By now everyone should have seen Joey Votto’s blow up on the umpire last night (9/9)…
If you watched the whole game, like I did, you knew his fuse was about to burst. This brought a couple of old conversations I’ve had with one of my buddies and something that the MLB could implement if they wanted.
A buddy of mine and I were talking on the way up to a Minor League Baseball game to watch a good friend of ours and the topic of whether or not the MLB should start using technology for balls and strikes behind the dish. Like most things I say and do I speak before I actually think about it, so I was all for it but when I actually started to think about it I thought it was a terrible idea. I’m a catcher and I have always been behind the dish. One of my favorite things to do as a catcher was frame a pitch to get a called strike three and sometimes there is no better feeling than sticking that pitch that is border line and getting the call. Your pitchers appreciate it and you drive hitters crazy.
The MLB has the technology to implement it, but then again, what would be made of good receiving catchers? As of this year Fransisco Cervelli has gotten the most strike calls in all of MLB at 184+ calls.
If this were to actually happen and the umpires would have some type of way to get the call immediately then it would take away the appreciation of a solid receiving catcher. Yadier Molina would still get the praise because he has an absolute hose and has a pop of like a 1.7, 1.8 or whatever, but other good receiving catchers wouldn’t get the praise. It is amazing to watch some of these catchers get balls called for strikes with how well they are able to receive, stick and frame a pitch. Other catchers to note are Buster Posey, Yasmani Grandal and Tyler Flowers. Although most of these catchers have some great starting rotations it is comforting knowing that your catcher is going to get you just below 2 calls again. That is just how well most of the Umpires do calling balls and strikes. The top 4 also are catching Kershaw, Greinke, Cole, Liriano, Burnett, Bumgarner, Cain, Samardzija, and Sale. Of course there are probably other pitchers on their staff that are very easy to catch but these were off the top of my head.
The technology is there to do this but I personally don’t think it’s worth it. You will take away a part of the game and catchers won’t have to be as good of framers any more. Calling balls and strikes isn’t easy and there are plenty of border line pitches that aren’t made correctly, but that’s what a good receiving/framing catcher will do for their pitchers.