Judgement Day? 'Robot umpire' debuts in Atlantic League

Atlantic League to experiment with batters “stealing first base”

The plate umpire in the game at York, Pa., wore an earpiece that would relay whether a pitch was a ball or strike based on computer evaluation. Additionally, there is a slight delay, which led to some awkward moments as players were unsure if they had struck out on close pitches. Similarly, the software will grant pitchers a high strike that umpires generally will not because the ball appears too high as they crouch behind the plate.

The program used player data to formulate a strike zone for each hitter, but because of the lack of information that was on hand for the system, a generic, 6-foot-2 strike zone was implemented.

MLB reportedly plans to test the Trackman software as part of a three-year partnership with the Atlantic League. The home plate umpire has a lot more to do than call balls and strikes and he's going to be asked to do all of that.

"One of the thing we consider is how disruptive [rule changes] will be to how the game is played", said Morgan Sword, MLB's senior vice president for league economics and operations, and the main go-between for Manfred's office and the Atlantic League.

"If that was the one blunder", Terdoslavich said, "I didn't really hear any complaints from anyone".

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Even with this new technology, umpires still have the ability to override the computer's decisions.

Umpires will remain responsible for making other calls on the field, including foul tips, check swings and plays at the plate. "We're in touch with our umpires' union, and this is the first step of the process". I realize that hasn't stopped Major League Baseball before, but I am genuinely curious who came up with this idea. It's inevitable. The game is changing. And if you want to be on board with this, you have to keep up. Whether you're watching Georgia's Baldwin High School Braves or the Atlanta Braves, there's a noticeable congruity - both games involve the same basic dynamics, the real-life (if unintentional) human drama between player and official.

People often joke about fast guys who can't hit by saying "you can't steal first base".

"Any pitch on any count not caught in flight will be considered a live ball, and a batter may run to first base, similar to a dropped third strike", The Post's Jacob Bogage wrote in an article published Wednesday.

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