Why MLB Hasn’t Equipped Umpires with PitchCom Like Carlos Correa Wants

Carlos Correa, Minnesota Twins
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball umpires have drawn the ire of fans and players alike forever. But with modern technology, the noise has gotten louder over the last handful of years. Carlos Correa isn’t a fan of how bad it has gotten, but he doesn’t necessarily want umpires replaced by robots either.

This all started last weekend when the Twins were playing the Cleveland Guardians in a critical early-season AL Central matchup. Behind the plate, umpire Roberto Ortiz was brutal and, according to the umpire scorecard on X, he cost them the game.

Minnesota Twins star Carlos Correa Proposes PitchCom for MLB umpires

Postgame, Rocco Baldelli was not happy. Neither were Twins players, including Carlos Correa. But unlike others, Correa used his time to suggest something that seemed rather productive. Something that could potentially improve umpiring sooner, rather than later.

How? By equipping them with the same technology (PitchCom) that the pitcher and catcher are using, so that they know what pitch is coming, allowing them to focus more on where each pitch crosses the plate.

“If umpires knew what was coming, it would be a lot easier for them to call balls and strikes instead of just trying to guess what way the ball is going to go. I think it’s a great idea and something we need to talk about with the league and the Players Association, because we want everybody to get the right calls. I think that would help big time.”

Carlos Correa on why it makes sense for MLB umpires to wear a PitchCom device

So why hasn’t the MLB given umpires PitchCom?

In Tyler Kepner’s article Friday, he talked with multiple Seattle Mariners pitchers about the idea of giving umpires a PitchCom device in order to help them better call balls and strikes. All three of them liked the idea.

So what’s stopping Major League Baseball from running with Carlos’ idea and equipping umps with PitchCom? They are worried they will tip pitches accidentally, based off how they change their crouch or setup differently before certain pitches.

According to an MLB official, who was granted anonymity to discuss internal planning, the league has explored the idea but decided against implementing it. The reason is precisely what Garver mentioned: The league does not want to create another situation that could tempt teams to relay signals to the batter.

Tyler Kepner (The Athletic)

Beyond the usage of PitchCom, it seems like the most logical transition for the game is to include the challenge system currently in use at the minor league level. With an immediate reaction to a pitch, the batter, catcher, or pitcher can lean on the ABS (automatic balls and strikes) system in an effort to make their case.

Related: Was Jhoan Duran Right to Call Out Minnesota Twins Coaches Over Blown Save?

This seems like a no brainer, especially before going with an entirely electronic strike zone, and commissioner Rob Manfred seems to agree. Don’t expect it in 2025, but if the sport cares about getting the calls right, then something has to change.

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