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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bobby Valentine not opposed to automated balls and strikes, says umpires can’t do it

The Red Sox are sliding once again, and Bobby Valentine has decided to take his frustration out on the league’s umpires. Valentine was unhappy with a number of calls during Boston’s series against Miami over the weekend, and he was ejected on Sunday for arguing balls and strikes. On Monday, he sounded off on the umpiring and came awfully close to calling for an automated balls and strikes system.

“When I did the Little League World Series (for ESPN), I thought it was the most criminal thing I ever saw, I wanted to cry, when a kid, in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and his team down by one run, was called out on a strike three that was six inches outside,” Valentine said according to CSNNE.com. “He couldn’t reach it with his bat. I cried for him. And that kid is scarred for life, playing our game, by an injustice.

“And then someone says the most ridiculous words that I ever hear: ‘But we like the human factor.’ It was criminal that we allow our game to scar a young person like that. And then it continues on. I think, in 2012, it should not be part of the process. I don’t think it should be.”

Valentine was reminded that humans make mistakes and stopped just barely short of saying that umpires should be removed in favor of an automated system of calling balls and strikes.

“I want a ball called a ball and a strike called a strike,” he said. “Let the humans do it, somehow . . . Our game is not someone else’s strike zone; our game is what the book says. And that’s how it should be played, from Little League to Cooperstown. To make it fair, to make it right.

…But I think it’s almost impossible to do what they do. So why do we ask them to do the impossible? If in fact you can’t see the ball the last five feet and now pitchers are throwing pitches that are moving in that zone . . . if you can’t see it, why are we asking them to call it? They can’t see it. They’re humans. We’re asking humans to do a feat that a human can’t do.”

So there you have it. Bobby V. is so heated up about lousy calls that he’s taking the “who needs the blue guys?” approach. In some ways, it makes sense. Modern technology could allow for some sort of computer system that calls balls and strikes, and the game would be be more fair as a result. If ever it does happen, Valentine won’t be alive to see it.

Photo credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE



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