One day after criticizing the umpiring crew that called the weekend series at Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine took issue with the entire system of umpiring.
"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 eyes can't see what's happening. 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."
Valentine said he didn't take issue with umpires as often early in his managerial career. If anything, he said his problems with umpires developed when he was broadcasting the Little League World Series for ESPN and saw the reaction of children after bad calls.
But Valentine also didn't offer a solution to the situation. He hinted at the possible implementation of technology to help umpires make proper judgments.
"I know it's part of the game, but I say it shouldn't be," he said before the Red Sox's 4-1 loss at Miami, Boston's fourth consecutive defeat. "I want a ball called a ball and a strike called a strike. That's what the game is. It's not (late umpire) Eric Gregg's strike zone. It's not what our 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.
"I don't know how the Internet works. How about a fax? If they can do that, they can figure out how to call a strike and a ball. Are you kidding me? That isn't tough. It's whether or not they want to do it. I think everyone agrees that getting it right is what we want. This comment about them not being perfect, that's cool. Let's get a perfect system."
Valentine expects to be fined by Major League Baseball for saying the umpires had a "real bad series" last weekend when the Red Sox were swept by the Washington Nationals.
"I probably will, right?" Valentine said. "Doesn't everybody love that when that happens? When they fine you and take your money and reprimand you as though I did something wrong? It's a great system. I love it."