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Washington Nationals’ Davey Martinez is anti-Robot Umps... and it’s a shame

Say it ain’t so, Davey Martinez!!! #RobotUmpsNow!!

World Series - Washington Nationals v Houston Astros - Game Six Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Say it ain’t so, Davey! We got on board with the 1-0 Every Day thing even when it seemed like a trite aphorism for a 19-31 team. We may have even shed a tear or two or three with your “bumpy roads lead to beautiful places” line. But this, Mr. Martinez? Are you for real?

Before the start of the series opener with the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park last night, Davey Martinez told reporters that he’d prefer to have human umpires over robot umps.


It came up during his pregame Zoom call with reporters, one of whom wondered if the number of egregiously bad ball/strike calls this season was something those playing in games during this 60-game MLB campaign noticed or acknowledged.

Washington Nationals v Baltimore Orioles Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Martinez, as per usual, initially declined to criticize the job major league umpires do, but then he wandered into questionable territory, opinion-wise.

“I say this all the time, I truly believe that they are out there doing the best they can,” the third-year manager said.

“I’ll never criticize an umpire ever. They’re a huge part of this game. If you ask me right now, I’d rather see an umpire behind the plate than some kind of electronical system. So, for what it’s worth, I haven’t gotten thrown out, which is good. But yeah, I tell the players, hey, they’re going to miss them every now and then, just keep playing the game, don’t let them take your at bat way, and try to work through it and try to work a good at bat. But they have their good days, they have their bad days, just like everybody else.”

Martinez rarely criticizes umpires in the media, though he has on occasion, and he’s shared his thoughts with more than a few men in blue over the years (see: World Series Game 6).

World Series - Washington Nationals v Houston Astros - Game Six Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

So, maybe he’s trying to curry favor, right? Or at least avoid engendering any ill-will with the umps? Nope, he really doesn’t like the idea of robot umps.

“From what I’ve seen from the electronic thing,” Martinez explained, “I think it’s going to be an unbelievable adjustment for hitters, I really do. I mean, it’s the strike zone from what I’ve seen previously, it’s large.

“The top of the zone is the top of the zone and the bottom is past your — almost to your ankle, that varies, so it’s going to be — I’d rather see the umpires up there and call the game the way they deem they call it. What’s good about us is we get so much information on them too on where their hot spots are, where their cold spots are, so we can dictate before the game — this is this umpire and this is what he likes to call and what he doesn’t call, and it helps our pitchers out.”

So, can’t they come up with scouting reports on robot umps too? Maybe he just thinks that he won’t be able to argue with robot umps? Or kick dirt on home plate and anger an ump?

Washington Nationals v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Whatever his game is here, this might be a deal-breaker for us? We’re going to have to start thinking seriously about what to do with that option in his contract for 2021 (we are talking about $1.2M for someone who’s anti-robot umps). What does he think about that?

“Honestly, I have not thought about it, I really haven’t,” Martinez said recently, responding to a real question about his contract status and not the silliness we’re joking about here.

“I’ve been so focused on what we’re trying to do here, on a shortened period of time, that I don’t even think about it.”

“I don’t think about that stuff. I really believe that that stuff will take care of itself in due time, so we’ll just keep plugging away here and hopefully win tonight.”

He’s unflappable! But totally wrong about Robot Umps... Maybe Josh Harrison can talk some sense into his manager. Josh? Robot umps?

“I haven’t really spoke on it, but I would like to see them stay,” Harrison said after last night’s game.

“That’s part of the game, human element, human error, that’s what makes this game special.

“It’s what they got replay and stuff for, granted we can’t replay strikes and balls, but at the same time, I think it would be weird if we didn’t have any umpires, we might as well play a video game.”

Yeah, thanks, Josh. This team, man. #RobotUmps forever!