By: Marcos Sandoval
MLB has partnered up with the Independent Atlantic League to test out a plethora of new rules. One of them: Robot home plate umpires. Well not really. The rule itself is basically the home-plate umpire being assisted in calling balls and strikes by a TrackMan radar tracking system.
So is this a good thing or a bad thing? Well it depends on how you look at it.
For pace of play, possibly. For the integrity of the game, no.
Pace of play
Rob Manfred is pushing for the game to move at a faster pace. The average home plate umpire can get upwards of 50 calls wrong when calling balls and strikes. Having the help of a TrackMan system would eliminate bad calls.
Eliminating bad calls could lead to a lot of good things for the pace of the game. It would reduce the amount of arguing for balls and strikes between: pitcher and umpire, batter and umpire, or manager and umpire. Thus resulting in less time being wasted over players and managers being thrown out.
Besides pace of play. It puts the game at a rate of constant fluidity.
Integrity of the Game
I'm not saying I'm all for this rule because it changes the game. It gets rid of that “human” touch. It gets rid of that awesome feeling when the opponents manager or star player gets thrown out. That “WTF” moment when Angel Hernandez gets a call obviously wrong.
Having a long lasting game, which still has a shorter run time than the NFL, is what separates us from other sports that are trying to throw much more technology to the point that tech and clocks become the essence of that game.
Plus, can we look at the fact that this rule eliminates framing. There's really no need for one of the most valuable Catcher skills. I find that ludicrous.
Overall, I know MLB is trying to bring in new fans, younger fans. But there are better ways of going about it than adding a tracking system. I'm going to sound very contradicting right now, but I'm not opposed to this rule but it's not the right way to bring in new, younger fans.
I say let players be flashy. Don't ridicule players like David Bote after accomplishing one of the greatest feelings to accomplish on the field. Let there be emotion, let there be bat flips, let more players get mic'd up. Players getting mic'd is the best thing they started to do,in recent time, in order to keep fans engaged and laughing while in situations where the game isn't as entertaining.
I'm down to have this rule implemented in the MLB, as long as MLB don't further the mound.