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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.

 

QLE Posted: August 15, 2019 at 04:39 AM | 50 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: buster posey, robot umpires, robots are made of metal, robots are strong, robots in baseball

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   1. The Duke Posted: August 15, 2019 at 08:49 AM (#5871578)
This can’t come soon enough. It begs the question though, how can the robot call pitches in real
Time but it takes 3-7 minutes for NY to call a replay? On clear misses, it should take less than a minute and on close calls no more than 1-3 minutes. If it takes 3 minutes to assess a call, then they should stick with umps call.
   2. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: August 15, 2019 at 09:40 AM (#5871595)
Worse still, they could all end up under the control of Dick Jones, and wind up doing his nefarious bidding.
"I had to kill Bob Manfred because he made a mistake. Now it's time to erase that mistake..."
   3. bigglou115 is not an Illuminati agent Posted: August 15, 2019 at 09:54 AM (#5871607)
I'd be more sympathetic if they hadn't glossed over the part were those "strikes" that will become "balls" are currently "balls" that are getting called "strikes."

That said, I think we're still a bit away. I dont think it'll be proven up in time for this CBA, so it'll have to wait on the next one.
   4. wjones Posted: August 15, 2019 at 10:11 AM (#5871613)
Maybe more balls would be called. But I would think/hope that the robot was sophisticated enough to call every pitch in the same location a ball (or strike). Pitchers then could adjust to one strike zone, not one for every umpire.
   5. Zonk Has Two Faces, Both Laughing Posted: August 15, 2019 at 10:39 AM (#5871624)
Just out of curiosity -- and forcing someone else to look it up so I don't have to -

What is the letter of the rule on a strike; more specifically, is it just the barest sliver of the baseball touching the zone or is it the whole ball or half the ball? I'm guessing the rulebook doesn't get that specific?

That's probably something that would need to be refined - if the book doesn't speak to it already - for robot ball/strike umps.
   6. Zonk Has Two Faces, Both Laughing Posted: August 15, 2019 at 10:49 AM (#5871629)
OK, it's "part".

So I think I'll disagree with Posey. I think we'd see more called strikes. Anecdotal but it feels like when gamecasts show the zone on a close pitch, I'm seeing a lot more "Huh, that did catch the zone" than otherwise.

Obviously, we'd probably have to break it down and probably first figure out if we've got more loose zone or tight zone umps... but put me in the more strikes camp for now.
   7. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 15, 2019 at 10:56 AM (#5871630)

What is the letter of the rule on a strike; more specifically, is it just the barest sliver of the baseball touching the zone or is it the whole ball or half the ball? I'm guessing the rulebook doesn't get that specific?


It actually does (page 149):

A STRIKE is a legal pitch when so called by the umpire, which:
(a) Is struck at by the batter and is missed;
(b) Is not struck at, if any part of the ball passes through any part
of the strike zone;

(c) Is fouled by the batter when he has less than two strikes;
(d) Is bunted foul;
(e) Touches the batter as he strikes at it;
(f) Touches the batter in flight in the strike zone; or
(g) Becomes a foul tip.

(emphasis added)
   8. calming him down with his 57i66135 Posted: August 15, 2019 at 11:48 AM (#5871658)
Maybe more balls would be called. But I would think/hope that the robot was sophisticated enough to call every pitch in the same location a ball (or strike). Pitchers then could adjust to one strike zone, not one for every umpire.

firstly: yeah, that's actually pretty easy to implement.

more importantly: it's the wrong way to do it, imo. with that method, every edge of the strike zone would have a fraction of a millimeter where the change in likelihood from a strike to a ball goes from 100% -> 0%. precision of measurement is an issue (if the calibration is off (and again, we're talking fractions of millimeters), the difference between a ball and a strike at the edge of the strike zone is still just chance), but also from a game theory perspective, it's a ####### nightmare. what would happen is that hitters would stop swinging at borderline pitches (since they wouldn't be able to do anything with it anyway), and pitchers would only throw borderline pitches (because hitters wouldn't swing, and they know that if they execute, they'd get a strike 100% of the time).


if MLB uses a "robot umpire", i think it has to be based on a probabilistic model that accounts for count (2-0: strike zone shrinks; 0-2: strike zone embiggens), pitch-type/location (high breaking ball: strike zone embiggens; low-outside fastball: strike zone shrinks), win-probability (15-2 in the 7th inning: strike zone embiggens; 1-1 in the 14th inning: strike zone shrinks), and so on. this kind of a system can be endlessly tweaked to prevent any single pitching strategy from becoming too effective, which means that instead of optimizing to game the system, pitchers will have to attack hitters head-on, since there's nothing to game.


as for the gradients of such a strike zone, i think the way to best implement the strike zone in this era is to eliminate the low, outside strike (and the high-inside strike, for balance (and safety, i guess)), and force pitchers to throw more pitches in the middle of the plate, where a hitter might actually choose to swing at it.
   9. The Duke Posted: August 15, 2019 at 11:54 AM (#5871659)
I can’t wait for the manager to come out screaming that his team are savages and the robot needs to tighten #### up
   10. Where have you gone Brady Anderson? Posted: August 15, 2019 at 12:01 PM (#5871663)
It should be fairly easy to adjust a robot-called strike zone, as compared to asking human umpires to change years of habit. If a robot strike zone leads to a crash or explosion in walks or strikeouts or whatever, you should be able to make adjustments/change the rule book strike zone.
   11. bunyon Posted: August 15, 2019 at 12:02 PM (#5871665)
I can't wait for the first time a team hacks the robot ump.

"Posey stands up and it looks like they're going to walk Seager. Yep, there's the lob outside for ball 4. You know, Bob....Wait, the ump called that a strike! Giants win! The Giants win!"
   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 15, 2019 at 12:05 PM (#5871666)
I dont think it'll be proven up in time for this CBA, so it'll have to wait on the next one.
Why on earth should it be subject to collective bargaining?
   13. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: August 15, 2019 at 12:15 PM (#5871670)
I can't wait for the first time a team hacks the robot ump.


As soon as Bill Belichick takes over the Red Sox
   14. Zonk Has Two Faces, Both Laughing Posted: August 15, 2019 at 12:17 PM (#5871671)
Personally, I just hope they look like daleks and look forward to a mutant R2D turning to a manager running out to complain saying EX-TERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!
   15. Brian C Posted: August 15, 2019 at 12:25 PM (#5871673)
It should be fairly easy to adjust a robot-called strike zone, as compared to asking human umpires to change years of habit. If a robot strike zone leads to a crash or explosion in walks or strikeouts or whatever, you should be able to make adjustments/change the rule book strike zone.

I am very highly skeptical that this is really as easy as it seems. I mean, yes, it will be easy to physically adjust the calibration, but much harder to anticipate the results. If you end up getting wacky results from a robot ump, then that means that the league guessed wrong about how to set it up in the first place, so any subsequent adjustments will be pretty much shots in the dark as to what kind of effects they'll have.
   16. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 15, 2019 at 12:41 PM (#5871681)
more importantly: it's the wrong way to do it, imo. with that method, every edge of the strike zone would have a fraction of a millimeter where the change in likelihood from a strike to a ball goes from 100% -> 0%. precision of measurement is an issue (if the calibration is off (and again, we're talking fractions of millimeters), the difference between a ball and a strike at the edge of the strike zone is still just chance), but also from a game theory perspective, it's a ####### nightmare. what would happen is that hitters would stop swinging at borderline pitches (since they wouldn't be able to do anything with it anyway), and pitchers would only throw borderline pitches (because hitters wouldn't swing, and they know that if they execute, they'd get a strike 100% of the time).


if MLB uses a "robot umpire", i think it has to be based on a probabilistic model that accounts for count (2-0: strike zone shrinks; 0-2: strike zone embiggens), pitch-type/location (high breaking ball: strike zone embiggens; low-outside fastball: strike zone shrinks), win-probability (15-2 in the 7th inning: strike zone embiggens; 1-1 in the 14th inning: strike zone shrinks), and so on. this kind of a system can be endlessly tweaked to prevent any single pitching strategy from becoming too effective, which means that instead of optimizing to game the system, pitchers will have to attack hitters head-on, since there's nothing to game.


This makes no sense to me - in the sense of "I'm baffled by why somebody would suggest this"; I actually understand probability and probabilistic models.

hitters would stop swinging at borderline pitches (since they wouldn't be able to do anything with it anyway), and pitchers would only throw borderline pitches (because hitters wouldn't swing, and they know that if they execute, they'd get a strike 100% of the time)


How is this different from what pitchers are currently doing? Generally speaking, the goal of a pitcher on any pitch is to either (a) get the batter to swing and miss, (b) get the batter to make weak contact, or (c) get the batter to take the pitch for a called strike, where one's preference among (a), (b), and (c) will vary by pitcher and by situation. None of that changes if the strike zone is called accurately.

The uncertainty inherent in pitchers nibbling around the corners isn't the uncertainty of whether a particular location will be called a ball or a strike. It's the extent to which pitchers are capable of locating a pitch that precisely each and every time they throw it. And if a pitcher IS capable of locating pitches that well (Greg Maddux is your platonic ideal here), he absolutely should be rewarded for it.

   17. I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape Posted: August 15, 2019 at 03:46 PM (#5871730)
what would happen is that hitters would stop swinging at borderline pitches (since they wouldn't be able to do anything with it anyway), and pitchers would only throw borderline pitches (because hitters wouldn't swing, and they know that if they execute, they'd get a strike 100% of the time).


You are grossly overestimating pitchers and their ability to hit a 'borderline pitch' every time
   18. Man o' Schwar Posted: August 15, 2019 at 05:28 PM (#5871759)
if MLB uses a "robot umpire", i think it has to be based on a probabilistic model that accounts for count (2-0: strike zone shrinks; 0-2: strike zone embiggens), pitch-type/location (high breaking ball: strike zone embiggens; low-outside fastball: strike zone shrinks), win-probability (15-2 in the 7th inning: strike zone embiggens; 1-1 in the 14th inning: strike zone shrinks), and so on. this kind of a system can be endlessly tweaked to prevent any single pitching strategy from becoming too effective, which means that instead of optimizing to game the system, pitchers will have to attack hitters head-on, since there's nothing to game.

This is like what's wrong with the current umpires. Do we really want a robot to change what's a strike based on game conditions? It would be like having lines on the tennis court that shift in and out depending on who's serving or who's winning. I don't want the managers in the dugout during the game consulting the robot ump manual to try to determine what the strike zone will be like in the current game state. "5-3 up, top of the 6th, lefty on the mound, runner on 1st, one out... robot will call 8% more strikes outside on breaking balls but 5% fewer strikes on fastballs, at least until the count reaches 2 strikes." Then relay that to the batter so he knows what to prepare for. Meanwhile the pitcher's manager is doing the same thing and advising the pitcher how to approach the at-bat to maximize the ump's edge.

A strike is a strike, and a ball is a ball, and never the twain should meet. If Posey is complaining, it's because he knows that robot umps would drastically reduce a catcher's ability to pull balls into the strike zone and trick the umps into a wrong call. And that's a good thing.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: August 15, 2019 at 06:27 PM (#5871777)
Danger Bill Robinson, you have two strikes!

(Is it my fault there's never been a Will Robinson in MLB?)
   20. Walt Davis Posted: August 15, 2019 at 06:28 PM (#5871778)
By the way, can robot umps call HBPs? Foul tips? Or are these left up to the base umps?
   21. Brian C Posted: August 15, 2019 at 10:13 PM (#5871842)
By the way, can robot umps call HBPs? Foul tips? Or are these left up to the base umps?

Presumably you still have a home plate ump, no? He's just not making the determination on balls and strikes anymore.
   22. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: August 15, 2019 at 10:51 PM (#5871871)
This probably goes without saying, but the strike zone wouldn't be the same -- it's still different from hitter to hitter (and for switch-hitters batting from the other side). In that sense, it seems like an improvement for hitters, who always get the same strike zone, over pitchers, who have to pitch to different ones, although I suppose that's already true just with human frailty adding on uncertainty.
   23. calming him down with his 57i66135 Posted: August 15, 2019 at 11:32 PM (#5871881)
By the way, can robot umps call HBPs? Foul tips? Or are these left up to the base umps?
cricket has a pretty good system in place, imo.
   24. calming him down with his 57i66135 Posted: August 16, 2019 at 12:22 AM (#5871888)
This is like what's wrong with the current umpires. Do we really want a robot to change what's a strike based on game conditions?

nah. what's wrong with MLB's current umpire enforced strike zone is (imo):

A: blatantly obvious blown calls.
B: identical pitches thrown consecutively often get called differently
C: many umpires are explosively red-assed.
You are grossly overestimating pitchers and their ability to hit a 'borderline pitch' every time

maybe. of course, no pitchers can paint the edge with every pitch, but alot of them can do it often enough to make a viable strategy out of it.
How is this different from what pitchers are currently doing?

the difference is between knowing that a pitch will be called a strike, versus compensating for "human" error that means it may not be.

I don't want the managers in the dugout during the game consulting the robot ump manual to try to determine what the strike zone will be like in the current game state. "5-3 up, top of the 6th, lefty on the mound, runner on 1st, one out... robot will call 8% more strikes outside on breaking balls but 5% fewer strikes on fastballs, at least until the count reaches 2 strikes."
that's where it gets really fun:

it doesn't have to be one single standard. you can create a new and semi-random strike zone for each game, based off a general set of MLB approved parameters that get transformed (within certain tolerances) based on circumstances throughout the game.
A strike is a strike, and a ball is a ball, and never the twain should meet.

who died and made you the mayor of that town from the movie footloose "starring" patrick swayze?
   25. kubiwan Posted: August 16, 2019 at 09:47 AM (#5871915)
what's wrong with MLB's current umpire enforced strike zone is...identical pitches thrown consecutively often get called differently


Errr...that is exactly what you are saying the robots should do with a "semi-random strike zone" using "parameters that get transformed...based on circumstances throughout the game".

It some ways it is weird that this spot is a strike and this other spot a millimeter away is a ball, but such things occur throughout the game. The difference between a ball hit down the line being a double and being a strike is the width of a piece of paper. A inch might separate an amazing catch from a home run. The same is true in other sports. What is the difference between a blistering forehand down the line being a winner...or an unforced error? Had a basketball shot that rolls off the rim been propelled forward with an imperceptible amount of force less, it might instead turn into a Game 7 buzzer-beater that bounces around four times before falling in.

In theory, of course.
   26. TJ Posted: August 16, 2019 at 10:55 AM (#5871936)
Danger Bill Robinson, you have two strikes!

(Is it my fault there's never been a Will Robinson in MLB?)


Walt, I would rather see the Robot from Lost in Space become baseball's first robot manager. (well, real robot and not some "We always save our closer to open the 9th inning" human hybrid). I would love to see Robot waving his arms wildly and spin around as he argues with the robot umpire and screams, "That call did not compute! That call did not compute!"
   27. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 16, 2019 at 11:11 AM (#5871942)
I agree with #25. There's no reason for randomness in ball and strike calls. Consistency is what we want.

Presumably you still have a home plate ump, no? He's just not making the determination on balls and strikes anymore.

Right, and you still need someone there to make the call on plays at the plate.
   28. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 16, 2019 at 11:16 AM (#5871945)
that's where it gets really fun:

it doesn't have to be one single standard. you can create a new and semi-random strike zone for each game, based off a general set of MLB approved parameters that get transformed (within certain tolerances) based on circumstances throughout the game.
So, let's just program robots to do exactly what the human ups already do that we're purportedly objecting to?
   29. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 16, 2019 at 02:35 PM (#5871996)
Interesting part of the Stark piece:

Time of game – Real umps 2:47, TrackMan 2:46
Runs per game – Real umps 4.61, TrackMan 4.63
Strikeout percent – Real umps 19.6%, TrackMan 19.6%
Walk percent – Real umps 8.9%, TrackMan 8.1%
   30. PreservedFish Posted: August 16, 2019 at 03:52 PM (#5872016)
more importantly: it's the wrong way to do it, imo. with that method, every edge of the strike zone would have a fraction of a millimeter where the change in likelihood from a strike to a ball goes from 100% -> 0%. precision of measurement is an issue (if the calibration is off (and again, we're talking fractions of millimeters), the difference between a ball and a strike at the edge of the strike zone is still just chance), but also from a game theory perspective, it's a ####### nightmare. what would happen is that hitters would stop swinging at borderline pitches (since they wouldn't be able to do anything with it anyway), and pitchers would only throw borderline pitches (because hitters wouldn't swing, and they know that if they execute, they'd get a strike 100% of the time).


if MLB uses a "robot umpire", i think it has to be based on a probabilistic model that accounts for count (2-0: strike zone shrinks; 0-2: strike zone embiggens), pitch-type/location (high breaking ball: strike zone embiggens; low-outside fastball: strike zone shrinks), win-probability (15-2 in the 7th inning: strike zone embiggens; 1-1 in the 14th inning: strike zone shrinks), and so on. this kind of a system can be endlessly tweaked to prevent any single pitching strategy from becoming too effective, which means that instead of optimizing to game the system, pitchers will have to attack hitters head-on, since there's nothing to game.


Can I also say that this is totally nuts?
   31. PreservedFish Posted: August 16, 2019 at 04:17 PM (#5872018)
There are so many things wrong with that quote that I can't even begin to address them.
   32. Rob_Wood Posted: August 16, 2019 at 05:57 PM (#5872025)
I sincerely hope that that quote did not come from anybody on this site.

:(
   33. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 16, 2019 at 07:08 PM (#5872030)
Pitchers then could adjust to one strike zone, not one for every umpire.


And even worse, a different strike zone for every count. It is known that umpires don't like to call ball 4 or strike 3 and that strike zones are count dependent- several studies have confirmed this. I'm also sick and tired of the pity strike that guys get because they miss the zone by three feet and so when they suddenly only miss by two inches, the umpire gives them the strike for it.
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 16, 2019 at 08:04 PM (#5872031)
Time of game – Real umps 2:47, TrackMan 2:46
Runs per game – Real umps 4.61, TrackMan 4.63
Strikeout percent – Real umps 19.6%, TrackMan 19.6%
Walk percent – Real umps 8.9%, TrackMan 8.1%


So, who cares? I still don't see the problem we're trying to solve.
   35. Howie Menckel Posted: August 16, 2019 at 08:06 PM (#5872032)
I can’t wait for the manager to come out screaming that his team are savages and the robot needs to tighten #### up

I was in the room when ex-Devils (and Team USA) coach Herb Brooks went on an extended rant, blaming the crappy organist for not doing enough to fire up the Meadowlands crowd and that's why they lost.

it was awkward.

well, for several reasons - but one was definitely that there was no such person. the team used canned music.

   36. PreservedFish Posted: August 16, 2019 at 08:30 PM (#5872035)
Time of game – Real umps 2:47, TrackMan 2:46
Runs per game – Real umps 4.61, TrackMan 4.63
Strikeout percent – Real umps 19.6%, TrackMan 19.6%
Walk percent – Real umps 8.9%, TrackMan 8.1%


So, who cares? I still don't see the problem we're trying to solve.


The point isn't to change K or BB%, it's to eliminate the crappy calls that make fans and players upset. The numbers don't show how many awful calls were made, and never could as long as the awful calls are more or less evenly distributed.
   37. calming him down with his 57i66135 Posted: August 16, 2019 at 09:09 PM (#5872037)
So, let's just program robots to do exactly what the human ups already do that we're purportedly objecting to?

who the #### is 'we'?

i just want to get rid of the worst 3-5% of blown calls (with the added bonus of taking power away from umpires who have shown repeatedly they are unable to responsibly wield it).
Can I also say that this is totally nuts?
i don't know; can you? (why yes, i do hate myself. why do you ask?)
And even worse, a different strike zone for every count. It is known that umpires don't like to call ball 4 or strike 3 and that strike zones are count dependent- several studies have confirmed this. I'm also sick and tired of the pity strike that guys get because they miss the zone by three feet and so when they suddenly only miss by two inches, the umpire gives them the strike for it.

it's not a completely different strike zone; it's a transformation that adds chaos into the system to incentivize aggression from pitchers and hitters.
Errr...that is exactly what you are saying the robots should do with a "semi-random strike zone" using "parameters that get transformed...based on circumstances throughout the game".
you know what...it kinda is.

i would argue that there are meaningful differences between the two scenarios (human umpires generally do it to balance the ledger, rather than to deliberately create uncertainty; algorithms don't get yelled at, or spat on; many umpires resist any change at all costs, whereas algorithms can be endlessly fine-tuned to yield desired results)
   38. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 16, 2019 at 09:19 PM (#5872038)
The point isn't to change K or BB%, it's to eliminate the crappy calls that make fans and players upset. The numbers don't show how many awful calls were made, and never could as long as the awful calls are more or less evenly distributed.

Why? Why do we care? Maybe players and fans should just get over themselves?

If you don't get upset when a stiff wind knocks down a fly ball, or turns a routine fly out into a HR, maybe you shouldn't care if an ump blows a call.
   39. Banta Posted: August 16, 2019 at 10:17 PM (#5872075)
What's suggested in 8 is actually the best argument I've heard of why there shouldn't be robot umps. Even if it starts out calling balls and strikes uniformly, how long before someone proposes something like 8 to address any number of issues that they think are currently hurting the game('s revenue)?

And like replay, once it's here, it's never going away...
   40. Rob_Wood Posted: August 16, 2019 at 10:33 PM (#5872078)
I have been on this site since the beginning. Post #8 may be the worst post I have ever read on this site.
   41. Sunday silence Posted: August 16, 2019 at 11:58 PM (#5872088)
If you don't get upset when a stiff wind knocks down a fly ball, or turns a routine fly out into a HR, maybe you shouldn't care if an ump blows a call.


cause those two things are just like one another.
   42. PreservedFish Posted: August 17, 2019 at 09:12 AM (#5872103)
Why? Why do we care? Maybe players and fans should just get over themselves?

If you don't get upset when a stiff wind knocks down a fly ball, or turns a routine fly out into a HR, maybe you shouldn't care if an ump blows a call.


Reducing frustration is a good thing. Isn't that self-evident?

Sure, it would be nice if we could all be more equanimous when confronted with the vicissitudes of life.
   43. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: August 17, 2019 at 11:09 AM (#5872117)
Presumably you still have a home plate ump, no? He's just not making the determination on balls and strikes anymore.

Right, and you still need someone there to make the call on plays at the plate.


Here is a list of things a home plate umpire is responsible for even with a robot calling balls and strikes:

1. Calling time for the pitcher and batter
2. Balks
3. Check swings
4. HBP
5. Catcher interference
6. Batter out of the batters box
7. Batter hit by ball out of the batters box
8. Fair/Foul calls in the infield
9. Catches (e.g. did the catcher catch the foul ball at the screen or did it hit the screen first?)
10. Run downs (out of baseline, tags) between 3rd and home
11. Plays at the plate
12. Maintain official ball/strike/out count
13. Replay (e.g., grant discretionary replay review late in the game)
14. Warnings/ejections for throwing at the hitter
15. Pitch clock violations (if a pitch clock is implemented)

Did I miss any?
   44. calming him down with his 57i66135 Posted: August 17, 2019 at 11:20 AM (#5872122)
for clarity:
This is like what's wrong with the current umpires

So, let's just program robots to do exactly what the human ups already do that we're purportedly objecting to?

I agree with #25. There's no reason for randomness in ball and strike calls. Consistency is what we want.


it seems like the primary in-scope complaint against [8], [24], [37] is that it's the same as what we have now.

so can someone explain what the #### all of this is about:
Can I also say that this is totally nuts?
There are so many things wrong with that quote that I can't even begin to address them.
I sincerely hope that that quote did not come from anybody on this site.
What's suggested in 8 is actually the best argument I've heard of why there shouldn't be robot umps
I have been on this site since the beginning. Post #8 may be the worst post I have ever read on this site.


by the way, what i proposed in [8] is not the same as what we have now. the change i want is to get rid of this blown call; the proposal i made in [8] (which is the worst thing anyone has ever not considered ...apparently) would get that call right 100% of the time.

everything else is either fuzzing the equation to add chaos, or tweaking some parameters over time to produce a more balanced (read: aesthetically-pleasing) product.
   45. calming him down with his 57i66135 Posted: August 17, 2019 at 11:24 AM (#5872123)
Here is a list of things a home plate umpire is responsible for even with a robot calling balls and strikes:

1. Calling time for the pitcher and batter
2. Balks
3. Check swings
4. HBP
5. Catcher interference
6. Batter out of the batters box
7. Batter hit by ball out of the batters box
8. Fair/Foul calls in the infield
9. Catches (e.g. did the catcher catch the foul ball at the screen or did it hit the screen first?)
10. Run downs (out of baseline, tags) between 3rd and home
11. Plays at the plate
12. Maintain official ball/strike/out count
13. Replay (e.g., grant discretionary replay review late in the game)
14. Warnings/ejections for throwing at the hitter
15. Pitch clock violations (if a pitch clock is implemented)

Did I miss any?

while we're making changes, i'd take [3], [4], [5], [7] and [12] should be out of the umpires hands.

also, while this is covered by [9], i think it should be stated explicitly: foul tipped 3rd strike.
   46. Greg Pope Posted: August 17, 2019 at 11:52 AM (#5872124)
It should be fairly easy to adjust a robot-called strike zone, as compared to asking human umpires to change years of habit. If a robot strike zone leads to a crash or explosion in walks or strikeouts or whatever, you should be able to make adjustments/change the rule book strike zone.

This has already happened in the Atlantic League. There were way too many high strikes being called, so they adjusted it lower.
   47. SoSH U at work Posted: August 17, 2019 at 01:32 PM (#5872138)
This has already happened in the Atlantic League. There were way too many high strikes being called, so they adjusted it lower.


Wow, I hope this doesn't work like ballpark dimensions, where they just keep making things more friendly for the offense.

I'm not a fan of the robot zone, for a variety of reasons. But as it's pretty much inevitable, I hope at least it doesn't create a less interesting product.
   48. Baldrick Posted: August 17, 2019 at 01:57 PM (#5872145)
so can someone explain what the #### all of this is about:

Your post was 1) incoherent 2) brazenly, absurdly wrong in its premises, and 3) extremely poorly argued.
   49. PreservedFish Posted: August 17, 2019 at 04:16 PM (#5872190)
Mostly it's the idea that a static strike zone would be a nightmare for game theory. To me, that's like saying that a hockey or soccer goal that doesn't change sizes throughout the game is a nightmare.

And the idea that pitchers would and could begin to reliably throw borderline strikes is just weirdly out of touch with the reality of the game, in several ways. They're already trying to throw borderline strikes with almost every pitch they throw. And they're not capable of it, because it's not easy to do.
   50. Sunday silence Posted: August 17, 2019 at 07:40 PM (#5872217)
Did I miss any?


I think you did: batting out of order; lineup changes in general; obstructions on the field. mound visits...

Theres probably also equipment stuff like loose sleeves and wearing jewelry and stuff.

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