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Jim Furtado
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Robots In Baseball Newsbeat

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Forget robots. These very real humans want to umpire the future of baseball

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Over three days of umpire camp — not to be confused with umpire school, more on that later — there is little attention paid to the strike zone. I’m loath to lead with a detail like that, which lends itself to too many punchlines. At ump camp, which is focused on education and not even evaluation, they don’t teach students how to distinguish between balls and strikes and isn’t that just rich? No wonder they’re so bad, you’re thinking, or getting ready to tweet alongside a screengrab of this paragraph. No wonder they’re all getting replaced by robots.

And in a way it’s schadenfreude as a form of self-defense. The increasing mechanization of all sorts of industries will put people in a huge swath of professions out of work. Robots are coming for all of our jobs; but they’re coming for umpires’ jobs imminently and on a public stage.

After a closely watched debut in the Atlantic League last year, the automated strike zone was reportedly ready for testing in the minor leagues this season — back when there was a season scheduled. The coronavirus has thrown a wrench in plans far bigger than experimental sports technology. It’s not clear when or even if minor league baseball will take place in 2020. And, contrary to some reports about how a virus-shortened season could provide a major league testing ground for the electronic strike zone, Major League Baseball has not discussed implementing robot umps in the bigs if games return later this summer.

The system has kinks to be cleaned up and a strike zone to stabilize. But all that said: Robot umpires remain an inevitability. An electronic system for calling balls and strikes at the highest level of baseball is a matter of when and not if.

We’ve been considering seemingly everyone else in baseball over the last few weeks- now is as good a time as any to turn to the umpires…..


QLE Posted: April 16, 2020 at 02:21 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: robots in baseball, umpires

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Taiwanese baseball team replacing fans with ‘robot mannequins’ to open season

Crisis breeds innovation.

And this? Well, this probably counts.

Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League is scheduled to get underway on Saturday as a sign of a return to normalcy after the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The league’s start date was pushed back twice from March 14 because of the pandemic.

Like in the United States, fans in China are still not permitted to gather in large groups, meaning games will be played in empty stadiums.

Well, things are rather surreal as is- why not add to it?


QLE Posted: April 08, 2020 at 01:27 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: chinese professional baseball league, robots in baseball, taiwan



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