A recent memo from major league baseball questioned managers who argue balls and strikes.
Baseball’s technological innovations throughout the past decade have defined a national pastime which continues to grow. However, none of it comes without true flaws.
With that said, it is on the higher-ups in the league to prevent those flaws from becoming a direct disturbance.
Let’s just start by saying that major league baseball has done an absolutely terrible job of this. Continually making themselves susceptible to criticism, their latest antics display a shift towards a no-fun league.
On Friday, executive and former skipper Joe Torre sent along a memo to every manager throughout the league with a clear and distinct message. He wrote that, “Although disagreements over ball and strike calls are natural, the prevalence of manager ejections simply cannot continue.”
Digging himself a much deeper hole, the executive vice president of baseball operations claimed that, “This conduct not only delays the game, but it also has the propensity to undermine the integrity of the umpires on the field.”
Torre was a well-respected manager and a true champion at that, but to claim that a good old-fashioned argument questions the integrity of umpires is absolutely absurd and extremely hypocritical.
Let’s just take into account the fact that he played an integral role in the implementation of instant replay, which questions the integrity and worthiness of umpires each and every day.
This is not to mention the incredibly dragged out and inefficient nature of a system which directly contradicts their idea of ‘pace of play’. A typical replay consists of a manager calling his so-called ‘replay guy’ to figure out if he should challenge a call which obviously is not apparent to the human eye.
Following the minute conference, the skipper will give the umpires the go-ahead which will only result in a five to seven minute call with the headquarters in New York. In other words, an already known call is being discussed with people frightened to get the call wrong a second time and further disgrace their umpires.
Please, Mr. Torre, do not question integrity here and, hey, do not contradict yourself while you are at it.
Not to mention the fact that it can bring a team together and define ‘player’s managers’ from sheer ‘decision-makers’.
All of the current advancements are moving the game away from umpires, exposing them, and taking away the natural human element which fans craved for years on end. Not too far down the road will be a day when there is an automated strike zone and motion-sensed calls on force outs and tag plays.
If you are going to let these managers walk all over you by virtually cheating on challenges, you have to expect they will demand excellence on each call as a result. They will effectively put umpires under the microscope and fight for every hint of an edge in their team’s direction.
Even putting today’s day and age aside, don’t you miss this?
Putting a restriction on sticking up for your team, the game, and the final score is a restriction on the intensity of baseball itself. If every manager leans on the edge of the dugout with their arms crossed, where is the excitement in a game which features no grand slams, electric pitching performances, or dramatic moments? Where is the human element of, “I owe you one” when an umpire misses a call?
Simply put, it is nowhere to be found.
At the moment, the MLB is losing precious ratings with replay, counteracting their own reform which had them stick an enlarged stopwatch in every ballpark, and trying to eliminate a fierce aspect of an agreeably slow game.