So a story hit last week that impacts the Durham Bulls, who play baseball in AAA, the highest level of the minor leagues. And don't you know, a friend of ours, not only a big leaguer with four clubs, but a Durham Bulls legend, Elliott Johnson, joins us on the Adam Gold Show. And here's the story, is that this year, Major League Baseball will have robot, they call him robot umpires, that's obviously not a robot. It is a computer-generated strike zone and that we'll call balls and strikes. And there's two levels of it, but basically we're talking about automating balls and strikes.
Elliott Johnson joins us. So broad, broad canvas for you. What are your thoughts on that? So, I think when I was a player, I used to think that I wanted them, but now I think I respect so much the human element of the umpires. I think it's, you know, the way the game has always been, you know, I think when we watched the World Series and the playoffs this year, one of the guys ended up with 100% correct rate calling balls and strikes.
Fascinating. I think that the talent is actually there, Adam. I think that the umpires union is somewhat prohibitive because they take into account things like tenure, when in reality, like, you know, you guys were just talking about Tom Brady there on that segment.
If you can find somebody that's better than Tom Brady, that's 21, you have an obligation to your fans, to whomever, to get the best on the field all the time. Why don't we do it with umpires? So I don't, the reason why I don't like robotic umpires, Adam, is really simple.
If, you know, and this is, this is because they're so competitive. I would teach all of my guys to throw 12-6 curveballs, clip the front end of the strike zone, quote unquote, that's gonna not, you know, it's gonna send a signal to the umpire that it's a strike because it does clip it. But, you know, when you but, you know, we're talking about balls that catchers are gonna be blocking, that players now have to swing at.
I think that you're gonna find that when you start to really, the way that it works on paper versus the way it works in reality are two separate things. And I think that there, it's gonna change fundamentally the way the game is played, and I don't like that. So I think to me, the better solution is to get away with tenure as it pertains to major league umpires.
Find the best ones, get them up there, who cares if they're 18, 19, 20 years old, and get rid of the guys that have just been there for 20 years, move on, or send them back to the minor leagues just like a baseball player and get better, and then you can get called back up. So, you know, and you already see how, you know, when you go to replay, how awful that is, Adam, if we're trying to talk about play, it's terrible. Whatever the call was on the field always seems to have precedent anyway, and so I don't like that. I don't think that makes any sense whatsoever, and I don't think that's going to speed up the game.
In fact, I think it's going to ruin the product rather than help it. All right, let's, I want to go back to the beginning of this. I think you and I in general agree, but here's where I'm okay, and you really, you kind of, I think you brought it into focus. It's because not only does the umpires union balk, so I apologize for using a baseball term, balk at, you know, getting younger, better umpires in and using tenure to protect some of these guys who are no longer great, but Major League Baseball rewards umpires who are not great with postseason assignments, and now that we have a longer, a longer postseason and more games, there are more inadequate umpires who are getting the assignments, and I would be all for, only the human element, and getting rid of replay altogether. I'd be all for that if there was more accountability when the umpires are not good, so I think we all, we know the names, right?
We just use Angel Hernandez if we want to and say, how has that guy been a Major League umpire for as long as he is when universally people think he's the worst, and he's awful at balls and strikes, and he's a, he seems to be a jerk on the field, too, so how is that guy, a Major League Baseball umpire, getting postseason assignments? So until that stuff changes, I think Major League Baseball, I don't know about automated balls and strikes if it'll slow the game down, the replay does, but I think this might be good if we still have a lot of umpires who aren't. Well, I think the argument is that there won't be as many managers pausing and stopping the game to go out there and yell back and forth, because you can't argue balls and strikes when it's automated, right? Well, you're not allowed to argue them anyway, right?
Well, fair enough, right? So it's, I don't know, I don't think that it's going to have the impact that they're looking for. It probably, it does make some sense, you know, Minor League Strike Zones are so much worse than Major League Strike Zones, the talent pool falls off pretty quick, so I think that it's going to teach guys to have to throw more strikes, but why didn't it get them a Band-Aid and tell them, hey, you know, when you get to the big leagues, though, you have to throw strikes now, you might as well get them ready for it right away.
So I think there's some, there'll be some unintended consequences that are good, but I think the unintended consequences on the negative side are going to actually hurt the product rather than help it out. So I'm 100% against it. I'm just going to go on record saying. So here's where I, and this is the part I don't like, is because I think part of the art of pitching is expanding the strike zone, not just on the batter, but part of the art of pitching is also expanding the strike zone on the umpire. Like if I could just go, no, nobody did it better than Greg Maddox, right? Like, here's my fastball, I'll split the corner, and then here's my next fastball that's another inch outside, and maybe it's just off the corner, but I keep hitting it, I keep hitting it, I keep hitting it, and now the umpire's calling it a strike. I think that's part of the art of pitching. And we're removing the skill of the framing by a catcher, which is a real skill that hurt very hard on to get really good at. I mean, Jose Molina, a guy I played with for a long time, I think he was worth a win and a half just throwing him back to catch. You know, it didn't matter if he got a hit or not. He was that good, especially on arm side righty, arm side, that part of the dish.
He was just a magician back there, Adam. So I think that there's a lot of things that come away from that. I think you're right. And one of the things to take away from it too, Adam, is culturally, it is worse for an umpire to call a strike a ball than it is to call a strike, a ball a strike.
Let me make sure I'm clear. Clearly a ball gets called as a strike is more acceptable than a pitch that's clearly a strike being called a ball. Do you see like that has a worse impact on an umpire because it's easier to see that it's a strike. And we've become conditioned to accept the fact that being close to the strike zone, I remember how many umpires I yelled at where they said, that's a good pitch, Elliot.
And I'm like, there's no G on the scoreboard. It says ball and the rules are what they are. You can't say it's a strike zone is always the same.
I don't care who's back there. The rules are the same. And so I hated that. Oh, it's a good pitch.
No, no, no, no. That means that you thought it was close enough to be called a strike. So you're going to give it to them. And that's just a crime. So, and then on the other side of the coin, it is more acceptable to call because in little league, it's tie goes to the runner. Well, you have to be really safe for them to call you safe.
If it's close, they want to, they're going to call you out. So those are the two things that are going to be, that would be completely different culturally. If you did move to robot umpires, you would see those two things get a little bit more normalized than they are today. We can't, we can't have robots on the bases though. We're only going to have it for balls and strikes at home plate. And the example that has been used a lot is tennis, right? Tennis, they've gotten rid of, they don't really need lines people anymore.
I think they still use them at the French open because it's on clay and you see the mark where the ball, where the ball hit all the time. But they can just automate everything and they could tell. I mean, the, it's a completely linear game. The strike zone theoretically is linear.
I guess it isn't theoretically, it is linear. But again, I just think there's an art form to it that we're going to lose. Let me, let me, let me upset your Houston fan base real quick. So let's assume that the, the Astros find a way to hack the system and the strike zone is different for them versus, yes, editors play. So I mean, now we're talking about employing, you know, the smartest hacker type folks, if you possibly can, to find a way to give a half inch for your team versus the other so that it goes on noticeable, right? You don't want to make it so obvious that catches wind, but you know, so I mean, there's so many different things that are going to come from this.
And, and for your listeners, I don't care who wants robo, robo-umps. There's so many unintended consequences. You guys don't know. This is a slippery slope. We don't want to go down. Baseball is great the way that it is. I think we're trying to mess with it too much. I really do. There's that, that's, that's next level conspiracy theories from Elliot Johnson.
Theoretically, this is supposed to be an independent system. But if you, if the, the Astros at some point down the road are going to be allowed to employ their own system, then yes, I would not trust the Astros either. But I, that is, that is awesome though. But, but, and Adam, the, the, the, so even when, you know, and we played in a dome for the most part, I'm talking about my time with the Rays. If Tim Wakefield came to town and he was pitching that day, they turned the air conditioning completely off.
Okay. You know, I mean, there's so much that goes on. Even in Durham, if we had a sinker baller throwing, okay, they would put so much kitty litter down in front of the dish right there to slow down the, the, the, the balls from going through the field.
There's so much that goes on. You guys have no, I mean, you play in Texas and the grass, you know, is, is incredibly tall. Okay. Because, you know, they have to employ pitchers that can throw ground balls because if you hit it in the air, it goes out of the park, you know? So there's not much gamesmanship behind the curtains that most people don't know about. If there's a way to find a way to get any kind of edge, you're going to find it. Okay. I can promise you. No question.
Doctor the field, slope the base, slope the, the baselines towards foul for teams that like to bunt, try to bunt their way on. All right. Final thing for Elliot Johnson, because now we're sort of through free agency. There are still some stragglers and Carlos Correa finally signed, finally signed a contract and passed the physical.
About half as long and half as much as he anticipated getting, but that's fine. There must be something in the medicals that the Mets didn't even, uh, go for. Uh, so, but good for the twins to get a good player, uh, on a, a deal that they can live with.
Well, can I, can I take that real quick? So think of how dumb it is. So imagine that you're a doctor and you get employed by the giants to take a look at his medicals and then the Mets contact you as well for the medicals as if the medicals are going to somehow be drastically different over a week or two week time span. So the system in place, the process in place is such a joke. I mean, so you're asking this guy, it's like when you go to Roger Goodell to arbitrate or overrule a ruling on him, he's, he's going to hold himself accountable.
And when you go to do a, um, what's the word when you go to have a, an appeals process now say, you know what, it's been a week's time. I'm going to have a different opinion now that I've had some time to think about it. It's just ridiculous. So they went to the same doctor. The same doctor, Adam, the same one.
So what a joke. I mean, the twins, they were basically pigeonholed in with the twins because they knew what they had. They had them previously, what his ankle had. So they were a lot more comfortable with the risks, but you can see it costs him what, $150 million of guaranteed money. No question about that.
All right. What will Shohei Ohtani get in free agency? And if you're the angels, do you let him get to free agency? If you're the angels, you have to trade them away. You have to move them. You have to get better players. You don't sign him. Okay. I, I, you got to move a man.
So I think you get rid of them. I think, uh, I think Soto is going to be the first $500 million player, but it won't surprise me if Shohei gets close. I mean, he is an elite pitcher and an elite hitter. He's two and one.
I don't know. Great for baseball. He is. He is awesome.
And I don't know how he doesn't get $500 million. Uh, Elliot Johnson, I appreciate your time as always, sir. Uh, talk to you soon. Thanks, Adam. You got it.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-22 11:49:53 / 2023-01-22 11:56:13 / 6