July 28, 2015

Automated Strike Zone To Be Used In Pacific Association Game Tonight


J.J. Cooper, Baseball America:
History will be made tonight.

There has been a lot of talk about the benefits and drawbacks of automated umpires for calling balls and strikes. Advocates and skeptics. But on Tuesday night in the independent Pacific Association in a game between the San Rafael Pacifics and Vallejo Admirals, everyone will get to see an automated strike zone in action in a professional game.

The two-game automated umpire trial is the brainchild of former big league outfielder Eric Byrnes, who will serve as the "Strike Zone Umpire" for the two games as a charity fundraiser for the Pat Tillman Foundation. ...

The technology is pretty widespread and understood at this point. Three cameras track the ball in three dimensions. Byrnes will be sitting with a monitor in front of him on press row. When the pitch crosses the plate, the pitching tracking software will show whether it's a strike or a ball. Byrnes will then immediately call ball or strike into the public address system. There will still be a home-plate umpire to handle any other calls that need to be made at the plate (such as check swings and plays at the plate). Longo said that the Pacific Association's umpires were consulted and are in favor of testing out the system. ...

Not long ago the independent Atlantic League added some innovative initiatives to speed up the pace of play, many of which were later adopted by Major League Baseball. It would not be surprising if other independent leagues toyed with the idea of testing automated ball-strike calls. From there, the idea could grow.
This is excellent news. The toughest thing for me is rethinking my negative opinion of Eric Byrnes.

1 comment:

Kathryn said...