|Monday, June 2
Updated: June 3, 6:14 PM ET
D-Backs' Schilling plans to appeal $15,000 fine
SAN DIEGO -- Curt Schilling has no regrets about destroying a camera used to evaluate umpires, even though he was fined about $15,000 for doing so.
The Arizona Diamondbacks ace smashed part of the Questec Umpire Evaluation System on May 24 during a home loss to the San Diego Padres and said umpires have told him they are changing their strike zones to match the machine.
Schilling said what he did was "immature," but he hasn't changed his mind about the Questec system.
"The process doesn't work," Schilling said. "Questec itself, the actual machines, I'm sure they work. But machines don't call the balls and strikes. The umpires do. The process by which this was integrated into Major League Baseball is horribly flawed."
The right-hander was punished Monday by Bob Watson, vice president of on-field operations in the commissioner's office.
"He was fined the cost of the camera, and then there was a fine imposed on the disciplinary side," Watson said.
The total penalty was about $15,000, according to three baseball officials who spoke on the condition they not be identified.
Schilling plans to appeal.
"The amount is not as relevant as the whole process behind coming to the amount," he said. "That's what I want to find out."
Questec is being used at 13 of the 30 major league ballparks this year. The World Umpires Association has filed a grievance, claiming the computer is inaccurate and its results change depending on the operator. Hearings are scheduled for July 7, 21, 22 and 31, according to Larry Gibson, a lawyer for the WUA.
Gibson said umpires complained about the operators of the system in Phoenix this year. He said a former Triple-A umpire ran the system during Arizona home games last season, but different people were operating Questec this year at Bank One Ballpark.
Last Tuesday, Sandy Alderson, executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner's office, said he thought Schilling wanted pitches that are balls to be called strikes.
"If that's what he wants, he should go to the rules committee. Otherwise, he should stop whining and go about his business," Alderson said.
"I don't want balls called strikes," Schilling said. "Do I like when the umpire calls a ball a strike? Absolutely, just like the hitter likes a strike being called a ball. Do I expect it? Absolutely not. I want it consistent. It's human beings. They're going to make mistakes. That's fine. I understand that. But I want consistency. The same things hitters want."
In a Feb. 14 letter to the WUA, baseball said umpires whose calls do not match Questec at least 90 percent of the time will be judged as not meeting standards.
Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly wasn't too sympathetic toward Schilling, but said Questec needs to be in all ballparks or none.
"He broke somebody else's equipment. In and of itself, that's a reason to get a fine. You can't just go around breaking equipment. I hate to say anything more about Questec or I'll get fined," Brenly said.
Brenly also said Schilling (4-3, 3.04 ERA) won't start Wednesday as scheduled, but is tentatively slated to go Friday against Cleveland. Schilling was hit twice on the right hand by comebackers in Friday night's win against San Diego and his hand is still swollen.
Rookie Chris Capuano (0-2, 10.13) will be recalled from Triple-A Tucson to start Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox.
In addition to Schilling, several others around the majors are upset about the Questec system.
"The Schilling camera issue, I think everybody wants to recede into the background so there can be better focus on the machine itself," said Gene Orza, the No. 2 official of the Players' Association.
"The issue of Questec is becoming an issue of growing concern to the players, if for no other reason than the umpires seem set upon, not so much as to the Questec system but with the rigidity that it is being applied to their work."
Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox and some of his pitchers
complained about the Questec system after a 10-4 loss to the New York Mets on Sunday night at Shea Stadium.
"I wish I was close to the machine, so I could break it," said reliever Ray King, who gave up a go-ahead single to Rey Sanchez. "The umps are more worried about the machine than calling the game."
Darren Holmes had even stronger comments after giving up a three-run homer to Jeromy Burnitz on a 3-1 pitch, capping New York's eight-run sixth inning.
"This system is one of the worst things that has happened in baseball. They are going to feel ramifications because of the system. It's a joke," Holmes said.