Jim Joyce doesn't think MLB needs robot umpires: 'It's a knee-jerk reaction'


Jim Joyce was a well-respected umpire during his 30-year career. He worked three World Series, four League Championship Series, and 10 Division Series. However, his infamous call during what should’ve been a perfect game by Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga is why many know his name.

That call could be overturned by video review nowadays, but that wasn’t the case back in 2010. Major League Baseball has instituted a lot of changes over the years, especially this season with the pitch clock. Robot umpires could be next.

Joyce gave his take on robot umpires while appearing on the Audacy Original Podcast “Baseball Isn’t Boring” this week.

“It’s not needed,” Joyce said of robot umpires (18:20 in player above). “I think it’s more of a knee-jerk reaction … trying to get the game to be perfect. I don’t see a need for it.”

Robot umpires have been tested in the minor leagues for a few years now, and the “Automated Ball-Strike System” could make its big-league debut as soon as next season. Joyce doesn’t see the need for it.

“My problem is that the average umpire only misses about four or five pitches per game,” Joyce continued. “I know that when I was working – my last year was 2016 –, the average at that time was six. It’s gone to four, I believe, this year or last year. If you’re only missing four pitches a game, then challenge the pitches. Make it a part of strategy during the game.”

The challenge system could be a good middle ground in the robot umpire debate. In theory, all of the ball-strike calls would then be perfect if the managers utilize their challenges properly.

Baseball has been evolving over the years but perhaps robot umpires may be taking it too far. Only time will tell.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images