Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

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….

 

QLE Posted: July 24, 2019 at 04:13 AM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: atlantic league, robot umpires, robots are made of metal, robots are strong

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. The Rare Albino Shrieking Goat of Guatemala. Posted: July 24, 2019 at 09:04 AM (#5864488)
They can't get here fast enough.
   2. Greg Pope Posted: July 24, 2019 at 09:21 AM (#5864492)
Agree. I hope this goes really well the rest of the season.

Is there enough stability in the Atlantic League that we'll* be able to tell if it has an effect on strikeouts and walks?

*Be "we" I mean someone who's not me.
   3. The Duke Posted: July 24, 2019 at 09:49 AM (#5864500)
ABS has hired angel Hernandez to make sure the robot ump game experience is similar to human umps
   4. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: July 24, 2019 at 09:53 AM (#5864503)
01100110 01110101 01100011 01101011 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01100001 01100001 01110010 01101111 01101110 00100000 01100010 01101111 01101111 01101110 01100101
   5. TJ Posted: July 24, 2019 at 10:38 AM (#5864519)
I for one welcome our robot overlords.

In a perfect robot overlord baseball world, I picture some manager rushing out of the dugout to protest a called third strike. Said manager goes full Lou Pinella replete with some awesome dirt-kicking. Robot Ump tells the manager he has 10 seconds to get it out of his system. At the end of those ten seconds, Robot Ump initializes his target acquisition system, cranks up his phaser and stuns the manager into unconsciousness like they do on Star Trek.

Manfred would love this, as the possibility of seeing it happen would draw at least an extra 10,000 people to a game...
   6. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: July 24, 2019 at 10:48 AM (#5864528)
This topic reminded me of one of my favorite Twitter accounts, Cyborg Tommy Hanson, and then of course the unfortunate reason why that account is defunct.
   7. Lassus Posted: July 24, 2019 at 10:52 AM (#5864529)
1. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: July 24, 2019 at 09:04 AM (#5864488)
They can't get here fast enough.
   
2. Greg Pope Posted: July 24, 2019 at 09:21 AM (#5864492)
Agree. I hope this goes really well the rest of the season.
Yeah, I grok all this, but I hate it. I'm finally an old man, I guess.

I like umpires, I like what they mean to the game, I like the players learning umpires, I like the historical importance. I love the humanity of the game over micro-millimeters. I'm perfectly fine with a concerted, definitive, documented push to make the umpires better, but I hate hate hate robot umpires.

I think they are bad and you should feel bad.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: July 24, 2019 at 10:59 AM (#5864531)
Egotistical umpires will look for new ways to assert their arbitrary authority - if we're lucky, maybe some day we'll be talking about how certain umpires are calling a "fast" game.
   9. The Rare Albino Shrieking Goat of Guatemala. Posted: July 24, 2019 at 11:28 AM (#5864551)
I like the players learning umpires,


How can they "learn" an umpire when they're so inconsistent: it's a ball, no, it's a strike, nope, it's a ball again.

And I'm tired of watching umpires call strikes on Judge when the ball is half-way down his shins.

Also, the 3-0 "gimme strike" needs to die, now.
   10. JAHV Posted: July 24, 2019 at 11:37 AM (#5864555)
I like umpires, I like what they mean to the game, I like the players learning umpires, I like the historical importance. I love the humanity of the game over micro-millimeters. I'm perfectly fine with a concerted, definitive, documented push to make the umpires better, but I hate hate hate robot umpires.


I agree with all of this. I also like the importance it puts on the catcher position. The game is better, in my opinion, with framing as a skill.
   11. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: July 24, 2019 at 11:42 AM (#5864557)
I don’t so much hate it as find myself incredibly skeptical. We’ve seen with replay the vast number of unintended consequences and I think we are ignoringthat here. I don’t think this is likely to improve things and is likely to make things worse.
   12. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: July 24, 2019 at 11:44 AM (#5864558)
The root cause issue with umps is that they are human which is meant just as an observation of fact. As human they have emotions, they have prejudices, they hear things that were best left not heard. And being human all these things influence decisions which impact the game's outcome. Robots are automated sociopaths, no recognition of humans as humans. Just objects. The not caring is what makes them better.
   13. rr: target market for blowhard nonsense Posted: July 24, 2019 at 11:45 AM (#5864559)
I like umpires, I like what they mean to the game, I like the players learning umpires, I like the historical importance. I love the humanity of the game over micro-millimeters. I'm perfectly fine with a concerted, definitive, documented push to make the umpires better, but I hate hate hate robot umpires.


I agree to a large extent if not entirely. Plus, of course, most people are going to be cool with AI and robots--until it replaces their jobs.
   14. PreservedFish Posted: July 24, 2019 at 11:53 AM (#5864564)
As a devoted Wiffleball player, I've always enjoyed the finality of an objective umpire. A rising curveball that nicks the underside of a cheap folding chair's cupholder, no matter how ridiculous it looks coming out of the pitcher's arm, is a strike.

If an unintended consequence of this is to usher in a new generation of junkballers, eephus masters and submariners, I'll be tickled pink.
   15. Greg Pope Posted: July 24, 2019 at 12:01 PM (#5864568)
I like umpires, I like what they mean to the game, I like the players learning umpires, I like the historical importance. I love the humanity of the game over micro-millimeters. I'm perfectly fine with a concerted, definitive, documented push to make the umpires better, but I hate hate hate robot umpires.

I just don't see it. I want the humanity of the game, but I want it to be the players' humanity. The rules are the rules. There's a defined goal for the pitcher, throw the ball in the strike zone. I don't see how the game is better with variable strike zones, whether they're because of human umpires or because of pitch framing. I hate hate hate pitch framing as a skill.

Obviously we disagree, which of course, is fine.
   16. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: July 24, 2019 at 12:10 PM (#5864574)
15--the framing thing has I think gotten out of control in how catchers are so open about trying to steal strikes. I am kind of impressed an umpire has not thrown a catcher out at this point just for being super annoying. I have not watched all teams but the Pirates catchers are so the worst because their technique is terrible so you see these guys catch the ball and then a beat later move the glove 6 inches like hey it's a strike. How do you even try that and think anyone takes you seriously?
   17. PreservedFish Posted: July 24, 2019 at 12:14 PM (#5864575)
I have not watched all teams but the Pirates catchers are so the worst because their technique is terrible so you see these guys catch the ball and then a beat later move the glove 6 inches like hey it's a strike. How do you even try that and think anyone takes you seriously?


I was taught to do this in Little League. Moving the damn glove is not some secret new data-driven technique. I haven't studied pitch framing for a while, but the original articles explaining it proposed that catchers actually "steal" pitches by receiving the ball calmly, by keeping their heads steady and straight, and so on, by not giving up on pitches even when they're not quite borderline. Certainly not by moving the gloves after the ball has been caught.
   18. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 24, 2019 at 12:18 PM (#5864579)
Egotistical umpires will look for new ways to assert their arbitrary authority - if we're lucky, maybe some day we'll be talking about how certain umpires are calling a "fast" game.
Boy, wouldn't that be great? Sadly, I don't see it happening - that way of asserting their authority is perfectly available to them today, and none of them take the opportunity.
   19. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: July 24, 2019 at 12:18 PM (#5864580)
17--watch a Pirates game. It's so sad it's funny. update: catch ball, pause, move glove, pause and see if umpire somehow believes your magical action means the pitch was really a strike.
   20. Greg Pope Posted: July 24, 2019 at 12:43 PM (#5864588)
the original articles explaining it proposed that catchers actually "steal" pitches by receiving the ball calmly, by keeping their heads steady and straight, and so on, by not giving up on pitches even when they're not quite borderline. Certainly not by moving the gloves after the ball has been caught.

Yeah, moving the glove after the catch makes no sense. It's just something that's always been done. Is the suggestion that the umpires watch the ball the whole way, then look down at the catcher's glove before making the call? I've never seen the time delay that would take. Can the umpire even see the glove from their crouch?
   21. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 24, 2019 at 12:45 PM (#5864591)
I have not watched all teams but the Pirates catchers are so the worst because their technique is terrible so you see these guys catch the ball and then a beat later move the glove 6 inches like hey it's a strike. How do you even try that and think anyone takes you seriously?
Did I ask you already if you've seen the pitch from earlier this year where Cervelli whiffs it entirely but holds his glove in the strike zone for several seconds, and the ump calls a strike as the ball is rolling to the backstop?
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: July 24, 2019 at 12:56 PM (#5864599)
I was taught to do this in Little League. Moving the damn glove is not some secret new data-driven technique. I haven't studied pitch framing for a while, but the original articles explaining it proposed that catchers actually "steal" pitches by receiving the ball calmly, by keeping their heads steady and straight, and so on, by not giving up on pitches even when they're not quite borderline. Certainly not by moving the gloves after the ball has been caught.


I wish people would realize this. That's exactly what it is. And why it's just as much about the pitchers hitting the spot where the catcher was set up as anything (Livan was particularly masterful at this, which is why he got extra strikes even when Eric Gregg wasn't behind the plate).

   23. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 24, 2019 at 02:04 PM (#5864642)
   24. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 24, 2019 at 02:05 PM (#5864643)
I like the players learning umpires, I like the historical importance. I love the humanity of the game over micro-millimeters. I'm perfectly fine with a concerted, definitive, documented push to make the umpires better, but I hate hate hate robot umpires.


I disagree with everything you've ever written.
   25. . Posted: July 24, 2019 at 02:27 PM (#5864650)
I love the humanity of the game over micro-millimeters.


You must not have watched the Mets/Giants game last Sunday. It wasn't micro-millimeters, it was half and three-quarters of feet. Complete incompetence from start to finish.
   26. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: July 24, 2019 at 02:58 PM (#5864667)
17/22--Sorry, don't get your feedback. I am wrong that I find it hilariously sad that catchers work in obvious fashion to get strikes or I am wrong that their motivation is to try and get a strike as you did this in little league and that is just how catching works?
   27. . Posted: July 24, 2019 at 03:16 PM (#5864673)
SoSH misses the point and is overly complicating the issue and misdirectioning a bit.

No one is complaining about catchers trying to fool umpires into thinking balls are strikes. They're complaining about umpires being fooled into thinking balls are strikes. (In point of fact, there really isn't even a whole lot of fooling going on, it's just that many of the umpires aren't any good at calling balls and strikes.)
   28. SoSH U at work Posted: July 24, 2019 at 03:16 PM (#5864674)
. I am wrong that I find it hilariously sad that catchers work in obvious fashion to get strikes or I am wrong that their motivation is to try and get a strike as you did this in little league and that is just how catching works?


Catchers do try the old pull the glove trick, from Little League on up to the big leagues. It's just, that's not what successful framing is. Catchers steal strikes by catching the ball without much movement. If you set up an inch outside the zone, and the pitcher hits the target perfectly, it's going to look like a strike to the umpire. Umpires aren't fooled by the catcher pulling the mitt six inches over the plate. They're fooled by the pitcher hitting the target.

Conversely, if the catcher is setting up on the inner half of the plate, expecting something there, and the pitcher throws one on the outside corner that causes the catcher to lunge across the plate to handle it, chances are very good that pitch will be called a ball even it it's in the zone.

   29. PreservedFish Posted: July 24, 2019 at 03:18 PM (#5864677)
MotH, I just don't think that the glove-shifting is more popular nowadays, and when you see it, it likely has nothing to do with modern theories on pitch framing. It's something that's been in the game forever, and catchers probably still do it as a reflex, or have convinced themselves that it works even if the quants disagree.
   30. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: July 24, 2019 at 03:22 PM (#5864679)
28/29: Ok. I watch a lot of MLBTV and it certainly seems more obvious of late with some teams. The framing I think that you are discussing is a guy like Manny Pina who is super still and smooth in catching a ball. Get that distinction. These other catchers are clownshoes.
   31. BillWallace Posted: July 25, 2019 at 08:28 PM (#5865072)
Count me as against robo-umps.

I'm for many modernizations and semi-radical changes to improve the game. I'm for the pitch-clock... I'm for roster rule changes.... I'm for many things.

But I'm not at all convinced that robo-umps will be a net gain on the viewing experience of baseball, even if it makes for a more consistent strike zone.
   32. Howie Menckel Posted: July 25, 2019 at 09:33 PM (#5865089)
I can't win a single half-inning of MLB without seeing catchers move the ball AFTER they catch it, time after time. I love the theoretoricals being posted here, but it's not what I see night after night. and many umps are dumb enough to fall for it.

now, they ALSO try "receiving the ball calmly, by keeping their heads steady and straight" and so on. and then they catch the pitch. and then they move the ball into the strike zone.
   33. Omineca Greg Posted: July 25, 2019 at 09:55 PM (#5865093)
01100110 01110101 01100011 01101011 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01100001 01100001 01110010 01101111 01101110 00100000 01100010 01101111 01101111 01101110 01100101


но его парни гребаной дикари в гребаной коробке!

Capisce?

5072696d657920666f7220796f75
   34. bobm Posted: July 25, 2019 at 10:23 PM (#5865096)
IMO pitch framing is a skill like scuffing the ball, corking a bat, or faking a catch like Todd Frazier did.
   35. Greg Pope Posted: July 26, 2019 at 08:15 AM (#5865141)
I can't win a single half-inning of MLB without seeing catchers move the ball AFTER they catch it, time after time. I love the theoretoricals being posted here, but it's not what I see night after night. and many umps are dumb enough to fall for it.

You see them move the mitt all the time, yes. How do you know the umps are falling for it? How do you know that the movement after the catch has any impact on the umps call?

Again, can the umps even see the catcher's mitt?

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
BDC
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOMNICHATTER! for the 2019 World Series
(268 - 10:11pm, Oct 23)
Last: vortex of dissipation

NewsblogAstros Staffer's Outburst at Female Reporters Illustrates MLB's Forgive-and-Forget Attitude Toward Domestic Violence
(281 - 10:06pm, Oct 23)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

NewsblogAstros enter World Series against Nationals as heaviest favorites since 2007
(55 - 10:06pm, Oct 23)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogOT - NBA thread (pre-season)
(731 - 10:03pm, Oct 23)
Last: my email address is hashtag 57i66135

NewsblogMLB.com: Who Will Make Hall of Fame From 2019 World Series
(94 - 9:54pm, Oct 23)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

NewsblogMLB umpire Joe West suing former All-Star Paul Lo Duca for claiming he took bribes
(24 - 9:42pm, Oct 23)
Last: Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama

NewsblogOT- Soccer Thread- October 2019
(219 - 8:23pm, Oct 23)
Last: Mefisto

Gonfalon CubsRegrets
(59 - 7:09pm, Oct 23)
Last: Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant

NewsblogCatch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (October 2019)
(554 - 6:22pm, Oct 23)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogHow Popular Is Baseball, Really?
(3 - 2:53pm, Oct 23)
Last: Barry`s_Lazy_Boy

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-23-2019
(7 - 2:53pm, Oct 23)
Last: Sweatpants

NewsblogJuan Soto blasts historic home run - just as his hitting coach guaranteed
(14 - 2:44pm, Oct 23)
Last: Kiko Sakata

NewsblogZimmerman full circle with HR trot for Nats in World Series
(1 - 2:35pm, Oct 23)
Last: Joey B.

NewsblogLeft Out: Astros 1st WS team minus lefty pitcher since 1903
(11 - 2:07pm, Oct 23)
Last: How can it be QPQ if Zonk Says it isn't a QPQ?

NewsblogCubs reportedly had second interview with David Ross
(23 - 2:06pm, Oct 23)
Last: How can it be QPQ if Zonk Says it isn't a QPQ?

Page rendered in 0.4174 seconds
46 querie(s) executed