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dougdirt
11-13-2012, 03:57 PM
While browsing my RSS feeds I came across a piece from Beyond the Box Score that highlighted this Baseball Prospectus article (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=18896).

The article is about Jose Molina. Jose Molina hit .223/.286/.355 this season. He is a catcher, which you probably already knew, or knew once you saw his last name. Jose Molina also played in just 80 games. Stats suggest that Jose Molina posted the same value as Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton who hit .290/.361/.608 with 37 home runs in just 501 plate appearances because Jose Molina was worth 50 runs by the way that he was able to frame pitches and trick umpires into calling strikes on pitches that weren't.

There are 10 pitches in total showing him getting strike calls on clear balls so be sure to check out the link above to see them, but this was the one that measured out to be the worst call of them all.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/photos/MolinaFrame1.gif

mdccclxix
11-13-2012, 03:59 PM
Have you watched an NFL game lately? Blech. Computers ruin the fun.

dougdirt
11-13-2012, 04:02 PM
Have you watched an NFL game lately? Blech. Computers ruin the fun.

No. I live in Cincinnati where we don't get to watch our team play.

And sorry, but nothing is fun about making Jose Molina as valuable as Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton. That is like taking Tim Tebow and changing the rules so he is as valuable as Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. That isn't fun. It is mind numbing.

mdccclxix
11-13-2012, 04:06 PM
How do you feel about it being a constant in the game for dozens and dozens of years? To me, it seems baked in with the pie.

bucksfan2
11-13-2012, 04:09 PM
The pitch above doesn't look all that bad, looks like boarder line strike.

dougdirt
11-13-2012, 04:09 PM
How do you feel about it being a constant in the game for dozens and dozens of years? To me, it seems baked in with the pie.

What do you mean?

oneupper
11-13-2012, 04:13 PM
The pitch above doesn't look all that bad, looks like boarder line strike.

Inside and low. Not close in the view of these old eyes.

mdccclxix
11-13-2012, 04:15 PM
What do you mean?

Just that Molina is just one of probably hundreds of catchers over time that really succeed in these tactics. It's part of a catcher's skill set. Why do you want to end it now?

dougdirt
11-13-2012, 04:16 PM
The pitch above doesn't look all that bad, looks like boarder line strike.

Home plate is 17 inches wide. That pitch was 19 inches from the center of home plate. If home plate is 17 inches wide, then from the center of home plate to the corner is 8.5 inches. That puts that pitch nearly a foot away (10.5 inches) from the plate as it crossed where home plate was at.

dougdirt
11-13-2012, 04:18 PM
Just that Molina is just one of probably hundreds of catchers over time that really succeed in these tactics. It's part of a catcher's skill set. Why do you want to end it now?

I want it to end now because it creates an unfair advantage for something that is outside of the rulebook. The strikezone is static. We have the technology to call it correctly, yet we still let the rules be taken advantage of that allow frankly terrible players have the same value as MVP caliber players because they are good at tricking the umpire. It is crazy.

mdccclxix
11-13-2012, 04:22 PM
The rules were written before computers though. Computers weren't even dreamed of yet. I don't know baseball history well at all, so maybe others can offer in some insight. I want to say at some point there weren't even umpires.

mdccclxix
11-13-2012, 04:23 PM
Home plate is 17 inches wide. That pitch was 19 inches from the center of home plate. If home plate is 17 inches wide, then from the center of home plate to the corner is 8.5 inches. That puts that pitch nearly a foot away (10.5 inches) from the plate as it crossed where home plate was at.

That doesn't look 10.5 inches off the plate. How so?

dougdirt
11-13-2012, 04:27 PM
That doesn't look 10.5 inches off the plate. How so?

Because it is moving at 93 MPH in an image that isn't recorded at the proper frame rate that you are used to seeing on television at a camera angle that isn't directly behind the pitcher.

dougdirt
11-13-2012, 04:31 PM
Just checked Brooksbaseball.net for that pitch. That data is uncorrected, but it has the pitch as being 6 inches outside. Either way, it should easily be a ball.

M2
11-13-2012, 04:32 PM
I've got no idea why there isn't an electronic strike zone. No one buys a ticket to watch the ump call balls and strikes. It doesn't speed the game up and umps miss calls way too often. It frustrates players and it frustrates fans. The excuse that it all evens out is not a valid reason for MLB sticking with a problem that has a clear and easy solution. You can still have an ump to run the game and act as backup in case the electronic system malfunctions. It's time to bury this relic.

Calling balls and strikes accurately is fundamental to a fairly contested game. We have a way to get those calls right 100% of the time rather than the current system which can miss dozens of calls in a single game. There simply is no counterargument.

*BaseClogger*
11-13-2012, 04:44 PM
There simply is no counterargument.

I enjoy the game-within-the-game involved with tricking the human eyes. It's just one of the little charms that adds to the overall romance of the sport...

MrRedLegger
11-13-2012, 04:44 PM
If a catcher can get away with it, he's going to do it. Is raising umpire's awareness to pitch framing an option? I am not a proponent of implementing robots into the game.

oneupper
11-13-2012, 04:52 PM
Put my vote in for robo-ump. Do away with the "framing" and the "context" strike zones (veterans vs. rookies, home vs. away, score-related, standings-related, "lesson teaching",etc. ).

The NFL has become far more enjoyable in my opinion now that there is a clear mandate to try to "get it right".

Sea Ray
11-13-2012, 05:01 PM
As most of you know, I'm as traditional as they come, but I'm with Doug on this one and I thought the same thing while watching these post season games with the graphics showing the strike zone on every pitch. I've been fed up with ump's strike zones for awhile now but I think as this technology gets better and if it's feasible to set up a system that can work at the major league level, I'd be all for it

M2
11-13-2012, 05:12 PM
I enjoy the game-within-the-game involved with tricking the human eyes. It's just one of the little charms that adds to the overall romance of the sport...

It's about as romantic as dating a compulsive liar.

RichRed
11-13-2012, 05:24 PM
Put my vote in for robo-ump. Do away with the "framing" and the "context" strike zones (veterans vs. rookies, home vs. away, score-related, standings-related, "lesson teaching",etc. ).

The NFL has become far more enjoyable in my opinion now that there is a clear mandate to try to "get it right".

Agreed, it's time. Past time, actually.

blumj
11-13-2012, 05:46 PM
If a catcher can get away with it, he's going to do it. Is raising umpire's awareness to pitch framing an option? I am not a proponent of implementing robots into the game.
Because the technology makes obvious fools out of the umpires, who need to be in control to do their jobs, and it's nearly impossible to be in control when you're being shown up for a fool regularly.

muddie
11-13-2012, 05:47 PM
I've got no idea why there isn't an electronic strike zone. No one buys a ticket to watch the ump call balls and strikes. It doesn't speed the game up and umps miss calls way too often. It frustrates players and it frustrates fans. The excuse that it all evens out is not a valid reason for MLB sticking with a problem that has a clear and easy solution. You can still have an ump to run the game and act as backup in case the electronic system malfunctions. It's time to bury this relic.

Calling balls and strikes accurately is fundamental to a fairly contested game. We have a way to get those calls right 100% of the time rather than the current system which can miss dozens of calls in a single game. There simply is no counterargument.

Umpires are as much a part of the game as are the players. As far as "umps miss calls way too often" is concerned...players make errors way too often in my opinion. Managers make bad decisions that cost their teams games. So let's eliminate the managers and set up a preprogrammed system that reacts to specific situations based on the input. Why don't we just invent a computer game and call it baseball. Eliminate all the bad calls, pitches, errors, and decisions and see what that looks like.
Baseball is a game that is as human as we are and that's why I enjoy it. We all make mistakes and that's a part of who we are. The mistakes are a part of the entertainment in an odd way.

We have a way to get those calls right 100% of the time...

Totally disagree. Let me know when you get 100% agreement on anything. You would still contest what is "right."

mdccclxix
11-13-2012, 05:56 PM
The inanity of NFL instant reply is overwhelming. I just don't want any part of it in the batter's box.

mbgrayson
11-13-2012, 06:03 PM
It would be interesting for MLB to try this out in spring training, even at just a couple ball parks.

Of course, you can expect the umps would go out on strike.

What about giving each manager three ball/strike challenges per game? If the challenge wins, they don't have to use it up. There would need to be rules for borderline calls.

The problem I see with Gameday strike zones is that they are two diminsional. The plate is three diminsional, and a curve can theoretically cross the zone behind the front plane of the plate. How do we measure for that?

I like the idea, but I don't think the technology is quite there yet.

traderumor
11-13-2012, 06:05 PM
Umpires are as much a part of the game as are the players. As far as "umps miss calls way too often" is concerned...players make errors way too often in my opinion. Managers make bad decisions that cost their teams games. So let's eliminate the managers and set up a preprogrammed system that reacts to specific situations based on the input. Why don't we just invent a computer game and call it baseball. Eliminate all the bad calls, pitches, errors, and decisions and see what that looks like.
Baseball is a game that is as human as we are and that's why I enjoy it. We all make mistakes and that's a part of who we are. The mistakes are a part of the entertainment in an odd way.

We have a way to get those calls right 100% of the time...

Totally disagree. Let me know when you get 100% agreement on anything. You would still contest what is "right."An umpire's call is obviously a different category than a play by a player or a decision by a manager. Playing the game and the strategy of the game are a part of the fabric of the game. Exact calling of balls and strikes by an automated system is not the same category as attempting to use artificial intelligence for managing a game, or having robots that field perfectly play the game.

_Sir_Charles_
11-13-2012, 07:13 PM
I'd be in favor of using the computers to evaluate and discipline the umpires. If an umpire is shown to miss balls/strikes at an inordinate rate, I'd be fully in favor of demoting that umpire to the minors. But I do NOT want a computer calling the balls/strikes in a game.

And by the way, that video Doug posted in that initial post, 6 inches outside...sure, it's a ball...but lets not act like it's such a blatant error that we get bent out of shape over it. That's just slightly more than one baseball's length outside. Sure it's a mistake, but I've seen worse mistakes on plays with balls that are trapped, or close plays at a base, etc. Are we going to have computers call those to? Implement replay to make an already long game even longer? I vote no.

dougdirt
11-13-2012, 07:33 PM
I'd be in favor of using the computers to evaluate and discipline the umpires. If an umpire is shown to miss balls/strikes at an inordinate rate, I'd be fully in favor of demoting that umpire to the minors. But I do NOT want a computer calling the balls/strikes in a game.

And by the way, that video Doug posted in that initial post, 6 inches outside...sure, it's a ball...but lets not act like it's such a blatant error that we get bent out of shape over it. That's just slightly more than one baseball's length outside. Sure it's a mistake, but I've seen worse mistakes on plays with balls that are trapped, or close plays at a base, etc. Are we going to have computers call those to? Implement replay to make an already long game even longer? I vote no.

Why can't we? The problem is that baseball has a dumb replay system to begin with. Don't send the entire crew into the tunnel to watch the video. Have 3-4 umpires working in New York watching the replays. By the time the manager gets hit butt out of the dugout and tells the umpire what he wants to review, we folks at home already know whether the right or wrong call was made. Have the crew chief hooked up with an ear piece. When the right call comes in on a disputed play, the guy in New York tells him the result of the play and that is that. It would take less than a minute. Balls and strikes are already being done. Just make it happen (and be sure to calibrate the system an hour before each game). It isn't difficult. It is actually incredibly easy given that we already have every piece of technology in place except for an ear piece and a few umpires sitting in New York in front of some TVs.

BCubb2003
11-13-2012, 07:42 PM
Why not give the umpire behind the plate an ear piece and give him a tennis-like beep when the ball is a strike? You still have a human in charge who can deal with the unforeseen. The umpire isn't shown up, but he will be trained to call the objective strike.

High and low might be a challenge, but inside and outside seem doable.

RedsManRick
11-13-2012, 07:48 PM
The rules were written before computers though. Computers weren't even dreamed of yet. I don't know baseball history well at all, so maybe others can offer in some insight. I want to say at some point there weren't even umpires.

And yet, the plate has precise measurements that are consistent from park to park. And yet, the rule book provides very specific guidelines about how to define the height of the zone by player.

Clearly, the task given to the umpire is to assess whether or not the ball crossed through the zone. That's what the rulebook says his job his. We have evidence that certain players can and do systemically abuse the umpires' physical limitations in doing their job.

The question becomes, which is the bigger affront? Changing our rule enforcement mechanism, to which some people seem to have great affinity, or allowing players to gain an advantage through their skill in abusing the limitations of our current mechanism?

The umps are there to enforce the rules. MLB should be doing what it can to allow them to do their jobs as well as possible. Choosing not to so when they clearly have a solution available is an insult to anybody who thinks that the game should be decided by the players' ability to score and prevent runs within the rules rather than their ability to abuse the limitations of our ability to enforce them.

I've yet to see anybody make a compelling argument against a solution such as the one BCubb described. I'm sure the umps would resist, but that's the only reason, that's sad.

edabbs44
11-13-2012, 07:49 PM
No. I live in Cincinnati where we don't get to watch our team play.

And sorry, but nothing is fun about making Jose Molina as valuable as Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton. That is like taking Tim Tebow and changing the rules so he is as valuable as Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. That isn't fun. It is mind numbing.

It might be reckless to make that statement.

AtomicDumpling
11-13-2012, 08:25 PM
I'd be in favor of using the computers to evaluate and discipline the umpires. If an umpire is shown to miss balls/strikes at an inordinate rate, I'd be fully in favor of demoting that umpire to the minors. But I do NOT want a computer calling the balls/strikes in a game.

And by the way, that video Doug posted in that initial post, 6 inches outside...sure, it's a ball...but lets not act like it's such a blatant error that we get bent out of shape over it. That's just slightly more than one baseball's length outside. Sure it's a mistake, but I've seen worse mistakes on plays with balls that are trapped, or close plays at a base, etc. Are we going to have computers call those to? Implement replay to make an already long game even longer? I vote no.

The arguments after a blown call delay the game far more than a quick replay review would.

Brutus
11-13-2012, 08:30 PM
While browsing my RSS feeds I came across a piece from Beyond the Box Score that highlighted this Baseball Prospectus article (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=18896).

The article is about Jose Molina. Jose Molina hit .223/.286/.355 this season. He is a catcher, which you probably already knew, or knew once you saw his last name. Jose Molina also played in just 80 games. Stats suggest that Jose Molina posted the same value as Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton who hit .290/.361/.608 with 37 home runs in just 501 plate appearances because Jose Molina was worth 50 runs by the way that he was able to frame pitches and trick umpires into calling strikes on pitches that weren't.

There are 10 pitches in total showing him getting strike calls on clear balls so be sure to check out the link above to see them, but this was the one that measured out to be the worst call of them all.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/photos/MolinaFrame1.gif

50 runs... so say the computers.

One could surmise they have a vested interest ;)

RedsBaron
11-13-2012, 09:34 PM
I've got no idea why there isn't an electronic strike zone. No one buys a ticket to watch the ump call balls and strikes. It doesn't speed the game up and umps miss calls way too often. It frustrates players and it frustrates fans. The excuse that it all evens out is not a valid reason for MLB sticking with a problem that has a clear and easy solution. You can still have an ump to run the game and act as backup in case the electronic system malfunctions. It's time to bury this relic.

Calling balls and strikes accurately is fundamental to a fairly contested game. We have a way to get those calls right 100% of the time rather than the current system which can miss dozens of calls in a single game. There simply is no counterargument.

Agreed.

George Anderson
11-13-2012, 09:51 PM
I think threads about computerizing balls and strikes are giving "Adam Dunn Sucks" threads a run for the money.

The reality is computerized balls and strikes are not likely to happen in our lifetime. MLB is very conservative and does not react quickly to change. There is no system currently in place at any level of professional or amateur baseball so this alone tells me this isn't even on the radar for MLB to implement anytime soon.

I have no problem with instant replay being used on a limited basis but as far as balls and strikes I have no real opinion because again, it isn't going to happen in my lifetime so why think about it?

Don't think also that there won't be controversy should a computerized system ever be put in place. I gaurantee fans and players alike will still question and gripe about the calls.

The only real place I can find where people want some computerized ball and strikes system is on this board.

I will check back in a month or so when a new thread about this is started and will copy and paste the same thing again. ;)

kaldaniels
11-13-2012, 10:28 PM
The point Doug makes is valid yet I am not seeing a pitch that is 6 inches off the plate. Can we get a consensus on that before I go on?

kaldaniels
11-13-2012, 10:33 PM
A ball whose center is 1.5 inches off the plate is still a strike though because its outer edge nips the black, correct?

Brutus
11-13-2012, 10:34 PM
A ball whose center is 1.5 inches off the plate is still a strike though because its outer edge nips the black, correct?

Correct.

kaldaniels
11-13-2012, 10:36 PM
50 runs/80 games = .625 runs a game

I'm just struggling to compute all this.

Ok, I'm done for now.

mdccclxix
11-13-2012, 10:40 PM
And yet, the plate has precise measurements that are consistent from park to park. And yet, the rule book provides very specific guidelines about how to define the height of the zone by player.

Clearly, the task given to the umpire is to assess whether or not the ball crossed through the zone. That's what the rulebook says his job his. We have evidence that certain players can and do systemically abuse the umpires' physical limitations in doing their job.

The question becomes, which is the bigger affront? Changing our rule enforcement mechanism, to which some people seem to have great affinity, or allowing players to gain an advantage through their skill in abusing the limitations of our current mechanism?

The umps are there to enforce the rules. MLB should be doing what it can to allow them to do their jobs as well as possible. Choosing not to so when they clearly have a solution available is an insult to anybody who thinks that the game should be decided by the players' ability to score and prevent runs within the rules rather than their ability to abuse the limitations of our ability to enforce them.

I've yet to see anybody make a compelling argument against a solution such as the one BCubb described. I'm sure the umps would resist, but that's the only reason, that's sad.

If the beep tells the ump what to say, why even have an ump? You can have a scoreboard keep track of the count, instant replay on plays at the plate, and a mechanical ball tosser give new balls when they're scuffed by clicking a button on the catcher's helmet. The beep is the castration of the ump. No one will respect the ump. I think the game would lose a little excitement waiting for the beep.

mdccclxix
11-13-2012, 10:41 PM
50 runs/80 games = .625 runs a game

I'm just struggling to compute all this.

Ok, I'm done for now.

The numbers are flying around.

Blitz Dorsey
11-13-2012, 10:49 PM
If tennis can do it -- and do it efficiently -- there's no reason baseball can't. Not exactly apples-to-apples, but you get the drift. This isn't all that complicated with today's technology. And not EVERY call would be reviewed. Just the ones that are challenged. Wouldn't take but more than a few seconds ... just like when shots are challenged in tennis.

The calling of balls/strikes is a huge issue in baseball. One that certainly needs fixed. Guys are all over the map with their respective strike zones.

RedsManRick
11-13-2012, 11:17 PM
If the beep tells the ump what to say, why even have an ump? You can have a scoreboard keep track of the count, instant replay on plays at the plate, and a mechanical ball tosser give new balls when they're scuffed by clicking a button on the catcher's helmet. The beep is the castration of the ump. No one will respect the ump. I think the game would lose a little excitement waiting for the beep.

Because the home plate ump does more than just call balls and strikes and throw the ball back to the pitcher. Somehow they still manage to find tennis judges.

That said, I'd be very happy even it wasn't even something the ump had to follow, but just a training mechanism. Put it purposefully on a 5-10 second delay, let the ump make his call as he currently does, and then give him feedback. Ump keeps his role, but gets the feedback he needs to improve at his craft in real time, when he's still able to process the necessary adjustment.

Roy Tucker
11-13-2012, 11:46 PM
Like anything technical and complex, the devil is in the details.

I'd really like to see a working real-time balls and strikes video system get implemented in the minors where they can use it for a season and really work all the bugs out of it. With these kinds of things, the problems aren't the ones you think of, its the ones you don't think of and all of the unintended consequences.

Thinking it through, it seems that getting the geometry of the plate is a solvable thing. You have the front, sides, and back and they don't move. What seems the problem is the top and bottom of the strike zone.


Rule 2.00: The Strike Zone

The STRIKE ZONE is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter's stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.

That last sentence would be the tricky part. Is this a fully automated determination or is a human being setting it? If automated, the batter knows when he's being scanned and what happens if he crouches at that exact instant? Lots of things to work out.

And being a IT security guy, all systems better be firewalled and virus scanned and the code better be app-scanned for vulnerabilities and peer reviewed out the wazoo because it will come under intense scrutiny. White hat threats where a programmer can be bought out by organized gamblers to alter results. All solvable problems that all IT departments worth their salt take care of, but now instead of a human ump that is calling balls and strikes, you have a digital infrastructure that is doing it. Believe me, a lot can go wrong and lots and lots and lots of stuff needs to be worked out.

M2
11-14-2012, 01:05 AM
Electronic strikezones already exist. They've been around for years and have been demonstrating to fans who know how to open up a Gameday window that, yes, umps do as poor a job of calling balls and strikes as we always suspected. And the electronic systems make an instantaneous call.

The technology is proven and in place. It adds no delay to the game. It increases the fairness of the game. In fact, it would eliminate all game-time wrangling over calls.

cincinnati chili
11-14-2012, 02:42 AM
Thanks for raising this, Doug. If there was one thing I could change about the game it wouldn't be getting rid of the DH (which I hate), it wouldn't be forbidding astroturf, it wouldn't be reducing ticket prices, it wouldn't be improving competitive balance, it would be implementation of Doug's suggestion. Nothing would improve the game more. The batters that know the strike zone and the pitchers who have the ability to pitch in the strike zone (most notably pitchers with control of their breaking pitches) would skyrocket in value. The game would be determined by the participants, not the administrators.

I do agree with the comment that I don't see how Molina's contribution adds up to 50 runs prevented in a year.

AtomicDumpling
11-14-2012, 02:57 AM
I think threads about computerizing balls and strikes are giving "Adam Dunn Sucks" threads a run for the money.

The reality is computerized balls and strikes are not likely to happen in our lifetime. MLB is very conservative and does not react quickly to change. There is no system currently in place at any level of professional or amateur baseball so this alone tells me this isn't even on the radar for MLB to implement anytime soon.

I have no problem with instant replay being used on a limited basis but as far as balls and strikes I have no real opinion because again, it isn't going to happen in my lifetime so why think about it?

Don't think also that there won't be controversy should a computerized system ever be put in place. I gaurantee fans and players alike will still question and gripe about the calls.

The only real place I can find where people want some computerized ball and strikes system is on this board.

I will check back in a month or so when a new thread about this is started and will copy and paste the same thing again. ;)

Then I think you will be shocked when balls and strikes are called electronically in major league baseball within the next 10 years.

There is already a system in place in all 30 MLB ballparks that measures the strikezone more accurately than any umpire in the history of the sport. The technology is already here, the only thing needed is for the Commissioner to flip the switch.

dougdirt
11-14-2012, 04:17 AM
I do agree with the comment that I don't see how Molina's contribution adds up to 50 runs prevented in a year.

This is from the comments at the original article, but it explains it rather easily:


Molina caught 709.2 IP in 2012. Converting one walk into a strikeout has a value of ~-0.6 runs. As a very rough approximation, if Jose Molina can convert one walk into a strikeout every 10 IP or so, he's right around 50 runs/year.

You could do a more detailed analysis and figure out the linear weight for converting one ball into one strike on a frequency-averaged count, but the super-rough figure of "stealing" one strikeout per 10 IP doesn't seem intuitively out of line.

As another example, if you plot all regular American League home-plate umpires by K/9, they ranged from 8.9 (Dan Iassogna) to 6.2 (Sam Holbrook) in 2012. K/BB ranged from 1.88-3.58, almost a factor of 2. There's already huge variation in umpire tendencies, and it's not unreasonable that a Crafty Molina could sway a malleable umpire by ~0.8 K/9, when umpires vary from each other by 3x that.

Now, his math is slightly off, as that is only 43 runs, but still.... that is 4 wins worth of value. That is like adding Brandon Phillips to your team by fooling the umpire.

mth123
11-14-2012, 06:37 AM
I think a lot of the outrage is because a catcher's ability to "catch" isn't something that anyone has been able to fit into any model or formula. A catcher has always had a ton of defensive value that isn't so easy to measure. The analysis places most of the value on a Catcher's CS% since its the only thing that can be measured easily, when its really only the "tip of the iceburg" where a Catcher's defensive contributions are concerned. Its why poor receivers like Jason Larue were considered good by many (though he was a good leader and game caller and hit OK for the position). The largest portion of a Catcher's defensive contributions have always been his ability to catch, but most analysis takes it as a given.

I'm all for replay, with an umpire permanently in the booth, on just about all calls of fair/foul, safe/out, catch/trap, etc, but I'd leave balls and strikes to the umpire behind the plate. I'm fine with using the computer to help grade them with consequences for those who are too inconsistent, but I'd use it to improve the humans, not to replace them.

RedFanAlways1966
11-14-2012, 08:44 AM
I love the "human element" of the game. I really do. However, I am in favor of computers callings balls and strikes for one reason (if they do it this way)... make that strikezone as it reads in the rulebook. Not soup can sized strikezone that we see in today's game. Not CB Buckner's zone tonight vs Joe West's zone tomorrow... there is one strikezone according to the rulebook.

Of course I'd love it when they have that first glitch with the computer system (you ever have a glitch at home or work?). Will it take one pitch or fifty pitches to realize that something does not seem right? Pitches that cannot be changed or re-done. That could present a problem.

edabbs44
11-14-2012, 08:49 AM
I love the "human element" of the game. I really do. However, I am in favor of computers callings balls and strikes for one reason (if they do it this way)... make that strikezone as it reads in the rulebook. Not soup can sized strikezone that we see in today's game. Not CB Buckner's zone tonight vs Joe West's zone tomorrow... there is one strikezone according to the rulebook.

Of course I'd love it when they have that first glitch with the computer system (you ever have a glitch at home or work?). Will it take one pitch or fifty pitches to realize that something does not seem right? Pitches that cannot be changed or re-done. That could present a problem.

Should we take it a step further and make all fields the same with the same dimensions? No more Petco one night and Coors the next?

RedFanAlways1966
11-14-2012, 08:52 AM
Should we take it a step further and make all fields the same with the same dimensions? No more Petco one night and Coors the next?

Does the rulebook state all fields must have the same dimensions? If so, then yes. If not, then one has nothing to do with the other. I am pretty sure that the rulebook shows one strikezone. Top-to-bottom/left-to-right. Only one.

Caveman Techie
11-14-2012, 09:33 AM
I like the idea of automated balls and strikes. I just don't see us making the jump all at once. I think we will have to step in to it. Start out with giving instant feedback to the umpire after he has made a bad call (someone earlier suggested this). I think that would make a big improvement. Then once the umpires start to get used to it, change over to an incentive/reward system, the umpires with the fewest percentage of bad calls get a bonus every year (that helps the union swallow it). After a few years with the carrot, then we bring in the stick. The umpires with the worst percentage (over a certain line of course) of bad calls over the course of two seasons (gives em plenty of time to fix it) gets demoted to the minors. Then finally after a while maybe the number of bad calls is so small that it becomes a non-issue, or if the number is still high enough then we move to an all automated ball-strikes call.

I think this way is fair, it gives the umpires a chance to fix the situation however if they don't they will be losing a major part of their jobs.

_Sir_Charles_
11-14-2012, 09:45 AM
Does the rulebook state all fields must have the same dimensions? If so, then yes. If not, then one has nothing to do with the other. I am pretty sure that the rulebook shows one strikezone. Top-to-bottom/left-to-right. Only one.

True, and that "one" strike zone changes from batter to batter according to the rule book too.

*BaseClogger*
11-14-2012, 09:49 AM
The technology is proven and in place. It adds no delay to the game. It increases the fairness of the game. In fact, it would eliminate all game-time wrangling over calls.

Have you ever played video games? Trust me, it does not end the whining... :lol:

kaldaniels
11-14-2012, 09:57 AM
So Molina was worth 50 runs compared to whom? A catcher who never gets a call to go his way, right? And just who is that guy?

What is the benchmark for a catcher in terms of getting calls, i.e., the league average?

kaldaniels
11-14-2012, 09:58 AM
True, and that "one" strike zone changes from batter to batter according to the rule book too.

Does it vary pitch to pitch, should a batter crouch more or less?

SidneySlicker
11-14-2012, 10:00 AM
I'm not against it, but more curious how it would be implemented. How do people propose that it be put into use? Would you still have an ump behind the plate to deliver the call or how would you have the call delivered?

_Sir_Charles_
11-14-2012, 10:11 AM
Does it vary pitch to pitch, should a batter crouch more or less?

I wasn't disagreeing with him so much as playing devils advocate. Ball/Strike calling could and should most definitely be better. But taking the umps out of equation not only seems extremely unlikely, I consider it to be a downright impossibility.

_Sir_Charles_
11-14-2012, 10:14 AM
I'm not against it, but more curious how it would be implemented. How do people propose that it be put into use? Would you still have an ump behind the plate to deliver the call or how would you have the call delivered?

The way BCubb described it sounds the most plausible...but let's be honest, MLB umpires as a group won't allow it. I can pretty much guarantee that they'd strike over it.

mdccclxix
11-14-2012, 10:30 AM
Batters, pitchers and catchers all game the umpire whenever they can. They always have. The strike zone has never in history been a perfect creation. Umpires have never gotten it 'right'. The game will change, but will it improve? No one can say that for sure. What does the players union have to say about it?

RedsManRick
11-14-2012, 10:31 AM
Should we take it a step further and make all fields the same with the same dimensions? No more Petco one night and Coors the next?

If the foul lines were invisible and changed from pitch to pitch, I think you'd see a push for greater standardization.

George Anderson
11-14-2012, 11:06 AM
I like the idea of automated balls and strikes. I just don't see us making the jump all at once. I think we will have to step in to it. Start out with giving instant feedback to the umpire after he has made a bad call (someone earlier suggested this). I think that would make a big improvement. Then once the umpires start to get used to it, change over to an incentive/reward system, the umpires with the fewest percentage of bad calls get a bonus every year (that helps the union swallow it). After a few years with the carrot, then we bring in the stick. The umpires with the worst percentage (over a certain line of course) of bad calls over the course of two seasons (gives em plenty of time to fix it) gets demoted to the minors. Then finally after a while maybe the number of bad calls is so small that it becomes a non-issue, or if the number is still high enough then we move to an all automated ball-strikes call.

I think this way is fair, it gives the umpires a chance to fix the situation however if they don't they will be losing a major part of their jobs.

This is a great idea and one I have brought up many times over the years, unfortunately the umpires union for now will not allow it. Computerized balls and strikes like I said will not happen anytime soon so a real threat of it being used as leverage to get the umpires union to demote underperforming umpires does not exist. One day down the road when technology can more accurately call balls and strikes then MLB will have a strong card to use to get the unions to demote underperforming umpires.

Till then I think the Questec or whatever else is used to judge an umpires strike zone is a valuable tool to help umpires improve.

M2
11-14-2012, 11:14 AM
The game will change, but will it improve?

Yes. Well officiated games are better than poorly officiated games. And for fans of chaotic umpiring, they'll still be missing on bang-bang plays at 1B and making SB tag calls based on their horoscopes.


What does the players union have to say about it?

I don't know that anyone has asked them, but I suspect the answer might be something like, "Hooray, now we can focus on playing baseball."

George Anderson
11-14-2012, 11:18 AM
The way BCubb described it sounds the most plausible...but let's be honest, MLB umpires as a group won't allow it. I can pretty much guarantee that they'd strike over it.

IMO you are right. The dozen or so former pro umpires I know would be very much opposed to this. I have mentioned before that umpires see themselves as athletes and want to perform their job as an umpire as well as possible in the same manner an athlete does. If technology replaces them and their ability to call a game then they are relegated to being nothing more than a horn or siren communicating calls from a computerized device. The skill and ability to call a game from behind the plate or on the bases will be no more.

Now having said this in the very distant future when a computerized system may exist, MLB will likely care less if the umpires strike or not because they really won't be needed. Technology will be calling the game and not them, so all MLB will need is people on the field who can accurately relay what the call will be from the booth. Yes you will need umpires to accurately interpret rules etc. but finding people to do that won't be to terribly hard. In short the umpires union will not have much of a leg to stand on.

mdccclxix
11-14-2012, 11:32 AM
Yes. Well officiated games are better than poorly officiated games. And for fans of chaotic umpiring, they'll still be missing on bang-bang plays at 1B and making SB tag calls based on their horoscopes.



I don't know that anyone has asked them, but I suspect the answer might be something like, "Hooray, now we can focus on playing baseball."

There are not "fans of chaotic umpiring" that I'm aware of.

You can bet, though, that if the strike zone is wrestled from the umpires hands they wouldn't leave things like the 1st base call or stolen base ball to human eyes either. Now we have an NFL type atmosphere with flags flying on the field and umps huddling near their laptops and replay after replay after replay, yada, yada, yada.

You may be right, the MLBPA may like the idea. That's why I asked. But I've noticed that if one of their players is hurt by a change, they resist that change. If it's unclear how all the players will benefit, they won't be the first to jump aboard.

M2
11-14-2012, 11:50 AM
There are not "fans of chaotic umpiring" that I'm aware of.

You can bet, though, that if the strike zone is wrestled from the umpires hands they wouldn't leave things like the 1st base call or stolen base ball to human eyes either. Now we have an NFL type atmosphere with flags flying on the field and umps huddling near their laptops and replay after replay after replay, yada, yada, yada.

You may be right, the MLBPA may like the idea. That's why I asked. But I've noticed that if one of their players is hurt by a change, they resist that change. If it's unclear how all the players will benefit, they won't be the first to jump aboard.

The NFL might as well convene ref councils after every play. It gives fans something to watch while the players mull around for half a minute waiting for instructions from the sideline hive-mind.

As for baseball, I think it's a pretty good rule of thumb to employ technology when it can make an instantaneous and correct call. If the process can't be automated then stick with the umps. That will actually speed up the game.

It also would spare all parents from having to explain to their kids why a strike sometimes is a ball and why a ball is sometimes a strike. You know, it's the conversation that always ends with the kid saying, "That's stupid."

SidneySlicker
11-14-2012, 11:54 AM
The way BCubb described it sounds the most plausible...but let's be honest, MLB umpires as a group won't allow it. I can pretty much guarantee that they'd strike over it.

Meh. The umps thinking the game is all about them has been an issue for a long while now. Let them strike. Major League Baseball has the right to write the rules in whatever way they believes best serves its game anyway. People don't go to watch the umps, they go to watch the players.

klw
11-14-2012, 12:04 PM
Has anyone done a similar study of Hanigan and framing pitches? Also how does Molina's Catcher ERA compare with the other Tampa receivers? Where can you look up Catcher ERA anyway?

Edit: Found answers to my last two questions.
Here is the list of catcher's ERA's.
http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/fielding/_/position/c/sort/catcherERA/qualified/false/order/false

Molina's is remarkably similar to the other Tampa catchers.

kaldaniels
11-14-2012, 12:22 PM
Has anyone done a similar study of Hanigan and framing pitches? Also how does Molina's Catcher ERA compare with the other Tampa receivers? Where can you look up Catcher ERA anyway?

Edit: Found answers to my last two questions.
Here is the list of catcher's ERA's.
http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/fielding/_/position/c/sort/catcherERA/qualified/false/order/false

Molina's is remarkably similar to the other Tampa catchers.

Yep before we start saying Molina = Stanton, lets figure up how well all catchers in the league frame balls.

mdccclxix
11-14-2012, 12:24 PM
The NFL might as well convene ref councils after every play. It gives fans something to watch while the players mull around for half a minute waiting for instructions from the sideline hive-mind.

As for baseball, I think it's a pretty good rule of thumb to employ technology when it can make an instantaneous and correct call. If the process can't be automated then stick with the umps. That will actually speed up the game.

It also would spare all parents from having to explain to their kids why a strike sometimes is a ball and why a ball is sometimes a strike. You know, it's the conversation that always ends with the kid saying, "That's stupid."

Hahaha, my son can't say it yet, but he does a lot of "that's stupid" crying at me already, so your warning is heeded!

dougdirt
11-14-2012, 12:30 PM
Has anyone done a similar study of Hanigan and framing pitches? Also how does Molina's Catcher ERA compare with the other Tampa receivers? Where can you look up Catcher ERA anyway?

Edit: Found answers to my last two questions.
Here is the list of catcher's ERA's.
http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/fielding/_/position/c/sort/catcherERA/qualified/false/order/false

Molina's is remarkably similar to the other Tampa catchers.

Yes, the guy who posted the initial tweet from the article did it for all catchers. He hasn't published his findings and probably isn't going to. Mike Fast did a similar study a few years ago, did publish it and found that the range from best to worst was about 80 runs.

kaldaniels
11-14-2012, 02:13 PM
Yes, the guy who posted the initial tweet from the article did it for all catchers. He hasn't published his findings and probably isn't going to. Mike Fast did a similar study a few years ago, did publish it and found that the range from best to worst was about 80 runs.

No pun intended but we really need a meaningful frame of reference.

Brutus
11-14-2012, 03:12 PM
Then I think you will be shocked when balls and strikes are called electronically in major league baseball within the next 10 years.

There is already a system in place in all 30 MLB ballparks that measures the strikezone more accurately than any umpire in the history of the sport. The technology is already here, the only thing needed is for the Commissioner to flip the switch.

I think you're overselling the system's accuracy.

The systems that are in place have graded the umpires roughly 92-98% accurate in most games. But yet the system itself is only 97% accurate according to the providers of the technology, which means it's conceivable that there are games where the human is more accurate than the system.

REDREAD
11-14-2012, 03:23 PM
I want it to end now because it creates an unfair advantage for something that is outside of the rulebook. The strikezone is static. We have the technology to call it correctly, yet we still let the rules be taken advantage of that allow frankly terrible players have the same value as MVP caliber players because they are good at tricking the umpire. It is crazy.

Yep, I agree 100% Doug.
It seems the only defense of the current system is "That's the way it's always been done".
Time to move into the 21st century.
I really get annoyed when umpires appear to deliberately squeeze a guy in certain situations as well.. Sorry, but I would like less of the "human element". I want a fair competition. Honestly, it feels kind of cheesy even when the Reds benefit from Umpire Failure.

REDREAD
11-14-2012, 03:30 PM
Why not give the umpire behind the plate an ear piece and give him a tennis-like beep when the ball is a strike? You still have a human in charge who can deal with the unforeseen. The umpire isn't shown up, but he will be trained to call the objective strike.

High and low might be a challenge, but inside and outside seem doable.

Because if you did that, umpires would ignore the beep and call whatever the felt like. Seriously, these umps have huge egos (no disputing that).. that's why every ump has his own zone, some ump change the zone midgame to "teach the pitcher a lesson", etc. To implement your suggestion, there would need to be a shocking device in the ear piece to give them a good zap when they contradicted the computer :)

Just leave the homeplate ump at the plate to make the calls on the play at the plate.. The computer can flash the ball strike count after the pitch is delivered, so everyone knows the call. And IMO, it would speed up the game a little bit.
It would get rid of those times when a batter takes a 3-1 count, waits a few seconds, hears nothing , starts walking to 1b, only to hear the delayed strike call from the ump... No delayed call from the computer.

REDREAD
11-14-2012, 03:38 PM
Of course I'd love it when they have that first glitch with the computer system (you ever have a glitch at home or work?). Will it take one pitch or fifty pitches to realize that something does not seem right? Pitches that cannot be changed or re-done. That could present a problem.

We already live with many more glitches (errors) with a human calling the game.

It probably wouldn't be too expensive to have two machines monitoring the strikezone. If there's a disagreement between the machines (which I expect would be extremely rare), a human could review the call, and the errant machine could be ignored the rest of the game.

REDREAD
11-14-2012, 03:41 PM
IMO you are right. The dozen or so former pro umpires I know would be very much opposed to this. I have mentioned before that umpires see themselves as athletes and want to perform their job as an umpire as well as possible in the same manner an athlete does..

They've already broken the umpire's union once. They've proven that scab umps are just as good as the MLB ones.
I honestly don't care if umpires decide to strike or quit over this.

George Anderson
11-14-2012, 03:46 PM
They've already broken the umpire's union once. They've proven that scab umps are just as good as the MLB ones.
.

Is this your opinion or do you have factual evidence to back it up?

REDREAD
11-14-2012, 03:58 PM
Is this your opinion or do you have factual evidence to back it up?

Baseball did just fine with the scabs. They broke the union.
As I recall, baseball was nice and let some of the striking umps back in (on MLB's terms, not the ump's terms).
There was a good article about this, about how arrogant/stupid/greedy the umpire's union was. The ump's union clearly thought the game could not survive without them. Baseball did just fine.

Do you recall any significant complaining about the quality of the scab umps?
I sure don't.

I would honestly laugh if there was another umpire's strike. I think the umps learned their lesson. They know what a sweet job they have now. They also know they can and will be replaced if they attempt another power play like that again.

George Anderson
11-14-2012, 04:07 PM
Baseball did just fine with the scabs. They broke the union.
As I recall, baseball was nice and let some of the striking umps back in (on MLB's terms, not the ump's terms).
There was a good article about this, about how arrogant/stupid/greedy the umpire's union was. The ump's union clearly thought the game could not survive without them. Baseball did just fine.

Do you recall any significant complaining about the quality of the scab umps?
I sure don't.

I would honestly laugh if there was another umpire's strike. I think the umps learned their lesson. They know what a sweet job they have now. They also know they can and will be replaced if they attempt another power play like that again.

So you have no proof that replacement umpires were better than the MLB umpires other than not recalling anyone complaining about them.

I have zero love for organized labor in anyway and in fact I think the term you used "scab" to be insulting and offensive to the vast majority of individuals such as myself who choose to work without being represented by a union. Regardless I think you are stretching it badly when you try to make the claim that replacement umpires are just as good as the regular MLB umpires. IMO the current crop of umpires are pretty darn good and without question the best in the history of MLB.

M2
11-14-2012, 04:28 PM
IMO the current crop of umpires are pretty darn good and without question the best in the history of MLB.

Well, since there's no way to measure it objectively I suppose you're entitled to your opinion. Personally, my frustration level with the umps is at an all-time high.

As an aside, scab generally refers to a person who vultures someone else's job during a labor dispute, not a non-union worker.

George Anderson
11-14-2012, 04:45 PM
Well, since there's no way to measure it objectively I suppose you're entitled to your opinion. Personally, my frustration level with the umps is at an all-time high.

As an aside, scab generally refers to a person who vultures someone else's job during a labor dispute, not a non-union worker.

Well i have alot of quality training in my 15 year career as an umpire so I think my opinion kinda carries a little more weight than the average fan. Take time one day to watch a game from say pre 1990. I have a very hard time watching the umpiring is so bad. Any profession can be improved but as I mentioned before this idea many have on this board where a computerized strike zone will improve things is very questionable and as I stated before will not happen in our lifetimes if ever.

On the term scab , it is more so used against anyone in an industry where organized labor is present. I sadly hear the term often and it is used as nothing more than a tool to harrass and intimidate others.

BCubb2003
11-14-2012, 05:17 PM
Because if you did that, umpires would ignore the beep and call whatever the felt like. Seriously, these umps have huge egos (no disputing that).. that's why every ump has his own zone, some ump change the zone midgame to "teach the pitcher a lesson", etc. To implement your suggestion, there would need to be a shocking device in the ear piece to give them a good zap when they contradicted the computer :)


I could go for that. Or the league, which also hears the beep, could go to the ump later and say, "Dude, you ignored 20 beeps that game. What's the deal?"

mdccclxix
11-14-2012, 05:25 PM
I'd get bored with the beep and ask for a ringtone. Tony the Tiger on strikes, the Simpsons bully on balls. Then switch it up.

MikeS21
11-14-2012, 05:26 PM
It seems to me that with all the inconsistencies we've seen in umpires calling balls and strikes, this may be a good idea. In viewing games, it seems that we have seen a lot of pitchers for one team being squeezed, while the pitcher for the other team is given an oversized strike zone. I even seen umpires change their strike zones 2-3 times a game.

This may give some players an unfair advantage as they seem to have a better sense of the strike zone than other players. And pitchers may be forced to throw hittable pitches rather than getting a hitter to chase pitches.

It would be interesting to see if something like this ever came to fruition.

M2
11-14-2012, 06:06 PM
Well i have alot of quality training in my 15 year career as an umpire so I think my opinion kinda carries a little more weight than the average fan. Take time one day to watch a game from say pre 1990. I have a very hard time watching the umpiring is so bad. Any profession can be improved but as I mentioned before this idea many have on this board where a computerized strike zone will improve things is very questionable and as I stated before will not happen in our lifetimes if ever.

Don't need umpire training to spot the steady stream of missed calls in game after game after game. I agree it was plenty bad in the past, but I'm not going to call modern umpiring good.

And I suspect it will happen in the next decade or two. Like with most things, it's older fans defending the status quo and younger fans who don't see the point in resisting a simple technological fix. It's a function of the modern world that we adopt technology easily and readily. In fact, it's becoming odder to resist innovation than to embrace it.


On the term scab , it is more so used against anyone in an industry where organized labor is present. I sadly hear the term often and it is used as nothing more than a tool to harrass and intimidate others.

I'm sure some people use it that way. It's certainly not an endearing term. FWIW, I've found myself up against union members on various issues in the past and some folks were definitely less than charitable. Yet I suspect most people use the term scab properly.

edabbs44
11-14-2012, 09:27 PM
If the foul lines were invisible and changed from pitch to pitch, I think you'd see a push for greater standardization.

What about the foul areas that change from stadium to stadium? The height of the walls? The distance to the fence? Is invisibility where we draw the line and that's why it is a problem?

I am all for improving the quality of the umpiring, I just think going electronic might not necessarily be for the best.

lidspinner
11-14-2012, 10:29 PM
Why not give Molina the credit he deserves? Maybe more catchers should be better at framing pitches.....not saying l like it but I sure as hell like it better than computers calling balls and strikes

George Anderson
11-14-2012, 10:37 PM
. I agree it was plenty bad in the past, but I'm not going to call modern umpiring good.

.

Well according to the computers you want to use to replace humans, it is pretty darn good.


MLB currently utilizes a program referred to as the “zone evaluation system,” which grades major league umpires on their accuracy when it comes to ball and strike calls. According to Port, umpires this season are averaging a 95 percent accuracy rating.
http://nesn.com/2012/06/bobby-valentine-is-called-out-by-former-vp-of-umpires-for-constant-complaining/


Analysis of 2008 data by the Elias Sports Bureau showed only a small difference in how the strike zone was called depending on whether QuesTec was being used: umpires in QuesTec parks called a pitch a strike 31.5 percent of the time, compared with 31.2 percent without QuesTec, a difference of about three pitches a game.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/01/sports/baseball/01umpires.html?_r=0

The problem lies within the culture of the game, that no one seems to agree with the computer 100% of the time, even when raw data overwhelmingly proves that a pitch is unequivocally a strike.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/917537-balls-and-strikes-why-computers-will-never-replace-umpires-in-pitch-calling

Bobby Valentine is for computerized balls and strikes. Anything this guy thinks automatically makes it a bad idea. I think without question, this ends the argument in my favor. ;)

http://espn.go.com/boston/mlb/story/_/id/8039938/bobby-valentine-boston-red-sox-says-technology-help-umpires

mbgrayson
11-14-2012, 11:12 PM
Well according to the computers you want to use to replace humans, it is pretty darn good.


MLB currently utilizes a program referred to as the “zone evaluation system,” which grades major league umpires on their accuracy when it comes to ball and strike calls. According to Port, umpires this season are averaging a 95 percent accuracy rating.

Even if umps are 95% accurate, and I have my doubts, in a game with 300 pitches thrown, that is 15 missed calls every single game.

George Anderson
11-14-2012, 11:24 PM
Even if umps are 95% accurate, and I have my doubts, in a game with 300 pitches thrown, that is 15 missed calls every single game.

It certainly isn't perfect, but your not going to see MLB shake things up over 15 missed pitches a game. It very well may happen one day where humans are replaced by computers but there is really no evidence or any type of movement telling me that it will happen anytime soon.

Brutus
11-14-2012, 11:57 PM
Even if umps are 95% accurate, and I have my doubts, in a game with 300 pitches thrown, that is 15 missed calls every single game.

If doctors could save critical patients at a 95% rate, we'd all be celebrating. I don't know why 95% is frowned-upon when it comes to officials.

Further, for the record, the providers of the technology claim only about a 97% accuracy. So you're talking maybe a difference of 5-6 pitches a game difference.

M2
11-15-2012, 01:11 AM
Well according to the computers you want to use to replace humans, it is pretty darn good.

MLB currently utilizes a program referred to as the “zone evaluation system,” which grades major league umpires on their accuracy when it comes to ball and strike calls. According to Port, umpires this season are averaging a 95 percent accuracy rating.

That's more than a dozen missed calls a game, which is more than enough to swing a close contest. Honestly, what's the argument for keeping those dozen bad calls in the game when there's existing technology to eliminate them?

To me it's like arguing for going back to waiting five business days for a check to clear.

Just as an aside, bad umpiring extends beyond balls and strikes.


Analysis of 2008 data by the Elias Sports Bureau showed only a small difference in how the strike zone was called depending on whether QuesTec was being used: umpires in QuesTec parks called a pitch a strike 31.5 percent of the time, compared with 31.2 percent without QuesTec, a difference of about three pitches a game.

That's not a particularly meaningful stat. We're not talking about using an electrozone to influence umpire ball-strike calls. We're talking about wholesale switching to an electrozone.


The problem lies within the culture of the game, that no one seems to agree with the computer 100% of the time, even when raw data overwhelmingly proves that a pitch is unequivocally a strike.

Not even John McEnroe argues with Hawkeye.

Sure you'll see some grousing, but when there's no one to influence and everybody inside the park can see it was a strike up on the scoreboard (oh yeah, they'll be doing that) it will change the supposedly immutable ingrained culture.

kaldaniels
11-15-2012, 01:20 AM
What percent of pitches thrown are no brainer balls or strikes?

I ask because if the umps are only right 19 out if 20 times, I'm troubled because I'd say at least half of those pitches could be classified as gimmes.

This topic causes so many questions to arise.

George Anderson
11-15-2012, 01:32 AM
That's more than a dozen missed calls a game, which is more than enough to swing a close contest. Honestly, what's the argument for keeping those dozen bad calls in the game when there's existing technology to eliminate them?

.

So where is this technology and why is it not being used at any level of professional or amateur baseball to call games on the field? If it is so simple and such a great idea don't you think someone somewhere would be doing it?

This idea may very well one day be put in place by MLB, but there is zero ground swell other than on this board to have humans replaced by technology. I searched the net for any type of ground swell and I found very little. MLB as I have stated before is very traditional and incredibly slow about making changes to the game. If there is little or no desire from the fan base or by the players, managers etc to have this implemented then there is no way this will happen anytime soon, if ever.

dougdirt
11-15-2012, 01:46 AM
So where is this technology and why is it not being used at any level of professional or amateur baseball to call games on the field? If it is so simple and such a great idea don't you think someone somewhere would be doing it?

This idea may very well one day be put in place by MLB, but there is zero ground swell other than on this board to have humans replaced by technology. I searched the net for any type of ground swell and I found very little. MLB as I have stated before is very traditional and incredibly slow about making changes to the game. If there is little or no desire from the fan base or by the players, managers etc to have this implemented then there is no way this will happen anytime soon, if ever.

The system is in every Major League park in baseball. It has been for 5 years now and has been in some parks for 6-7 years. It is also in several minor league stadiums as well as some spring training stadiums.

It isn't going to be in amateur baseball because the system costs thousands and thousands of dollars and requires someone who is trained to run the system to be present at all times.

I can promise you that there are people outside of this message board that want this change. The number is likely small because most people probably don't know that the technology exists. But I would bet a whole lot of money if you polled baseball fans with the question "If you could automate balls and strikes to be 100% accurate and remove umpire error on balls and strikes, would you be in favor of it?" that a large percentage of those fans would say yes.

westofyou
11-15-2012, 01:51 AM
Computer view:

Will the strike zone be fluid in its adjustment based on the a players stance from :

Game to game
Bat to bat
Pitch to pitch

Is it a three dimensional box that is recalibrated consistently or set in stone

Can the functionality of the box be protested by a player or team, what occurs if it becomes askew during a game can it be changed back? Will it be tweaked/checked inning to inning

If the integrity of the strike zone is given to a computer the myriad of processes that enable the computer to function in a manner that is superior to an umpire will also have to be enabled, tested and piloted in a less visual league before hitting MLB

It's as Roy said both the devil, and details.

kaldaniels
11-15-2012, 02:03 AM
The system is in every Major League park in baseball. It has been for 5 years now and has been in some parks for 6-7 years. It is also in several minor league stadiums as well as some spring training stadiums.

It isn't going to be in amateur baseball because the system costs thousands and thousands of dollars and requires someone who is trained to run the system to be present at all times.

I can promise you that there are people outside of this message board that want this change. The number is likely small because most people probably don't know that the technology exists. But I would bet a whole lot of money if you polled baseball fans with the question "If you could automate balls and strikes to be 100% accurate and remove umpire error on balls and strikes, would you be in favor of it?" that a large percentage of those fans would say yes.

100 percent accurate? Sure.

But does such a thing exist, yes or no?

kaldaniels
11-15-2012, 02:13 AM
Computer view:

Will the strike zone be fluid in its adjustment based on the a players stance from :

Game to game
Bat to bat
Pitch to pitch

Is it a three dimensional box that is recalibrated consistently or set in stone

Can the functionality of the box be protested by a player or team, what occurs if it becomes askew during a game can it be changed back? Will it be tweaked/checked inning to inning

If the integrity of the strike zone is given to a computer the myriad of processes that enable the computer to function in a manner that is superior to an umpire will also have to be enabled, tested and piloted in a less visual league before hitting MLB

It's as Roy said both the devil, and details.

Good points. What is to stop a batter from taking advantage of such a system with an extreme crouch? Who is to make the call whether or not a crouch is too extreme?

Would anyone be in favor of a strike zone that would not waver from batter to batter?

Wonderful Monds
11-15-2012, 02:14 AM
This idea may very well one day be put in place by MLB, but there is zero ground swell other than on this board to have humans replaced by technology.
You have got to be kidding me.

dougdirt
11-15-2012, 02:36 AM
100 percent accurate? Sure.

But does such a thing exist, yes or no?

100% may not be possible I guess, but if you check the calibration for the system before each game, it should be darn close to it. And even if it isn't, at least the system will be 100% within whatever zone it is calling, unlike umpires who have different zones for right handers, left handers, rookies, catchers, veterans, guys they have had run ins with, catchers who disagreed with a call, a pitcher who looked back at him wrong over a call.....

dougdirt
11-15-2012, 02:41 AM
Computer view:

Will the strike zone be fluid in its adjustment based on the a players stance from :

Game to game
Bat to bat
Pitch to pitch

Is it a three dimensional box that is recalibrated consistently or set in stone

It already is adjusted based on the players stance on an at bat by at bat basis. Surely it could be adjusted on a pitch by pitch basis.



Can the functionality of the box be protested by a player or team, what occurs if it becomes askew during a game can it be changed back? Will it be tweaked/checked inning to inning
I can't say for sure how the system is currently calibrated when it is determined to be "off", but I am certain that it could be set up for in game fixes rather easily if that is a road they wanted to go down. The system really isn't the complicated on the hardware side of things.



If the integrity of the strike zone is given to a computer the myriad of processes that enable the computer to function in a manner that is superior to an umpire will also have to be enabled, tested and piloted in a less visual league before hitting MLB

It's as Roy said both the devil, and details.
Spring training has several fields with the system in place as it is right now. Several minor league stadiums also have it installed, though the systems were installed by the MLB team in charge and not MLB, so they may not be willing to offer up their set up for testing.

757690
11-15-2012, 03:17 AM
Computer view:

Will the strike zone be fluid in its adjustment based on the a players stance from :

Game to game
Bat to bat
Pitch to pitch

Is it a three dimensional box that is recalibrated consistently or set in stone

Can the functionality of the box be protested by a player or team, what occurs if it becomes askew during a game can it be changed back? Will it be tweaked/checked inning to inning

If the integrity of the strike zone is given to a computer the myriad of processes that enable the computer to function in a manner that is superior to an umpire will also have to be enabled, tested and piloted in a less visual league before hitting MLB

It's as Roy said both the devil, and details.

I bring this up every time a balls and strikes ump thread comes up.

Right now there exists the technology to accurately call whether or not a pitched ball crosses over home plate nearly every time. If we just instituted that, and let the umps only call whether or not the pitch was the right height for that batter, we could probably get the overall accuracy of called pitches to 99%. Umps make the final call, but with the aid of technology.

For all the reasons you raised and more, I don't see a complete replacement of umps with technology. However, adding technology to assist the umps seems like a wise move with very little downside.

oneupper
11-15-2012, 07:43 AM
We have technology to detect the path of sub-atomic particles traveling at the speed of light. We have technology to guide missiles thousands of miles to within a few feet of a designated target.
I really don't see how we can't build a machine to determine with extreme accuracy if a sphere, traveling at 60-100 mph has traversed a certain area in space.
It's a matter of "if you order it...they will build". Developing this stuff is expensive. So unless MLB gets behind this and says (with open wallet) that they want this, no one is going to build one.

As Dougdirt says, what the have now (Questec or whatever it is called) is already better than the human umps. I'm pretty sure a much more accurate device could be developed. Time and money is what it takes.
You can have better now and perfect later. You just have to want it.

(BTW there are dozens of patents for strike zone machines already)

AtomicDumpling
11-15-2012, 07:55 AM
Further, for the record, the providers of the technology claim only about a 97% accuracy. So you're talking maybe a difference of 5-6 pitches a game difference.

Are you talking about the old Questec system that MLB used to evaluate umpires until 2008 or the more modern PITCHfx system?

blumj
11-15-2012, 09:32 AM
It's actually kind of surprising to me that we've yet to see an argument on the field where someone brings the umpire a phone with a pitch f/x chart on it. And, for some reason, I expect Brett Lawrie to be the first player to get suspended for it.

CySeymour
11-15-2012, 09:39 AM
It's actually kind of surprising to me that we've yet to see an argument on the field where someone brings the umpire a phone with a pitch f/x chart on it. And, for some reason, I expect Brett Lawrie to be the first player to get suspended for it.

I don't think team personnel are allowed to have phones/ipods/ipads/etc in the dugouts during games.

_Sir_Charles_
11-15-2012, 09:49 AM
Good points. What is to stop a batter from taking advantage of such a system with an extreme crouch? Who is to make the call whether or not a crouch is too extreme?

Would anyone be in favor of a strike zone that would not waver from batter to batter?

LOL. I can imagine a player laying down in the batters box and the system going nuts. :O) If his chest and knees are at the same level....oh crap! SYstEM FaILuRe! *grin*

blumj
11-15-2012, 09:50 AM
I don't think team personnel are allowed to have phones/ipods/ipads/etc in the dugouts during games.
They're not, but how many rules are never broken?

lollipopcurve
11-15-2012, 09:59 AM
I like the human element. I figure it evens out over the course of the year.

CySeymour
11-15-2012, 10:16 AM
I could imagine a system in place where a manager gets so many strike zone challenges a game. Say the ump calls a borderline pitch a ball against the other team, so Dusty challenges the call, they check the computer to see if the ump got it right.

Caveman Techie
11-15-2012, 10:18 AM
I like the human element. I figure it evens out over the course of the year.

But why should it have to "even out"? We have the technology to help the umpires get the right call, or at least get better. Why shouldn't we use it? The only argument against using it is tradition.

I've just done some research on the accuracy of the PitchF/X system and what was found was that in 2010 the average deviation over the course of the year by park was ~.5 inches with the worst park being at 1.1" off. That is still too much of an margin of error to rely wholly on PitchF/X for balls/strike call, but it is not too much of an error to help the umpires train to be better.

Maybe like I said earlier give the umpire an audible warning if his last call was wrong and outside the margin of error. This will help drive out those blatantly bad calls that are really what we as fans are so disgusted with. If the umpires have such a big ego that they are not willing to get better at their craft then I don't want them on the field at all. With an ego like that he would be willing to put himself above the game and would be willing to make a bad call to "send a message", or as payback for showing him up.

Like I said the goal is to drive out those blatantly bad calls and to improve the game overall. Technology has changed the way I do my job at work. Should I turn in my computer and hire a pool of secretaries (not a bad idea really) to do the work that I can accomplish now by myself for traditions sake? I have the greatest amount of respect for umpires and with a few exceptions, they do an amazing job. This will just help them improve.

lollipopcurve
11-15-2012, 10:27 AM
This will just help them improve.

It's supposed to already be doing that. If they can continue to use tech systems—and perhaps scouting reports on catchers—to improve their craft, I'm all for it. What I'm against is replacing the umps altogether with tech systems.

REDREAD
11-15-2012, 10:49 AM
So you have no proof that replacement umpires were better than the MLB umpires other than not recalling anyone complaining about them.
.

George, what's your criteria for a "better" umpire?
In other posts, you've stated that it's ok on a 3-2 count for the ump to call a ball a strike if the player starts walking to 1b before the ump makes the call.

Because of your opinions like this, we are never going to agree on what a "good umpire" is.

My criteria for the best umpire.. Makes the highest percentage of calls correctly and quickly. Realizes that he is a background player and not the main attraction. Does not pick fights with players and play other stupid games.
I watched the sub umpires. In my opinion, there was no drop off in quality.
IIRC, some the sub umpires were hired permanently, so they became the people that you consider the best...

The fact is, the umpire union was crushed, and a good percentage of them were replaced, and very few people noticed or cared.. In contrast, when the owners used replacement players, there was an obvious drop off in talent. (Other than Rick Reed and maybe 2-3 other guys, none survived after the regular players were brought back).

REDREAD
11-15-2012, 10:57 AM
If doctors could save critical patients at a 95% rate, we'd all be celebrating. I don't know why 95% is frowned-upon when it comes to officials.
.

And if airplanes only arrived at their destination without crashing 95% of the time, I imagine few people would fly. It's all about perspective.

The biggest problem with umpires callling balls and strikes is that they let their emotion, the catcher, and other factors influence the call. If we have a computerized system that can do it more accurately, why not do it?
If the computer can call it correctly 99.99% of the time vs the human 95%, why not change it? A nice side benefit is that the computer calls will speed up the game modestly, which is needed.

George Anderson
11-15-2012, 11:26 AM
George, what's your criteria for a "better" umpire?
In other posts, you've stated that it's ok on a 3-2 count for the ump to call a ball a strike if the player starts walking to 1b before the ump makes the call.

Because of your opinions like this, we are never going to agree on what a "good umpire" is.

My criteria for the best umpire.. Makes the highest percentage of calls correctly and quickly. Realizes that he is a background player and not the main attraction. Does not pick fights with players and play other stupid games.
I watched the sub umpires. In my opinion, there was no drop off in quality.
IIRC, some the sub umpires were hired permanently, so they became the people that you consider the best...

The fact is, the umpire union was crushed, and a good percentage of them were replaced, and very few people noticed or cared.. In contrast, when the owners used replacement players, there was an obvious drop off in talent. (Other than Rick Reed and maybe 2-3 other guys, none survived after the regular players were brought back).

I was very pleased the umpires union was crushed in 1999. The MLB umpires at the time were being protected by the union which as a result allowed umpires job security which thus led to substandard umpiring. To many umpires at the time had the attitude of who cares what kind of game I call or how I act on the field when there is no way I will be fired, demoted or suspended. In fact I hope the umpires union gets set back a couple more notches and are forced to develop a system where underperforming umpires are demoted and more deserving minor league umpires are promoted.

Your statement "They've already broken the umpire's union once. They've proven that scab umps are just as good as the MLB ones." is something I asked was somehow proven or if it was just your opinion. It is very possible that some of the replacement umps were better than some of the MLB umpires at the time, but again at the time the union was much stronger and thus the quality of umpiring was much less than it is now. Replacing umpires like Eric Gregg and Frank Pulli at the time was not to terribly hard because they were very bad umpires. In todays game you generally will not find an umpire nearly as bad as those two were because the union was weakened and they were forced to focus more on putting quality umpires on the field. I just think as a whole todays umpires are for the most part outstanding and the best there has ever been in the history of the game. There are a handful who should be replaced but the impression I get from you that they all could be fired and new ones will be brought in with no drop in quality is something I think is way off.

RedFanAlways1966
11-15-2012, 11:53 AM
And while we are at it...

* Put computer chips in the front and back ends of a football. Then have all football fields have a sensor-system under or above the playing surface. This will make all spots after a tackle 100% accurate. Every milli-inch can cost a team the game.

* Chips in basketballs and sensors in the out-of-bounds lines. Was it out or not? Also some sort of computer-gel that all players are required to soak on their bodies... did he touch it before it went out?

* Volleyballs will have the chips. Nets and out-of-bounds lines with the sensors. The gel for touching the net with the hand or body.

* Rugby and Australian Rules Football. See American Football above.

* Add other sports here (cricket, soccer, badminton, horseshoes, curling, golf, boomerang)...

They are all games of inches. And we cannot allow human intervention. Every single game depends on it. To heck with hundreds of years of doing it the wrong way.

marcshoe
11-15-2012, 12:28 PM
Many, many years ago, before the technology was available, I suggested to someone that a system should be worked out to call balls and strikes electronically so that a strike was a strike no matter who the umpire, the pitcher, or the catcher was. I remember deciding this couldn't happen because the umpires wouldn't allow it.

I still think that this should happen, and think it should be negotiable, since it would free up umpires for other calls. I do understand why they would resist, though. It's hard to give up a major chunk of power, no matter who you are. I imagine the slippery slope argument would come into play.

In the end, a major pay raise may smoothe the way.

CySeymour
11-15-2012, 12:36 PM
So, if the strike zone will be called by computers, how will the players be alerted of the balls and strikes?

westofyou
11-15-2012, 12:40 PM
So, if the strike zone will be called by computers, how will the players be alerted of the balls and strikes?

I'd like to see a strike/ball call that is based on the technology that Finley used to deliver baseballs to the ump

One side a devil could pop out for a ball and an angel on the other side for a strike

http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/slides/photos/002/503/519/images_display_image.jpg?1344909463

mdccclxix
11-15-2012, 12:43 PM
I'll warn everyone, this is the road we are going down (http://youtu.be/N9YU0hQEZ5M?t=47s).

marcshoe
11-15-2012, 12:57 PM
So, if the strike zone will be called by computers, how will the players be alerted of the balls and strikes?

Computer chips implanted in the brain. Either that or home plate flashing red and green.

Or maybe the umpire, who would still be on the field, giving the signal when he receives the call.

I have to admit I like the idea of home plate flashing red or green, though.

George Anderson
11-15-2012, 12:58 PM
I have to admit I like the idea of home plate flashing red or green, though.

I like WOY's Devil/Angel idea.

To funny.

marcshoe
11-15-2012, 01:00 PM
I like WOY's Devil/Angel idea.

To funny.

Yeah, I hadn't read this page yet. That has to be done.

Brutus
11-15-2012, 02:02 PM
Are you talking about the old Questec system that MLB used to evaluate umpires until 2008 or the more modern PITCHfx system?

Specifically, QuesTech is the one that made that claim though it should be noted I know someone that attended the Sloan Conference this year, and Sportvision claimed accuracy for Pitch F/X at 99% accurate "within an inch." But using that standard, one could conclude that it's probably not much better than the QuesTech results as far as identifying the zone. The only difference is that the error seems to be less.

Bumstead
11-15-2012, 02:49 PM
Many, many years ago, before the technology was available, I suggested to someone that a system should be worked out to call balls and strikes electronically so that a strike was a strike no matter who the umpire, the pitcher, or the catcher was. I remember deciding this couldn't happen because the umpires wouldn't allow it.

Was this before or after you created the internet Mr. Gore??? :p

Bumstead
11-15-2012, 02:52 PM
I think we should have the managers hand their lineup cards to a bunch geeks who then go down into their respective basements and then simulate the game 10,000 times through the use of metrics that nobody can calculate to determine the winner. Let's take all the entertainment out of the game and all the tradition while we are at it...

Bum

dougdirt
11-15-2012, 03:01 PM
I think we should have the managers hand their lineup cards to a bunch geeks who then go down into their respective basements and then simulate the game 10,000 times through the use of metrics that nobody can calculate to determine the winner. Let's take all the entertainment out of the game and all the tradition while we are at it...

Bum

Things like this drive me nuts. Players still play the games. Tradition is nice and all when it doesn't change the outcome of what the players on the field actually did.

Bumstead
11-15-2012, 03:08 PM
Things like this drive me nuts. Players still play the games. Tradition is nice and all when it doesn't change the outcome of what the players on the field actually did.

I'm sure a lot of what I think drives you nuts. I like baseball. I liked baseball better in the 80's and 90's. The more that is changed with the game the less I like the game, because it is no longer the game it was meant to be. The umpires are a part of the game and always have been.

To be fair, the strike zone is set each game by the umpire. The rule book guides the umpire, but in the end the umpire makes his own interpretation and makes the calls accordingly. The players that aren't brainless pick this up rather easily. Obviously when a team is losing, they need someone to blame; enter the easiest person that's part of the game: the umpire. I think if you are that concerned with the calls being what YOU consider to be right, then you should just stick to video games, but then again I have heard how the video game umpires suck too...who knows?

Bum

klw
11-15-2012, 03:51 PM
I'll warn everyone, this is the road we are going down (http://youtu.be/N9YU0hQEZ5M?t=47s).

I thought the link would go to something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFIVbyKIGQw&feature=related

CySeymour
11-15-2012, 04:40 PM
Things like this drive me nuts. Players still play the games. Tradition is nice and all when it doesn't change the outcome of what the players on the field actually did.

As I am sure your opinion drives others nuts. Just because how he feels is different from yours, doesn't mean it is unimportant.

dougdirt
11-15-2012, 04:43 PM
I'm sure a lot of what I think drives you nuts. I like baseball. I liked baseball better in the 80's and 90's. The more that is changed with the game the less I like the game, because it is no longer the game it was meant to be. The umpires are a part of the game and always have been.

To be fair, the strike zone is set each game by the umpire. The rule book guides the umpire, but in the end the umpire makes his own interpretation and makes the calls accordingly. The players that aren't brainless pick this up rather easily. Obviously when a team is losing, they need someone to blame; enter the easiest person that's part of the game: the umpire. I think if you are that concerned with the calls being what YOU consider to be right, then you should just stick to video games, but then again I have heard how the video game umpires suck too...who knows?

Bum

It isn't what I consider a strike. It is what the rulebook considers a strike. You know that blacks weren't allowed in the game at one time. It had always been that way. They changed the baseball at one time. They added helmets. They added MORE umpires. They changed the rules on a home run (ground rule doubles used to be home runs). They changed the rules on the height of the mound. Baseball has changed a whole lot and 99% of it has been for the better of the game.

The rules of the strikezone are an exact measurement. It shouldn't fluctuate based on how someone catches the ball (outside of the strikezone BTW). It should only fluctuate based on the height of the batters knees and the batters upper strikezone point. Not because someone is a rookie. Not because someone said something to the ump. Not because someone looked at the ump funny. Not because someone is a veteran pitcher.

Bumstead
11-15-2012, 04:53 PM
The rules of the strikezone are an exact measurement. It shouldn't fluctuate based on how someone catches the ball (outside of the strikezone BTW). It should only fluctuate based on the height of the batters knees and the batters upper strikezone point. Not because someone is a rookie. Not because someone said something to the ump. Not because someone looked at the ump funny. Not because someone is a veteran pitcher.

The above is only your perception of what happens or why strikes that YOU don't think are strikes are called such. Everybody in the stands and at home having a beer or 12 on their couch thinks they are an umpire. It's comical really. At this point you have a system that is 97% accurate when umpires at times are 98% accurate based on something that a 97% accurate systems says...Yeah, that makes perfect sense to me.

And don't give me that in 80 games Jose Molina saved 50 runs by moving his mitt into the strikezone. That's horsesh!t. You have no idea if that is a strike the umpire called a strike for both teams the entire game or not. There is no way for anybody to pick out one pitch and say "yeah, Molina got that only because he snapped his glove into the strikezone." That's pure conjecture from the guy who created his "analysis" and from you, the guy getting pulled around by his tongue...why do you get fooled by every new stat that comes out? There is absolutely no way for this guy to know what he is saying is true or not. Pure conjecture and you are eating it up. Why?

Bum

Caveman Techie
11-15-2012, 05:24 PM
As I am sure your opinion drives others nuts. Just because how he feels is different from yours, doesn't mean it is unimportant.

Actually what was done was someone taking an argument to an illogical extreme to try to ridicule the oppositions opinion and therefore make their own argument seem like the only reasonable position. It is a poor debate tactic and usually used when real points against a position can not be made.

I can respect someones opinion that they don't want an automated ball/strike. I can respect their reasons behind not wanting it, but I can't respect an illogical argument.

hebroncougar
11-15-2012, 05:32 PM
It isn't what I consider a strike. It is what the rulebook considers a strike. You know that blacks weren't allowed in the game at one time. It had always been that way. They changed the baseball at one time. They added helmets. They added MORE umpires. They changed the rules on a home run (ground rule doubles used to be home runs). They changed the rules on the height of the mound. Baseball has changed a whole lot and 99% of it has been for the better of the game.

The rules of the strikezone are an exact measurement. It shouldn't fluctuate based on how someone catches the ball (outside of the strikezone BTW). It should only fluctuate based on the height of the batters knees and the batters upper strikezone point. Not because someone is a rookie. Not because someone said something to the ump. Not because someone looked at the ump funny. Not because someone is a veteran pitcher.

And all that is baseball. Including umpires and their strike zone.

Bumstead
11-15-2012, 05:44 PM
Actually what was done was someone taking an argument to an illogical extreme to try to ridicule the oppositions opinion and therefore make their own argument seem like the only reasonable position. It is a poor debate tactic and usually used when real points against a position can not be made.

I can respect someones opinion that they don't want an automated ball/strike. I can respect their reasons behind not wanting it, but I can't respect an illogical argument.

Not true at all. I used an argument that you consider illogical and then expanded on my argument. You, apparently, had stopped reading by then. There was also some humor intended, which some on this board have a hard time figuring out.

Bum

AtomicDumpling
11-15-2012, 06:09 PM
Specifically, QuesTech is the one that made that claim though it should be noted I know someone that attended the Sloan Conference this year, and Sportvision claimed accuracy for Pitch F/X at 99% accurate "within an inch." But using that standard, one could conclude that it's probably not much better than the QuesTech results as far as identifying the zone. The only difference is that the error seems to be less.

Yeah that is what I thought. The QuesTech system is obsolete and hasn't been the standard for several years now. We should only be talking about the PITCHf/x system now. I understand it is not yet perfect but it is pretty darn good.

The accuracy of these pitch tracking systems has been growing by leaps and bounds year after year. Now we are to the point where it is extremely accurate and it will only get more and more precise as time goes by.

Perhaps the best aspect of the new technology is that it works the same for all teams and all players during a game. The technology can't be manipulated by the whims of umpires or the antics of players and managers. The strike zone is the same for rookies as veterans, the same for sunny weather and rainy weather, the same in the 1st inning as the 9th, and the same for close games as blowouts.

It also frees up the home plate umpire so he can concentrate on other things, like determining whether or not the batter swung or held back on a check swing or whether he was hit by a pitch or whether the pitcher balked.

dougdirt
11-15-2012, 06:13 PM
The above is only your perception of what happens or why strikes that YOU don't think are strikes are called such. Everybody in the stands and at home having a beer or 12 on their couch thinks they are an umpire. It's comical really. At this point you have a system that is 97% accurate when umpires at times are 98% accurate based on something that a 97% accurate systems says...Yeah, that makes perfect sense to me.

And don't give me that in 80 games Jose Molina saved 50 runs by moving his mitt into the strikezone. That's horsesh!t. You have no idea if that is a strike the umpire called a strike for both teams the entire game or not. There is no way for anybody to pick out one pitch and say "yeah, Molina got that only because he snapped his glove into the strikezone." That's pure conjecture from the guy who created his "analysis" and from you, the guy getting pulled around by his tongue...why do you get fooled by every new stat that comes out? There is absolutely no way for this guy to know what he is saying is true or not. Pure conjecture and you are eating it up. Why?

Bum

Actually there is a way. You just don't want to believe it.

dougdirt
11-15-2012, 06:14 PM
And all that is baseball. Including umpires and their strike zone.

So you would rather people who aren't players or managers deciding the outcomes of events on the field based on incorrect calling of the rules in the rulebook because "it is baseball"?

hebroncougar
11-15-2012, 06:37 PM
So you would rather people who aren't players or managers deciding the outcomes of events on the field based on incorrect calling of the rules in the rulebook because "it is baseball"?

Players and managers do stuff ON THE FIELD INCORRECTLY all the time. Don't act like they're above all of this. You're pretending like umpires decide games on a consistent basis, which they don't. We don't have computer generated perfect players playing (though Barry Bonds tried, through chemical enhancement), so why should umpires have to be perfect down to the tenths of an inch? What would Earl Weaver have done, thrown his hat at a computer monitor? Would Lou have picked up a laptop and tossed it, instead of a base? What happens when the software crashes in the middle of a game? Or a batter crouches, and the computer adjusts, or doesn't adjust the strike zone? What's next? Cameras on bases, and we all wait for the red or green light for the safe or out call?

Nah............I like things the way they are. The occasional instant replay on calls is ok with me, but let's not leave the game in the hands of computers. No thanks. If I want that, I'll fire up some OOTP. It's a whole lot less interesting than the real thing.

dougdirt
11-15-2012, 06:42 PM
Players and managers do stuff ON THE FIELD INCORRECTLY all the time.

Players and managers break the rules of the game every inning and there is something in place right now that can eliminate them from breaking those rules?

Frankly, I could care less what some crazy manager would have thrown over a blown call. If you want to be entertained by someone losing their cool, find something else. I watch baseball for other reasons.

Brutus
11-15-2012, 06:42 PM
Yeah that is what I thought. The QuesTech system is obsolete and hasn't been the standard for several years now. We should only be talking about the PITCHf/x system now. I understand it is not yet perfect but it is pretty darn good.

The accuracy of these pitch tracking systems has been growing by leaps and bounds year after year. Now we are to the point where it is extremely accurate and it will only get more and more precise as time goes by.

Perhaps the best aspect of the new technology is that it works the same for all teams and all players during a game. The technology can't be manipulated by the whims of umpires or the antics of players and managers. The strike zone is the same for rookies as veterans, the same for sunny weather and rainy weather, the same in the 1st inning as the 9th, and the same for close games as blowouts.

It also frees up the home plate umpire so he can concentrate on other things, like determining whether or not the batter swung or held back on a check swing or whether he was hit by a pitch or whether the pitcher balked.

Being 97% accurate within the zone to 99% accurate "within an inch" of the zone doesn't seem to be improving by "leaps and bounds" to me.

That seems like a miniscule improvement in 5 years.

RedFanAlways1966
11-15-2012, 06:46 PM
So you would rather people who aren't players or managers deciding the outcomes of events on the field based on incorrect calling of the rules in the rulebook because "it is baseball"?

How many games? Is it going to be an exaggeration like the Molina value? And I do not blame you for that Molina number (I know it came from elsewhere), but I do believe it is an exaggeration to the highest degree. Sure I'd guess that some entity will state X number of games are wrongly decided by missed balls-n-strikes. To that entity I call "baloney" (family site). Nothing can substantiate games or runs b/c of this. Some will state they can and once again there is no way you can convince me it can be substantiated in terms of "1 plus 1 equals 2".

Human element. The way the game is meant to be played. Those who say this will be labeled by "the new age thinkers" as old-fashioned or out of touch. That is fine. I also hope "the new age thinkers" will understand when the old-farts call them out of touch with the human element of the game and the enjoyment that is derived by some who like the way it has been done since the game's inception. Of course some things have changed since the beginning (actually lots of things), but umpires and the things they do seem key to a lot of people who love the game.

westofyou
11-15-2012, 06:47 PM
Players and managers break the rules of the game every inning and there is something in place right now that can eliminate them from breaking those rules?

In place is a pretty vague term.

Has it been tested in a game?

On different batters or is it just a three dimensional box that sits in the same place for every hitter?

Software is a very volatile item, hardware is prone to breaking down and malfunctioning and giving out bad data.

Talking about instituting a computer based strikes/ball tool is one thing implementing one is likely a far cry form "in place" when you want to use it to replace umpires.

Sure the technology is richer than ever before, but saying "it's in place" is at best a inaccurate statement... one might say it's almost a wild pitch.

hebroncougar
11-15-2012, 06:48 PM
Players and managers break the rules of the game every inning and there is something in place right now that can eliminate them from breaking those rules?

Frankly, I could care less what some crazy manager would have thrown over a blown call. If you want to be entertained by someone losing their cool, find something else. I watch baseball for other reasons.

That's not what I watch the game, but it's certainly part of the game.

Frankly, I think most people would disagree with you. And I'm glad. I think it would be a poor decision.

dougdirt
11-15-2012, 06:50 PM
In place is a pretty vague term.

Has it been tested in a game?

On different batters or is it just a three dimensional box that sits in the same place for every hitter?

Software is a very volatile item, hardware is prone to breaking down and malfunctioning and giving out bad data.

Talking about instituting a computer based strikes/ball tool is one thing implementing one is likely a far cry form "in place" when you want to use it to replace umpires.

Sure the technology is richer than ever before, but saying "it's in place" is at best a inaccurate statement... one might say it's almost a wild pitch.

The width remains the same. The height of the box changes based on the players stance before each at bat. It has been tested ever since Gameday began using it in 2005. I don't know exactly where the rest of your post is going. The system is in place aside from being able to calibrate it in game, which is a simple fix. I don't see how you can come to the conclusion that it's almost a wild pitch. You don't seem to have any grasp of the system or how it works, yet you already know it isn't ready.

dougdirt
11-15-2012, 06:51 PM
That's not what I watch the game, but it's certainly part of the game.

Frankly, I think most people would disagree with you. And I'm glad. I think it would be a poor decision.

It is still going to be a part of the game. Until baseball catches up with other sports and uses replay like football or hockey and can eliminate the ridiculousness of "human element" for non-players in the game.

edabbs44
11-15-2012, 06:52 PM
It isn't what I consider a strike. It is what the rulebook considers a strike. You know that blacks weren't allowed in the game at one time. It had always been that way. They changed the baseball at one time. They added helmets. They added MORE umpires. They changed the rules on a home run (ground rule doubles used to be home runs). They changed the rules on the height of the mound. Baseball has changed a whole lot and 99% of it has been for the better of the game.

The rules of the strikezone are an exact measurement. It shouldn't fluctuate based on how someone catches the ball (outside of the strikezone BTW). It should only fluctuate based on the height of the batters knees and the batters upper strikezone point. Not because someone is a rookie. Not because someone said something to the ump. Not because someone looked at the ump funny. Not because someone is a veteran pitcher.

If it bothers you this much, you might need to find another hobby to take some of the heat off of a sport.

westofyou
11-15-2012, 06:53 PM
The width remains the same. The height of the box changes based on the players stance before each at bat. It has been tested ever since Gameday began using it in 2005. I don't know exactly where the rest of your post is going. The system is in place aside from being able to calibrate it in game, which is a simple fix. I don't see how you can come to the conclusion that it's almost a wild pitch. You don't seem to have any grasp of the system or how it works, yet you already know it isn't ready.

Do you work in the software industry?

If not then yes, you have no idea where the rest of my post is going

hebroncougar
11-15-2012, 06:55 PM
It is still going to be a part of the game. Until baseball catches up with other sports and uses replay like football or hockey and can eliminate the ridiculousness of "human element" for non-players in the game.

If you think football does it right, I'll leave on that note. And let your opinion speak for itself.

edabbs44
11-15-2012, 07:00 PM
Do you work in the software industry?

If not then yes, you have no idea where the rest of my post is going

Machines also are the fail proof way for the stock markets to run.

dougdirt
11-15-2012, 07:10 PM
If you think football does it right, I'll leave on that note. And let your opinion speak for itself.

Football does it better than baseball. Still needs plenty of work, but I will take their replay over what baseball does.

Brutus
11-15-2012, 07:11 PM
In place is a pretty vague term.

Has it been tested in a game?

On different batters or is it just a three dimensional box that sits in the same place for every hitter?

Software is a very volatile item, hardware is prone to breaking down and malfunctioning and giving out bad data.

Talking about instituting a computer based strikes/ball tool is one thing implementing one is likely a far cry form "in place" when you want to use it to replace umpires.

Sure the technology is richer than ever before, but saying "it's in place" is at best a inaccurate statement... one might say it's almost a wild pitch.

At the Sloan Conference, Sportvision even acknowledged that consistency with calibration is still a problem.

dougdirt
11-15-2012, 07:12 PM
At the Sloan Conference, Sportvision even acknowledged that consistency with calibration is still a problem.

It is, but they also don't check it before each game. If they did, it wouldn't be much of a problem.

blumj
11-15-2012, 07:37 PM
There have been lots of times, even in the last year or two, that Dan Brooks of brooksbaseball.net has been aware that a system at a particular park needed to be recalibrated for a while before it would get done, there just hasn't been the urgency that you'd expect if there was more at stake.

Roy Tucker
11-15-2012, 10:21 PM
I'm not against the technology. But I've done enough large scale systems integration and computer software projects to know there are an *awful* lot of things to work out to put a system like this into live play. And a gazillion things can (and do) go wrong and need to be worked out.

It's one thing to say that "oh, they have it all now, it will all work perfectly" and then take a *really* close look at it (because baseball wonks like us will) and work out the technical minutiae of everything that's done.

If MLB is serious about it, put it in place in a pilot down in single A ball where the mistakes won't be magnified. Work out all the kinks, fixes mistakes, work out issues, and take a season to get it right and prove it out. Because from what I've read in here, umps are right 92-95% of the time and the current technology is right 97% of the time. This is a *huge* change in the game for that extra 3% and you damn well get it right the first time out in a MLB park. Because if you don't, you'll get crucified over it. My favorite saying when asked about a project is "anything is possible with time and money". So put some time and money in at it.

REDREAD
11-15-2012, 11:05 PM
. There are a handful who should be replaced but the impression I get from you that they all could be fired and new ones will be brought in with no drop in quality is something I think is way off.

Well, no disrespect, but don't you have about 20 years of umpiring experience (or something like that).. If they let you ump the minors for a few years fulltime, do you really think there'd be that much of a drop off in quality from a MLB ump to you? I kind of doubt it (assuming you have decent eyesight).

Umpiring is not that difficult, and it will be even easier when the computer is calling balls and strikes.

Can I prove that the scab umpires were as good as the regular umps? Well, since we can't agree on what the criteria is, it can't be proven.

George Anderson
11-15-2012, 11:20 PM
Umpiring is not that difficult,

.

Its funny, I call my best games sitting on my couch watching the game on TV with slow motion replays and numerous different camera angles. The thing that sucks is they make me go out in the heat or cold and force me to judge a 90MPH pitch without benefit of an instant replay or different camera angle. To bad they wont just let me sit here on my couch, put the games on TV and let me some how call it from here. If I could do that then I would definitely agree with you that umpiring really is not that difficult.

Wonderful Monds
11-15-2012, 11:26 PM
Its funny, I call my best games sitting on my couch watching the game on TV with slow motion replays and numerous different camera angles. The thing that sucks is they make me go out in the heat or cold and force me to judge a 90MPH pitch without benefit of an instant replay or different camera angle. To bad they wont just let me sit here on my couch, put the games on TV and let me some how call it from here. If I could do that then I would definitely agree with you that umpiring really is not that difficult.

Do you not see how that's an argument FOR the system?

George Anderson
11-15-2012, 11:30 PM
Do you not see how that's an argument FOR the system?

I sure do.

However I don't think MLB will want 5 hour games because we are waiting for someone to judge several different camera angles and slow motion replays to make calls.

Wonderful Monds
11-15-2012, 11:53 PM
I sure do.

However I don't think MLB will want 5 hour games because we are waiting for someone to judge several different camera angles and slow motion replays to make calls.

Luckily that doesn't have to happen either.

M2
11-16-2012, 12:23 AM
So where is this technology

In every ballpark in the league. You can see it in action when you watch a game on TV or when you open up a Gameday link on the MLB site. It's pervasive.

George Anderson
11-16-2012, 12:25 AM
In every ballpark in the league. You can see it in action when you watch a game on TV or when you open up a Gameday link on the MLB site. It's pervasive.

But its not good technology.

See Roy Tuckers post at 9:21 pm.

M2
11-16-2012, 12:45 AM
Do you work in the software industry?

If not then yes, you have no idea where the rest of my post is going

This isn't software, it's instrumentation. And they figured that out before WWII. An automated strikezone isn't that much more complex than the motion sensor for the lights in my neighbor's driveway or electronic toll payment. It's a thing passing through a space.


This is a *huge* change in the game for that extra 3% and you damn well get it right the first time out in a MLB park. Because if you don't, you'll get crucified over it. My favorite saying when asked about a project is "anything is possible with time and money". So put some time and money in at it.

I agree they ought to take a year to perfect the system before they switch. Test it to death, work out any glitches. But this isn't hard. I was talking to folks about laser-fired disaster recovery systems more than a decade ago. As has been noted, we've created Higgs-Boson particles in a super collider. We've mapped the human genome. If we really wanted to, we could probably monitor the strikezone via satellite. Just for giggles.

kaldaniels
11-16-2012, 01:01 AM
It would be very very helpful to be able to see this system used in a live action game, at any level.

dougdirt
11-16-2012, 01:19 AM
It would be very very helpful to be able to see this system used in a live action game, at any level.

You can in every single game at the MLB level you have watched for the last 5 years.

westofyou
11-16-2012, 01:36 AM
You can in every single game at the MLB level you have watched for the last 5 years.

I believe he'd like to a game called with the technology as the arbitrator

AtomicDumpling
11-16-2012, 01:38 AM
Being 97% accurate within the zone to 99% accurate "within an inch" of the zone doesn't seem to be improving by "leaps and bounds" to me.

That seems like a miniscule improvement in 5 years.

You've already been corrected on the true percentages to use. You clearly want to use old data to justify your point of view.

The point that was being made is that technology is getting more and more accurate all the time. Every year the excuses for not using the technology get weaker and weaker.

As others have said, detecting whether or not a pitch is a ball or a strike is really rather easy by modern technological standards. Tech companies are routinely doing far more difficult measurements throughout many industries.

The technology is available if the leadership of MLB chooses to implement it. I think they will eventually, likely soon.

Wonderful Monds
11-16-2012, 01:40 AM
You've already been corrected on the true percentages to use. You clearly want to use old data to justify your point of view.

The point that was being made is that technology is getting more and more accurate all the time. Every year the excuses for not using the technology get weaker and weaker.

As others have said, detecting whether or not a pitch is a ball or a strike is really rather easy by modern technological standards. Tech companies are routinely doing far more difficult measurements throughout many industries.

The technology is available if the leadership of MLB chooses to implement it. I think they will eventually, likely soon.

Just as soon as the Yankees get a few bad strike calls in the World Series.

kaldaniels
11-16-2012, 09:18 AM
You can in every single game at the MLB level you have watched for the last 5 years.

Expect those pesky things called umps are calling the balls and strikes in all those games you refer to.

klw
11-16-2012, 09:40 AM
Forget robotic umpires, we need to focus on exchanging Stubbs for a computer that won't chase the first two pitches down and away and then look at strike 3 down the middle.

I must say the system in tennis looks quite impressive and seems to work quickly.

kaldaniels
11-16-2012, 09:46 AM
Is a fixed strike zone feasible? One size fits all?

oneupper
11-16-2012, 09:53 AM
Is a fixed strike zone feasible? One size fits all?

I don't see why that would be necessary. You could simply measure every player's strikezone before the season and have the system adjust it during the game accordingly.

_Sir_Charles_
11-16-2012, 10:24 AM
I don't see why that would be necessary. You could simply measure every player's strikezone before the season and have the system adjust it during the game accordingly.

Factor in batting stances, crouches, mid-season call-ups from minors, etc. It's not as cut and dry as many seem to think.

And I'm still on the side of George on this one. It simply ain't gonna happen.

nate
11-16-2012, 10:29 AM
It should happen. Yes, there are complexities. No, that's not a reason not to do it.

_Sir_Charles_
11-16-2012, 10:32 AM
It should happen. Yes, there are complexities. No, that's not a reason not to do it.

I don't disagree with this. I don't think it "shouldn't" happen...only that it "won't" happen.

westofyou
11-16-2012, 11:32 AM
I don't disagree with this. I don't think it "shouldn't" happen...only that it "won't" happen.

Oh it will happen, maybe in years, but count on it being there someday, my point is that hardware/software + people + cost will make the process slower than most want

I think most owners will not want their money going to it, they'd prefer to use it on their team or themselves

It's going to have to come from a general fund, be mandated and tested at lower levels

Never?

Never say never

dougdirt
11-16-2012, 12:38 PM
The only real thing keeping it from happening is people (umpires saying no way, players perhaps being wary about it, the higher ups in baseball resisting change). The money is already spent. The hardware and software is already in place and has been in every MLB stadium for 5+ years now (or however long a given ballpark has been open that is newer than that).

kaldaniels
11-16-2012, 01:21 PM
The only real thing keeping it from happening is people (umpires saying no way, players perhaps being wary about it, the higher ups in baseball resisting change). The money is already spent. The hardware and software is already in place and has been in every MLB stadium for 5+ years now (or however long a given ballpark has been open that is newer than that).

Let's see it in action. I'm not gonna sign off on it without seeing a pilot.

Is it not fair to ask for a test drive (which is what most of the naysayers are probably asking for)? Very few seem to be anti-cyborg ump 100 percent.

RFS62
11-16-2012, 01:33 PM
Oh it will happen, maybe in years, but count on it being there someday, my point is that hardware/software + people + cost will make the process slower than most want

I think most owners will not want their money going to it, they'd prefer to use it on their team or themselves

It's going to have to come from a general fund, be mandated and tested at lower levels

Never?

Never say never



They used to say "never" in tennis.

Now it's a staple, and nobody I know misses the arguments with the chair umpire.

I was at the US Open this year, and on the outer courts, they don't have Hawkeye. It was a stark reminder of how difficult it is for humans to get it right every time with world class players and the speed they hit the ball. It added an element of uncertainty that did nothing but detract from the game, both from the players point of view and the crowd as well.

It's coming, as it should be, and all we're doing now is going through the growing pains to get it implemented.

George Anderson
11-16-2012, 01:47 PM
Oh it will happen, maybe in years, but count on it being there someday, my point is that hardware/software + people + cost will make the process slower than most want

I think most owners will not want their money going to it, they'd prefer to use it on their team or themselves

It's going to have to come from a general fund, be mandated and tested at lower levels

Never?

Never say never

There is an attitude on this board that those of us who are not ok with this idea are a bunch of old fogies who are sitting around in our rocking chairs griping about horseless carriages. My whole point has always been that there are alot of questions about this whole system and how it works and even if it will work and until it is tried at the lower levels of pro baseball then we will never begin to find and fix the problems should there be any. Someone mentioned all we need to do is flick the switch and we could have it in place in MLB as soon as next year but that is an incredibly insane idea IMO. Throw in the fact there is really little to no interest out there other than in RedsZone Land to implement this plan further tells me that this idea isn't even on MLB's radar which tells me as slow as MLB moves it will be very many years before this is even considered to be tried. I may end up liking the system, I am willing to give it a try when and if it is ever tried.

REDREAD
11-16-2012, 02:03 PM
Its funny, I call my best games sitting on my couch watching the game on TV with slow motion replays and numerous different camera angles. The thing that sucks is they make me go out in the heat or cold and force me to judge a 90MPH pitch without benefit of an instant replay or different camera angle. To bad they wont just let me sit here on my couch, put the games on TV and let me some how call it from here. If I could do that then I would definitely agree with you that umpiring really is not that difficult.

I guess if it's that difficult to call balls and strikes, why not computerize it?
Many things in modern times have been automated, because it's difficult to have a human consistently do it perfectly.

I'm not saying umpiring is easy.. I'm saying I don't believe there's that much of a dropoff in quality between MLB umps and minor league umps. I guess the greater point is.. Let's say baseball does computerized ball-strike calling and all the umpires decided to quit over it.. The sport would go on, and the fans would not care or even notice the difference. AAA umps that don't have to call balls-strikes would probably be an upgrade from the human element we have now.

REDREAD
11-16-2012, 02:04 PM
I sure do.

However I don't think MLB will want 5 hour games because we are waiting for someone to judge several different camera angles and slow motion replays to make calls.

The computer can call balls-strikes faster than a human .
It will speed up games, not slow them down.

George Anderson
11-16-2012, 02:13 PM
AAA umps that don't have to call balls-strikes would probably be an upgrade from the human element we have now.

This very well may be true one day.

Again, lets try it and see if it works.

Let me know when it is tried and I just may like it.

Brutus
11-16-2012, 02:15 PM
You've already been corrected on the true percentages to use. You clearly want to use old data to justify your point of view.

The point that was being made is that technology is getting more and more accurate all the time. Every year the excuses for not using the technology get weaker and weaker.

As others have said, detecting whether or not a pitch is a ball or a strike is really rather easy by modern technological standards. Tech companies are routinely doing far more difficult measurements throughout many industries.

The technology is available if the leadership of MLB chooses to implement it. I think they will eventually, likely soon.

I haven't been corrected on anything, AD. I already explained to you that the 99% used by the new system isn't being measured in the same way. The old system claimed 97% of the strike zone called accurate. The new system is measuring 99% accuracy "within an inch" of the location. They are two different things.

The accuracy still hasn't improved "leaps and bounds" like the hyperbole you suggested earlier.

George Anderson
11-16-2012, 02:18 PM
The computer can call balls-strikes faster than a human .
It will speed up games, not slow them down.

But if we are using technology to call balls and strikes then we should also be consistent and use technology to review every other play on the field because you and others believe technology is superior to humans. This will take alot of time.

Like I said in other posts, let me know when the system is in place and I will pass judgement then.

REDREAD
11-16-2012, 02:21 PM
This very well may be true one day.

Again, lets try it and see if it works.

Let me know when it is tried and I just may like it.

So let's say hypotethically, the computer could be slightly more accurate than humans.
There'd be two machines at each park in case one breaks down.
Would you be in favor with that condition?

George Anderson
11-16-2012, 02:25 PM
So let's say hypotethically, the computer could be slightly more accurate than humans.
There'd be two machines at each park in case one breaks down.
Would you be in favor with that condition?

I really don't know.

I am kinda a baseball traditionalist but I am always willing to look at ways to improve the game. I would say it would have to be alot more accurate than just slightly.

kaldaniels
11-16-2012, 02:37 PM
What causes the robot-ump to miss a call? Randomness? Or could you theorhetically throw the same pitch that results in an erroneous call over and over again?

Bumstead
11-16-2012, 04:10 PM
There is an attitude on this board that those of us who are not ok with this idea are a bunch of old fogies who are sitting around in our rocking chairs griping about horseless carriages. My whole point has always been that there are alot of questions about this whole system and how it works and even if it will work and until it is tried at the lower levels of pro baseball then we will never begin to find and fix the problems should there be any. Someone mentioned all we need to do is flick the switch and we could have it in place in MLB as soon as next year but that is an incredibly insane idea IMO. Throw in the fact there is really little to no interest out there other than in RedsZone Land to implement this plan further tells me that this idea isn't even on MLB's radar which tells me as slow as MLB moves it will be very many years before this is even considered to be tried. I may end up liking the system, I am willing to give it a try when and if it is ever tried.

This is funny. I thought the same thing but then reading through this "stimulating" thread the only person I noticed that sounded exactly like an old fogey b!tch!ng from his rocking chair was M2. Liking traditional baseball the way it was meant to be played is not about age. If the system that Dug thinks is ready for use was actually ready for use, it would have already been tried at some level. It's not ready, it's not even close and it hasn't been tried.

Bum

Caveman Techie
11-16-2012, 04:45 PM
What causes the robot-ump to miss a call? Randomness? Or could you theorhetically throw the same pitch that results in an erroneous call over and over again?

From what I've read, the PitchF/X system gets out of alignment and therefore it would be a consistent miscall. However, even when it is off it's only off by ~1 inch.

So a question to the traditional crowd is. If we are willing to live with a human who consistently makes bad calls in/out of the strikezone and batters/pitchers just have to learn the umps strikezone. Why wouldn't we be willing to live with a automated system that may admittedly be misaligned, but wouldn't the batters/pitchers just learn the automated systems strikezone? At least with the automated system it would truly be consistent. And as for slowing the game down, I don't understand that argument the PitchF/X system is real time. It'd be just a matter of announcing the result somehow. Either an audible call over the scoreboard, or let the umpire behind the plate make the call. Lots of different ways to do it.

George Anderson
11-16-2012, 05:18 PM
And as for slowing the game down, I don't understand that argument the PitchF/X system is real time. .

I was responding to someone who said umpiring was easy. I was basically referring to instances where there is a close play on the bases and the replay after 5-6 different slow motion replays from 2-3 different angles came to the conclusion the call was missed by inches. Thus fans go nuts and come to the conclusion that todays umpiring is terribly and even they could do better because for the most part it is pretty easy.

My point is yes it is easy if you have slow motion replay and 2-3 different camera angles to see the call. But that would take an awful lot of time if we had to do that 10 times a game.

_Sir_Charles_
11-16-2012, 05:24 PM
Oh it will happen, maybe in years, but count on it being there someday, my point is that hardware/software + people + cost will make the process slower than most want

I think most owners will not want their money going to it, they'd prefer to use it on their team or themselves

It's going to have to come from a general fund, be mandated and tested at lower levels

Never?

Never say never

Agree to disagree. I don't see it happening. Ever.

Roy Tucker
11-16-2012, 05:54 PM
People seem to have this trust in technology. Like its always perfect. But its only as good as the people who design, build, and maintainit. And we are imperfect carbon-based units.

Also remember, 2 of the 5 space shuttles crashed, Chernobyl melted dow, and the Titanic sank.

M2
11-16-2012, 05:59 PM
Damn, I've got to get me a rocking chair. Didn't realize we fogies were so into technical fixes for obvious problems.

AtomicDumpling
11-16-2012, 06:09 PM
I haven't been corrected on anything, AD. I already explained to you that the 99% used by the new system isn't being measured in the same way. The old system claimed 97% of the strike zone called accurate. The new system is measuring 99% accuracy "within an inch" of the location. They are two different things.

The accuracy still hasn't improved "leaps and bounds" like the hyperbole you suggested earlier.

You were indeed corrected. You were quoting very old data and representing it as current data.

You don't think the science and technology behind making measurements is improving? Technology everywhere is improving. Why would pitch tracking be any different?

We can track enemy missiles launched thousands of miles away and pinpoint their position within centimeters even though they are moving at the speed of sound or faster, then fire our own missiles to shoot them out of the sky. Compared to that, measuring the location of a fastball in a ballpark is child's play.

Anyone who says the technology to call balls and strikes electronically is not already available must not use the Internet to follow baseball games. The technology is already in place, it is getting more awesome every year. If MLB decides to use robo-umps it would only take a year or two to perfect and implement a nearly flawless system. It would be a big upgrade over the umpires who make several mistakes in every game.

M2
11-16-2012, 06:11 PM
But if we are using technology to call balls and strikes then we should also be consistent and use technology to review every other play on the field because you and others believe technology is superior to humans. This will take alot of time.

No, that's just you trying to make it into something absurd so you don't have to deal with the reality that the existing technology for calling balls and strikes is already more accurate and consistent than umps (as an aside, it's the technology they use to determine how frequently umps make/miss their calls).

Goofy as umps can be about bang-bang calls and SB tags, we're going to have to live with it because it's the only way to make an instantaneous call. Balls and strikes is a different story.

Brutus
11-16-2012, 06:21 PM
You were indeed corrected. You were quoting very old data and representing it as current data.

You don't think the science and technology behind making measurements is improving? Technology everywhere is improving. Why would pitch tracking be any different?

We can track enemy missiles launched thousands of miles away and pinpoint their position within centimeters even though they are moving at the speed of sound or faster, then fire our own missiles to shoot them out of the sky. Compared to that, measuring the location of a fastball in a ballpark is child's play.

Anyone who says the technology to call balls and strikes electronically is not already available must not use the Internet to follow baseball games. The technology is already in place, it is getting more awesome every year. If MLB decides to use robo-umps it would only take a year or two to perfect and implement a nearly flawless system. It would be a big upgrade over the umpires who make several mistakes in every game.

No I wasn't corrected. You can keep saying it all you want but it doesn't make it true. Again, the Pitch F/X accuracy statements, if you compare them to what QuesTech was measuring, aren't any better. They're just repositioning how it's measured.

QuesTech was claiming 97% actual accuracy. Pitch F/X claims 99% "within an inch."

You're really stretching to act like that extra 2% "within an inch" is improving leaps and bounds. In fact, it's virtually no improvement at all since it's a different measurement, other than eliminating the margin of error to be a little more compact.

That's not the "leaps and bounds" improvement narrative you were trumpeting earlier.

Basically QuesTech was 97 out of 100 pitches correct. Pitch F/X is claiming 99 out of 100 pitches are correct -- to within an inch.

That's not an improvement. That's simply moving the goal post and calling it so.

AtomicDumpling
11-16-2012, 06:52 PM
No I wasn't corrected. You can keep saying it all you want but it doesn't make it true. Again, the Pitch F/X accuracy statements, if you compare them to what QuesTech was measuring, aren't any better. They're just repositioning how it's measured.

QuesTech was claiming 97% actual accuracy. Pitch F/X claims 99% "within an inch."

You're really stretching to act like that extra 2% "within an inch" is improving leaps and bounds. In fact, it's virtually no improvement at all since it's a different measurement, other than eliminating the margin of error to be a little more compact.

That's not the "leaps and bounds" improvement narrative you were trumpeting earlier.

Basically QuesTech was 97 out of 100 pitches correct. Pitch F/X is claiming 99 out of 100 pitches are correct -- to within an inch.

That's not an improvement. That's simply moving the goal post and calling it so.

Again, you are obfuscating to avoid the real question. You are using old numbers. You are claiming that 99% is not better than 97% (also within an inch by the way which you failed to mention). When you consider that 95% of pitches are easy calls that are not disputed by any technique, a difference between 97% and 99% is a huge improvement. Essentially that means that of the 5% of calls that are close enough to be disputed, QuesTech missed 60% of them and Pitch F/X misses 20% of them. That means Pitch F/X is a huge leaps and bounds improvement over the obsolete QuesTech system, which is itself much more accurate and consistent than human umpires.

If the Pitch F/X system wasn't a big improvement over QuesTech then why did MLBAM spend the money to make the upgrade?

Are you arguing that we should not install a ball/strike system because technology is not superior to human strike zone judgement and won't be anytime soon? I hope not, because the technology has already been proven more accurate and more consistent compared to MLB umpires and is getting better every year.

Do you think that measurement technology is getting better or not? I think that technology is improving. If you disagree, then can you explain why this technology is not improving while all other technologies are advancing?

I think Pitch F/X gets better each year. It certainly has added many new features and the pitch classifications have improved every year. There is no logical reason to believe that the rapid progress will stop and the system won't get any better in the future.

Someone can argue they like having human umpires instead of a technological system and I can see that point of view. But to argue that we shouldn't move to robo-umps because the technology doesn't exist or is not good enough flies in the face of reason and the obvious evidence to the contrary.

George Anderson
11-16-2012, 07:57 PM
No, that's just you trying to make it into something absurd so you don't have to deal with the reality that the existing technology for calling balls and strikes is already more accurate and consistent than umps (as an aside, it's the technology they use to determine how frequently umps make/miss their calls).

Goofy as umps can be about bang-bang calls and SB tags, we're going to have to live with it because it's the only way to make an instantaneous call. Balls and strikes is a different story.

Oh my humble apology for being so absurd. See my definition of being absurd is thinking MLB will radically changing the game over night by eliminating humans with a technology system that has yet to be tried at any level of professional or amateur baseball. Also disregarding the fact that the difference between humans and technology in regards to calling balls and strikes is minor at best.


I also thought that if we are going to go your route and use technology instead of humans we should just go all the way and use it on the field also. I didn't realize that an umpire missing a ball 2 inches off the plate was more important than a missed play at the plate.

Once again, my humble apology.

Brutus
11-16-2012, 08:14 PM
Again, you are obfuscating to avoid the real question. You are using old numbers. You are claiming that 99% is not better than 97% (also within an inch by the way which you failed to mention). When you consider that 95% of pitches are easy calls that are not disputed by any technique, a difference between 97% and 99% is a huge improvement. Essentially that means that of the 5% of calls that are close enough to be disputed, QuesTech missed 60% of them and Pitch F/X misses 20% of them. That means Pitch F/X is a huge leaps and bounds improvement over the obsolete QuesTech system, which is itself much more accurate and consistent than human umpires.

If the Pitch F/X system wasn't a big improvement over QuesTech then why did MLBAM spend the money to make the upgrade?

Are you arguing that we should not install a ball/strike system because technology is not superior to human strike zone judgement and won't be anytime soon? I hope not, because the technology has already been proven more accurate and more consistent compared to MLB umpires and is getting better every year.

Do you think that measurement technology is getting better or not? I think that technology is improving. If you disagree, then can you explain why this technology is not improving while all other technologies are advancing?

I think Pitch F/X gets better each year. It certainly has added many new features and the pitch classifications have improved every year. There is no logical reason to believe that the rapid progress will stop and the system won't get any better in the future.

Someone can argue they like having human umpires instead of a technological system and I can see that point of view. But to argue that we shouldn't move to robo-umps because the technology doesn't exist or is not good enough flies in the face of reason and the obvious evidence to the contrary.

It seems to me that you don't understand exactly what it is QuesTech was and did. QuesTech's sole purpose was to snap 3-D imagery of each pitch on called balls or strikes to send back to Major League Baseball for evaluation of umpires. The operator would take a snapshot on each pitch and record the log, and the data would be saved to a CD-Rom along with video so MLB could evaluate. Thus, QuesTech's claim was 97% accuracy of the zone. That's it. There was no "within an inch" as their sole designation was to simply say 'in' or 'out' of the strike zone. That was their purpose.

Hence, the reason, then, MLBAM switched to Pitch F/X in all the parks had NOTHING to do with accuracy. It was because the Pitch F/X technology supported by Sportvision simply expanded the capability. Instead of simply grading umpires, the system was meant to capture pitch locations, trajectory and velocity and be used in a versatile interface that was compatible with MLBAM's desire to incorporate online and statistical aspects of the sport. That is why they switched. They could incorporate all of these features while still grading umpires.

Here is the most amazing aspect of all of this that people are missing... this technology to work relies on human input. Did anyone stop to wonder how the strike zones are defined in QuesTech or the "Z-system" that Pitch F/X uses? If you guess HUMAN OPERATOR, you would be correct.

That's right... the technology everyone is pining for still relies on a human to manually set the strike zone before each at-bat. While the technology captures the location of the pitch at 99% accuracy "within an inch," whether that location is in the strike zone is dependent on a HUMAN operator calibrating the zone prior to each at-bat. So even if a given pitch is 100% accurate as to its true location, the relative location as it fits within the strike zone is set by an operator prior to the at-bat meaning that if the human makes an error, it will impact the accuracy of the location of the pitch relative to the zone.

I'm not against technology. But the problem is people talking about how it's "proven" clearly don't know how the system operates. The entire accuracy of the system with a strike zone is based on the operator manually setting the parameters correctly prior to each batter stepping in the box. If the system is set wrong by even an inch or two, then you've basically not improved anything other than consistency of the error margins.

Caveman Techie
11-16-2012, 08:46 PM
It seems to me that you don't understand exactly what it is QuesTech was and did. QuesTech's sole purpose was to snap 3-D imagery of each pitch on called balls or strikes to send back to Major League Baseball for evaluation of umpires. The operator would take a snapshot on each pitch and record the log, and the data would be saved to a CD-Rom along with video so MLB could evaluate. Thus, QuesTech's claim was 97% accuracy of the zone. That's it. There was no "within an inch" as their sole designation was to simply say 'in' or 'out' of the strike zone. That was their purpose.

Hence, the reason, then, MLBAM switched to Pitch F/X in all the parks had NOTHING to do with accuracy. It was because the Pitch F/X technology supported by Sportvision simply expanded the capability. Instead of simply grading umpires, the system was meant to capture pitch locations, trajectory and velocity and be used in a versatile interface that was compatible with MLBAM's desire to incorporate online and statistical aspects of the sport. That is why they switched. They could incorporate all of these features while still grading umpires.

Here is the most amazing aspect of all of this that people are missing... this technology to work relies on human input. Did anyone stop to wonder how the strike zones are defined in QuesTech or the "Z-system" that Pitch F/X uses? If you guess HUMAN OPERATOR, you would be correct.

That's right... the technology everyone is pining for still relies on a human to manually set the strike zone before each at-bat. While the technology captures the location of the pitch at 99% accuracy "within an inch," whether that location is in the strike zone is dependent on a HUMAN operator calibrating the zone prior to each at-bat. So even if a given pitch is 100% accurate as to its true location, the relative location as it fits within the strike zone is set by an operator prior to the at-bat meaning that if the human makes an error, it will impact the accuracy of the location of the pitch relative to the zone.

I'm not against technology. But the problem is people talking about how it's "proven" clearly don't know how the system operates. The entire accuracy of the system with a strike zone is based on the operator manually setting the parameters correctly prior to each batter stepping in the box. If the system is set wrong by even an inch or two, then you've basically not improved anything other than consistency of the error margins.


All the problems you just listed with the PitchF/X exist today with the umpire, but with PitchF/X once the strikezone is set (BTW I can think of many different ways to fix the human intervention) the system is more accurate and consistent than an umpire could every be.

RBA
11-16-2012, 08:53 PM
No. I live in Cincinnati where we don't get to watch our team play.



Easy fix, sell out the game 3 days in advance.

Brutus
11-16-2012, 08:58 PM
All the problems you just listed with the PitchF/X exist today with the umpire, but with PitchF/X once the strikezone is set (BTW I can think of many different ways to fix the human intervention) the system is more accurate and consistent than an umpire could every be.

Not necessarily. If you calibrate the strike zone prior to each at-bat, as a hitter, what if you crouch more or less after that? The strike zone is immediately thrown off. And while hitters' stances are generally consistent, even an inch or two difference in a stance can throw off the zone.

In theory, you're right that you could achieve a more consistent strike zone. But in practice there are a few things that could greatly diminish the accuracy advantage you gain with the system.

westofyou
11-16-2012, 09:21 PM
Not necessarily. If you calibrate the strike zone prior to each at-bat, as a hitter, what if you crouch more or less after that? The strike zone is immediately thrown off. And while hitters' stances are generally consistent, even an inch or two difference in a stance can throw off the zone.

In theory, you're right that you could achieve a more consistent strike zone. But in practice there are a few things that could greatly diminish the accuracy advantage you gain with the system.

Pete Rose would have made it a point to break the setup

Brutus
11-16-2012, 10:35 PM
Pete Rose would have made it a point to break the setup

Ha! And something tells me he would not have been bashful about it, either.

dougdirt
11-17-2012, 02:34 AM
Easy fix, sell out the game 3 days in advance.

I don't have the kind of money to buy thousands of tickets every other week at $70 a pop.

AtomicDumpling
11-17-2012, 03:01 AM
It seems to me that you don't understand exactly what it is QuesTech was and did. QuesTech's sole purpose was to snap 3-D imagery of each pitch on called balls or strikes to send back to Major League Baseball for evaluation of umpires. The operator would take a snapshot on each pitch and record the log, and the data would be saved to a CD-Rom along with video so MLB could evaluate. Thus, QuesTech's claim was 97% accuracy of the zone. That's it. There was no "within an inch" as their sole designation was to simply say 'in' or 'out' of the strike zone. That was their purpose.

Hence, the reason, then, MLBAM switched to Pitch F/X in all the parks had NOTHING to do with accuracy. It was because the Pitch F/X technology supported by Sportvision simply expanded the capability. Instead of simply grading umpires, the system was meant to capture pitch locations, trajectory and velocity and be used in a versatile interface that was compatible with MLBAM's desire to incorporate online and statistical aspects of the sport. That is why they switched. They could incorporate all of these features while still grading umpires.

Here is the most amazing aspect of all of this that people are missing... this technology to work relies on human input. Did anyone stop to wonder how the strike zones are defined in QuesTech or the "Z-system" that Pitch F/X uses? If you guess HUMAN OPERATOR, you would be correct.

That's right... the technology everyone is pining for still relies on a human to manually set the strike zone before each at-bat. While the technology captures the location of the pitch at 99% accuracy "within an inch," whether that location is in the strike zone is dependent on a HUMAN operator calibrating the zone prior to each at-bat. So even if a given pitch is 100% accurate as to its true location, the relative location as it fits within the strike zone is set by an operator prior to the at-bat meaning that if the human makes an error, it will impact the accuracy of the location of the pitch relative to the zone.

I'm not against technology. But the problem is people talking about how it's "proven" clearly don't know how the system operates. The entire accuracy of the system with a strike zone is based on the operator manually setting the parameters correctly prior to each batter stepping in the box. If the system is set wrong by even an inch or two, then you've basically not improved anything other than consistency of the error margins.

So now you do finally acknowledge that Pitch F/X is vastly superior to the QuesTech system that you were espousing earlier. At least we are making progress there. There is no need to talk about Questech any more since it hasn't been in use for years. MLB upgraded to Pitch F/X, which everyone agrees has been proven to be far more effective and accurate as well as having many more features. The technology for measuring balls and strikes has been getting better, which is exactly the point I was making.

Brutus
11-17-2012, 04:29 AM
So now you do finally acknowledge that Pitch F/X is vastly superior to the QuesTech system that you were espousing earlier. At least we are making progress there. There is no need to talk about Questech any more since it hasn't been in use for years. MLB upgraded to Pitch F/X, which everyone agrees has been proven to be far more effective and accurate as well as having many more features. The technology for measuring balls and strikes has been getting better, which is exactly the point I was making.

There's nothing to acknowledge. Again, they were measuring and attempting to do two different things. Sorry but it's clear to me that you did not understand the QuesTech system or how it was operated.

By the way, where is this "proof" that it's more effective and accurate? Where are these definitive, conclusive studies that show it is a more accurate system?

The only reason it's being used is because it does more things. MLB didn't go to it because it was more "accurate" at calling balls and strikes. Again, that narrative is only being used if you don't understand what it was the two systems were built for. They went to it because it could do other things beyond grading umpires.

AtomicDumpling
11-17-2012, 05:26 AM
There's nothing to acknowledge. Again, they were measuring and attempting to do two different things. Sorry but it's clear to me that you did not understand the QuesTech system or how it was operated.

By the way, where is this "proof" that it's more effective and accurate? Where are these definitive, conclusive studies that show it is a more accurate system?

The only reason it's being used is because it does more things. MLB didn't go to it because it was more "accurate" at calling balls and strikes. Again, that narrative is only being used if you don't understand what it was the two systems were built for. They went to it because it could do other things beyond grading umpires.

Right, they decided to go with an expensive new system but it wasn't an upgrade. OK. Makes sense. :eek:

You are the one that doesn't seem to understand MLB's system, after all you are the one that was quoting the old system's numbers until I corrected you. Now you want to pretend to be an expert on the technology. You aren't.

Feel free to pretend the QuesTech system is the best system available and keep using old QuesTech stats to show why using technology to call balls and strikes is inadequate. You can use 2002-2007 figures while the rest of use the 2012 Pitch F/X numbers.

It is clear that the technology has improved a great deal over the last decade and every indication is that it will continue to improve. This means the league has the tools they need at their disposal to make the switch to robo-umps if they decide to make the move. It is not accurate to claim that it can't happen because the technology is not up to the task. If MLB wants it to happen a highly accurate system could be implemented very quickly.

M2
11-17-2012, 10:08 AM
I also thought that if we are going to go your route and use technology instead of humans we should just go all the way and use it on the field also. I didn't realize that an umpire missing a ball 2 inches off the plate was more important than a missed play at the plate.

No, you're just arguing to argue at this point. Ball/strike calls can be automated. Plays at the plate not so much. It's not that hard a concept to grasp.

George Anderson
11-17-2012, 12:07 PM
Ball/strike calls can be automated..

They can huh? Please show me the evidence where the system has been installed and has actually been used in a game without fault?



Plays at the plate not so much. .

Uh yes, there are these things called cameras that have been used for sometime in other sports to overturn calls and get the play right. You however want to ignore this function of technology but instead install a controversial technology system that has yet to be been tried at any level of professional or amateur baseball.

What was that comment about being absurd again?

gonelong
11-17-2012, 12:55 PM
I think everyone knows that eventually we will have automated balls/strikes calls. There is no argument to be made that will win the day once the technology can be proven to be more reliable than human umpiring.

It's only a matter of when and how so I'm of the opinion that we should get started sooner rather than later as the technology exists today to at least give it consideration.

GL

dougdirt
11-17-2012, 01:41 PM
I think everyone knows that eventually we will have automated balls/strikes calls. There is no argument to be made that will win the day once the technology can be proven to be more reliable than human umpiring.

It's only a matter of when and how so I'm of the opinion that we should get started sooner rather than later as the technology exists today to at least give it consideration.

GL

It has been proven to be more reliable than human umpiring on balls and strikes. Emphatically. Both Questek in the past and now the current Pitch F/X are used to grade the umpires. If it weren't better than the umpires are, MLB wouldn't use it to determine how good/bad the umpires are doing their job.

marcshoe
11-17-2012, 01:47 PM
I think it's been evident for decades that baseball needs to move in this direction. There is no reason to not use a better system when one is available.

Roy Tucker
11-17-2012, 03:21 PM
So, I had a few spare moments so I thought I'd think this through. It’s a pretty interesting technical challenge. The geek in me likes to figure these things out.

Right now, we have an umpire who is a living breathing and more importantly trained and experienced person who judges these things. We’re either augmenting or replacing this person and all of what goes through his head between when the ball leaves the pitchers hand and smacks into the catcher’s glove.

The limitations of this person is his visual system and his ability to gauge where the ball is in 3D space and if that crosses the strike zone (in his opinion). We need to be able to improve upon that.

It certainly seems that existing video technology can accurately measure where the ball goes in xyz space. They seem to have that nailed pretty good. So we do know where the ball is (or was).

Next, you need to determine where is the strike zone. Thinking it through, it’s a 5 sided box (5 sides, top and bottom). If the ball touches or crosses any part of that geometric shape, it’s a strike. Again, if you have that strike zone determined at pitch time, existing systems can tell if it crossed it. A question in my mind is can it do it in real time like an umpire does. That is, can it call it a ball or strike in about a second. That’s a pretty responsive system and presents its own challenges.

Then we start getting into the harder stuff. We need this system to be able to detect where the strike zone is on a batter by batter, pitch by pitch basis. Each batter is different and can adjust his stance on a pitch by pitch basis. So we need to be able to accomodate that. I think that crosses off any pre-configuration of a strike zone for a batter, e.g. before a season or a game, the batters strike zone is measured and he is stuck with that for that game, series, month, or season. It needs to be done on each pitch in ral time.

MLB Rule 2.00


The STRIKE ZONE is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter's stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.

So, “over home plate”. That’s the front, sides, and backs of the plate. They don’t move so that part is easy to define. What’s harder is “upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter's stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball”. How do you do this? Its a living, breathing, and shifting thing.

The two basic ways I can think of this happening is:

1.) A human operator sets it “when the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball”. So this would hopefully be a trained umpire up in the booth armed with a video monitor and a mouse, and he clicks the top and bottom of the zone as the batter assumes his stance (or some method like that). This isn’t a perfect way to do it since we again are asking a human to do this (and is it better than a home plate ump?) but if this system ever sees daylight, this would probably be an improvement. How much improvement would need to be determined. His hand may slip, he might prematurely click the mouse and try to correct and not make it in time. his attention may wander, he might cough or sneeze, or some other dumb little thing will happen over a 300+ pitch game.

2.) The computer or video system automatically does it. Hmmm. We do have a lot of video facial recognition, optical character recognition, and other sophisticated video technology so this is feasible and probably solvable. But, I don’t think any existing systems do this now (but I could be wrong, I’m just talking out my butt here). This would be a tricky thing to do and batters may soon figure out ways to trick or game the system. Humans are remarkably adaptive creatures and the problem with systems like this are the unintended consequences. So the software would need to constantly improved to be able to adapt to funny things.

But anyhow, the video/compute computes it’s a ball or strike using some technique.

Next, how do we signal it? Is it just a green or red light on the scoreboard? Is it a little earbud in the home plate umps ear? The baseball field is a relatively hostile environment so we need to take that into consideration. The ump might get nailed in the head and dislodge the earbud and he didn’t know it. He might sweat like a pig and short out his battery pack. The beep may not register in his brain. Do we allow the ump to override the system? Is the beep in his ear just a suggestion or is it mandatory?

We also need to make sure this system is fault tolerant. No inopportune computer hiccups or freezes, the video cameras have to not waver in the wind or be affected by atmospheric conditions or getting bumped by operators or the crowd or the stadium wavering. All of the parts of this system have to have completely reliable communication. No video glitches, no software loops, no nothing. And we need a pretty decently sized staff to operate and maintain these systems in all MLB parks.

That’s just off the top of my head. There are 1000’s more questions I’m sure I could drill down to. In the biz, we call them “proof of concepts”. That is, let’s mock up the system and see it works. So that’s what I’d like to see. Try it in real life.

And, really, the biggest question is whether or not MLB is willing to do something like this. I don’t know what would cause that to happen. Some fan groundswell, some massive failure in a critical game, *something* that would cause Bud and his pals to go “hey, let’s do that”. And also, after this system is developed and implemented, what is the impact on the game on the field and is this what we really want?

kaldaniels
11-17-2012, 03:40 PM
So, I had a few spare moments so I thought I'd think this through. It’s a pretty interesting technical challenge. The geek in me likes to figure these things out.

Right now, we have an umpire who is a living breathing and more importantly trained and experienced person who judges these things. We’re either augmenting or replacing this person and all of what goes through his head between when the ball leaves the pitchers hand and smacks into the catcher’s glove.

The limitations of this person is his visual system and his ability to gauge where the ball is in 3D space and if that crosses the strike zone (in his opinion). We need to be able to improve upon that.

It certainly seems that existing video technology can accurately measure where the ball goes in xyz space. They seem to have that nailed pretty good. So we do know where the ball is (or was).

Next, you need to determine where is the strike zone. Thinking it through, it’s a 5 sided box (5 sides, top and bottom). If the ball touches or crosses any part of that geometric shape, it’s a strike. Again, if you have that strike zone determined at pitch time, existing systems can tell if it crossed it. A question in my mind is can it do it in real time like an umpire does. That is, can it call it a ball or strike in about a second. That’s a pretty responsive system and presents its own challenges.

Then we start getting into the harder stuff. We need this system to be able to detect where the strike zone is on a batter by batter, pitch by pitch basis. Each batter is different and can adjust his stance on a pitch by pitch basis. So we need to be able to accomodate that. I think that crosses off any pre-configuration of a strike zone for a batter, e.g. before a season or a game, the batters strike zone is measured and he is stuck with that for that game, series, month, or season. It needs to be done on each pitch in ral time.

MLB Rule 2.00


So, “over home plate”. That’s the front, sides, and backs of the plate. They don’t move so that part is easy to define. What’s harder is “upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter's stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball”. How do you do this? Its a living, breathing, and shifting thing.

The two basic ways I can think of this happening is:

1.) A human operator sets it “when the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball”. So this would hopefully be a trained umpire up in the booth armed with a video monitor and a mouse, and he clicks the top and bottom of the zone as the batter assumes his stance (or some method like that). This isn’t a perfect way to do it since we again are asking a human to do this (and is it better than a home plate ump?) but if this system ever sees daylight, this would probably be an improvement. How much improvement would need to be determined. His hand may slip, he might prematurely click the mouse and try to correct and not make it in time. his attention may wander, he might cough or sneeze, or some other dumb little thing will happen over a 300+ pitch game.

2.) The computer or video system automatically does it. Hmmm. We do have a lot of video facial recognition, optical character recognition, and other sophisticated video technology so this is feasible and probably solvable. But, I don’t think any existing systems do this now (but I could be wrong, I’m just talking out my butt here). This would be a tricky thing to do and batters may soon figure out ways to trick or game the system. Humans are remarkably adaptive creatures and the problem with systems like this are the unintended consequences. So the software would need to constantly improved to be able to adapt to funny things.

But anyhow, the video/compute computes it’s a ball or strike using some technique.

Next, how do we signal it? Is it just a green or red light on the scoreboard? Is it a little earbud in the home plate umps ear? The baseball field is a relatively hostile environment so we need to take that into consideration. The ump might get nailed in the head and dislodge the earbud and he didn’t know it. He might sweat like a pig and short out his battery pack. The beep may not register in his brain. Do we allow the ump to override the system? Is the beep in his ear just a suggestion or is it mandatory?

We also need to make sure this system is fault tolerant. No inopportune computer hiccups or freezes, the video cameras have to not waver in the wind or be affected by atmospheric conditions or getting bumped by operators or the crowd or the stadium wavering. All of the parts of this system have to have completely reliable communication. No video glitches, no software loops, no nothing. And we need a pretty decently sized staff to operate and maintain these systems in all MLB parks.

That’s just off the top of my head. There are 1000’s more questions I’m sure I could drill down to. In the biz, we call them “proof of concepts”. That is, let’s mock up the system and see it works. So that’s what I’d like to see. Try it in real life.

And, really, the biggest question is whether or not MLB is willing to do something like this. I don’t know what would cause that to happen. Some fan groundswell, some massive failure in a critical game, *something* that would cause Bud and his pals to go “hey, let’s do that”. And also, after this system is developed and implemented, what is the impact on the game on the field and is this what we really want?

Nice post Roy.

dougdirt
11-17-2012, 04:09 PM
Then we start getting into the harder stuff. We need this system to be able to detect where the strike zone is on a batter by batter, pitch by pitch basis. Each batter is different and can adjust his stance on a pitch by pitch basis. So we need to be able to accomodate that. I think that crosses off any pre-configuration of a strike zone for a batter, e.g. before a season or a game, the batters strike zone is measured and he is stuck with that for that game, series, month, or season. It needs to be done on each pitch in ral time.

It is impossible for the umpire to do this. They are making the judgement on the batters strikezone at the set up of the batter, not when he is swinging. You can't possibly track a 90 MPH fastball through the strikezone while also watching where the batters midpoint line between belt/shoulders. It is impossible and they don't, nor have they ever done it that way. The current Pitch F/X system measures the top of the strikezone on a player basis by at bat, not by each pitch. But, that can be changed to each pitch, easily, if they wanted to do it.



The two basic ways I can think of this happening is:

1.) A human operator sets it “when the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball”. So this would hopefully be a trained umpire up in the booth armed with a video monitor and a mouse, and he clicks the top and bottom of the zone as the batter assumes his stance (or some method like that). This isn’t a perfect way to do it since we again are asking a human to do this (and is it better than a home plate ump?) but if this system ever sees daylight, this would probably be an improvement. How much improvement would need to be determined. His hand may slip, he might prematurely click the mouse and try to correct and not make it in time. his attention may wander, he might cough or sneeze, or some other dumb little thing will happen over a 300+ pitch game.
This is what happens already. That is exactly how the top and bottom of the zones are measured.

westofyou
11-17-2012, 04:13 PM
But, that can be changed to each pitch, easily, if they wanted to do it.


This is what I hear about every project I've ever worked on.

I'm still struggling to find what the word "easily" really means.

dougdirt
11-17-2012, 04:15 PM
This is what I hear about every project I've ever worked on.

I'm still struggling to find what the word "easily" really means.

There is a guy watching the camera who sets it before each at bat based on the batters stance. Why would it be more difficult to click a mouse twice before each pitch when he already does it at the start of every at bat?

Caveman Techie
11-17-2012, 04:23 PM
Ok, some of you guys are just being contrary to be contrary. Denying the existence of the technology we have today that is FULLY capable of doing the job.

Saying it's "unproven" and therefore you can't use it deny's the ability to prove the technology! That's a circular argument. I can understand not wanting to change the game, but I don't necessarily see this as "changing" the game as making the rules real! A strike is a strike is a strike, unless the umpire decides it's not, then it doesn't matter that the ball passed through what the rulebook defined as the strikezone. The umpires get it wrong alot, and this technology can help them get it right. Earlier in this thread someone posted a video of the Hawkeye system in Tennis. Has that solution ruined Tennis? Getting the call right is more important than some umpires ego! And honestly if it takes breaking the umpires union to get it done, after watching this season where an umpire deliberately made two horrible calls to "send a message" to a player that he thought showed him up (think it was a Toronto game, it was discussed quite a bit here). The union needs busted.

edabbs44
11-17-2012, 04:24 PM
There is a guy watching the camera who sets it before each at bat based on the batters stance. Why would it be more difficult to click a mouse twice before each pitch when he already does it at the start of every at bat?

Then we'll have to hear about a computer replacing the mouse operator.

Brutus
11-17-2012, 04:29 PM
Ok, some of you guys are just being contrary to be contrary. Denying the existence of the technology we have today that is FULLY capable of doing the job.

Saying it's "unproven" and therefore you can't use it deny's the ability to prove the technology! That's a circular argument. I can understand not wanting to change the game, but I don't necessarily see this as "changing" the game as making the rules real! A strike is a strike is a strike, unless the umpire decides it's not, then it doesn't matter that the ball passed through what the rulebook defined as the strikezone. The umpires get it wrong alot, and this technology can help them get it right. Earlier in this thread someone posted a video of the Hawkeye system in Tennis. Has that solution ruined Tennis? Getting the call right is more important than some umpires ego! And honestly if it takes breaking the umpires union to get it done, after watching this season where an umpire deliberately made two horrible calls to "send a message" to a player that he thought showed him up (think it was a Toronto game, it was discussed quite a bit here). The union needs busted.

Likewise, saying something is "proven" that hasn't even been implemented for the use people are suggesting is not very prudent either.

The system was put into place to do a number of things... incorporate visual data online; give better statistical analysis of players; and further, grade umpires. The system was not designed to call balls and strikes directly.

So saying it's proven to do something it wasn't designed to do is a little bit of a stretch.

Caveman Techie
11-17-2012, 04:37 PM
Likewise, saying something is "proven" that hasn't even been implemented for the use people are suggesting is not very prudent either.

The system was put into place to do a number of things... incorporate visual data online; give better statistical analysis of players; and further, grade umpires. The system was not designed to call balls and strikes directly.

So saying it's proven to do something it wasn't designed to do is a little bit of a stretch.


The system was put in place to help judge umpires on their balls and strike calls. So it's a good enough technology to judge umpires, but not good enough to determine if the ball was a strike or not? That argument just seems very weak to me. It was designed SPECIFICALLY to call balls and strikes, now we just need to do it.

westofyou
11-17-2012, 04:42 PM
There is a guy watching the camera who sets it before each at bat based on the batters stance. Why would it be more difficult to click a mouse twice before each pitch when he already does it at the start of every at bat?

When I do my banking online is that just me clicking a mouse button on a web page too?

kaldaniels
11-17-2012, 04:44 PM
You can almost tell by the posts on here who has real world experience implementing major systems/programs.

It is never as easy as flipping a switch on. There are probably hundreds of questions that need to be addressed and to pretend they don't exist is asking for trouble.

Brutus
11-17-2012, 04:53 PM
The system was put in place to help judge umpires on their balls and strike calls. So it's a good enough technology to judge umpires, but not good enough to determine if the ball was a strike or not? That argument just seems very weak to me. It was designed SPECIFICALLY to call balls and strikes, now we just need to do it.

No, that's not true. It was not designed specifically for that. They already had a system designed "specifically" for calling balls and strikes -- QuesTech. This system was designed to incorporate visual data online, help statistical analysis as well as grade umpires. It was designed for a lot of uses. not "specifically" for one. Still, the system was meant for grading umpires after the fact, not to be relied upon to call the game live. There are a lot of things that are not "proven" as to how that would work if suddenly the system is being used to specifically dictate the game.

dougdirt
11-17-2012, 05:48 PM
When I do my banking online is that just me clicking a mouse button on a web page too?

As far as your end goes, absolutely.

Look, I know what you are trying to say about how the system needs to be redone in order to accommodate the new setting of the strikezone before each pitch since it currently doesn't. Yes, it is something that would need to be added. Sportsvision/MLBAM has added about 15 new parameters since the system was first implemented. They aren't going to have trouble taking something they already do and setting it up so they can just do it more often. This is one of the best technology companies in the world. It isn't like they need to recode the entire system from scratch.

Wonderful Monds
11-17-2012, 08:28 PM
If they need a physical point of reference to establish the height of the strike zone, couldn't they just implement a very small sensor as a standard required part of the uniform.

edabbs44
11-17-2012, 08:36 PM
If they need a physical point of reference to establish the height of the strike zone, couldn't they just implement a very small sensor as a standard required part of the uniform.

Slippery slope.

Wonderful Monds
11-17-2012, 08:37 PM
Slippery slope.

To what? I don't even understand what the argument against that could possibly be.

Roy Tucker
11-17-2012, 09:26 PM
The batter knows its there and pulls his shirt down to alter the strike zone.
Or it gets disabled sliding into a base.
Or it just fails for a pitch.

Rule 37 of projects is "if something can go wrong, it will".
Rule 22 is the more moving pparts you have, the bigger the chance is something wil break.

AtomicDumpling
11-17-2012, 09:28 PM
To sum up the thread: If MLB ever decides they want to automate the ball/strike calls there is already technology available that can do the job with extreme accuracy. Of course they would have to do some testing and some minor tweaking of the system, but a system could be put in place very quickly if MLB decides to make the switch.

westofyou
11-17-2012, 09:31 PM
The batter knows its there and pulls his shirt down to alter the strike zone.
Or it gets disabled sliding into a base.
Or it just fails for a pitch.

Rule 37 of projects is "if something can go wrong, it will".
Rule 22 is the more moving pparts you have, the bigger the chance is something wil break.

nah... it's something like this

http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/vasilkovv/vasilkovv1003/vasilkovv100300012/6629383-3d-person-and-computer-mouse-on-white-background.jpg

Roy Tucker
11-17-2012, 09:40 PM
To sum up the thread: If MLB ever decides they want to automate the ball/strike calls there is already technology available that can do the job with extreme accuracy. Of course they would have to do some testing and some minor tweaking of the system, but a system could be put in place very quickly if MLB decides to make the switch.

People like you are who get people like me into death-march projects.

edabbs44
11-17-2012, 10:15 PM
nah... it's something like this

http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/vasilkovv/vasilkovv1003/vasilkovv100300012/6629383-3d-person-and-computer-mouse-on-white-background.jpg

http://seminarjunkiesanonymous.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/homers_bird.jpg

Caveman Techie
11-17-2012, 10:33 PM
http://seminarjunkiesanonymous.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/homers_bird.jpg

Well for you old foggies I guess this would be appropriate then. http://ts2.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.5002190263683821&pid=15.1

westofyou
11-17-2012, 11:05 PM
Well for you old foggies I guess this would be appropriate then. http://ts2.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.5002190263683821&pid=15.1

Old fogies.

With job titles like "Systems Analyst"

Roy Tucker
11-17-2012, 11:10 PM
Well for you old foggies I guess this would be appropriate then. http://ts2.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.5002190263683821&pid=15.1

Yeah, what do I know. I don't know anything.

edabbs44
11-17-2012, 11:17 PM
Well for you old foggies I guess this would be appropriate then. http://ts2.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.5002190263683821&pid=15.1

If 37 is an old fogey, then I am guilty.

But in my business it seems like every 5-10 years a new crew of MBAs/PhDs come in and think that they are smarter than everyone who has ever walked the Earth. The last crew almost blew up the financial system since the housing market never went down.

Were they smart and have good ideas? Of course. But there are always limits, especially when the ideas are on the newer side.

Caveman Techie
11-17-2012, 11:19 PM
Old fogies.

With job titles like "Systems Analyst"

I also work in IT, and I have to deal with people who are scared of technology. But the fact remains today I can support 10 times the number of systems I could support just 10 years ago. And I did it by automating as much of my job as I could. Did mistakes happen? You betcha! However today I support over 2,000 servers with a three man team. 10 years ago it was a five man team and we only had about 200 servers back then.

gonelong
11-18-2012, 11:14 AM
It has been proven to be more reliable than human umpiring on balls and strikes. Emphatically. Both Questek in the past and now the current Pitch F/X are used to grade the umpires. If it weren't better than the umpires are, MLB wouldn't use it to determine how good/bad the umpires are doing their job.

It has? What MLB games has it been used in as the main apparatus to call balls and strikes? It has been proven in theory, not application. There is a wide difference between the two.

I am in favor of working towards getting it implemented so questions can be answered, procedures put in place and ironed out, and the technology arrives in good working order. Nothing will set it back farther than rushing it and having it be a bigger pain in the butt than its worth.

GL

RANDY IN INDY
11-18-2012, 11:26 AM
Is anyone, outside of Redszone, even considering this?

George Anderson
11-18-2012, 11:55 AM
Is anyone, outside of Redszone, even considering this?

Bobby Valentine wants it.

Nuff said.:)

_Sir_Charles_
11-18-2012, 11:58 AM
If 37 is an old fogey, then I am guilty.

But in my business it seems like every 5-10 years a new crew of MBAs/PhDs come in and think that they are smarter than everyone who has ever walked the Earth. The last crew almost blew up the financial system since the housing market never went down.

Were they smart and have good ideas? Of course. But there are always limits, especially when the ideas are on the newer side.

Same experience here. Newer is not automatically BETTER.

Roy Tucker
11-18-2012, 12:42 PM
Heck, I'm not a 37 yr. old fogie, I'm a 37 yrs. in the IT industry old fart ranging from junior Fortran programmer to advanced development on a CTO's staff.

I'm sure if you talk to the MLBAM folks, they've taken much further all the stuff me and others have mentioned in here and thought much more about it. I'm sure they have ideas and maybe already have planned out the project and/or started on prototypes and POCs. They are sharp people and I'm sure there have been much discussion and lots of bar napkins with diagrams and boxes and arrows. The pieces that are in place are a darn fine start on a total system.

I think my question going into the future is would be, after a system has been developed and its been implemented with video camers and support staffs and earbuds and blinkie lights on the scoreboard and mouse clicks and star wars technology or whatever, we'll have to ask the question "is this really what we want? Is this really how we want the game of baseball to be from now on?". I think that assessment can't be made till a system is in place and, till then, it's an unanswered question.

M2
11-18-2012, 01:27 PM
Uh yes, there are these things called cameras that have been used for sometime in other sports to overturn calls and get the play right. You however want to ignore this function of technology but instead install a controversial technology system that has yet to be been tried at any level of professional or amateur baseball.

What was that comment about being absurd again?

I was unaware that they've invented cameras that can make an instant and independent assessment of whether a tag has been made before a runner touches the plate.

The problem here is you don't seem to understand the term "automated."

M2
11-18-2012, 01:58 PM
Then we start getting into the harder stuff. We need this system to be able to detect where the strike zone is on a batter by batter, pitch by pitch basis. Each batter is different and can adjust his stance on a pitch by pitch basis. So we need to be able to accommodate that. I think that crosses off any pre-configuration of a strike zone for a batter, e.g. before a season or a game, the batters strike zone is measured and he is stuck with that for that game, series, month, or season. It needs to be done on each pitch in real time.

Thoughtful post, I wanted to concentrate on this point though, because this is where I disagree. You're not growing or shrinking when you go to the plate. If a batter wants to crouch himself out of being able to reach a high strike that strikes me as his problem. In fact, an ever-shifting strike zone strikes me as one of the fundamental flaws with the current system. Umps are constantly making imprecise perceptual adjustments.

The top and bottom of a given hitter's strike zone should be hardwired. Hitters will learn their zones and, I suspect, ultimately come to appreciated the consistency. The pre-configured zone adds stability and reliability. Constant recalibration strikes as fairly glaring design flaw.

Brutus
11-18-2012, 03:20 PM
Thoughtful post, I wanted to concentrate on this point though, because this is where I disagree. You're not growing or shrinking when you go to the plate. If a batter wants to crouch himself out of being able to reach a high strike that strikes me as his problem. In fact, an ever-shifting strike zone strikes me as one of the fundamental flaws with the current system. Umps are constantly making imprecise perceptual adjustments.

The top and bottom of a given hitter's strike zone should be hardwired. Hitters will learn their zones and, I suspect, ultimately come to appreciated the consistency. The pre-configured zone adds stability and reliability. Constant recalibration strikes as fairly glaring design flaw.

The rule is based on the strike zone as the batter is in the box. If you calibrate a zone for a player to be hardwired, then you will not be accurately enforcing the strike zone as it is in the rulebook.