Friday, 19 July, 2019

'Robot umpires' debut in independent Atlantic League

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Trackman system concludes whether the pitch is a ball or strike and then relays it to bluetooth earpiece being warn by the umpire.

The game between the Liberty Division and Freedom Division all-stars ended in a 3-3 tie.

Every affiliated minor league ballpark and every major league park is outfitted with the same Trackman technology, though it's mainly used to calculate advanced metrics such as spin rate, exit velocity and launch angle.

Strike zones are determined according to the average for players of that height unless there's already information on a player's particular strike zone if they've played in the majors at some point. During those periods, deBrauwere called balls and strikes as if it were a normal game.

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"If that was the one blunder", Terdoslavich said, "I didn't really hear any complaints from anyone". All this as human umpires themselves are becoming more accurate: A 2019 Boston University study estimated that home plate umpires made the proper ball-strike call 90.79 percent of the time in the 2018 season. In March, they announced the first set of rules, including the TrackMan radar system for calling balls and strikes, the ban of the shift and a three-batter minimum for pitchers.

Save for pronounced consternation over one pitch, a tailing fastball that rung up Lancaster Barnstormers designated hitter Joe Terdoslavich in the second inning, the digitally rendered strike zone was barely noticeable. The umpire does have the authority to change the call.

I'm assuming the impulse is to increase game "action" and to make up for the lack of non-homer hits in the game by allowing runners to reach base on plays that are more exciting than walks. "In fact, we're trying empower the umpire with technology". If MLB were to implement robotic strike zones, it would stratify itself not only by talent but also by content: There would be a marked, fundamental difference between the game played by Baldwin High School and its home state's professional team. A few seconds later - sometimes with a noticeable delay and an awkward hesitation - deBrauwere would announce the computer's call himself. "But it's not surprising that the computer is going to call these pitches".

MLB reportedly plans to test the Trackman software as part of a three-year partnership with the Atlantic League.

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