Managers, players, and umpires—three parts of a whole that baseball could not exist without. As frustrating as they can be, baseball needs umpires to provide a human touch when managing the game.
People hate to admit it, but human error is essential to any sport. It allows for more controversial games and those games easily the most talked about. Can you imagine a sport where every foul or penalty was called? Basketball and football would be unwatchable because of all the stoppages in play.
Without umpires, if players and pitchers get in a scrap, no one will be there to stop teams from escalating the situation to a full-on brawl. No one would be there to manage the pace of the game. Baseball already has the benefit of instant replay. Making the game fully automated would be chaos.
How obvious was Jim Wolf's infamous blown call in Game 4 of the 2017 NLCS? It was a third strike that was ruled a foul ball. That call resulted in the ejection of Joe Maddon in an elimination game in the NLCS that could have cost the Chicago Cubs the series. There is too much at stake for blown calls to determine the outcome of games.
Too many times, umpires have changed the course of a game, a series, or a championship with inconsistent calls. Player bonuses and millions of dollars are on the line when an important game is played. Athletes deserve to have their play dictate who earns those spoils instead of a blown call.
The suggestion that fans should suck it up and deal with human error is bogus. If there is technology available that could accurately call a baseball game, there is no reason fans should be subjected to inconsistent strike zones and arrogant umpires who think they are the stars of the game.
According to HBO Real Sports, umpires get close ball and strike calls wrong one-third of the time. That is egregious when the stakes are so high.
Umpires are also human beings. Emotions get in the way, and games get affected by it. Being “shown up” is not quantifiable. Some umpires are more sensitive than others. If a player gets thrown out for trivial things, like not stepping into the batter's box in Bryce Harper's case, it is bad for baseball.
Some umpires think they are the real show, and treat the game like it’s their personal stage. Fans don’t want to see that. They want to see a consistently called game where play determines the result—not the decisions of a fallible human being.