Close friends know I’ve only recently become a serious baseball fan. I haven’t said much about the sport this year because I’m an avid Cubs fan and I don’t wanna do anything to upset the karmic applecart. So this is just a few comments about baseball in general.
If you have an interest in baseball at all you know that the last couple of years they’ve instituted the play review. It give a team a chance, up to a point, to question the umpire’s call. With the use of video replay, watched by a group of officials in New York, they can check out a play using frame by frame video to see exactly what happened. Its very cool and as many times as not its proven the umpire’s original call accurate.
One of the type of plays not eligible for review is the balls and strikes call at the plate. Now this to me would be a logical limitation dues to time constraints, etc. if it wasn’t for a little thing usually called Pitchtrax. There’s a few other copyrighted or sponsored names for them but they all come down to the technology that shows the exact position of the ball as it passes over home plate. It can tell to a high degree of accuracy if the pitch was thrown as a ball or a strike.
If you watch baseball for any length of time and keep an eye on the Pitchtrax you will see quite a few missed calls at the plate. I’ve seen missed calls that, at least in the long term, changed the final outcome of the game. Don’t get me wrong, I know umpiring is a tough job right up there with dog catching. I wouldn’t want to make split second decisions like that with literally thousands of opinionated sports fans watching. But thats the point! Let the machine make the call whether the ball passed over the plate, or not. The ump still has to determine if the batter swings at it, or if the ball hits the batter, or if its fair or foul or any number of other possibilities.
And while I’m at it I’d like to place my vote about intentional walks. That’s what its called when the defending team elects to walk a batter on purpose. They do it often when a very good hitter is at the plate. Currently its done by the catcher standing up and setting a target several feet outside so the batter cannot hit the ball.
There is discussion is about changing the rules so that an intentional walk can be done without the obligatory outside pitches and they just give a pass to the runner to first. I don’t like this one bit. The reason for the change is mostly to speed up the game but the game is also about ball handling. Even if this is usually a simple play, something weird could happen like it often does in baseball. As long as the pitcher has to throw the ball to the catcher they are using skill and ball handling. If one of them were to drop or miss the ball the offense could take advantage. With the simple pass to first, opportunities for both teams are lost.
Ok I probably won’t bore you non-sports types with talk about baseball anymore this season. But I have to warn you that football season is coming and am not a fan of that sport so I will be curmudgeony about it.