Umpiring the Officials

Baseball fans have long argued over missed calls by umpires, and as the accuracy of calls are not improving, something needs to change.

Jake Matise, Columnist

Throughout the history of Major League Baseball (MLB), umpires have been notorious for missing calls. The stakes nowadays are higher, as player salaries increase and more and more money is on the line. While being an umpire is not an easy job by any means, it is just not being done effectively enough.

The home-plate umpires, who call balls and strikes, only call about 85 percent of pitches correctly, according to Fox Sports. Considering that there are about 220 pitches in a game on average, that means that umpires incorrectly call roughly 32 pitches a game. That is a ridiculous number if you think about it. It’s no easy thing to call a 95 mile per hour pitch a ball or a strike, but these guys have been professionally trained for this.

The next logical step, I think, is to automate the strike zone. The technology has been used to aid the viewer during some televised games and honestly reflects poorly on the umpire. There is a serious problem when a fan at home can call a game better than the umpire that gets paid for this. In order to make the game more accurate, the human effect on how calls are made needs to be diminished.

Technology has slowly been reducing the power of umpires, especially in the last five years. I supported the addition of instant replay and allowing managers to challenge calls, because base umpires have horribly missed calls in the past and nothing could be done. Umpire Jim Joyce’s blown call at first base that cost Armando Galarraga his perfect game comes to mind. If instant replay were around in 2011, Galarraga would have had his perfect game after all because the Detroit Tigers manager would have challenged that play.

The automated strike zone needs to be implemented, regardless of how much the umpires oppose it. Although not every umpire is inconsistent,  If umpires could call more plays correctly, then nothing would need to change. However, statistics show that they still miss a substantial amount of calls per game.