that is available that will inherently make the game of baseball better?