Human error, a necessary factor of sports

Technology and sports should not mix

Jackson Bracknell, Editor-in-Chief

Every off-season seems to spark debate within the sports community; how can we increase the popularity of our sport? Major professional sports leagues implement new technologies for various reasons, primarily to fix officiating errors and grow their league’s fanbase.

If more technology is added to sports, primarily baseball and football, then the sports that Americans hold dear could be changed for the worse.

Leagues like the National Football League and Major League Baseball implement new technologies into their respective games in order to increase attendance, viewership, and profit.

For example, MLB has introduced a pitch clock on the backstop that gives pitchers 25 seconds in between pitches to deliver the ball. The goal was to increase the pace of the game, but most pitchers do not care and umpires ignore it, and it adds another unneeded obstruction to the game.

Another example is baseball’s Replay Review policy, in which a manager can challenge an umpire’s call or no call on the field. Then starts an often lengthy process of the crew chief calling New York for Replay Review officials to uphold or overturn the call. If baseball’s goal is to increase the speed of play, these Replay Reviews make viewers want to flip the channel and watch basketball or football.

In the 2019 NFC Championship Game, the New Orleans Saints lost to the Los Angeles Rams by a score. A controversial late-game pass interference no-call against the Saints resulted in poor field position for a field goal and a loss for New Orleans.

Public outrage ensued in the sports community, primarily from the Saint’s fan base. Calls for a rematch, replay reviews on judgment calls, and new officiating technologies were discussed.

Even the Commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, came out publicly and said that over the off-season, the league would discuss alternative options to make sure something like that never happens again.

These sports fans that support technology in officiating are terribly wrong, and obviously, were never athletes. Every athlete knows that there is no use in arguing with the umpire. They also learn that bad calls are a part of the game. Sometimes the calls go your way, sometimes they do not; it is part of the game. If more call overturns and reviews are allowed, then the pace of play will decrease and make the game boring.

As a catcher in baseball, we learn to respect the umpire, make conversation, and protect him. The relationship with umpires is an aspect of the game learned through many years of play and maturity; just like hitting power or pitch velocity it is a skill that, if mastered, will help the player and the team succeed.

The existence of officials and the fact that they can decide points, yards, games, and seasons for teams encourages moral and appropriate behavior from athletes and managers. If human officials are eliminated, then managers and players could basically act however they want for millions of children, who often idol them, to see.

Fines do not work either; what does a $50,000 fine mean to an athlete that makes millions a year?

Cutting edge technology rightfully should be implemented in some aspect of sports, such as equipment, safety, training, and sports medicine; however, technology has no place in the refereeing aspect, for it slows and ultimately ruins the sport.