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Dodgers News: Kershaw Speaks On His Dislike of Robot Umpires Idea

“I hate it. I think it’s stupid.”

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The subject of robot umpires in Major League Baseball is more than here. Moreover – with each passing day – it seems like a controversial call moves the tectonic shift to this taking place in the game we know.

Now, Jayson Stark of The Athletic has a story which focuses on the fears of big leaguers if this change comes about. What’s more, Clayton Kershaw weighs in on his feelings on the matter; and he’s as candid as you would expect a veteran pitcher to be.

First off – Kershaw is like me – he’s a traditionalist. Therefore, Kershaw believes that the human element factor of error; is part of the game for better or worse. It sounds like the Dodgers’ veteran hurler doesn’t really believe baseball is considering this wholesale change to begin with.

“Come on,” the Dodgers’ ace says of the prospect of robot umps coming to a big-league park near him. “Is that really a possibility? They’re not really thinking about that. Are they?”

Indeed, baseball is considering it. Stark goes on to illustrate that baseball is testing out the ‘robot’ in the Atlantic League which each pitch being delivered. This includes warm-up pitches in between innings.

Given some more consideration on the matter, Kershaw weighed in again on why he doesn’t like the idea.

“It’s just going to change a lot of things, and I just don’t think that’s what we’re after.”

And I’m with the veteran on this. While I am only one man, I’ve been staunch since day one to anyone that will listen that this does not fix everything. In fact, it will bring about a new set of problems. Seemingly, Kershaw shares the same vision that I do. Clearly, it could be a Pandora’s box all of it’s own.

Finally, Kershaw weighs in on why it could be crushing to the sport in it’s own way.

“How would there not be more offense? If they shrink the box and there’s no give at all, it’s going to be crazy. There’ll be more walks. And then the walks are going to slow down the pace of play. And then the games will be longer. And then the pace of game is gone. So it’s, like, what do you want? You want a fast game with more offense but not too many walks? So I mean, that’s embarrassing, honestly.”

Without question, Kershaw is a smart baseball brain. If he has a problem with it, there’s probably a good reason for it. When it comes to baseball matters and rules, I wouldn’t go against Clayton Kershaw’s stance on too many issues.

So how do you feel about robot umpires entering the game of baseball? I am interested to hear how many of you are with it or against it? Why would it be a good idea, and why wouldn’t it be? Let us know in the comments below, and expect me to battle those of you that are for it!

Written by Clint Evans

Clint lives in Ohio, and played collegiate baseball. He loves the Dodgers due to his first memories of Chavez Ravine when he was nine years old. The voice of Vin Scully has been a staple in his life since he was a kid. No amount of baseball talk is ever enough, and he wishes the regular season was year round. He has written about baseball online since 2007.

18 Comments

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  1. If I were Kershaw, I would be more concerned about my next pitching opponent, this case the Toronto Blue Jays! How about cutting down on the homeruns You serve-up! Your post season results leave a lot to be desired! You are no Sandy Koufax, he won in the World Series even though I never saw the guy pitch. Hershisher won in the World Series.

    • Mosquito…. What are you talking about? Kershaw is the best pitcher of his generation. Don’t take my word for it thought, just ask any major league manager. There isn’t a team that would turn down the opportunity for him to play for then. As for his opinion, most everyone would value you it above yours. Sounds to me like you may be a Giant fan.

      • Yeah admitting the guy is a World Series choker must make you a Giants fan smh. Btw who cares if he’s the best of this era what good did it do us when it counted? And if you think they couldn’t make the playoffs without him when they have all of this talent then I guess they never belonged there in the first place. How many postseasons did it take the guy to finally not lose a PS Series for us? 4? Now that he’s FINALLY gotten past that he now chokes in the World Series. So how many World Series trips until he finally figures it out there? 2 more? If he was really the Koufax of this era he would’ve had at least one complete postseason of dominance. Stop making excuses for the guy just because you like him

    • Wow, you have your of opinion. I don’t know how far you go back in the game. I think there is no place in our great game for robots. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

      As far as Kershaw goes, he is without a doubt one of the greatest of this era or any era. To criticize him means a limited knowledge of baseball. He may not have a sterling playoff record, but without his great seasons the Dodgers may not have not have made the playoffs.

      • Lmao I knew someone would try to claim they couldn’t make the playoffs without him as if the loads of talent they have yearly isn’t enough. But hey, if they couldn’t make it without him even with that much talent then they never belonged

  2. Without a doubt I am for the robotic calls of balls and strikes. The ups make sooo many bad calls each game it’s just alarming (do you hear me C B Bucknor?). If baseball won’t do anything to police it’s ranks of really bad umps….they should go the robotic route. There are 6 or 7 umps that should be fired today. I hate seeing the outcomes being determined by incorrect calls. Getting it right is of paramount importance.

  3. When you observe the inconsistencies of the strike zone by the various umpires, sometime within the game; inning to inning, it is time to remove the human element and get the right call. Especially when we have the technology to do it. Kershaw benefits by being a veteran who often enjoys a generous strike zone while some rookie might not. Catchers who can “frame” the ball can make a ball seem like a strike (to the umpire). I’m a traditionalist and a Dodger fan since ‘59 and generally oppose tinkering with the game but this often arbitrary aspect of the game has to go. Level the playing field for all pitchers; veteran and rookie will have to make strikes which will make the game that much more exciting. Bring it on!

  4. I favor the robotic calls. I do not agree that there would be more walks or that it would slow down the game (there are as many strikes as balls called in error now). It would make it more fair to both the pitcher and the batter. Reduce the arguments…the game might even move faster.

    And, yes, I am a traditionalist, but if the game did not evolve, we would still be using the bats and balls of the 1800’s, get rid of those dumb batting helmets and elbow and foot protections and there would be more collisions/injuries at home plate.

    • I think he playing on the Commissioner’s infatuation with pace-of-play to lobby for the status quo.

  5. I’m very conflicted on this issue on minute I’m all for it the next I’m against it for obvious reasons, i can make the argument for or against either way, if it comes I’m fine with it, if it doesn’t I’m also fine with it, so all in all i guess it really doesnt matter, i think getting upset about the thought of it now is really silly as it’s years away from happening its barely being tested in the Atlantic coast league..tbh, idc either way, same for me when replay came about i didnt care either way.

  6. I believe that robotics will do what Kershaw says except if robots call balls and strikes based on the strike zone as defined by the rules. That is, letters to the knees and over the plate. Right now, most umpires don’t call strikes for anything above the waist. Most umpires are so bad at calling balls and strikes that are borderline that it’s a guessing game for hitters. Many umpires are inconsistent in their own strike zone and different umps have different strike zones. The inadequacy of umpires should not affect the outcome of the game. I believe the reason Kershaw doesn’t want robotic umps is that he’s doing great now and any change can disrupt that. And I’m a Dodger fan.

  7. The game of baseball ?? involves 18+ players, 2 managers, 4 umpires, and spectators averaging from approximately 10,000 per game to 46,000 per game, depending on the team, all playing their part in a particular stadium.
    Players make errors; that’s part of the game. Managers make bad moves (maybe analytic computers should make instantaneous perfect decisions for each situation ?); that’s part of the game. Any of the four umpires can make a mistake (are we going to mechanize all four of them?); that’s part of the game. And some teams are going to be energized more by the cheering of the spectators than others; and that is also part of the game. Some ballparks favor pitchers, and others hitters; and unless we dictate absolute conformity in the structure of every stadium, that too will be part of the game.
    Remove the human element and you remove the heart of the game.

  8. John Higelin- I’d really like to know if someone can find out the number of calls for a strike by umpires out side the strike zone versus missed calls that were in the box that should have been strikes.
    If more calls are outside the zone called wrong then Kershaw and may others benefit. If more missed on the inside of zone then pitchers suffer and hitters benefit. That’s were the real argument begins for robuts or no robuts in my opinion. I hate missed calls and understand why robuts sound better. But…really think about this. The Bumgardner’s and Sabbathia’s seem to rely on mostly throwing pitches out of the zone to be effective. Guys like Sherzer and Buehler and Verlanders have such velocity that even in the zone their effective. Most average guys or pitchers who’ve lost velocity have to nibble. Here’s my point. Kershaw’s really reinvented himself by not trying to have to throw strikes all the time but by walking a few more and staying on the edge even more so. In the old days he could throw it by folks and now he doesn’t challenge with the fastball very often. He needs the umps to give him the border line strikes and the ones that just miss. I’m thinking the fear that 85% of pitchers will have to be in the strike zone exactly to get the called strike will not give them any margin of error. More will miss their spots and more cookies dead center strikes will get pounded. Consequently most pitchers and ones who don’t have a real heater any more will suffer more. Think about it. I get why Kershaw is against it. I too was a pitcher.

  9. The Umpires are part of the game of baseball! My grandpa was an umpire in the old days, he stood 4’-10” and never backed down from a call!!! The Coy family were ball players in the 40’s and 50’s and barnstormed in Texas, except my Grandpa Tony Coy he loved to umpire! Now if you go to robot umpires how many kids will grow up to tell the old stories of their family and the great American game of baseball!

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