Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Kill the Umpire

 Below is my response to an article in the New Yorker about some minor league games using robot umpires (like the tennis "seeing eye"machine)

("Kill the Umpire")

Before your time, in 1950, there was a movie (of the same name as your article) starring William Bendix. It was, as one might expect, a movie that lives on in the memory of few. But it captured quite perfectly our hate-hate relationship with the man behind the plate.

Baseball is a game without a clock, meant to be analyzed in slow motion, perfect for dissection of every pitch, every imperfection.

The molecules of this sport have been rearranged recently, the designated hitter now a staple (of one league), a designated runner now appearing, like a magic trick, at second base at the stroke of extra innings. We adapt, like it or not.

And so too, if push comes to shoving the ump out of the way, we will accept this as an inevitable  21st century reality.

But, when that day comes, I will think fondly of William Bendix. And of every ump I have "lovingly" cursed at throughout the decades. And wonder, if striking out the umpire, was indeed a very bad call.


Anonymous said...

Very well said.


Bruce said...

Interesting; I read the article as well. The question is not my fealty to nostalgia or the tradition of the game. Instead, it is what is best for the up and coming kids who wish to be fans of baseball and I can see why the ump may have to go by way of the fifty cent bleacher seat. Today's kids are 'all-in' on technology and a failure or delay in adapting to it can be fatal. If history is any lesson, which it is, baseball seemed impervious to the color barrier, free agency and a rational CBA. Thus, the home plate ump may have to give way as well.

Anonymous said...

I very much agree with Bruce. --RE