Getty Images

Welcome to Snyder's Soapbox! Here I pontificate about a matter related to Major League Baseball on a weekly basis. Some of the topics will be pressing matters, some might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things and most will be somewhere in between. The good thing about this website is it's free and you are allowed to click away. If you stay, you'll get smarter, though, that's a money-back guarantee. Let's get to it.

Yes, yes, I'm aware of your strong (and incorrect) opinion: Major League Baseball umpires are atrocious!

After all, I saw that admittedly hilarious meme that has "Angel Hernandez, missed call" over and over as if they were phone calls. I've seen the constant and excessive complaining on social media about balls and strikes for years, including those umpire audit accounts, where they get graded on how imperfectly they called the strike zone. Now, we get a future Hall of Famer calling for an umpire relegation system

Of course, Max Scherzer also correctly said the large majority of umpires are "very good," but that'll be ignored by the masses who instead will focus on the juicy part. 

People just love to blame officials for the ills of their favorite teams in all sports. It's easy to see why. If the loss is someone else's fault, your team isn't held accountable. We love to dodge accountability, even with our sports teams. It all starts at the youth level and, boy, what a surprise -- please note the dripping sarcasm here -- that there's a massive shortage in umpires now from Little League on up through college. 

As sports fans grow more and more entitled, why be the official who has to deal with the abuse instead of just being that fan who gets to sit behind a computer and be part of the abusing? The cool thing to do is to post on social media about the worst umpiring I've ever seen!

Sometimes, the umpires make it too easy and that even happens at the highest level. Just last week, we had a nice example when Yankees manager Aaron Boone was ejected in the first inning. Home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt messed up and then doubled down after the game instead of owning up to the error. I agree with Boone that it was "embarrassing." 

This is to say that I'm not arguing umpires are perfect. They are human beings and make mistakes, too, but the MLB umpires are generally excellent. 

Be honest, how often do you watch a bang-bang call on the bases and think it was wrong, only to see the slow-motion replay and realize it was correct? It happens a lot. Like Scherzer said, most of them are great. 

Did you know the MLB rulebook is 192 pages? How often do you see the rules applied incorrectly at the major-league level? 

The main complaints these days are all about the strike zone, as we have replay to clean up the rare mistakes elsewhere. Thanks to the strike zone graphic we get to see on the screen during broadcasts, so many of us now expect the umpires to be perfect and kick and scream when they miss a pitch by a centimeter. The home-plate umpire has a 95-plus miles-per-hour pitch coming into the zone with movement and is expected to never miss anything? Be real, the human eye isn't made for that. These umpires are actually amazing at calling the zone with the naked eye. They don't get that little graphical box for their viewing pleasure. 

The umpires nowadays are actually exponentially better at calling the strike zone than in the past, too. 

We have data, such as this chart that shows how much more accurate balls/strikes calls are than in 2015. We could also go with the eye test from back to when the pitchers could throw the ball feet off the plate and still get strike calls. Yes, multiple feet is what my memory tells me. Watch some highlights of the '90s Braves' pitchers. We could also go with the most notorious example and check out Eric Gregg getting way too excited to call strikeouts for Liván Hernández. Here's one video with the strike zone box:

If you go back and watch that whole game, there are plenty of calls that would be considered horrific nowadays where the players didn't even argue. That's a tell-tale sign that they were used to balls about a foot off the plate being called strikes. Plus, you also see how often they swing at those pitches with two strikes because they know they need to protect. That stuff is all gone from today's game. It really is. Instead, we end up going nuts when a call is missed by one inch. 

I'm not averse to using the automated system (ABS) for calling balls and strikes and I've seen the challenge system work well in the minors, but good grief, people, we've got to stop freaking out on a human being for not calling the strike zone with 100% accuracy from behind home plate in real time. It's impossible for a human to pull this off with the stuff pitchers have these days. 

Look, the umpires don't need me to stand up for them. These are all tough individuals, otherwise they wouldn't have gotten to the majors as umpires. But I feel compelled to do it nonetheless, because I think the whining about the officiating has gotten completely out of control -- specifically with close balls/strikes calls. 

Take your sniveling elsewhere and just enjoy some baseball.