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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….

 

 

QLE Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:54 AM | 42 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: arizona fall league, jacob heyward, robot umpires, robots are made of metal, robots are strong

Reader Comments and Retorts

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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. Bote Man Posted: October 17, 2019 at 06:41 AM (#5891212)
Scott Mitchell @ScottyMitchTSN
Robot umpires have been hearing it from players all week here at AFL, which means the poor human umps are taking it too, simply because no one knows whom to yell at.
“Turn it off!” someone just screamed from the dugout after a borderline call.


Use robot umpires, they said. Computers are always right, they said. Because we MUST get every call right AT ALL COSTS!!! Life itself hangs in the balance!! Or at least the betting line.
   2. depletion Posted: October 17, 2019 at 08:14 AM (#5891222)
You have 15 seconds to leave the playing field.
- Edd 209 -
   3. The Duke Posted: October 17, 2019 at 08:50 AM (#5891224)
Open the pod bay doors Hal.

I’m sorry Dave I‘m afraid I can’t do that
   4. Rally Posted: October 17, 2019 at 08:59 AM (#5891225)
I knew Heyward had not lived up to the contract, but arguing strikes with a robot ump in the AFL is a mighty fall from being part of the Cubs’ world championship. Oh, Jacob, not Jason . Never mind
   5. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 17, 2019 at 10:27 AM (#5891248)
Use robot umpires, they said. Computers are always right, they said.


I don't see how this can be used as an argument against robot umpires. Are you suggesting that no player has ever argued with an umpire who made a close but correct call? There will always be borderline calls. And players will always believe that borderline calls should go their way. If that pitch had been called a ball, the pitcher would have rightly been upset - although, obviously, depending on his personality, he might not have argued the call and been ejected over it.
   6. bunyon Posted: October 17, 2019 at 10:42 AM (#5891256)
Yeah it was a strike. It was called a strike. Heyward was being an ass and was rightly ejected.

If the robots work, that is, if they accurately call balls and strikes, the players will adapt to it.
   7. Lassus Posted: October 17, 2019 at 10:45 AM (#5891259)
Robots umps will definitely cause me to not watch.
   8. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 17, 2019 at 10:49 AM (#5891260)
Oh yeah, that pitch being called a strike is going to make things much better.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: October 17, 2019 at 10:52 AM (#5891263)

Oh yeah, that pitch being called a strike is going to make things much better.


No kidding.

Hell of a pitch though.

   10. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2019 at 11:18 AM (#5891271)
Yeah, that's a dirty pitch.

I don't blame Heyward though.
   11. Bug Selig Posted: October 17, 2019 at 11:28 AM (#5891274)
Robots umps will definitely cause me to not watch.
Seriously?
   12. TJ Posted: October 17, 2019 at 11:55 AM (#5891283)
If we are going to have robot umps, I want one that looks like the Robot from "Lost in Space". Then if a batter argues a call, the Robot can start waiving his arms madly while arguing back. That would be a Lou Pinella-level of fun to watch...
   13. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:02 PM (#5891286)
Incidentally can we take a moment to talk about the way this works? Even if we accept it's the right call and therefore it's perfect it took 1.76 seconds (by my stopwatch) from the time the ball crossed the plate to the time the ump called it. That's a long time. If there are 100 called pitches in a game that's about 3 minutes of additional time added to the length of time the game takes. Do we really want to make a change that we know for a fact is going to increase the time of game?
   14. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:10 PM (#5891291)
Not sure if your math is trustworthy there, Jose. I've yet to see the umpire that makes instantaneous calls.

I don't think the issue is added game time, but the change to the pace in a critical moment. Then again, a moment of tension can be fun sometimes.
   15. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:12 PM (#5891293)
There's a team called the Rafters?
   16. Itchy Row Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:16 PM (#5891296)
Not much of a prospect, apparently. He turned 24 in August, and he's played four career games at Triple A. He hit .209/.357/.339 in Double A this year as a corner outfielder.
   17. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:18 PM (#5891297)
He hit .209/.357


This is why he was so mad, the computer is hitting him in the one area where he's the best on the field.
   18. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:20 PM (#5891299)
Yeah the calls aren't instantaneous but they are a lot quicker than that one. FWIW on Bregman's called third strike against Severino in game three I get 0.44 seconds. So a 1.32 second difference which is two minutes on 100 called pitches.
   19. Lassus Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:20 PM (#5891300)
Robots umps will definitely cause me to not watch.
Seriously?


Yes, seriously.

Maybe's it's just a "NOT WHAT I GREW UP WITH" old-man moment, I'll freely admit that. But I'm not really sure it's just that. I'm not even against replay, even if I dislike the delay. I worked in replay at MLBAM briefly. I'm not some kind of luddite missionary.

But psychologically, I find the venom against human umpires' existences and role in the game to be more peacock-y than the umpires themselves. The umpires are good at their jobs, incredibly good. I mean, it's part of the humanity of the game for me. Do you want AI/computer 1B and 3B coaches, too? There's no doubt those will be better than the human counterparts. Same with Managers.

I grok fixing the HR and boundary and close plays, but the total replacement of the human element in judgment? I really won't care at that point.

Maybe I'm just old, but I like the umpires, and I like what they bring to the game, warts and all. I will dislike their absence most likely enough to quit watching.
   20. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:20 PM (#5891301)
It did seem slow, I agree.
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:29 PM (#5891306)

It did seem slow, I agree.


Perhaps he was arguing in his head with the robot. That was a strike? Seriously?

   22. John M. Perkins Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:34 PM (#5891308)
Back in 1990 in ump school, I was taught to always call strikes quickly and loudly, because a slow call was presumed to be a ball.
   23. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:49 PM (#5891312)
Lassus, my hope is that robo umps are implemented in a way that makes them basically unnoticeable. The umpire should have exclusive access to the machine's responses - it should look like he's making the calls himself. If they achieve that, I can't really imagine caring if the call was human or not. For a couple years announcers will make a big deal about borderline calls, and then we'll all just accept the new normal, and baseball will feel natural again.

As a big Wiffleball fan, I recognized the charms of an objective strikezone long ago.
   24. Bug Selig Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:54 PM (#5891314)
#19 - That's a good explanation - thanks. I don't agree with much of it, but that doesn't make it unreasonable I suppose. For me, I don't see what it has to do with venom or peacocks - if we (and I think economically "we" can only mean MLB) can get the calls right why wouldn't we?

I hesitate to even answer the slippery-slope angle, but no - 1B coaches, 3B coaches, and managers are part of the teams and not expected to be neutral to the outcome. I also don't know what proposal you are arguing against when you talk about "the total replacement of the human element in judgment". Aren't we just talking about balls and strikes on taken pitches? The home plate umpire has way more to do than simply judge whether a ball passed through the zone or not - he's not going away. Somebody's gotta call safe/out at the plate, foul tips, HPB, swing/no swing, time/play, manage substitutions, etc.

Ultimately, though, I think it comes down to your last paragraph. If anybody really thought umpires would be absent, maybe I'd agree with you. To my knowledge, however, I don't know that anyone has ever or would ever proposed such a thing.
   25. JAHV Posted: October 17, 2019 at 01:09 PM (#5891317)
I am also against the robot ball/strike calls, partially for the reasons Lassus states, but also because I like pitch framing.

I'm more interested in this pitch in particular being called a strike. I have long felt that pitchers with big 12-6 curveballs got hosed on calls because of the nature of their pitch. When the pitch ended up in the middle of the zone, umpires would call it a ball because it crossed the plate above the zone. And I feel like they were mostly right. But when a pitch ended up in the dirt or being caught just above it, like the pitch in this video, it would ALSO be called a ball, because an umpire is so used to the optics of a pitch ending up that low being a ball. The guy I think of the most when it comes to this is Barry Zito. I wonder if there's a way to check this with the data we have now: how often do umpires miss calls (according to Trackman or whatever) on curve balls or splitters that catch the bottom of the zone but end up just above the dirt? Does it happen less often than I think?

I know this is something I've had to explain to coaches when I umpire Little League games, particularly at lower levels or at the 11-12 year-old level when some kids start throwing breaking balls. A pitch might end up in the dirt, but it was coming in so slow (and the catcher might be farther back than normal) that it crossed the plate at the knees. The optics aren't good, but it was a strike.
   26. Rally Posted: October 17, 2019 at 01:20 PM (#5891323)
“Do you want AI/computer 1B and 3B coaches, too? There's no doubt those will be better than the human counterparts. Same with Managers. “

Nope, not managers. In my OOTP league I have 9 human managed teams and 21 computers. 6 teams are left in the playoffs, and 5 are human teams.

AI isn’t there yet.

For robot umps, I want to see them use the big, low voiced battle robot from the Judge Dredd movie.
   27. The Duke Posted: October 17, 2019 at 01:26 PM (#5891330)
12. I completely agree. Either him or C3PO.
   28. JAHV Posted: October 17, 2019 at 01:43 PM (#5891343)
If we're picking robots to stand back there to be the actual umpire, the Lost in Space robot is a great visual. "Danger, Wilson Ramos!"

But I'd also love to see a Dalek back there. After a couple of exterminations, no one would argue with them again.
   29. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2019 at 02:03 PM (#5891355)
I'm more interested in this pitch in particular being called a strike. I have long felt that pitchers with big 12-6 curveballs got hosed on calls because of the nature of their pitch.


Robo-umps may usher in a new age of wacky pitching - big bendy curves and strange angles - designed to just barely nick the strike zone. Just like wiffleball. And while I don't want Ks to increase, it otherwise might be fun to watch.
   30. QLE Posted: October 17, 2019 at 02:15 PM (#5891361)
Not much of a prospect, apparently. He turned 24 in August, and he's played four career games at Triple A.


Though he still wound up playing in the PCL playoffs- he was one of several players called up towards the end of the season as a by=product of the Giants' September call-ups.
   31. bunyon Posted: October 17, 2019 at 02:33 PM (#5891369)
There are plenty of fictional robots to come up with a full complement of umpires using them.

I want to see Marvin behind the plate.
   32. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: October 17, 2019 at 02:51 PM (#5891373)
But don't you want to protect boys?
   33. Lassus Posted: October 17, 2019 at 04:03 PM (#5891398)
Perfectly reasonable response in #24, thank you.


I also don't know what proposal you are arguing against when you talk about "the total replacement of the human element in judgment". Aren't we just talking about balls and strikes on taken pitches?

My rambling wasn't clear? Well I never.

I'm against losing the human element for balls and strikes. I suppose it's subjective, but it's just not what I want.


I want to see Marvin behind the plate.

This works.

Although lesser known, I wouldn't mind

Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The
Just Testing
Sense Amid Madness, Wit Amidst Folly
,

etc.


Could also just go with R. Daneel Olivaw.
   34. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: October 17, 2019 at 04:10 PM (#5891399)
Could also just go with R. Daneel Olivaw.


You kids & your newfangled sf characters & johnny-come-lately authors.

Adam Link FTW, dammit.
   35. John DiFool2 Posted: October 17, 2019 at 04:46 PM (#5891405)
#### off, ump!

I am not programmed to respond in that area.
   36. . Posted: October 17, 2019 at 05:52 PM (#5891427)
Open the pod bay doors Hal.

I’m sorry Dave I‘m afraid I can’t do that


It's time for the reappearance of the big white ball from The Prisoner.

I kind of get what Lassus is saying. I don't agree with it, but I get it. My disagreement is more with his assertion that the umpires are very good. They aren't. There were many decades that they could be seen or perceived as good or very good because we didn't have a bunch of high-def cameras showing us otherwise. I obviously concur with the general observation that all the cameras and data and replays and indecision and knowingness and fussiness, to which robo plate umps would contribute, have robbed the game and the endeavor of much of its soul. Absent a sea change in public tastes -- which is possible (*) -- it's hard to see how to put that toothpaste back in the tube.

(*) A Thoreauian back-to-simplicity-and-nature reaction to all of the soul-sapping excess is certainly conceivable, particularly given its acceleration in which one should expect to be the discredited Age of Trump.
   37. Manny Coon Posted: October 17, 2019 at 06:31 PM (#5891430)
For robot umps, I want to see them use the big, low voiced battle robot from the Judge Dredd movie.


I think it needs to use the creepy synthesized "YER OUT" for Intellivision's Major League Baseball.
   38. Zach Posted: October 17, 2019 at 07:27 PM (#5891433)
There were many decades that they could be seen or perceived as good or very good because we didn't have a bunch of high-def cameras showing us otherwise.

This I don't get. The strike zone was defined in the expectation that humans would call it. Players in the 1880s were not pining for high definition cameras. The catcher and umpire were setting up ten feet behind the plate. The strike zone called by humans is the one people have settled on, and it's slightly different from the one defined in the rule book. The human strike zone should be the one you try to duplicate, not the rule book strike zone.

If you suddenly program the rule book strike zone into a robo ump, you're going to get a lot of crazy calls.
   39. shoelesjoe Posted: October 17, 2019 at 09:51 PM (#5891468)
If you suddenly program the rule book strike zone into a robo ump, you're going to get a lot of correct calls.


Fixed it.
   40. bunyon Posted: October 17, 2019 at 11:04 PM (#5891485)
I’m now picturing a recently struck out batter turning to stare down the ump and see if he blinks.
   41. JAHV Posted: October 17, 2019 at 11:20 PM (#5891487)
Maybe Johnny 5 from Short Circuit? "No disassemble!"
   42. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: October 18, 2019 at 09:56 AM (#5891544)
I was thinking more MCP. "Strike Three. End Of Line."

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