The abuse of home plate umpires on their strike and ball calls has been a part of baseball forever. These humans that wear masks and pads to protect themselves from a collection of 102 mph Aroldis Chapman fastballs and 90 mph Noah Syndergaard sliders get strikes and balls correct over 90% of the time. Sure, calls like Jim Joyce on Armando Galarraga should not be a part of the game and it isn’t anymore. The current replay system has its flaws but all in all it has worked for the MLB. I simply can’t imagine a world where there wouldn’t be a human set up behind the catcher and calling the game. That is just how we have all grown up watching the game and playing it and the home plate umpire is part of the fun. Imagine if there wasn’t a human back there. Who would Bobby Cox have yelled at every night or Joe Girardi yelled at when A-Rod got drilled by Ryan Dempster. The human element should be part of the game for this reason alone. There aren’t robots calling holding penalties on offensive lines or offside penalties in soccer.
The only possible way that the automated strike zone would seem feasible would be for reviews. What happened when replay first came into the sport? The umpires on the bases didn’t leave the field and let a computer call safe and out. There were replays when coaches didn’t agree with calls. So why can’t the automated strike zone be implemented like this when it is ready. I can see a world where there is a human umpire behind the plate and coaches have a certain amount of strike-ball challenges per game. The call would be simple, replay operators would know right away if the automated strike zone was tracking each pitch. The umpire wouldn’t even have to leave the catcher’s box and a call could be made to him within seconds if a coach chooses to challenge a pitch. Just remember, the human umpire is correct on over 90% of strike-ball calls. There’s no need to change the game just yet, Rob Manfred.