Apparently, Mike Schmidt is not a traditionalist. While some baseball purists are lamenting the increased use of instant replay this season, the former Phillies star is advocating that they take it a step further and replace the umpires with…force fields?
In an interview on The Fanatic 97.5, Schmidt weighed in on a few subjects, and one of them was ways in which the game can be sped up a bit:
I think the umpire at home plate should not call balls and strikes. I think they should have a force field over home plate and if the pitcher throws and the ball touches the force field a little bell goes off and it’s a strike. That would expand the strike zone to the point where the hitters would now have to swing the ball, which would shorten the game. The umpire needs to be at home plate for the safe and out calls at home plate and foul balls and fair balls and basically to run the game but we’re going to see at some time — my guess is within the next 10 years – that you’ll see the balls and strikes just like the line calls in tennis. You’d think it would be something very easy to do with what they can do electronically in our world today.
Schmidt might be a little aggressive with his timeframe. Baseball has been very resistant to change in the past, and this would probably be the biggest change in how the game is played since the designated hitter.
I’m also not sure how the technology would work. Isn’t the strike zone supposed to depend on the individual hitter? Would they need to re-calibrate the system for each batter? Somehow that doesn’t strike me as a speedy process.
While I don’t expect force fields to be introduced any time soon, I do find it interesting that one of baseball’s former greats is actually in favor of making a revolutionary change in the game. Perhaps this is a sign that baseball is becoming more receptive to technology and finding ways to adapt the game to an ever-changing world.
Or…maybe Mike Schmidt just likes talking about force fields?