Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The pitch was so clearly not a strike – particularly not a strike three – that Albert Pujols, when he was called out, reacted like any future Hall of Famer or flustered 8-year-old would react.He dropped his bat.That’s just one of the beauties of baseball, a game that can still move grown men to behave like kids, Pujols in this case as thoroughly deflated as a third-grader being denied dessert.Back behind the Angels dugout, however, a monitor showing the team’s own home telecast confirmed that the pitch was a strike. Of course, a bat can’t be undropped any easier than an egg can be uncracked. So Pujols’ display went down as nothing more than the exaggerated response of a defeated hitter, a dropped bat being the opposite of a bat that’s flipped.The incident in the fifth inning Thursday at Angel Stadium — against the rival Dodgers and with the bases loaded, no less — only reaffirmed my belief that this would be a better game if technology rather than man determined balls and strikes.I mean, how could anyone argue against a judgment call being replaced by one that’s as certain as black and white? Why would anyone not want the consistency provided by multiple high-speed cameras and nanosecond-splitting software and computers precise enough to count the stitches on a spinning curveball?Seriously, how could anyone think the idea isn’t terrific?“The idea,” Angels reliever Joe Smith began, “is terrible.” Ah, OK.“When that happens,” Smith continued, “I’ll retire.”Sure, like anyone playing today, Smith can’t really be an outspoken advocate for technology replacing umpires because umpires, even with all their replay-exposed imperfections today, can still read.But he did seem genuinely mystified — not to mention miffed — at the notion of removing more of the human element from a sport famously built on the continued failure of even its greatest hitters.“Perfect game” should remain only a baseball term, it seems, and not a baseball directive.“When you take away controversy, you can take away people talking about the game,” Smith said. “Without controversy, what the heck are we going to talk about? There’s no need for the media anymore. You just canceled yourself out. You’re all fired.”Whoa, let’s not get too hasty here. It just seems to me that, when every telecast already is showing most pitches in relation to a superimposed strike zone anyway, why not take the next logical step?Even more, baseball already is using the Pitchf/x system — and has been for nearly 10 years — in scouting and player development and to evaluate umpires. Wouldn’t the natural progression now be to use it in real time?“If we go to the electronic strike zone, then get rid of the seventh-inning stretch, too,” Angels closer Huston Street said. “The umpires are part of the fabric of the game. Kids imitate umpires, right? It would be almost sacrilegious to me as a fan of the game.”Well, I know former big-leaguer Eric Byrnes is with me, which might not necessarily be a good thing. If you’ve ever seen the delightfully zany Byrnes and his semi-insane hair — it can look like a pile of hungry snakes — on TV, you know what I’m talking about.In recent years, Byrnes has preached about the need to take pitch-calling into a more enlightened age, one that doesn’t feel quite as Triassic as using small metal chain links to measure for first downs.Last season, Byrnes was part of an experiment in which the Pitchf/x system was employed to call balls and strikes during two games played in a Northern California independent league. By most accounts, the audition was a success.Here’s another way to think about this: If you were inventing baseball right now, wouldn’t you make use of all the technology available, particularly given the speed of the game? Tennis already is using cameras to catch things the eyes might miss.“Who wants everything to be perfect?” Street said. “We love imperfection. Imperfection is how you guys make your money, isn’t it? The front pages are full of stories about people being imperfect.”Hoping to find one concurring voice, I approached Angels starter Hector Santiago, a likeable and agreeable sort willing to talk about anything.But Santiago informed me baseball continues to struggle even sorting out the time between innings, a determination no less black and white than the giant digits counting down on a clock everyone in the stadium can see.He said he recently received a letter from the league office accusing him of multiple delay violations.“I remember the game,” Santiago said. “We had the seventh-inning stretch, somebody sang all these songs and I was done with my warm-up pitches and there were still 30 seconds left on the clock. The umpire said we had to wait. So I waited. Four days later, I got that letter.”All right, so maybe baseball isn’t quite ready to turn the balls and strikes over to the sort of robots that continue to invade our lives.Perhaps it’s best in this instance to keep embracing the old ways, the imperfect methods that brought us here.That seems to be what the players want, at least, even if those methods sometimes leave them acting like kids.