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Atlantic League Newsbeat

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Proposed Atlantic League mound distance change creates uncertainty for players and league

Garrett Granitz doesn’t buy into professional baseball’s velocity obsession. In fact, he occupies a niche created by it.

Instead of trying to blow fastballs by batters like many professional pitchers nowadays, Granitz, a Lancaster Barnstormers reliever this season, relies mostly on deception created by strong offspeed pitches and his unorthodox, submarine-style delivery.

So Granitz isn’t too worried about the idea of losing a few miles per hour off his fastball if the Atlantic League moves the pitching rubber back from 60.5 feet to 62.5 feet as part of an agreement with Major League Baseball.

The logistic aspects of the idea, though, cause more uncertainty.

A discussion of a rule change that no one is sure will ever be put into force.

 

QLE Posted: September 11, 2019 at 03:53 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: atlantic league, moving the rubber, rule changes

Friday, August 02, 2019

The Atlantic League is proving that change can be hard for baseball players

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — Immediately following the seventh inning of a game between the New Britain Bees and the hometown Long Island Ducks last week, there was a ceremony on the field at Bethpage Ballpark to induct the newest inanimate member of the Hall of Fame. Even if you were among the small crowd that came out to watch independent ball in person on a warm Thursday night, you might’ve missed it. The whole thing took less than a minute and 45 seconds because it had to — abbreviated time between innings is one of the handful of rule changes that Major League Baseball is piloting in the Atlantic League this season.

Ducks owner Frank Boulton slipped out of the stands to receive the earpiece that home plate umpire Fred DeJesus had been wearing all evening. A couple of pictures were snapped, and then Boulton returned to the stands as DeJesus donned a new earpiece so the game could go on.

From there, the earpiece would head to Cooperstown to commemorate the official league-wide rollout of the Automated Ball-Strike System (ABS) powered by TrackMan. Or, as everyone has taken to colloquially calling it, robot umps.

“It’s hard for me to put into words how momentous what we’re watching is ’cause it looks so ordinary,” Atlantic League commissioner Rick White said, watching the small ceremony play out from seats just behind the first-base dugout. “That looks like any pitch you’ve ever seen at any ballpark. When Freddie calls a strike, it looks like any strike call you’ve ever seen at any ballpark. But when I think about what’s gone into this, and the incredible amount of resource and time everyone has put into this, especially our umpires, it’s a hugely momentous thing.”

Interesting article, unfortunate title.

QLE Posted: August 02, 2019 at 01:24 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: atlantic league, change, players, robot umpires

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Robo umps continue this year in Atlantic League

The independent Atlantic League is so happy with “robot umpires” that it will continue using the system for the rest of the season, starting Thursday.

The league became the first American professional baseball league to let a computer call balls and strikes at its All-Star Game earlier this month. Plate umpire Brian deBrauwere wore an earpiece connected to an iPhone in his pocket and relayed the call upon receiving it from a TrackMan computer system that uses Doppler radar.

He crouched in his normal position behind the catcher and signaled balls and strikes.

“This is a landmark day for the Atlantic League and professional baseball,” Atlantic League president Rick White said in a statement. “After successfully unveiling the ABS (Automated Ball-Strike System) at our All-Star Game in York, Pa., and following positive feedback from managers, players, umpires and fans, we are eager to implement the consistent strike zone accuracy offered by ABS technology.”

Unfortunately, the joy in robo-umps was destroyed when it turned out that they were all under the control of a Dick Jones….

 


Saturday, May 18, 2019

Announcer lives everyone’s dream by providing epic call of own foul ball grab

We’ve all imagined that moment.

We’re at the ballpark, the batter swings and the baseball is launched in our direction. We’ve played that scenario over and over in our minds, and we’ve even added some imaginary commentary to help describe how great our inevitable catch would be good.

For Marc Schwartz, the play-by-play voice for the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League, this typical dream scenario became his reality earlier this week.

Schwartz was on the call when a foul ball came flying toward his broadcast booth. Without missing a beat, Schwartz caught the ball and provided live commentary of his play.

The sort of thing that, were it not for the recordings, we wouldn’t believe it.

 

QLE Posted: May 18, 2019 at 08:02 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, atlantic league, foul balls

Friday, March 29, 2019

Rob Manfred not too concerned with health of Atlantic League players

Rob Manfred was interviewed by Michael Kay at a public event yesterday and raised some eyebrows with several of his comments. Most of those were about labor and salaries and stuff and we may get to that later today. In the meantime, the most eyebrow-raising for me was his view on how cheaply he values the health of players in the independent leagues.

As you’re likely aware, Major League Baseball and the independent Atlantic League have entered into an agreement in which the Atlantic League will implement a number of rules changes which MLB is considering to see how they play out in real game situations. Basically, MLB is giving the Atlantic League some money in order to create a laboratory with the Atlantic League players as guinea pigs.

The most notable experiment will involve the pitchers’ mound. Specifically, the pitching rubber will be moved back two feet from 60’6″ to 62’6″. The idea: today’s high-velocity pitchers need a bit of a handicap, and perhaps doing this will cut down on strikeouts and increase offense. The concern, though, is that pitchers will try to compensate for this by trying to throw harder or by altering their pitching mechanics in order to change when and where balls break and slide and stuff. It may be an even bigger concern in the Atlantic League, where pitchers are already trying to work extra hard with, perhaps, lesser skills, in order to impress someone enough to get a contract in affiliated baseball.

Mind you, can we really be surprised by this news at all?

QLE Posted: March 29, 2019 at 08:52 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: atlantic league, manfred is thinking about it, rob manfred

 

 

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