Ralph Freso/Associated Press
Count Chicago Cubs utility man Ben Zobrist among those who are ready for electronic strike zones calling strikes and balls in Major League Baseball.
Umpire Mark Wegner punched Zobrist out on a pitch Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com said “looked decidedly low” to end Chicago’s 6-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday. Zobrist’s comments came after the controversial call.
“If we want to change something like that, we’re going to have an electronic strike zone because human beings are going to make mistakes,” Zobrist said, per Rogers. “Tough situation for that to happen, but he’s probably going to look at it and not be too happy with himself.”
While Chicago still lost the game by four runs, the call ended its late rally that inserted drama into the otherwise straightforward Diamondbacks’ victory. The Cubs had already pushed two runs across in the ninth with two out, and the tying run would have come to the plate had Zobrist reached base.
“That’s something the league is going to have to look at, when you start ending games and games turn on one pitch like that,” Zobrist continued. “It’s an unfortunate situation, and now that we have the technology, we should probably get it right.”
Zobrist’s manager, Joe Maddon, acknowledged nobody likely felt worse about the call than Wegner.
“I really know Mark knows he messed it up,” Maddon said. “I don’t think anyone feels worse than he does right now. It was a ball, obviously. I’m not going to sit here and rail on him. I think he’s a very good umpire.”
The frustrating ending for the Cubs came in a longer stretch of struggles that has seen them go a mere 3-7 in their last 10 games. The defending World Series champions are now tied atop the National League Central with the red-hot St. Louis Cardinals, who have won eight games in a row.
As for Zobrist, he is slashing just .221/.311/.356 and hasn’t parlayed his World Series MVP into a particularly impressive individual season.