And it’s not just saying “robot umps now,” no matter how satisfying that is. Writing over at Murray Chass’s blog, the former Commissioner of Baseball Fay Vincent says that MLB needs to take total control of umpiring:
- MLB should buy the umpire schools and take over the training and development of all umpires in professional baseball. The recruitment, training and compensation of minor league and major league umpires should be controlled by the commissioner and modern personnel programs instituted to insure proper professional development.
- Minor league umpires as employees of MLB should be offered the opportunity to become members of the same union as major league umpires to insure all of them are properly represented and protected by Federal law.
- The use of technology to improve the accuracy of on field decisions should continue to be explored with the full involvement of the umpires. Additional use of replays should be carefully adopted with careful attention to the risks of further delays in the games.
It’s probably shocking to some that Major League Baseball does not train the umpires, but it doesn’t. They hire them from the private umpire schools and these guys are largely on their own until they’re promoted to the bigs. Which probably has a lot more to do with their often adversarial relationship with the league and with players by the time they’ve got the MLB job.
Odds of anyone in MLB’s offices listening to Vincent? About zero, sadly. You tend not to take advice from people you deposed in a coup. But he’s right.