It’s evident that calling balls and strikes traditionally from behind the plate is significantly more challenging than using technological TV monitors.
The decision must be made within half a second of the pitch crossing the plate, and the umpire must determine if any part of the ball touched the strike zone, which involves a horizontal (the plate) and vertical (knees to mid torso) judgment.
Compounding the difficulty, catchers are trained in “framing techniques” to deceive the umpire into believing balls are strikes.
There is no perfect method for an individual to call a three-dimensional strike zone due to depth and perception, even if Major League pitchers threw only 80 mph. This is why the Automated Strike Zone the MLB is developing uses multiple camera angles to ensure accuracy.
However, when umpires miss a call, they are unable to explain themselves to opposing teams. Therefore, the options are to use robo-umps for accurate strike zone calls or to rely on the umpire’s judgment, which can be disputed, resulting in ejections for excessive arguing.
Many umpires oppose the use of robo-umps, which is understandable as it would significantly reduce their duties and authority from behind the plate. However, it’s unacceptable as it severely hampers the game. A bad strike call can cause batters to second-guess non-strikes, affecting their hitting ability. The difference between a 1-0 and 0-1 count is significant, as advanced stats show.