Bobby V wants technology for balls and strikes

Bobby V wants technology for balls and strikes

Bobby V wants technology for balls and strikes
MIAMI -- Though he's been around baseball his whole life, it was while serving as an analyst for ESPN during the Little League World Series that Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine came to the revelation that technology needs to be implemented for balls and strikes.

Valentine was talking about virtually every level of baseball, because he simply doesn't think pitchers or hitters should be victimized by arbitrary calls or human errors.

The strike zone is what it is, in Valentine's mind, and should be called as such.

"When I did the Little League World Series, I thought it was the most criminal thing I ever saw," said Valentine. "I wanted to cry when a kid in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and his team down by one run was called out on a strike three on a pitch that was six inches outside. He couldn't reach it with his bat. I cried for him.

"And that kid is scarred for life playing our game by an injustice. And then someone says the most ridiculous words that I ever hear: 'But we like the human factor.' It was criminal that we allow our game to scar a young person like that, and then it continues on. I think in 2012 it should not be part of the process. I don't think it should be."

Valentine is just mystified that technology can't be put into place to leave the guessing out of it.

"I want a ball called a ball and a strike called a strike, and figure out how to do it," Valentine said. "Let the humans do it, somehow. That's what the game is. I don't care what anyone says. I could get fined for it every day of my life. It's my belief. Our game is not somebody else's strike zone. Our game is what the book says. That's how it should be played from Little League to Cooperstown, to make it fair, to make it right."

Valentine wanted to make it clear that he wasn't minimizing how hard it is to be an umpire.

"I think they're very well trained, and I think they're very good at what they do. I think it's almost impossible to do what they do, so why do we ask them to do the impossible?" Valentine said. "If in fact you can't see the ball the last five feet, and now pitchers are throwing pitches that are moving in that zone, cutting and splitting and moving in the zone, your eye can't see what's happening. Your lens doesn't snap that photograph and register in the time the ball is moving the last five feet. So if you can't see it, why are we asking them to call it? They can't see it. They're humans. We're asking humans to do a feat a human can't do."

How should the system be incorporated?

"I don't know how to do it. I know you can do it," Valentine said. "It's 2012. Maybe it should start in Little League. Start it so the kid doesn't go home crying and not want to play our game again because of this thing that happened, and it's happening thousands of times a day. I think it's a flaw. I'm not talking about what happened this weekend, or what's going to happen tonight. I know it's part of the game, but I say it shouldn't be.