For Curt Schilling, it's a matter of professionalism.
The Arizona Diamondbacks' right-hander says the QuesTec Umpire Information System is poorly implemented by Major League Baseball and undermines his ability to do his job. Simple as that. And he can give dozens of explanations -- some simple, some complex -- for why the machine has caused such havoc.
In an interview with ESPN The Magazine, Schilling didn't just answer questions about QuesTec. He gave a series of dissertations on topics ranging from the device's accuracy to his thoughts on its implementation to monitor major-league games. Sometimes, it's just better to turn on the tape recorder and let a guy talk. Here's his take on a variety of topics:
On why so many players are upset with QuesTec:
"It's not just the players, it's the umpires too, for different reasons. I can't speak for all the players, but as a major-league pitcher, I know that there is a mechanical device that is affecting the outcome of baseball games, and not in a consistent way. It affects how I do my job, it affects the outcome of my job. I'm paid to win ballgames, and this is having a direct bearing on how that happens."
On MLB VP Sandy Alderson's defense of QuesTec's accuracy:
"It's not working, I don't care what Sandy Alderson says. He never pitched in the big leagues; he doesn't understand what it means to pitch in the big leagues. He doesn't understand what it's like to be a pitcher with command and control and relying on consistency from umpires and not getting it because of the machine.
"And I know it's all gonna sound like sour grapes. I'm not whining, I'm pissed. Because it doesn't work, and he continues to put out numbers, the macro numbers or the global numbers, which are, to me, meaningless, over the course of a 120-pitch game.
"Every time you use data for research in such large volumes, the numbers are going to average out. That's not the point here. He has no concept of the fact that every single pitch in the game matters. To me the difference between going 1-0 and 0-1, and 2-1 and 1-2, are enormous. And this machine affects those situations, and not in a positive way.
On Alderson's personal criticisms of Schilling after his camera thrashing:
"He called me a whiner. He said it's just all about Curt Schilling wanting pitches that are balls called strikes. That's absolutely false, and that's ignorance on his part.
"The story is: I prepare to pitch. I put together a game plan. I understand umpires, I try to understand an umpire's strike zone.
"Do I want them all to be the same? Sure. Do I expect it? Absolutely not. They're human, OK?
"But it would be ludicrous to think that someone who prepares to pitch a game would put a game plan together saying, 'OK, I need this pitch to be called a ball to get this guy out. It's a ball here, but I need it called a strike.'
"I want the pitches that are strikes consistently called strikes. That's all. I don't need a ball two inches off the corner to be called a strike. Do I like it when it happens? Sure. Do I expect it? Absolutely not. That's the point.
"It's about consistency, and this device has made umpires incredibly inconsistent, and it's a shame that all the furor over the initial problems has started to die down a little bit. Because they just want it to kind of fade away. They don't want any more attention paid to it, because it doesn't work."
On how QuesTec affects umpires' calls, their selection for postseason assignments, and his pitching:
"I make my outs on the corners of the plate. And the corners of the plate no longer exist where they used to.
"A lot of people don't know this: (In the QuesTec machine grade), there's a two-inch gray area outside the plate. Regardless of the call in that two inches, it's acceptable (to the machine).
"Human nature's gonna tell me, 'Listen, if I call all those pitches balls, I can never ever make a mistake on the corners. If I call one a strike and it's a little off, I'm screwed.'
"You gotta understand how that magnifies itself. There's only 10 ballparks equipped with QuesTec. So at most, (the umpires) get six to 10 games a year in a QuesTec park. If you umpire behind the plate 40-some times, and 25 percent of your games behind the plate are used to make a postseason evaluation, how much more important do those games become, considering the amount of money at stake for these guys in the postseason?"
On his mindset when he thrashed the camera:
"I'm not going to talk about that. It's not something I'm proud of. I'm a father with four kids, and that's not how you resolve situations. I'm not happy and I'm not proud that I did it. I was frustrated, I was upset. In the heat of battle you do and say things sometimes that you wish you hadn't. That's one of them.
"My point was, and what I said the day before at a game, was, 'This thing better not have an affect on the game at all.'
"And I went out there and I felt good early in the game, and I was throwing the way I wanted to, but the game was coming out differently than I thought it should have, as far as balls and strikes."
On the latest revelations about the company and its founder, Ed Plumacher:
"What goes through my head is the stuff that I've heard regarding how QuesTec got into Major League Baseball. Basically, they sold a bill of goods to someone. QuesTec got into Major League Baseball sight unseen, on the word of the owner. Well now I hear that the owner's word is, well, it's not legit. (See related story.) Which concerns me more.
"Here's the thing. People laugh at this story, but to me there's nothing funny about this. I get paid to pitch in the big leagues. It's not a game to me. I get paid an extraordinary amount of money, an extraordinary amount of money to win ballgames. And to find out that stuff like this is having a direct effect on the outcome of what I do for a living is troubling, to say the least.
"In light of everything that Major League Baseball has done in the last 10 years, it doesn't surprise me. It's unfortunate that business is run in such a slipshod manner, that players' important decisions are handled haphazardly.
"The Expos. You need to look no further than that whole fiasco, and the horrible message that sends. Obviously, they don't care. They don't care a whole lot. It's a bunch of good buddies, a bunch of rich guys that are good buddies, and they take care of each other, and the game suffers."
Luke Cyphers is a senior editor for ESPN The Magazine