Umpire Ryan Blakney wasted no time reminding everyone why more fans are calling for robot umpires during Saturday's Orioles vs. Royals game. Photo Credit: Bally Sports Kansas City. Photo Credit: Bally Sports Kansas City.

MLB umpires are often subjected to the second-guessing of fans, players, managers and announcers. In one of Saturday’s games, umpire Ryan Blakney wasted no time showing why.

Blakney was the home plate umpire for Saturday’s game at Kauffman Stadium between the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals. Baltimore Gunnar Henderson led off and took the first pitch of the game for strike one — or so it seemed. Blakney called the pitch from Kansas City’s Cole Ragans a ball.

“Fastball is right down the middle for ball one,” said Ryan Lefebvre, calling the game for the Royals on Bally Sports Kansas City.

“What?” analyst Rex Hudler said, laughing at the call. “My goodness. Not on pitch one.”

“What part of that pitch was not a strike?” Lefebvre said.

We can’t dispute Lefebvre or Hudler here. The pitch was not even on a corner or edge. It was right down the heart of the plate.

The good news for Ragans and the Royals was that the missed first call was largely inconsequential. Ragans struck Henderson out, anyway. That said, the remaining pitches in the at-bat added to the confusion. All three of the strikes Ragans threw to Henderson were called strikes. The first pitch was significantly more in the zone than any of the pitches actually called strikes, and two of the three called strikes appeared to be balls.

The issues also continued for Blakney as the game progressed.

This was definitely not his night. And games like this will only make the calls for robot umpires — or at least a review system on balls and strikes — louder.

[Photo Credit: Bally Sports Kansas City]

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