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Robot Umpires Newsbeat

Monday, October 28, 2019

WaPo: Robo Ump Test Drive

The Blue Crabs let me test out the system before “Fourth of July Do-Over Night” on Aug. 3, about a month before the end of the Atlantic League regular season. Left-hander Tommy Thorpe threw a bullpen to Josh McAdams while I crouched behind the plate wearing an earpiece but no protective gear.

It was me, a former youth baseball catcher and Little League umpire, going head to head with ABS, the RADAR-enabled software that’s the basis for most advanced statistics in Major League Baseball, like exit velocity, launch angle and spin rate. It’s also used to grade umpires.

Bote Man Posted: October 28, 2019 at 04:49 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: robot umpires, umpiring

Friday, October 25, 2019

MLB’s top prospects deal with good, bad of ‘robot’ umpires

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — First baseman Ali Sanchez was standing in the on-deck circle so he had a great vantage point of the two-strike breaking ball to Jacob Heyward. It finished so low that by the time it reached the catcher it nearly bounced in the dirt.

Sanchez — like everybody else who was watching this game on a Tuesday night in the Arizona Fall League — had an immediate mental reaction.

“That’s a ball,” Sanchez said.

Not so fast in the brave new world of “robot” umpires.

Next, the robot umpires shall be eating old people’s medicine for fuel.

 

QLE Posted: October 25, 2019 at 01:02 AM | 75 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects, robot umpires, robots are made of metal, robots are strong

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Watch Giants prospect Jacob Heyward get ejected on call by robot umpire

Getting angry toward an umpire is synonymous with baseball. And during the Arizona Fall League, it’s no different ... even if you’re arguing with technology.

During Tuesday’s Scorpions-Rafters’ game, Giants outfield prospect Jacob Heyward was ejected after striking out on a call made by a robot umpire:

If you scroll to the next photo of the Instagram post, Gameday shows it was indeed a strike.

Who was he yelling at if he was unsatisfied with the call? It appeared he says his displeasure wasn’t with the home plate umpire who was simply relaying the call, but he got ejected nonetheless.

And now the war against the robot umpires begins….

 

 


Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Schmidt: Computer strike zone good, but check your hearing

A hot topic all year has been the idea of computerizing the strike zone, the rise of the robot umpires. It’s drawn even more attention here in October — we’ve already seen a perfect example of a missed call when Marcell Ozuna was rung up in the ninth inning of Game 3 between the Cardinals and Braves.

It was obvious, according to the box on the TV screen, that the pitch was clearly inside. It was a pivotal call that could have altered the outcome.

Should the computer zone be perfected, that would never be the case.

It would change the game for the good, it would continue the effort to eliminate human deficiency. We have replay everywhere else in the game, like it or not, replay gets the call right.

In which Mike Schmidt takes a cue from tennis.

QLE Posted: October 09, 2019 at 12:56 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: mike schmidt, robot umpires, strike zone

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Postgame: Royals’ starter ejected, said umpire “was after me personally”

  Royals pitcher Mike Montgomery was ejected for arguing about balls and strikes on Friday, crew chief Sam Holbrook said. But Montgomery would take exception to that — it wasn’t the calls that made him mad, it was home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez’s intent.

  “I felt like he was after me personally, and the team,” Montgomery said after a fifth-inning argument with Gonzalez wound up costing him his first career ejection. “He had a bad day. What really just [made me mad] was, he was intentionally trying to screw me over.”

  Montgomery, a five-year veteran who was traded from the Cubs to Kansas City in July, had been complaining about Gonzalez’s strike zone for much of the game, but it boiled over when Mitch Garver led off the fifth inning with a home run. Gonzalez called a couple of low curveballs that might have nicked the strike zone balls, and Garver eventually worked the count to 3-2 by fouling off a fastball. He was was lying in wait for the next one.

  “He threw me a fastball, and I was extremely late. I think that kind of played into my hand,” Garver said. “So then I was sitting dead red, right down the middle, and got it.”

So, if we do go to robot umpires, how long before the pitchers start getting paranoid about them too?

 

QLE Posted: September 21, 2019 at 12:07 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: mike montgomery, robot umpires, strike zone, umpires

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Buster Posey explains why robot umps could call more balls than strike

Robot umps.

Weird thought, right?

But it’s something being implemented and tested in the baseball world. The independent Atlantic League was the first victim to test the newest technology that includes a real-life umpire still manning his or her duties behind the plate while they wear an earpiece connected to an iPhone. That person would then relay the call from the TrackMan computer system that uses Doppler radar.

That’s at least how plate umpire Brian deBrauwere executed it back in July as he described it to ESPN. And Giants catcher Buster Posey isn’t too sure about this new technology, specifically if these robot umps would call more balls or strikes.

Worse still, they could all end up under the control of Dick Jones, and wind up doing his nefarious bidding.

 


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….

 


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Baseball’s ‘robot umpires’ are here. And you might not even notice the difference.

The Atlantic League, an independent circuit with seven teams on the East Coast and one in Texas, will become the first American professional baseball league to let a computer call balls and strikes at its All-Star Game on Wednesday night in York, Pa.

“It’s amazing how good these robots look. They look just like the actual umpires,” league president Rick White joked in a phone interview. “I think once people actually see this happening, they’re going to realize it’s not that big a deal.”

League officials have quietly tested software, created by sports data firm Trackman and provided by Major League Baseball, for weeks during real games in New Britain, Conn., and Bridgewater, N.J. For a few innings or an entire game, umpires have heard “ball,” “strike” or “did not track” through the earpiece, then conveyed Trackman’s call, only overturning the software on a technical glitch. Home plate umpires continue to rule on check swings, foul tips, catcher’s interference and plays at the plate. (While the program has been provisionally tested, with managers being informed before the game when Trackman would be used, Wednesday’s All-Star Game begins the league’s formal rollout.)

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 10, 2019 at 10:23 AM | 109 comment(s)
  Beats: robot umpires

 

 

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