Thursday, May 22, 2008

Right or Consistent? MLB is Consistent.

God knows baseball isn't perfect. After all, errors exist as a statistic, along with wild pitches, balks, and passed balls. So when umpires make egregious errors, how can we take umbrage?

MLB has become dependent on technology, from Ques-tek for evaluating umpiring accuracy, to every statistical analyses imaginable,to video analysis of pitching, fielding, and hitting. But when it comes to incorporating electronic analysis of live action, MLB suffers paralysis by analysis.

What is the downside of getting home runs, other boundary calls (fair-foul), and fan interference correct? Are we afraid that getting home run calls correct starts the slippery slope to the electronic strike zone?

Yes, in a game where 30 percent hitting success could add millions to your salary, human error will always remain part of the game. But where's the Players' Union when you want them. God forbid, Billy Joe Bobby get stuck with a mere twenty-nine homers when he might have had thirty when his home run gets called foul. But wait, there's a pitcher's ERA to protect at the slugger's expense.

MLB considers 'studying' replay in the Arizona Fall League. Maybe they could study it in some French cave or a thousand leagues under the sea. And what's to study? MLB doesn't need 15 extra umpires, as the video replay could go to a central office, say in Roswell or Exeter, New Hampshire the major alien landing zones.

Yes, umpires have made progress, as they get together to make a collective decision. But they still often get it wrong, as eight eyes aren't always better than two. And fans want the decision to be right. It really is black and white here, getting the call right or adhering to a tradition of error and ignorance. That's an easy choice for MLB.

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