SAN FRANCISCO -- If you had to pick one Giants pitcher and one Giants hitter who might become advocates for robot umpires, Madison Bumgarner and Brandon Belt would seem to be likely choices.
Bumgarner has had his share of notable disagreements in the past, and hardly a start goes by where he doesn't throw his hands up in exasperation or have a quiet discussion with an umpire after an inning where he disagreed with a call or two. Belt was thrown out of a game last week for arguing a called third strike and often is left disappointed by inconsistent zones.
"I like having the umpires there," he said. "I like having that human element even though it doesn't work out in my favor sometimes. I think it's part of the game and it's not a part of the game that I really want to see changed."
Belt was tossed last week after a second blown call in three innings by Ryan Additon, a Triple-A umpire who was filling in at the big league level. Additon is a young umpire who hasn't managed many games at the big league level, but even in spring training some players were left shaking their heads at his zone. Belt has said repeatedly he just wants umpires to be held to a high standard.
So far this year, that hasn't always been the case:
Brandon Belt has now been called out on strikes 6 times... or 8% of his PAs (MLB avg is 6%)— Ahmed Fareed (@FareedNBCS) April 19, 2019
Here are those called 3rd strikes
The #SFGiants hitters have problems. This is not one of them pic.twitter.com/90SjfUzW7h
"I want these guys to be here," Belt said of umpires. "I think the big leagues are awesome and I want more people to experience it."
Belt was the guest on the 100th episode of The Giants Insider Podcast and spoke passionately about how he handles the strike zone, along with his conversations with runners at first base, the time he went swimming in a dugout, his desire to have a secret bunker in his new house (seriously), and much more.