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Eye Robot? Be careful what you wish for with electronic strike zones

Joe Maddon and Anthony Rizzo argue balls and strikes with ump Angel Hernandez earlier this month.

Robot umpires? Several Cubs players over the last two seasons have advocated for it, and the mere suggestion got one of them ejected from Tuesday’s game against the Brewers.

Two innings after arguing a called third strike, Ben Zobrist told ump Phil Cuzzi he should look at the video and “make an adjustment.”

“He didn’t really want to talk about that,” Zobrist said. “I said, ‘That’s why we want an electronic strike zone.’ And that’s what got me tossed.”

But is that really the answer or a case of “be careful what you wish for”?

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he was in favor of the radical officiating change until a recent conversation with a veteran umpire he wouldn’t identify.

“I was convinced by him that pitches that appear to be balls could be called strikes with that kind of technology. That’s even more troublesome,” Maddon said. “There’s going to be some disconnect where something from the side that looks like an absolute ball becomes a strike. … I think there’d be even more arguments.


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“I think [the answer] is a continual process from MLB regarding umpire training,” he added. “No different than what we do with our players: practice.”

Did somebody say arguments?

Maddon on Wednesday said when he got ejected in defense of renowned nice guy Zobrist on Tuesday, it had nothing to do with arguing — over balls and strikes or anything else.

“There was no anger involved,” he said. “My biggest point was, ‘Do you realize Ben Zobrist is arguing with you right now?’ I mean, that’s got to be a bad feeling.”

Quick move

The Cubs acquired speedy minor-league outfielder Terrance Gore from the Royals on Wednesday for cash.

In 49 big-league games over the last four years, Gore is hitless in 14 plate appearances but has 21 steals. He was on the Royals’ postseason rosters in 2014 and ’15.

Gore was assigned to Class AAA Iowa.