Pirates third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes was displeased with a strike call on Sunday and his complaint was compounded by the response he got from the umpire. Hayes took to social media to point out what happened between him and home plate umpire Bill Miller in Pittsburgh's 5-2 loss to the Braves.
"Some umpires really don't care," Hayes posted. "No accountability. Bring the ABS please @MLB."
Some umpires really don’t care. 3-1 call not even close. I hold him accountable after the game walking off the field and his response is “🤷🏽♂️ I gave you a chance to hit a homerun” that tells me you don’t care at all. No accountability. Bring the ABS please @MLB pic.twitter.com/sgncakv8v8— KeBryan Hayes (@KeBryanHayes) September 10, 2023
The call was a pretty bad miss by Miller (you can see the video here). I'm not going to get worked up about the response Miller had, according to Hayes, as Miller wouldn't have had a chance to watch the replay on video and was probably just trying to use playfulness to break any tension, but the missed call was an issue for sure.
ABS is automated ball-strike system and it's essentially "robot" umpiring for balls and strikes only. It is used in the minors up through Triple-A these days, though Major League Baseball hasn't shown willingness to move things to the big-league level just yet.
It's certainly worth a discussion. Umpires are tasked with calling balls and strikes with their naked eyes and don't get that square/rectangle like television viewers do. When the pitches are coming upward of 100 miles per hour in addition to sick breaking stuff -- not to mention how good catchers are at framing these days -- it's incredibly difficult for any human being to perfectly call a strike zone. It's reasonable to believe that if we have the technology, we should use it to get the balls and strikes correct.
It appears Mr. Hayes is on board and he's probably not alone among MLB players, though he's among the first to be so vocal about it publicly.