The Wrong Call for the Future?

My passion for Tigers baseball often means late nights agonizing over balls and strikes to whatever family member seems to be within my vicinity. That means from time to time I’ll blame a Tigers loss on one missed umpiring call that happened in the fourth inning with nobody on base. I know I’m not alone on this. From the ballplayers who’s living can be altered by call for/against them, to the fans whose sanity can go flying off the charts, umpires have frustrated players and fans alike for many years. Following watching some sports becoming increasingly intertwined with technology, I’m suggesting that the days of the umpire should be limited.

I have a theory that the average fan should not know the name of an umpire/referee under any circumstance. The likeness of NFL ref Ed Hochuli has made its way to Madden video games. Umpire CB Bucknor was in a recent commercial featuring Joe Mauer and Johnny Damon. These supposedly impartial observers are making a profit through their ability to be recognized. This mere suggestion implies that being simply impartial and unnoticed is a way to not be as profitable as your colleagues.

My suggestion for baseball is simple, umpires need to be phased out of play. In watching Wimbledon recently, I was stunned how little interference the chair umpires have for the game. With player reviews on line calls, John McEnroe’s trademark would likely go out of style. Home run calls are now reviewable and it’s a matter of time until balls and strikes are simply more than a QuesTec data point. I understand that the Major League umpires are under a union, but for the sake of an ever-shrinking strike zone, the opportunity is there to enforce a technology that calls it fair. Now back to that questionable call…