|Sunday, July 21
Updated: July 22, 12:26 PM ET
Questec claims umps 'support' system
NEW YORK -- Major league baseball umpires demanded that the company manufacturing equipment used to evaluate them remove a reference saying umps support the system.
In a telephone conference call Sunday, 45 major league umps told the officers of their union, the World Umpires Association, to made the demand on Questec Inc.
A screen on the company's Web site says of umpires and the system: "In general they support it!''
"We wouldn't dare say everyone loves it at this point but, from what we have seen, the umpiring community as a whole agrees this information has a lot of potential value and they want to work with it to see what can be learned.''
The WUA filed a grievance against owners Friday over the system, and union lawyer Larry Gibson said umpires think it cannot properly evaluate pitches, especially breaking balls.
"The technology has never been adequately explained to umpires or our legal and technical consultants,'' umpires John Hirschbeck, Joe Brinkman and Tim Welke said in a letter to the company they released Sunday. "Questec Inc. has not answered questions from the WUA, and the office of the commissioner of baseball has refused to provide requested information, which refusal led to the WUA's latest grievance. ...
"Even if the Questec system were more accurate, there remain legitimate questions as to whether this device belongs in major league baseball. Like last year's 'pitch count' gimmick, Questec interjects an extraneous element into the game and pressures umpires to compete with the machine, rather than giving their full attention to calling the game as they see it unfold before them.''
After the WUA filed a grievance last year, baseball officials stopped using pitch counts as an evaluation tool.
Questec did not return a telephone message left Sunday at its office in Deer Park, N.Y.