Wrigley Field, 9/2/14

There is, as always, so much about the Cubs to bemoan.

The more-miserable-than-ever performance the last few years, the hideous new LED signs that are taking over the field, the ridiculous prices, the idiotic argument that they need to revamp the most popular park in baseball (and block its unique rooftop viewing) in order to produce a better team.

I’m not going there.

They’ve finally brought up some exciting players from the minors, including outfielder Jorge Soler—a force both in the field and at bat—and last night, on one of the sweetest, most balmy evenings of the year, they took advantage of a few surprising errors by the Brewers early on and, with Jake Arrieta pitching, piled up a decisive lead. That was nice.

But then there was this interlude, in the bottom of the fourth:

Isnt this exciting? (Cubs vs Brewers)

After Cubs batter Chris Valaika was called safe in a close play at first base, the Brewers challenged the call. In a sport already notorious for its excruciating pauses, everything came to a stop. The umpires huddled and donned headphones, and players, crowd, and officials alike waited—frozen and nullified—while in a distant room far, far away (the MLB replay command center in New York) an unseen entity reviewed video of the play and decided Valaika was out.

I’m not bringing this up because the review went against the Cubs, who won the game 7 to 1. And not because it made a slow game even slower. The bigger issue is that it took control of the game out of the stadium and into the ether, removing the possibility of irrevocable human error.

No point, anymore, in yelling that the umpire on the field—the one who is right there and has to exercise split-second judgment—is blind.

And really, no point in the umpire. What’s next? A computer making flawless calls on balls and strikes?

Who will come out to watch that?

Like domed stadiums, which take the wild card of weather out of the game, this move to technologically aided umpire correction makes baseball more perfect. Also: more predictable, more sterile, and less interesting.