Well, as an equally big fan of the game of Baseball (and the Yankees), I have to
disagree with you on this one, PL. And I wouldn't call myself a "Purist" by any
sense. I'm definitely a big fan of the DH which a lot of "Purists" aren't, I
certainly don't have a problem with all the improvements in equipment in the
recent era of baseball, (lighter bats, batting gloves, better helmets etc...)
nor do I have a problem with "pitch counts" the use of specialty pitchers for
one batter, "small ball", "money ball" etc... I think you're really
oversimplifying the argument by saying that anyone that doesn't like the use of
booth review is a "purist". But that's sort of besides the point.
But here's the actual point I want to make about this. It's absolutely
conceivable that an enterprising individual could devise technology that could
literately do away with the need for umpires entirely. Imagine that they use
that "K-Zone" technology to call balls and strikes instantly, they can probably
devise very small sensors to put in every players gloves as well as the bases to
figure out exactly whether or not the ball reaches the 1st baseman's glove
before the foot hits the bag, or if a tag hits the player before his hand or
foot hits the bag... etc, etc, etc... If someone wanted to do it, I'm sure
there's a way to completely eliminate umpires altogether with technology.
Personally I think this takes a lot away from the game. Human judgment is
such an important part of how a game is played. Pitchers and batters are always
adding in the calculation of where a home plate umpire is apt to call a loose
strike. It makes it more interesting and less static. Even on close plays that
are so hard to judge, an umpire can be swayed by how a player slides into second
or if he's "dogging" it to first. Think about that, there's a sub-concious cog
in the system that actually effects the game, I would think that you'd be all
into that! I think if you start to take that human error out of the game (even
just piece by piece), I think you'll end up with a game that's more about the
numbers than it was before, and less about the "heart" of the game.
Besides, the "fallacy of the pre-determined outcome" states that even if a
blown call is made right, you'd have no idea how or if that would have actually
effected the outcome of the game, there's just too many variables. And I
realize that in the case of the blown call this year that ruined the perfect
game for Galarraga, there's no question if that call was made right he would
definitely have a perfect game versus not having a perfect game. But - I don't
remember the details of the rest of that game, but I'm sure there must have been
a strike call or two or three that the umpire got wrong in Galarraga's favor
that might have saved him a walk which would have also ruined the perfect game,
probably well before it was a big deal that he had a perfect game going. A
layer of technology (booth review) would have given him a perfect game, but
perhaps the next layer of technology, (K-Zone calling balls and strikes), may
have taken it away.
Anyway I disagree that wanting to retain the element of human judgment makes
one a stagnant traditionalist. In fact, I think that these Umpires' abilities
to admit their errors and their dedication to making their craft better in the
face of such criticism is a testament to they're humility and they're ability
to... wait for it... grow as an individual. :-) Qualities, we all should want
Anyway, I'm willing to trade accuracy for humanity. Besides, the "story"
that came out of that just-missed perfect game was fantastic and completely
unique. Do you remember when Gallaraga came out with the line-up the next day?
What a great story of humility and forgiveness. Technology would have robbed us
of that great human story between those two individuals.
Well, L56, on the replay, it looks like you have a strong argument for the human element staying a part of baseball's dynamic. Umpires and their flaws do make the game more of a drama than simply a "pure" contest of playing skills. I suppose my issue with umps is part of my overall issue with all "authority figures," especially those who can't be questioned. Being called out without recourse on a third strike, which was clearly a ball, reminds me of getting a parking ticket because in the cop's estimation, I was 14 1/2 feet, not fifteen feet, from a fire hydrant. Without pictures or witnesses, the cop is the final authority, even if he's wrong. But I do agree that the "fallacy of the pre-determined outcome" is indeed a fallacy, and it does tie in with the truth that there is no absolute, static future.
Good to hear your voice again, L56!