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DAVID on the Automation of Balls and Strikes

February 1, 2016

imgres.jpg     “Where we’re going, we don’t need umpires.”

Mendoza called for prospective rule changes, and one of DAVID’s suggestion was to have computers call the strike zone. Whilst Dirty Commish has lots of power, that’s beyond even his capabilities.

It’s worth a look though. Eric Byrnes, who traded in an MLB platoon role to play slo-pitch in Northern California (most recent slash-line: .685/.820/1.755) is fronting the idea for Pitch f/x, and it’s been demoed in Independent Ball:

The argument for automation is straightforward and strong: the calls are made correctly.

Since our league thrives on conflict between this desk and DAVID, we’re going to take the other side of the argument and throw up Reasons Why Not. Our questions in bold, DAVID’s responses in italics.

The Pitch f/x system can be off by an inch. An inch is a lot.

Umpires are off by more than an inch. Also, zones change with each home plate umpire.

How do you adjust strikes zones if Copper’s batting third and you’re batting fourth?

It’s on the knee, it’s easy to program ‘find knee’.

What happens if the system breaks?

Then use the umpire, assuming he’s still making the other calls at the plate. But no umpire is really needed at all if you trusted technology. 

They are using similar systems in soccer already… $1M-$1.5M. That probably cuts down some as you only have one strike zone and not two nets, but it’s still expensive. So is this MLB only or do you also want it in the minors or what? 

Out of all pro sports, MLB cares nothing on cost. They should have many cameras working on an array providing the best answer. Minor leagues, depends on the price and their wallet.

What happens if K go way up or way down?

They are already looking at changing the strike zone to increase offense, so the adjustment would be easier then retraining hundreds of umpires.

Would it really improve the game?

Ball/strike arguments would be over, no one to argue with, speeding up the game.

Watching umpires call baseball games that it’s been proven they can’t keep up with, nor be consistent with…untrained and chips in their shoulders. Do you want that or do you want a consistent right call every game putting the outcomes of games inn the hands of teams, not umpires?

OK, we’re sold. 



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  1. Copper permalink

    Totally sold on the automated strike zone. keep the ump there and let him “announce” the call even…this personal strikezone per umpire is very annoying.

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