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Robots Are Made Of Metal Newsbeat

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Is MLB Ready for Robo-Umps and an Automated Strike Zone?

We are sad to inform you that the robo-ump looks nothing like you had hoped. A black box, glossy like a television screen that is never turned on, and positioned high behind home plate, it looks like an extremely unsubtle security camera. Tracking pitches using radar, it distinguishes balls from strikes and communicates the determination to the ump on the field—still a standard-issue human, now with an earpiece and an iPhone—who gives voice to the call. Not exactly the robotic overlord of your sci-fi dreams.

The system made its debut just this summer, in the independent Atlantic League, but its march across baseball is starting to look inevitable. MLB followed that initial testing by instituting the robo-ump in the Arizona Fall League in September. And just a week after the conclusion of the World Series—where an automated strike zone became a hot-button issue, thanks to controversial calls in Game 5—commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the tech would arrive in select minor league parks in 2020.

The robo-ump exists in the name of better baseball, offering a strike zone that is totally consistent, not just from hitter to hitter, but from team to team, game to game, season to season. It irons out any potential for human ambiguity. In theory, this should make it impossible to find fault. In practice . . . it’s trickier.

“As my dad put it: You know, for a hundred years, you go to a game, you have a couple beers, you have a hot dog, you yell at the umpire,” Atlantic League ump Tim Detwiler told SI days before the automated strike zone debuted there. “My old man said, “Who’s going to yell at the computer?’”

So, given the news of the last week or so, how long before the robo-umps are corrupted, and for what purposes?

 

QLE Posted: November 20, 2019 at 01:17 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: robot umpires, robots are made of metal, robots are strong, robots in baseball

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….

 

 


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.

 


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….

 


 

 

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