Following Torii Hunter’s recent meltdown, which earned him a fine and a two-game suspension, I heard two guys on the radio mention the possibility of having an electronic strike zone in MLB. I am not sure if they supported the idea but I started thinking about what this would mean for MLB.
I support MLB using an electronic strike zone. I am aware this may be a bad idea and don’t know exactly how an electronic strike zone would work, but there are two main reasons for it: Less pressure would be put on umpires to make the right call all the time, and there would not be any outbursts from players or coaches (although I thought Hunter’s meltdown was somewhat amusing!).
Players, fans and coaches get mad at umpires when they appear to make bad calls. Although umpires are good at what they do, they make mistakes just like everyone else. An electronic strike zone would help umpires since it would take a lot of the pressure off the home-plate umpire and make games more fair.
Although meltdowns such as Hunter’s can be entertaining, they are very disruptive to games and often lead to ejections, fines and even suspensions. Since an electronic strike zone should be very reliable, there would be a dramatic decrease of player-umpire arguments and would benefit everyone involved.
One important issue this idea raises is the necessity and role of the home-plate umpire. While having an electronic strike zone would mean far fewer responsibilities for him. A home-plate umpire would still be necessary to make baserunning calls at home plate (this umpire would be in better position to make those calls than the other umpires). The home-plate umpire could also determine whether a batter swung on a check swing (although the first or third base umpires sometimes are asked to make those calls).
This issue is controversial and I’m sure many people are opposed to it since it takes away part of the human element of the game. Read more about the issue. A lot of people like baseball since the game is more old-fashioned than other sports, but I am more concerned with making it more fair for everyone. Now that there is instant replay in MLB, I am sure that someday there will be an electronic strike zone!
What do you think of MLB adopting an electronic strike zone??
Written by: Sam Graves