The robo ump conversation has definitely become louder over the course of the first two months of this season.
After the MLB successfully implemented a few rule changes this past offseason, it feels like the next big one coming would be the automatic strike zone.
The Dodgers have had their fair share of issues with bad strike zones this season, already losing multiple games because of horrible strike three calls. And one Dodger who has demonstrated his displeasure with some of the umpiring this season has been Max Muncy.
This past weekend, Muncy was ejected from Sunday’s loss to the St. Louis Cardinals for arguing balls and strikes.
Muncy was upset about the inconsistency in the calls, believing that he struck out on a pitch that was called a ball just one pitch earlier — and he was right.
This week, Muncy joined the Foul Territory Show, and was asked about the ejection. He broke it all down very nicely (which I recommend you watch), and was then asked if he believed the MLB should move to robotic umpires. Somewhat surprisingly, he was not on board with that plan.
“I’ve always been in favor of the umpires,” Muncy said. “As frustrating as they can get sometimes, I feel like that’s just the beautiful nature of the game. You have those interactions where the batter’s talking to the umpires, the catcher’s talking to the umpires, you’re both trying to fight, you have the pitcher out there trying to fight for calls. I’ve always felt like that’s a beautiful part of the game that kind of goes unnoticed by a lot of fans, that there are ways you can win balls and strikes by having certain interactions.”
Funny enough, that exact aspect of the game is what frustrated Muncy when playing the Cardinals. He felt that their catcher, Willson Contreras, was somewhat bullying the umpire into making those calls, however, he did make it clear that he was not mad at Contreras, who was just doing his job. So although that frustrating aspect of the game is what led to Muncy’s ejection a week ago, he still doesn’t think it should be taken away.
“It can get frustrating, but that’s part of the game that I just feel like you’re going to lose when you go to robot umps — there’s no winning over the umpire,” Muncy said. “There’s time when there’s a pitcher out there that keeps complaining about a ball or a strike and you kind of look at the umpire and you just drop a, ‘hey, you gonna let him talk to you like that,’ and you get him riled up and all of a sudden now I’ve got a couple more calls coming my way. There’s ways to do it and it’s part of the game and to me it’s part of the fun. Even though sometimes it can get pretty frustrating, but that’s just one of those things where you go to a robot umpire, you lose that all of a sudden.”
You have to love this perspective from Muncy. While he admits all the frustration that comes with human umpires, he also knows that without them, you would be losing an intricate part of the game.
So yes, Muncy got frustrated with the way Contreras was talking to the umpire over the weekend. And yes, he got frustrated with the inconsistent calls behind the plate. But at the end of the day, he knows that that’s just a part of the game. And he’ll try to use it to his advantage at some point in the future.
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