As the MLB postseason reaches fever pitch, the stunning admission that not only do umpires screw up calls—but simply don't care if they do should send fans into a tizzy. Tradition is not a good enough reason to keep a broken system in place, especially when human umpires are so arrogant. Here's an excerpt from former umpire Jerry Crawford, about what he would do with the taped copies of games MLB gives umpires to help improve performance:
Twenty minutes after each game, Crawford said, somebody would knock on the umpires room door and hand him a CD with the pitch video on it. ... "I threw it in the trash," Crawford said.
Sorry, but baseball is all about tradition. This is America's pastime, a game built on hallowed records and the quirks of human nature. It's a sport where man tries to defy percentages. And umpires are a big part of that; removing them would be like ripping out a vital organ. We love baseball because it's romantic and there's nothing warm-and-fuzzy about robo pitch trackers.
Umpires are part of the pure human element of the game, and that pure human element is what makes the game beautiful.
That's ridiculous. Flawed human officiating has ruined perfect games and screwed with the World Series in MLB. This is a professional sport; the outcome should not be dependent on human error—especially when we have the technology to fix it. Pitch tracking cameras are already installed in every ballpark and are accurate within a half-inch. It's time to remove the "human element."
But where do you stop? Do we just stop using human pitchers, and use pitching machines instead—to reduce the number of Tommy John surgeries that now plague the league? This is a game where each call matters and part of the high-stakes drama is that ball clubs and players are dependent on humans. Humans make mistakes, sure—but that's why we love the game. It gives us something to argue about or rally behind. Removing umpires takes away something fundamental from the sport.
The game of baseball is not only a national pastime, but it is also a unique game in that everything is totally controlled by the judgment of people. Those same people should be allowed to make occasional mistakes. After all, the game itself is built upon failure. On average, a great hitter only succeeds a third of the time. Therefore I believe instant replay and technology should be left out of baseball. As fans we need to accept it and enjoy the game for its purity and human aspects of failure and risk.