In a perfect baseball world, every called strike or ball would be 100 percent accurate and without complaint. According to Bobby Valentine, manager of the Boston Red Sox, that perfect world could be had if only they would create a machine to play umpire. Of course, he may be shocked if it wasn't controlled by rotary phone.
"I don't know how the internet works — how about a fax, how about putting a thing in a machine and it showing up in Europe — if they can do that, they can figure out how to call a strike and a ball," Valentine said before Monday's game in Miami (via the Boston Herald). "Are you kidding me? That isn't tough. It's whether or not they want to do it."
The idea of an electronic umpire isn't a new one, last month Dodgers first baseman James Loney was mocked on Twitter and elsewhere for suggesting that in the next 50 years, baseball's most controversial aspect wouldn't be left to the human factor. He, and now Valentine, are tired of the continuous string of stories and instances where bad calls made by human umpires have decided the outcome of too many games.
Valentine said he thinks umpires are "well trained" and "very good at what they do," but that doesn't mean the calls are always right.
"I think it's almost impossible to do what they do, so why do we ask them to do the impossible," Valentine said (Boston Herald). "If in fact you can't see the ball the last five feet, and now pitchers are throwing pitches that are moving in that zone, cutting and splitting and moving in the zone your eye can't see what's happening, your lens doesn't snap that photograph and register in the time the ball is moving the last five feet. So if you can't see it, why are we asking them to call it? They can't see it. They're humans. We're asking humans to do a feat a human can't do."
The main argument against an action like this is that it would take away the 'human factor' of the game, an idea that Valentine scoffs at as he recalled his stint as a TV analyst for the Little League World Series and a called third strike ended the game even though the pitch was six inches outside.
"And then someone says the most ridiculous words that I ever hear: 'But we like the human factor.' It was criminal that we allow our game to scare a young person like that," Valentine said. "And then it continues on. I think, in 2012, it should not be part of the process. I don't think it should be."
While as much as Valentine may want this change, it's doubtful that baseball will make this major change in the near future. However, if the trend of bad calls continue, the push for something different may lead to change sooner than anyone could imagine.
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
Photo Credit: AP