Blog #623 OH NO – Baseball

OH NO!!!  Now, I am worrying!!!

https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Computer-to-call-balls-and-strikes-in-minor-league-13673538.php/

Okay – I’m not really worried (but after yesterday’s post on worrying, I thought the title would be okay).

This article suggests the improbable concept that one of the Minor League Baseball leagues will use a computer to call balls and strikes!!!  In conjunction with the “bigs” (the Major Leagues), a trial was conducted over several years. Mostly the trial was to evaluate umpires – did the umpire ‘get the call right’?  

The article states “Plate umpires will wear earpieces and be informed of ball/strike calls by a TrackMan computer system that uses Doppler radar. Umps will have the ability to override the computer, which considers a pitch a strike when the ball bounces and then crosses the zone. TrackMan also does not evaluate check swings.”

The umpires will still be needed to call a runner safe or out when coming into home base.  But, the computer will be like the displays we have seen on televised games for years – showing the speed of the pitch and where the ball went – except this time, the computer MAKES the call (unless the umpire overrides it).

Where might this lead?  We have ‘instant replay’ in most sports (which sometimes isn’t so ‘instant’!!!).  Can a computer determine if the football went over the end line in football? Can it judge if a hockey puck did get past the goalie or not?  Was the tennis ball in or out? Can a computer do these things better than a human? Good Question (and I’m leaning on the idea that a computer COULD do this better than a human – if set up correctly and fairly!!!)

Hmmm … now if I could insert a ‘bug’ into the programming – making the strike zone bigger when the visitors are at bat; and smaller when the home team is at bat.  That way the home team should get more strikeouts when in the field, and more walks when at bat!!

Maybe we could put an RFID chip (or similar) into the baseball and track the ball across the plate.  

Yes, the times are a’changing!!!

What do you think?

Bruce

Posted by Bruce White

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