In a world where more and more workers are afraid that automation will take our jobs, “Major League Baseball umpire” stands as a sign that in some lines of work, our new robot overlords can’t come soon enough.
We already have a robot system that’s better at calling consistent, fair balls and strikes, and every television broadcaster uses it to show the fans the speed and trajectory of every pitch thrown by every team in every game. To suggest that such a system would do a better job than the home plate umpire has been proven time and time again.
But there are plenty of other ways an umpire can screw up, and during the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ 16-2 blowout win over the Philadelphia Phillies Monday night, home plate umpire Doug Eddings made a mistake so egregious that even the batter came to the opposing pitcher’s defense, which has to be a first in MLB history.
Pitcher Yacksel Rios was getting shelled like a bag of peanuts in the eighth inning, giving up two doubles and a homer to plate three runs in a game that went from way behind to catastrophically behind as the Dodgers’ lead grew from 9-1 to 12-1 in the eighth.
Umpire Eddings was concerned that Rios would lose his composure, so when a slider got away from him and plunked the Dodgers’ Justin Turner in the knee, Eddings immediately tossed Rios from the game.
And that’s when a phalanx of five Phillies argued with Eddings for the call — and found themselves joined in their dissent by none other than Turner himself, who gave Eddings an earful on his opponent’s behalf before making his way to take first base.
Eddings has something of a reputation, his calls during the 2005 American League Championship Series still a sore subject among Los Angeles Angels fans.
Many observers were quick to pounce on his performance Monday night.
When the batter is telling you that the pitcher didn’t hit him on purpose, I think that should be your sign, Doug Eddings.
Agree with Nick here. https://t.co/RVdRuGrtVB
— Dillon Atkinson (@DillonTAtkinson) July 16, 2019
This goes directly back to David Ross’ comment earlier that Doug Eddings has an ego. The players know it. The fans know it. @MLB and @mlbua you need to fix this! Fans pay to watch the players, not the umpires. FIX IT!
— Tim Hogan (@hokiedad55) July 16, 2019
Suspend Doug Eddings, who has always been bad, for the rest of the season.
Seriously, MLB needs to lock out the umpires and keep them locked out forever until they agree to some major changes regarding accountability. This is garbage, and it’s getting worse. https://t.co/VdId860b6S
— Alligator Bob from Niles (@thejd44) July 16, 2019
Even former New York Mets GM Steve Phillips chimed in.
OMG. Home Plate umpire Doug Eddings just ejected #Phillies pitcher Yacksel Rios for hitting #Dodgers 3B Justin Turner with a breaking ball. Turner started appealing on behalf of Rios that he shouldn’t be ejected. Every time I think I have I seen it all…Baseball Happens!
— Steve Phillips (@StevePhillipsGM) July 16, 2019
Oh, and that mention of PitchF/x above and how there’s an example every night? Here are at least two from Eddings — in the same plate appearance. Phillies starter Zach Eflin was pitching.
The only reason Eflin is even near his K prop is Doug Eddings pic.twitter.com/btm2lkrp6F
— Kevin Adams (@MagicSportsGuy) July 16, 2019
Bring on the robots.
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