Monday, 14 October, 2019

First Ever Robotic Umpire Debuts Behind Plate in MLB-Owned Atlantic League

Home plate umpire Brian deBrauwere left huddles behind Freedom Division catcher James Skelton of the York Revolution as the official wears an earpiece during the first inning of the Atlantic League All Star minor league baseball game Wednesday July Atlantic League to experiment with batters “stealing first base”
Shannon Reynolds | 13 July, 2019, 15:00

What Major League Baseball and the Atlantic League's new rules presuppose is, "what if you can?"

The Trackman system for calling balls and strikes made its debut on Wednesday (July 10) night during the Atlantic League All-Star game.

For the first time in a professional baseball game, balls and strikes were called by an electronic system. A batter can be thrown out at first base in the event he tries advancing when a ball gets past the backstop. The batter would be out if he is beaten by the throw or is tagged before touching first.

One foul bunt is allowed with two strikes before it becomes a strikeout.

The Atlantic League altered a number of rules to begin the season, including enlarging bases by three inches on each side, banning mound visits and the defensive shift and requiring pitchers to face at least three batters. But even aside from special pleading for those wielders of the tools of ignorance, there is the problem that a robotic strike zone would eliminate a distinctly human reprieve within a mechanistic and data-soaked sport; that timeless interplay between catcher, umpire, and pitcher would cease, ceding to the same soulless impulse of revolution overtaking America's other professional sports.

"One of our focuses is not to replace the umpire", Sword said.

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"When they started putting the strike zone on TV just to let the fans understand why the pitch was called a ball or a strike, that was the start of it all", New Britain Bees manager Mauro Gozzo said before the game.

Though the technology is being touted as a robot umpire, the concept doesn't involve a robot at all, the York Daily Record reports.

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

There is, however, a brief delay between when the pitch is caught and when the call is signaled.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said there's no timeline on when the technology will be used in the majors. As part of the aforementioned agreement, major league officials can install rule changes and study their effects on game play, strategy, tempo and prospect development, with MLB promising to "enhance its scouting coverage of the Atlantic League" in return. We kind of feel it's incumbent on us to figure out whether we could make it work.

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