Published: Sat, July 13, 2019
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Robot umpire aid debuts in minors as MLB watches closely

Robot umpire aid debuts in minors as MLB watches closely

The independent Atlantic League became the first American professional baseball league to use a computer to call balls and strikes at its All-Star Game on Wednesday night, Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press reports.

The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, an eight-team league with clubs on the East Coast and a singular Texas squad, introduced the concept during it's All-Star game on Wednesday. It was a vicarious takeover: Home-plate umpire Brian deBrauwere wore an Apple AirPod, which relayed to him the ball-strike call, which was made by an on-site computer.

The game between the Liberty Division and Freedom Division all-stars ended in a 3-3 tie. For players without available strike zone data, they hit against a zone measured for a 6-foot-2 batter.

He crouched in his normal position behind the catcher and signaled balls and strikes.

"If that was the one blunder", Terdoslavich said, "I didn't really hear any complaints from anyone". Sabermetric analysis reveals the startling defensive value that catchers add by their "pitch framing" prowess - what some catchers call "receiving", or "presenting" the pitch to the umpire.


One infielder, L.J. Mazzilli, said that a few times batters who struck out lingered for an extra second or two in the batter's box waiting for a called strike three. But we feel it's incumbent upon us - people that play the game raised this as something that could make the game better. One thing pitchers noticed is that pitches up in the zone were being consistently called strikes. "In fact, we're trying empower the umpire with technology".

"Technically, they're strikes, but umpires never called them", Atkins said.

The experiment with radar-tracking technology to call balls and strikes was originally expected to begin at the start of the season but experienced some delays.

"This strike zone is different than what every player has known in the past", said Atkins, the York pitcher.

The independent Atlantic League and Major League Baseball have an official partnership as the lower league rolls out new rules, innovations and equipment for MLB to study. Trackman, though, was not the most extraordinary aspect of the evening.

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