The computers will win eventually, let’s not root them on
An argument has been gaining steam lately: It’s time for Major League Baseball to adopt a computerized strike zone.
You’ll hear it from people whose opinions you otherwise respect. And it sounds good at first blush, because no one ever wants to defend the guy calling the game in any sport.
But I can never shake the feeling that it’s a gross argument.
First off, it’s true that the computers would be more accurate and efficient. But are you sure that’s the standard we want to use to justify a group of people losing their jobs? Because, guess what, if there isn’t a program that can perform your role better than you can already, it’s probably already in production.
Also, sports are an entertainment business. Both of those words are imperative here.
The entertainment aspect of it means we should keep the men behind the plate.
Remember when Jim Joyce botched the final call of former Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga would-be perfect game? His teary-eyed apology after the game made for great theater in a game that could use more of it.
The business part means the league will likely look to break its ties with the umpire union as fast as possible.
In that scenario, which side would you prefer to be on: The one with the billionaires or the guys who worked for years to get to the top of their craft and live out their dreams of being a part of professional baseball?
The MLB has been “weighing” an automated strike zone as far back as 2014, and probably won’t be moving quickly at implementing them if the idea gains enough momentum among the owners.
And while I’m sure it’s inevitable that the move will be made, that’s no reason for regular people to be cheering for another private union to lose its power.
Automation is coming to make all of us obsolete. We shouldn’t be arguing to speed up the process in the meantime.
Contact Examiner Sports Editor Jacob C. Palmer at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @jacobc_palmer.