Now that the baseball season has ended for us in Boston, I can’t help but reflect on the hypocrisy and ineptitude of Major League Baseball. According to the geniuses at MLB, relatively recent changes to allow for replays, complete with phone calls to the Wizard of Oz, or someone or other, in New York, purportedly ensure that the officiating umpires “get it right.” And yet there are so many horrible calls of balls and strikes at the plate — calls that sway games and even direct the course of series.
Take, for example, the blown strike three call with Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro at bat and Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi on the mound in the top of the ninth during Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park. Eovaldi, who’d been brought in from the bullpen to preserve a tie game, clearly struck out the batter with a curveball that pierced the strike zone. The umpire called it a ball, and instead of the Sox being set up for a potential walk-off in the bottom of the inning, or in extra innings, the Astros went on to score seven runs in their half of the ninth. Ballgame.
If we have the technology and wherewithal to remotely soft-land an SUV-sized mobile science lab on Mars, it is hardly a stretch to implement and deploy 100 percent accurate automated strike and ball calls. That is, of course, if MLB is really all about getting it right.