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In Defense of Umpires: Why Complaints About MLB's 'Ump Show' Problem Miss the Mark

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Potter Stewart
Dan Bellino
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The New York Times
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It's even possible for an umpire to approach 100 percent accuracy, as Ryan Blakney did when he called Reid Detmers' no-hitter Tuesday:Umpire: Ryan Blakney<br>Final: Rays 0, Angels 12<a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RaysUp</a> // <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoHalos</a><a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TBvsLAA</a> // <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LAAvsTB</a> <a href=""></a>Though there has indeed been a slight uptick in balls within the strike zone in 2022, this doesn't necessarily signify that umpires have collectively gotten careless. So it goes for velocity in general, as the average pitch is now 1.2 mph faster than it was in 2008.One could assume that this trend is only making it harder for umpires to actually see some of the pitches they're supposed to call, and that's verifiable when it comes to their calls inside the strike zone. Even before pitch tracking became part of the public lexicon in 2008, MLB was using QuesTec to track balls and strikes as far back as 2001.The MLB Umpires Association only just acquiesced to the inevitability of an automated zone in 2019, so umps aren't blameless for the fact that such a thing is not yet in use in the majors. But in a perfect world, they nonetheless would have been freed from the responsibility of calling balls and strikes years ago.Umpires Shouldn't Have to Clean Up MLB's Ball MessRegarding the other ump shows that have recently taken place, there's no excusing what happened between Bellino and Bumgarner or how the umpiring crew handled Garcia's ejection.To the former, Bellino admitted that he screwed up and took "full accountability" in a statement. And while it was moments after Giancarlo Stanton hit a game-tying home run, even angry pitchers typically aren't looking to immediately put the go-ahead run on base in a situation like that.What's true either way is that both of these incidents might have been avoided if Major League Baseball wasn't actively making it harder for players to throw the ball.This is the first year in which the new ball that MLB designed with Rawlings last year is supposedly the only one in circulation, as well as the first year in which humidors are in use at all 30 stadiums. This, according to Manfred, is another thing that's in the beta testing phase."We do want to give pitchers a ball with better grip, again more consistent, without providing, let me use the phrase 'performance enhancement,' associated with the crazy sticky stuff," Manfred told reporters Monday.As with the automated strike zone, this is ultimately just another area where umpires will have to make do until baseball arrives at a future that frankly should be its present.Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and Baseball Savant.The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.

As said here by Zachary D. Rymer