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Thursday, November 07, 2019

BA: Automated Strike Zone Whiffs At Arizona Fall League

By the end, two things were clear: Pitchers with arsenals geared toward working from the top to the bottom of the strike zone were at a stark advantage, and nobody—neither hitters nor pitchers—was happy with TrackMan…...“I mean, I can’t complain against it, because it’s the ‘perfect’ strike zone, but baseball has always had human error in it, good and bad. I feel like, if you take that away from the game it’s changing the whole game. I’ll adapt to anything whether it happens.”...With that in mind, a pitch gets called a strike when “any part of the ball passes through any part of the strike zone.” That last part is the key. If a small piece of the baseball passes through a small piece of the strike zone, that’s a “rulebook” strike. As seen in the AFL, calling a game strictly by the book makes it clear that the strike zone is far bigger than human umpires normally enforce.

the article suggests that the Trackman calls on high and low balls surprised both hitters and pitchers , but calls on pitches on the corners caused no controversy. That and there is a 4 second delay from computer call to human umpire call

Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 08:17 AM | 95 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: robo ump

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   1. The Duke Posted: November 07, 2019 at 08:48 AM (#5899324)
Presumably they can calibrate the tool to tighten up zone if they need to but having a bigger strike zone would certainly speed up games and likely reduce homers as players wild have to hit more defensively. I’m all for getting rid of home run derby, I much prefer more tactical games.
   2. PreservedFish Posted: November 07, 2019 at 08:53 AM (#5899326)
That and there is a 4 second delay from computer call to human umpire call


This is intolerable.
   3. spivey Posted: November 07, 2019 at 09:09 AM (#5899328)
I was at the AFL and there was a small delay but it wasn't that big of a deal. It didn't feel like any more of a delay than Joe West. They also had a pitch clock so the overall pace of play was way faster for the games I attended. Of course some of that is the shorter half-innings, batters were more aggressive. But just forcing hitters to stay in the box and putting a pitch clock on the pitchers I think more than made up for the extra time on the robo-ump.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 09:17 AM (#5899332)
That and there is a 4 second delay from computer call to human umpire call


This is intolerable.

You're not kidding. How many called pitches in a game? At least 200. That's an extra 13 minutes. Totally unworkable.
   5. Rally Posted: November 07, 2019 at 09:19 AM (#5899334)
I am surprised by a 4 second delay. Does it really take that long to do the calculations on what I assume is a high powered computer? Or is there some human element, like some guy watching the screen, seeing "strike" and having to relay this to the umpire?

The top to bottom thing should be obvious to everyone who watches the games on TV. The strike zone box that overlays the TV has the top of the zone closer to the belt of the hitter than to the letters, which are supposed to be a strike. I assume the TV crew does this because they know damn well that no umpire ever calls a pitch at the letters a strike. So we wind up with a high fastball guy like Verlander getting called strikes at about the bottom of the ribcage, and everyone pretends he is working the top of the strike zone.

This would not be a hard problem to solve if you want to automate the strike zone. Just define the top zone as 6 inches above the belt buckle, or something like that, and let the computer call it. The thing is, you have to make the moves in conjunction. Tell the human umpires that is the new strike zone and they are probably going to deem pitches at the belt buckle as too high.
   6. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 07, 2019 at 10:07 AM (#5899347)
There are two clips embedded in the article. Both of them have the called third strike being called two seconds after the ball hits the glove. There is more of a delay than human umpires, but of course everyone has to grossly inflate the number because CHANGE.

Guys are complaining about balls barely nicking the strike zone. That is a rulebook strike. I'd rather have those be strikes than the ump giving the pitcher six inches off the plate.
   7. PreservedFish Posted: November 07, 2019 at 10:13 AM (#5899353)
You're not kidding. How many called pitches in a game? At least 200. That's an extra 13 minutes. Totally unworkable.


Well, the number of borderline pitches is lower than that. There are a lot of obvious balls. I think it's more of a pace problem than a length problem. That 4 second pause would just suck.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: November 07, 2019 at 10:14 AM (#5899354)
Sounds like this could really benefit the guys with the old 12-6 curveball. I'm a fan.
   9. puck Posted: November 07, 2019 at 10:19 AM (#5899357)
That is a rulebook strike. I'd rather have those be strikes than the ump giving the pitcher six inches off the plate.

Or six inches off the plate one time, strike, over the edge of the plate, ball, etc.

You would think that over time players would adjust and would be better able to adjust to a consistent difference (diving curveball nicking the bottom of the zone now a consistent strike) more than human error.

Plus as mentioned by others above, they could also change the calibration of the robo ump.
   10. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: November 07, 2019 at 11:24 AM (#5899380)
4 seconds is in excess of what I've heard previously. If true, that'd be a deal breaker. I don't think that's true or an end-outcome though.
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 11:27 AM (#5899382)
4 seconds is in excess of what I've heard previously. If true, that'd be a deal breaker.

Seems odd. Four seconds is in Enrico Palazzo land.
   12. . Posted: November 07, 2019 at 11:40 AM (#5899391)
If you can't pitch to the rulebook strike, you have no business pitching in the major leagues. Full stop. The fact that the human umps have been biased against movement is an argument for robots, not against them.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 11:47 AM (#5899395)
The fact that the human umps have been biased against movement is an argument for robots, not against them.

Yes, but a four second delay is a deal-breaking argument against them.
   14. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 07, 2019 at 11:57 AM (#5899404)
I am surprised by a 4 second delay. Does it really take that long to do the calculations on what I assume is a high powered computer? Or is there some human element, like some guy watching the screen, seeing "strike" and having to relay this to the umpire?
There's a guy watching a screen in New York, and the ump has to call him.
   15. cookiedabookie Posted: November 07, 2019 at 12:28 PM (#5899424)
If robot strike calling is going to be a thing, they may have to shrink the strike zone a bit just to balance things out.
   16. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: November 07, 2019 at 12:30 PM (#5899426)
All these complaints are easily fixable. For example, if curves drop too much over the 17-inch depth of the plate, such that high curves catching the back of the zone are too high, and low curves catching the front are too low, it would be a simple matter to redefine the zone to be part of a 2-dimensional plane (e.g., at the front of the current plate or wherever) rather than a 3-d solid. That would bring curves more in line with fastballs (if that is truly a problem to be solved). Then, as others have suggested, redefining the height of the zone is a very simple matter as well.

Even if the 4-second delay exists as of today, which seems doubtful based on the above, it certainly won't exist forever, and will likely be much shorter within a year or two.

I have no doubt the zone can be made to relatively closely match whatever average standard zone is being called by human umps today. The only real gripes I've heard that make sense are from those people who for whatever reason prefer not to have a consistent zone. I don't agree with them, but at least their complaints are appropriate.
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 12:32 PM (#5899428)
Even if the 4-second delay exists as of today, which seems doubtful based on the above, it certainly won't exist forever, and will likely be much shorter within a year or two.

My fear is that the overwhelming desire to "get it right" among extremists, will lead to the delay being accepted as the price of 1% better calls, and that we'll even seea move towards review of controversial strike calls.
   18. . Posted: November 07, 2019 at 12:33 PM (#5899429)
it would be a simple matter to redefine the zone to be part of a 2-dimensional plane (e.g., at the front of the current plate or wherever)


That's the fix, and it's simple.

Even if the 4-second delay exists as of today, which seems doubtful based on the videos above


It smacks entirely of people talking their book.

   19. Lassus Posted: November 07, 2019 at 12:41 PM (#5899431)
That's the fix, and it's simple.

I'm sure you're just as reasonable when random people say this about difficult things in your work.
   20. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: November 07, 2019 at 12:41 PM (#5899432)
It's a lot more than 1% better though and changing the count has a pretty big impact on individual PA. I'm pro-automated strike zone.
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: November 07, 2019 at 12:42 PM (#5899433)
The only real gripes I've heard that make sense are from those people who for whatever reason prefer not to have a consistent zone.


I like (and all baseball players ask for) a strike zone that's consistent from beginning of the game until the end. A strike in the first is a strike in the seventh. But I also like the fact that players have always (yes, Andy, always), had to adapt to the strike zone as it's being called that day. It rewards the attentive and the flexible. This ump likes the outside corner, but isn't going to give you the high strike, so the players recognize that and adapt. I see nothing wrong with that. I'm not a fan of homogeneity (except in milk), so this is pretty consistent with my view on most things.

I'm also not a fan of the fact this will be another way that the game will be different at the professional level than most or all the levels leading up until then (I'm assuming that robo-ump technology is not coming to my son's high school games any time soon).

On the other hand, I think there are some benefits (and potential benefits) to the robo zone.

My guess is I'll find it far less bothersome than the other forms of replay. But when it comes, I hope they adjust it to be close to what the strike zone is, since the strike zone exists (and is typically called) as a place where a player can be expected to hit the ball, not a place where pitchers can get strikeouts.
   22. calming him down with his 57i66135 Posted: November 07, 2019 at 12:48 PM (#5899435)
i get killed for this every time i say it, but i'll say it again: an automated strike zone should not be rigidly consistent.


all we need from an algorithm is to approximate randomness on the margins (to ensure that the strike zone doesn't get gamed by either side, and to prod pitchers into throwing more closely towards the center of the zone, rather than trying to paint the corners) and to get rid of the worst ~2-5% of calls.
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 12:48 PM (#5899436)
After the repeated disasters we've seen with replay in every sport, why would anyone have any confidence that baseball will do this correctly?

I'm fine with robo-umps in theory, but I'm really afraid MLB will implement it in some backward-ass horrible way that damages the game.

For one, any additional delay is totally unacceptable. Any human review of the automated call is totally unacceptable.
   24. . Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:03 PM (#5899441)
I like (and all baseball players ask for) a strike zone that's consistent from beginning of the game until the end. A strike in the first is a strike in the seventh. But I also like the fact that players have always (yes, Andy, always), had to adapt to the strike zone as it's being called that day. It rewards the attentive and the flexible.


And penalizes pitchers who throw with movement rather than anonymous middle reliever one-inning fake heat. Between that and framing, it's a massive blight on the sport's integrity -- far in excess of the alleged people who were penalized BITD by things like "excess" attention to RBIs and wins. Major league pitchers have been kept out of the major leagues by fake strike zones. Non-major league pitchers have been enabled by fake strike zones.

As to the "all we want is intraday consistency," no, that isn't all we want. A strike is defined by the rulebook. It has a definable spacial place, just like a tennis court does. Human intermediation of that definition was an historical accident caused by the lack of technological means to do it correctly. Now that we have the technological means, there's no reason whatever for the human intermediation.
   25. . Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:04 PM (#5899442)
After the repeated disasters we've seen with replay in every sport, why would anyone have any confidence that baseball will do this correctly?


Because it's not replay. And because the replay of the tennis lines works swimmingly.
   26. The_Ex Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:04 PM (#5899444)
The 4 second delay, it its true, wouldn't cause a 4 second delay in the game. The catcher could still return the ball to the pitcher, the pitcher could return to the mound and the batter re-tighten his gloves while the call is being made. The delay of game comment assumes that everyone freezes for the 4 seconds every pitch.
   27. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:06 PM (#5899445)
The delay of game comment assumes that everyone freezes for the 4 seconds every pitch.
...which is exactly what would happen. Not only because of the natural tendency to do so, but because players have proven that they will take every second that is allowed to them to dick around.
   28. PreservedFish Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:22 PM (#5899452)
There was a highlight linked here recently featuring Jason Heyward's brother where he got rung up on a diving wiffleball pitch that everyone in the park thought was a ball. The pause might've only been 2 seconds, but it was deeply unsatisfying.
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:22 PM (#5899453)
As to the "all we want is intraday consistency," no, that isn't all we want.


I didn't say you did. I would never even think about digging into whatever it is going on between those ears.

I said I did. And baseball players have long stated that's what they wanted.

   30. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:30 PM (#5899455)
Yes, but a four second delay is a deal-breaking argument against them.

The four second delay doesn't exist. Its a made-up number by one guy, and there are several comments acting like it is gospel truth.

There are two linked calls in TFA. Both occur in 1.8 to 2.0 seconds.

   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:30 PM (#5899456)
Because it's not replay. And because the replay of the tennis lines works swimmingly.

A variable three dimensional shape is completely different than a static line.
   32. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:30 PM (#5899457)
The 4 second delay, it its true, wouldn't cause a 4 second delay in the game. The catcher could still return the ball to the pitcher, the pitcher could return to the mound and the batter re-tighten his gloves while the call is being made. The delay of game comment assumes that everyone freezes for the 4 seconds every pitch.
Both the batter & pitcher need to know the count before deciding their approach to the next pitch. They, and everyone else in the ballpark, will be awaiting the call before doing anything meaningful.
   33. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:31 PM (#5899458)
I'd dealt with deeply unsatisfying umpiring my entire life.
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:38 PM (#5899462)
Both the batter & pitcher need to know the count before deciding their approach to the next pitch. They, and everyone else in the ballpark, will be awaiting the call before doing anything meaningful.

Correct.

There are two linked calls in TFA. Both occur in 1.8 to 2.0 seconds.

So there is an increased delay. Just what MLB needs.
   35. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:44 PM (#5899466)
There's a guy watching a screen in New York, and the ump has to call him.


But does the ump really have to use a rotary phone?
   36. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:47 PM (#5899469)
So there is an increased delay. Just what MLB needs.

Ok, a 0.5 second delay on 40 or so pitches a game. 20 seconds.


   37. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:52 PM (#5899472)
Ok, a 0.5 second delay on 40 or so pitches a game. 20 seconds.


Probably more like 1.5 seconds on 200 pitches. 5 minutes. Sensors don't react faster or slower depending on the difficulty of the call.

In any case, an additional pause is going to feel deeply unnatural, regardless of how low the total impact is.
   38. Bote Man sez Davey is MoY Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:53 PM (#5899473)
One point that I have yet to see discussed: What problem are we trying to fix? Or are we so enamored of technology that it must invade every nook and cranny of our lives regardless of whether it's beneficial??

There's no consensus in this thread about the details, so like Snapper says, what makes you think MLB will get this right?
   39. . Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:53 PM (#5899474)
A variable three dimensional shape is completely different than a static line.


Not in any way that matters. We sent people to the moon 50 years ago. We can capture an image of an object through a space 61 feet away. Or, if the players are going to whine incessantly about it, you can just use the front of the plate or the middle and make it an image of a spot on a plane. But that would only be something to calm the snowflakes; it's not remotely technologically necessary.

Not only do I not have sympathy for the players who whine about keeping their fake strike zone in place; I have actual affirmative contempt.
   40. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:57 PM (#5899476)
One point that I have yet to see discussed: What problem are we trying to fix? Or are we so enamored of technology that it must invade every nook and cranny of our lives regardless of whether it's beneficial??

Totally on point.
   41. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:59 PM (#5899478)
Not in any way that matters.

Because you're an electric engineer specializing in sensor design?

Lots of "proven technology" that I interact with every day malfunctions frequently. Skype has torpedoed three different meeting in the last two days alone.
   42. The Duke Posted: November 07, 2019 at 02:01 PM (#5899480)
They should make a concerted effort to get the existing replay structure correct. I’ve been stunned by the replay misses - I’m guessing at least 5% and it has introduced delay after every close call which is terrible as a fan in the ballpark. Finally, it has introduced the ticky-tack call where someone’s foot comes off the bag for a microsecond and he’s called out.

Not sure what they can do to fix it all but I would make replay requests happen immediately. Things should have to be so wrong that it can be discerned real time. Allowing time to review the replay before asking for replay is silly. I’d also reduce the number of things that can be reviewed.
   43. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 07, 2019 at 02:08 PM (#5899483)
Probably more like 1.5 seconds on 200 pitches. 5 minutes. Sensors don't react faster or slower depending on the difficulty of the call.

1.5 is high. The two calls in the article were at about 2 seconds. The umps aren't screaming calls 0.5 seconds after it hits the mitt.

It isn't 200 pitches. Called strikes are the only thing that has a delay. Called third strikes are the only ones that the delay will have an impact. 40 is pitches is probably in the ballpark.

   44. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 07, 2019 at 02:09 PM (#5899484)
One point that I have yet to see discussed: What problem are we trying to fix?

A consistent strike zone.

Catcher framing shouldn't exist. It should be the bane of umpires existence.

Getting calls because you're a veteran shouldn't exist.

   45. Bote Man sez Davey is MoY Posted: November 07, 2019 at 02:30 PM (#5899495)
(The great??) Greg Maddux weeps.
   46. PreservedFish Posted: November 07, 2019 at 02:40 PM (#5899498)
Maddux would've figured out how to bamboozle hitters with a different strike zone. Glavine is the guy that would've been screwed.
   47. RoyalFlush Posted: November 07, 2019 at 02:46 PM (#5899501)
One point that I have yet to see discussed: What problem are we trying to fix? Or are we so enamored of technology that it must invade every nook and cranny of our lives regardless of whether it's beneficial??

There's no consensus in this thread about the details, so like Snapper says, what makes you think MLB will get this right?


Maybe it's just me, but inconsistent strike zones are the worst part of baseball. We've been doing this for over 100 years and we still can't figure out what a ball and strike are? It's the most basic, fundamental part of the game and it's maddening to me.

I don't find the personalized strike zones of each ump to be a quaint part of the game. What's more is that there seems to be a commonly held opinion that umpires' zones are consistent within the game. I find that be completely false.

I have no idea if it will make the game better/worse/faster/slower - I just hate that this particular inefficiency is something that people have just decided is "part of baseball." If we can fix it, I would like to.
   48. Karl from NY Posted: November 07, 2019 at 02:47 PM (#5899502)
Finally, it has introduced the ticky-tack call where someone’s foot comes off the bag for a microsecond and he’s called out.

This is easy to fix in the rules. Just allow it to count as continued contact if you touch the base then hover over it.
   49. Rally Posted: November 07, 2019 at 03:02 PM (#5899506)
There's a guy watching a screen in New York, and the ump has to call him.


You have reached the MLB office of automated ball and strike calls. I am currently on another line or away from my desk. Please leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
   50. Bote Man sez Davey is MoY Posted: November 07, 2019 at 03:08 PM (#5899508)
Here's a contrarian's thoughts on how the strike zone has changed and a glimpse at the implications of it. What will your consistent strike zone yield?
   51. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 07, 2019 at 03:09 PM (#5899509)
You have reached the MLB office of automated ball and strike calls. I am currently on another line or away from my desk. Please leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
It's not even the outgoing message that causes most of the delay - it's the automated voice that then provides a whole new set of instructions before you can actually leave your damn message. "After the tone, you can either leave a message, press the pound key to speak to an operator, or press star for more options. If you would like to leave a callback number, please press 5 now, etc. etc." Do we really still need a multi-level tutorial in how to leave a voice mail in 2019?
   52. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: November 07, 2019 at 03:11 PM (#5899511)
Do we really still need a multi-level tutorial in how to leave a voice mail in 2019?


"please pay attention, because some of our menu options have changed"

   53. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 03:22 PM (#5899515)
It isn't 200 pitches. Called strikes are the only thing that has a delay. Called third strikes are the only ones that the delay will have an impact. 40 is pitches is probably in the ballpark.

What are you talking about? Every called pitch has a delay. Balls and strikes. The batter and pitcher want to know the count before proceeding.

Per BREF, in 2019 there were 732,473 pitches thrown, or 301 per game. Of these 36.3% were called balls, and 16.4% were called strikes. That's 159 pitches per game where the sensor has to make a call.
   54. Jack Sommers Posted: November 07, 2019 at 04:06 PM (#5899527)
1.) It's not a 4 second delay. Not saying it's never happened. But the games I watched, the delay was more like 1-2 seconds. Definitely not 4.

2.) Implement the pitch clock, and "stay in damn box rules", along with the robo umps, and games will be crisper. The irony of the pitch clock is that it actually has the effect of wrestling the game BACK to the way things used to be in the good ol days.

3.) They can easily adjust the height of the strike zone. Once they use the system more widely in 2020 in Minor League baseball, they will have more data and be able to dial this in. By 2023 this will be a non issue.

4.) They need to implement the minimum batter per pitcher rule. If 3 is too much to start, make it 2. But they need to do this as well.

5.) People hate change. But it's coming. Better make the most of it.

   55. manchestermets Posted: November 07, 2019 at 04:20 PM (#5899533)
Per BREF, in 2019 there were 732,473 pitches thrown, or 301 per game. Of these 36.3% were called balls, and 16.4% were called strikes. That's 159 pitches per game where the sensor has to make a call.


And on what proportion of the called pitches was anyone in any doubt whether it was a ball or a strike as soon as the ball hit the mitt? Nobody's going to be waiting around for an imaginary four seconds to see what the call is when the ball goes to the backstop, or when it's in the centre of the zone.

Replay is nothing to do with this. The nearest sporting analogue I can think of in soccer, where replay has been introduced in the last few years and everyone hates it. For a few years longer than that there's been a system that automatically signals to the referee when the ball has crossed the line for a goal, eliminating the controversy that used to exist about whether a goal had been scored, and everybody loves it.
   56. Lassus Posted: November 07, 2019 at 04:22 PM (#5899535)
but inconsistent strike zones are the worst part of baseball. We've been doing this for over 100 years

I dunno, I sorta thought these phrases were fascinating as a 1-2 assertion. I guess I think that if it's been going on for over a century and the game hasn't fallen apart or descended into chaos, inconsistent strike zones are not close to the worst part of baseball.

I don't PERSONALLY see a lot of compelling evidence that the strike zone is insane enough to implement a permanent lack of human objectivity. I realize that's a subjective view.

No baseball fan has ever stopped watching because of the strike zone. You know why people have stopped watching? The length of games.

However, I would bet more people stop watching baseball due to implementing robot balls and strikes than any who stopped watching because they couldn't stand human umpires. Baseball thrived and still thrives on humanity and poetry. Robot balls and strikes removes that. I don't think it will prove a positive for the future of baseball. I'll almost assuredly be dead before that's proven either way, but I think it's a real mistake.
   57. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 04:28 PM (#5899536)
And on what proportion of the called pitches was anyone in any doubt whether it was a ball or a strike as soon as the ball hit the mitt? Nobody's going to be waiting around for an imaginary four seconds to see what the call is when the ball goes to the backstop, or when it's in the centre of the zone.

Are you serious? They wait around 20-30 seconds for no reason at all. Everyone will wait. Both pitchers and hitters have shown they want as long as they can get to prepare for each pitch. They will milk every second you give them.

No baseball fan has ever stopped watching because of the strike zone. You know why people have stopped watching? The length of games.

100% agree.

However, I would bet more people stop watching baseball due to implementing robot balls and strikes than any who stopped watching because they couldn't stand human umpires.

100% agree.
   58. manchestermets Posted: November 07, 2019 at 04:41 PM (#5899543)
Baseball thrived and still thrives on humanity and poetry.


The bases will still be loaded, and the count full in the bottom of the ninth. Casey will still strike out.
   59. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 07, 2019 at 04:44 PM (#5899544)
Casey will still strike out.
Hell, these days he's what, three times as likely to strike out? Especially against Anonymous Closer Who Throws 99 and Is Lights Out This Year but Will Probably Be Released by the Next All-Star Break.
   60. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 04:47 PM (#5899546)
The bases will still be loaded, and the count full in the bottom of the ninth. Casey will still strike out.

Oh, C'mon man. It was 2nd and 3rd, and he struck out on three straight pitches.
   61. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: November 07, 2019 at 04:48 PM (#5899548)
And because the replay of the tennis lines works swimmingly.

It requires numerous points to be replayed from scratch, when one player had earned an advantage by hitting a ball on the line that was erroneously called out, and it also results in a substantial number of bad calls never being reviewed, because players, who are in no position to call most lines and must therefore guess in most situations, don't want to risk their limited challenges and be left without recourse at the end of a set.

Other than that, it's brilliant.
   62. PreservedFish Posted: November 07, 2019 at 04:51 PM (#5899551)
With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he walked around the batter's box for some unaccountable reason, readjusted his batting gloves several times, consulted a laminated index card on pitcher tendencies, and bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire, after a pause of 2-4 seconds, received a silent communication from a technician in a windowless office somewhere, and said, “Strike two.”
   63. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 07, 2019 at 04:54 PM (#5899553)
That's a Primey for literature right there.
   64. . Posted: November 07, 2019 at 05:00 PM (#5899556)
I guess I think that if it's been going on for over a century and the game hasn't fallen apart


It has. It's badly broken. Its best games are essentially unwatchable. There's the slogs, the delays, the standing around and the fact that between the umpiring and the now-routine oafish lunges and flails, the amount of incompetence on display has risen exponentially.

No baseball fan has ever stopped watching because of the strike zone.


Routinely shitty ball-strike calls GREATLY diminishes my enjoyment of the games, and significantly reduces how much I watch. Tying run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth, home crowd howling, Brandon Belt is called out looking on a pitch at his chin line that everyone in the stadium except blue knows wasn't a strike, including the guy who threw the ball. Rally squelched. Who the #### wants to see that?

Baseball thrived and still thrives on humanity and poetry. Robot balls and strikes removes that.


It does no such thing. The players that play will still be humans. The umpires on the bases will still be humans. The people in the stands rooting and anticipating will still be humans. 'Roids denuded the game of significantly more humanity and poetry than one of the four umps being auto will.
   65. pikepredator Posted: November 07, 2019 at 05:08 PM (#5899560)
They wait around 20-30 seconds for no reason at all


and THAT is the problem that needs to be fixed.

I like Jack's rules in 54.

I like the consistent strike zone in theory, but I admit I fear putting it in practice would be done poorly, as I feel happened with the manager-driven challenge system ripe for abuse as opposed to umpire-driven replay based on a directive to GET CALLS RIGHT.

I think a consistent strike zone would allow the best pitchers (and hitters) to master it in a way we haven't yet seen. If the length of a bowling alley fluctuated by an inch or two, it would be an entirely different game. One of my favorite moments in baseball is when a pitcher paints the corner and the hitter gives him the "damn that pitch was SIIIICK" look, so more of that is fine with me. I'm also good with hitters being able to confidently let a pitch go by when it's an inch off the plate, assuming they know the strike zone (as opposed to having to figure it out for the first few innings).

baseball is a game of inches, after all. Some of those inches - important one - are in a grey area.
   66. winnipegwhip Posted: November 07, 2019 at 05:31 PM (#5899566)

However, I would bet more people stop watching baseball due to implementing robot balls and strikes than any who stopped watching because they couldn't stand human umpires.



The exact reason I don't watch the NFL anymore....the bloody challenges and reviews.
   67. manchestermets Posted: November 07, 2019 at 05:36 PM (#5899567)
The exact reason I don't watch the NFL anymore....the bloody challenges and reviews.


So not in any sense the exact reason then. If you've coped with the bloody challenges and reviews in baseball, four non-existent seconds won't be an issue.
   68. Lassus Posted: November 07, 2019 at 06:02 PM (#5899574)
Routinely shitty ball-strike calls GREATLY diminishes my enjoyment of the games, and significantly reduces how much I watch.
Yes, but you're a known loon. Everyone in the thread who is in favor of this should consider that they are now sharing a position with you and re-examine.

Brandon Belt is called out looking on a pitch at his chin line
I spent thirty whole seconds looking for video of one chin-high strike out of the 7.3 million pitches thrown in the last ten years to justify your hyperbolic argument.

It has. It's badly broken. Its best games are essentially unwatchable. There's the slogs, the delays, the standing around and the fact that between the umpiring and the now-routine oafish lunges and flails, the amount of incompetence on display has risen exponentially.
Even if one agreed with your standard hysterical shtick, none of this has to do with called balls and strikes.

It does no such thing. The players that play will still be humans. The umpires on the bases will still be humans. The people in the stands rooting and anticipating will still be humans. 'Roids denuded the game of significantly more humanity and poetry than one of the four umps being auto will.
It takes away humanity that has been a large part of the game - every single pitch. It reduces the humanity.


Anyhow, I don't think it's good for baseball.

-shrug- I am old, however, and old people are lame. I could be way off.
   69. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 07, 2019 at 06:05 PM (#5899576)
It takes away humanity that has been a large part of the game - every single pitch. It reduces the humanity.
Oh, the humanity?
   70. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 08:35 PM (#5899597)
Oh, the humanity?

Get with the times, old man. The meme is "Oh the huge manatees!"

I even have the T-shirt to prove it.
   71. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 07, 2019 at 08:55 PM (#5899601)
Get with the times, old man.
Kettle, pot, etc.
   72. Bug Selig Posted: November 08, 2019 at 09:26 AM (#5899652)
#22 - If your problem is that you wish pitchers would just lob it down the middle (because hitters must not have enough going their way) - shrink the strike zone, don't create intentional inconsistency. I guess I'm hopelessly literal - call what ####### happened.

   73. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 08, 2019 at 10:09 AM (#5899670)
Kettle, pot, etc.

It was a joke. I fully recognize that I'm a cranky old man.
   74. Greg Pope Posted: November 08, 2019 at 10:54 AM (#5899689)
In theory the strike zone is a rectangular prism. But it isn't really called that way because there's no way the umpire can tell the difference the ball travels in the (looks it up) 17 inches that it traverses from the front of the plate to the back. On the TV screen we're only shown a rectangle from the pitcher's point of view. Do we know if the automated zones used so far are really 3D or not?
   75. Greg Pope Posted: November 08, 2019 at 11:54 AM (#5899713)
One point that I have yet to see discussed: What problem are we trying to fix?

Problems I would like to see fixed, not in any particular order.

1. Personalized strike zones per umpire. Umpire A calls the outside strike while Umpire B calls the high strike.
2. Personalized strike zones per player. Both on the pitcher and hitter side. No reason for a veteran or a star to get their own strike zone.
3. Changing strike zone over the course of the game.
4. "gimme" calls on 0-2 counts and 3-0 counts.
5. Curve balls called as balls even though they go through the strike zone.
6. Pitch framing.

I understand that other people like these things. I do not.
   76. . Posted: November 08, 2019 at 11:59 AM (#5899715)
It takes away humanity that has been a large part of the game - every single pitch. It reduces the humanity.


Anyhow, I don't think it's good for baseball.

-shrug- I am old, however, and old people are lame. I could be way off.


OK, boomer.
   77. Lassus Posted: November 08, 2019 at 12:05 PM (#5899717)
Not that old, but yes, that's a better response than your previous one.




(Note: I am fully in favor of the referenced Millienial insult.)
   78. . Posted: November 08, 2019 at 12:12 PM (#5899720)
I have no issue with it, but the "Boomer generation" doesn't make a lot of sense as a cohort. There's a massive difference between the earlier ones, who came of age in the mid and late 60s and faced the possibility of being drafted and all the rest, and the people who came of age in the late 70s or early 80s. The first group, better thought of as something like "Woodstockers," (*) has indeed been loathable and tiresome and in many ways ruined the world. The latter are basically just Gen Xers born a couple years earlier.

(*) I hate ####### Woodstock more than personalized strike zones.
   79. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 08, 2019 at 12:17 PM (#5899722)

Presumably they can calibrate the tool to tighten up zone if they need to but having a bigger strike zone would certainly speed up games and likely reduce homers as players wild have to hit more defensively. I’m all for getting rid of home run derby, I much prefer more tactical games.

The problem with this is it likely increases Ks as well. All the strikeouts are a bigger problem than the HRs.

i get killed for this every time i say it, but i'll say it again: an automated strike zone should not be rigidly consistent.

all we need from an algorithm is to approximate randomness on the margins (to ensure that the strike zone doesn't get gamed by either side, and to prod pitchers into throwing more closely towards the center of the zone, rather than trying to paint the corners) and to get rid of the worst ~2-5% of calls.


Still the worst idea that I've heard on this topic.
   80. . Posted: November 08, 2019 at 12:22 PM (#5899724)
The problem with this is it likely increases Ks as well. All the strikeouts are a bigger problem than the HRs.


It's very hard to say without better transparency into how many pitch decisions are made by hitters because of the presence of human umps and them mentally gauge that.(*) That's going to have a big effect on approach. Plus a lot of strikeouts are called on balls and that would presumably change with the auto-zone. I think there will be some unpredictable consequences of the auto-zone, but I'm fine with that. If it winds up with "too many" strikeouts, shrink the zone a smidge.

(*) Greater predictability very well might translate into more swings earlier in the count.
   81. PreservedFish Posted: November 08, 2019 at 12:23 PM (#5899725)
all we need from an algorithm is to approximate randomness on the margins (to ensure that the strike zone doesn't get gamed by either side, and to prod pitchers into throwing more closely towards the center of the zone, rather than trying to paint the corners) and to get rid of the worst ~2-5% of calls.

This is totally unnecessary because the way the game is experienced, borderline pitches will be still called "randomly." Today some pitches are called strikes 51% of the time, and some 49% of the time. If tomorrow those turn into 100% and 0%, it doesn't matter, because we still can't really tell the difference between them. It'll still look like a borderline pitch that may or may not get called for a strike.
   82. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 08, 2019 at 01:02 PM (#5899739)
This is totally unnecessary because the way the game is experienced, borderline pitches will be still called "randomly." Today some pitches are called strikes 51% of the time, and some 49% of the time. If tomorrow those turn into 100% and 0%, it doesn't matter, because we still can't really tell the difference between them. It'll still look like a borderline pitch that may or may not get called for a strike.

Not to mention that no sensor is going to be 100% accurate, and the guy who's setting the top and bottom of the zone for each player is going to make mistakes.
   83. . Posted: November 08, 2019 at 01:05 PM (#5899740)
Not to mention that no sensor is going to be 100% accurate, and the guy who's setting the top and bottom of the zone for each player is going to make mistakes.


Why?

As for the latter, I'm assuming they're just going to measure everybody once before the season or something and that's the zone entered into the system the whole season. Why would they reset every game?
   84. Hysterical & Useless Posted: November 10, 2019 at 07:48 PM (#5900249)
There's a massive difference between the earlier ones, who came of age in the mid and late 60s and faced the possibility of being drafted and all the rest, and the people who came of age in the late 70s or early 80s. The first group, better thought of as something like "Woodstockers," (*) has indeed been loathable and tiresome and in many ways ruined the world.


You're welcome!
   85. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 11, 2019 at 10:38 AM (#5900309)
Why?

Because no sensor is ever 100% accurate. That's just reality. Might be affected by temperature, humidity, who knows. Measurement error is a real thing. Didn't you ever take a science lab?

As for the latter, I'm assuming they're just going to measure everybody once before the season or something and that's the zone entered into the system the whole season. Why would they reset every game?

Players change their batting stance, for one.
   86. SoSH U at work Posted: November 11, 2019 at 10:43 AM (#5900313)
Players change their batting stance, for one.


That's one of the upsides of the auto zone, as far as I'm concerned. You're strike zone should be based on your height, not how you stand in the batter's box. The former is easy to employ. The latter is damn near impossible, given the language in the rules and the nature of hitting.
   87. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 11, 2019 at 10:59 AM (#5900316)
That's one of the upsides of the auto zone, as far as I'm concerned. You're strike zone should be based on your height, not how you stand in the batter's box. The former is easy to employ. The latter is damn near impossible, given the language in the rules and the nature of hitting.

OK, but you're changing the rule then.
   88. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 11, 2019 at 02:22 PM (#5900370)
Bottom line seems to me that the current robo-ump might need a bit of speeding up, and some adjustment at the top and bottom of the zone. So send it back to the lab, make the adjustments, and bring it on again. In any event it's a lot easier to reprogram a robo-ump than it is to reprogram over 70 Major League human umps, and watching Brett Gardner scream and shake his fist at the sky rather than at the umpire will itself be worth the price of admission.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he walked around the batter's box for some unaccountable reason, readjusted his batting gloves several times, consulted a laminated index card on pitcher tendencies, and bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire, after a pause of 2-4 seconds, received a silent communication from a technician in a windowless office somewhere, and said, “Strike two.”

And somewhere Ernest Lawrence Thayer and Grantland Rice are spinning in their graves. But I love it.
   89. . Posted: November 11, 2019 at 03:56 PM (#5900387)
Because no sensor is ever 100% accurate. That's just reality. Might be affected by temperature, humidity, who knows. Measurement error is a real thing.


It's not measuring anything. It's capturing the position of an object in a tiny portion of space.

Players change their batting stance, for one.


The strike zone isn't measured against a static stance; it's measured at the point where the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball. Take some motion capture in spring training, define the strike zone, move on. No one's going to materially change how tall they are when they're at the swing point.

OK, but you're changing the rule then.


The rule isn't really even applied as written. These umps aren't adjusting their up and down zone definitions based on the hitter's action height. It's a stupid rule.
   90. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 11, 2019 at 04:02 PM (#5900388)
It's not measuring anything. It's capturing the position of an object in a tiny portion of space.


What are you talking about? There needs to be a sensor measuring whether the ball crosses through a three dimensional cube of space.

That sensor will not be perfect. If will get some edge cases wrong.
   91. Greg Pope Posted: November 11, 2019 at 04:08 PM (#5900390)
OK, but you're changing the rule then.

Yes. The rule should be changed when implementing a robot umpire.
   92. . Posted: November 11, 2019 at 04:22 PM (#5900396)
What are you talking about? There needs to be a sensor measuring whether the ball crosses through a three dimensional cube of space.


That's not a "measurement," it's a position capture. Nothing needs to be "measured."

Or should be. I'm not even following the technology they're using, and don't really care. It seems dumb to strive to sense whether it passes through a particular area of space rather than just taking a picture of its position in 2-D space using a rectangle at the front (or middle, it doesn't matter) (*) of the plate and seeing if that capture is within the rectangle. It should be the functional equivalent of capturing whether the dart hit the bulls-eye. Anything else is stupid.

But even if it's the former, it's technologically easy. And even if it's the former, that's not a "measurement" of anything.

Making the strike zone 3-D with robo umps is beyond stupid. It isn't 3D now, other than nominally and superficially. The human umps are neither conceptualizing it, nor applying it, that way.

(*) For ball-strike purposes, as opposed to baserunning purposes, there's no reason home plate even needs to have front-to-back depth.
   93. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 11, 2019 at 04:54 PM (#5900403)

That's not a "measurement," it's a position capture. Nothing needs to be "measured."


You're measuring or "capturing" the position of the ball in 3-D space at every moment in it's flight path through the area of the plate and comparing it to the pre-determined position of the strike zone in that 3-D space to see if the path ever crossed the 3-D zone.

Or should be. I'm not even following the technology they're using, and don't really care. It seems dumb to strive to sense whether it passes through a particular area of space rather than just taking a picture of its position in 2-D space using a rectangle at the front (or middle, it doesn't matter) (*) of the plate and seeing if that capture is within the rectangle. It should be the functional equivalent of capturing whether the dart hit the bulls-eye. Anything else is stupid.
.

No, that's not the strike zone at all. You can't reduce it to 2-D. Even if you made that momentous change, a 2-D image is going to be distorted by the angle at which it's taken. You can't put a camera directly in front or behind home plates for obvious reasons.

But even if it's the former, it's technologically easy. And even if it's the former, that's not a "measurement" of anything.

It's not easy. The electronic eye in Tennis frequently doesn't work and that's one-D.


Making the strike zone 3-D with robo umps is beyond stupid. It isn't 3D now, other than nominally and superficially. The human umps are neither conceptualizing it, nor applying it, that way.


This is your dumbest argument yet. Of course it's 3-D. Pitches nick the front of the zone and tail away, and are called strike. 12-6 curves ball drop into the zone and are called strikes.

It's amazing you have combined a complete ignorance of what the strike-zone is, with a complete ignorance of the difficulty in measuring the path of the ball. Well done! 2 for 2!
   94. . Posted: November 11, 2019 at 05:13 PM (#5900410)
You're measuring or "capturing" the position of the ball in 3-D space at every moment in it's flight path through the area of the plate and comparing it to the pre-determined position of the strike zone in that 3-D space to see if the path ever crossed the 3-D zone.


No, you're capturing it, not "capturing" it. As I said before, you aren't measuring anything. Therefore there can't be any "measurement error."

No, that's not the strike zone at all. You can't reduce it to 2-D.


Yes, you can and it's not even challenging. It's a rectangle at the midpoint of the plate, top and bottom defined exactly as it is currently. If any part of the ball is in the rectangle, it's a strike. If it's not, it's not. Done.

The electronic eye in Tennis frequently doesn't work and that's one-D.


No, it's two-D, and it works fine.

This is your dumbest argument yet. Of course it's 3-D.


Nominally and superficially. Umpires don't conceive of it that way, and certainly don't apply it that way. How could they, when they miss so many of the calls. And since they miss so many of the calls, who even cares whether it's 2 or 3-D? They can't even get the 2-D part right.
   95. SoSH U at work Posted: November 11, 2019 at 05:38 PM (#5900415)
OK, but you're changing the rule then.


You mean the rule that the strike zone is defined as when a batter "is prepared to swing?" When exactly is that? Is it his position when he's in his stance? When he makes his first move? Just before impact? Where is the zone if a crouching guy is taking all the way, and thus never leaves his stance?

The rule is already ill-defined and ill-employed. Base the zone on the height of the hitter. No one should be able to crouch his way out of a strike.

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