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Thread: Neyer: Computers calling Balls and Strikes!

  1. #136
    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer: Computers calling Balls and Strikes!

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    A ha. So there's the real point. I'm glad somebody finally stated it.
    I though I was making that point in my previous posts about performance and allowing for human error.

    You simply don't want greater accuracy at the expense of human judgment.

    I'm curious, what is your stance on instant replay in the NFL and the line judging system in tennis?
    Instant replay in the NFL is a great thing, because is allows fans the opportunity to go get another beer.

    Also, even with all the technology available, the call is still up to the judgment of the officials.

    A more apt comparison to the automated strike zone would be suggesting that each player's uniform be equipped with sensors that could register whether or not the player was holding, or touched a receiver while the ball was in flight, etc. Or having a special video officiating staff that could monitor each and every player and ensure that each and every rule was enforced to the letter.

    I'd rather just let them play -- bad calls, missed calls, and all.
    Last edited by Johnny Footstool; 09-12-2007 at 05:27 PM.
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  3. #137
    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer: Computers calling Balls and Strikes!

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    Seeing that the strike zone is supposed to be uniform, by definition the more precise way of monitoring it would be better.
    Technologically monitoring the strike zone would eliminate the potential for individual pitchers/hitters to adapt to the way a certain ump is calling a certain game, thus removing an element of human performance (adaptation) from the sport.

    Personally, I think the game is a lot better when Aaron Harang realizes that a certain ump will call strikes on sliders that are two inches outside, and he is able to adjust and exploit that fact.
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  4. #138
    Will post for food BuckeyeRedleg's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer: Computers calling Balls and Strikes!

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    "Better" is a subjective term. "More technologically precise" is a more accurate term.

    Personally, I kind of prefer having a human element to deal with.

    I like the idea of keeping the Ump still just to convey balls and strikes from the computer.

    To everyone watching, there would be no noticeable difference, except we'd know that the correct call was being made 100% of the time.

    And If something goes haywire and the computer is down the ump can take over and call balls and strikes like the "old days".

  5. #139
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer: Computers calling Balls and Strikes!

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    Technologically monitoring the strike zone would eliminate the potential for individual pitchers/hitters to adapt to the way a certain ump is calling a certain game, thus removing an element of human performance (adaptation) from the sport.

    Personally, I think the game is a lot better when Aaron Harang realizes that a certain ump will call strikes on sliders that are two inches outside, and he is able to adjust and exploit that fact.
    I'd prefer to have the pitcher and hitter attempt to adapt to each other and the game situation. The stuff you're talking about actively detracts from the game as far as I'm concerned. Once again, I don't want the game determined by the fact that someone got the extra kings while the other guy got stuck looking for a third jack that wasn't in the deck.
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  6. #140
    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer: Computers calling Balls and Strikes!

    I'm currious, and this is a genuine question, how will bumping the accuracy of calls from say 90% to 98% make the game play that much more enjoyable?

    Now, one area where I can see a benefit is the idea of the big names getting always the call. It's a small step, but a step none-the-less towards leveling the playing field between the Red Sox and the Royals (whether that step is worthy of the implementation of a mechinical system is another question, it does seem like it would level the playing field to *some* degree).

    I guess I've always excepted umpire mistakes as part of the game that players have to deal with. Just like sun in your eyes, bad travel schedules, fans that yell/boo/throw stuff at you, crappy dougouts and clubhouses for the visiting team, etc. Never once have I thought, I'm not going to the game tonight because umpire X is behind the plate. I've booed and moaned about bad calls, but I don't think I've enjoyed the game any less because of it.

    So if suddenly 4 or 5 balls/strikes go a different way during the course of a game, how does that make the game any more enjoyable for me up in the stands?

    Again, I'm asking serriously....no snark inmplied or intended.
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  7. #141
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer: Computers calling Balls and Strikes!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    I'm currious, and this is a genuine question, how will bumping the accuracy of calls from say 90% to 98% make the game play that much more enjoyable?
    It would cut out some extraneous nonsense. Frankly I don't know that it necessarily makes the game more enjoyable, but it does level the playing field. I'm for that. Like you, I don't think reputation should earn you a call. I don't think caprice should enter into the equation (once had an ump tell me he didn't think it was right to end a game on a called strike).

    A vague strike zone doesn't have to be part of the game. Far as I'm concerned it doesn't add anything to the game. So why not tighten it up?
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  8. #142
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer: Computers calling Balls and Strikes!

    If the technology is there, I'm all for them using it to call balls and strikes.

    Think about this. You have a guy standing there trying to judge whether or not a round object traveling on average about 85 mph that is curving, moving side to side, floating around like a feather in the wind, sinking or rising will cross a 17" wide area in a zone that is totally subjective. Yes, I know there is a certain area where that is supposed to be but it isn't called like that. It is up to the judgement of the guy behind the plate. Where else do you see that? In tennis at least there is are visible boundries that most people can see the ball bounce in. Umpires do a great job calling balls and strikes but it can be better. As for tradition, I'm all for tradition but back when they started playing ball they didn't have access to the technology we have today. Technology doesn't have to be the opposite of tradition. The two can work hand in hand. They never used to have lights at games up till the 1930s but night baseball hasn't killed off the sport - even on the north side of Chicago.
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  9. #143
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer: Computers calling Balls and Strikes!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    I'm currious, and this is a genuine question, how will bumping the accuracy of calls from say 90% to 98% make the game play that much more enjoyable?
    Those are your numbers and you still don't see the benefit? That would be a tremendous difference, and I don't even think it's that bad.

    But it's not the 8% difference you cite that matters most, although it certainly would be desirable to eliminate such a big margin for error.

    It's the ONE call that rings someone up when they shouldn't be rung up. It's the ONE call that makes the difference in a ballgame.

    All bad calls aren't created equal. One bad call can have a devastating effect on a game, or even a pennant race.

    And you never know when that one bad call is coming. If you watched much tennis, you'd see how much it's done for that sport. Eliminating errors in officiating is a fantastic thing. It overwhelmingly trumps any concern for the ego of the umpires, IMO.

    The idea that a batter having to adjust to an umpires style makes me sick, personally.

    It's a terrible feature of a very flawed system.

    The strike zone is the strike zone. Bad umpiring is bad umpiring. There's nothing romantic about the allure of an umpire interjecting his personality or personal prejudices into a game.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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  10. #144
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer: Computers calling Balls and Strikes!

    I still would like to see some in-depth description of how this technology works.

    From what I've read of Questec, judging of balls and strikes is not done in real-time, i.e. within a second of when the ball hits the catchers mitt. That the evaulator has the luxury of time to figure it out, to sit back and ponder it.

    How would a ball/strike be communicated to an ump in a timely fashion? How is the strike zone determined? Armpits, letters, belt, thighs, what? Are there sensors that do it or is it a human that adjusts a dial? When is it determined? When the batter first takes his stance? Is it before every pitch? When the pitcher takes his wind-up? Is it automatic or does a human determine when it happens? I'd like to see the use cases.

    I may be all wet but I need to be convinced the technology truly is better. Not *can* be better, but *is* better.

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  11. #145
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer: Computers calling Balls and Strikes!

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Tucker View Post
    I still would like to see some in-depth description of how this technology works.

    From what I've read of Questec, judging of balls and strikes is not done in real-time, i.e. within a second of when the ball hits the catchers mitt. That the evaulator has the luxury of time to figure it out, to sit back and ponder it.

    How would a ball/strike be communicated to an ump in a timely fashion? How is the strike zone determined? Armpits, letters, belt, thighs, what? Are there sensors that do it or is it a human that adjusts a dial? When is it determined? When the batter first takes his stance? Is it before every pitch? When the pitcher takes his wind-up? Is it automatic or does a human determine when it happens? I'd like to see the use cases.

    I may be all wet but I need to be convinced the technology truly is better. Not *can* be better, but *is* better.
    Pitch/fx is the system that you see when you watch the gamecast on MLB.com. The measurements are made in real time and the strike/ball assessment done instantly. I do believe that the vertical parameters for each player are set at the beginning of the bat by a person. However, the technology exists to automate this.

    I think you're right, there are likely hurdles still yet to be jumped in order to make it as accurate as necessary and 'live' sufficient that you don't have umpires sitting back there waiting for the signal. But getting there is a matter of investment and interest, not major technological hurdles.

    I could see the system phased in gradually. The umpire gets the a buzzer with a green light and a red light that lights up based on the electronic call. All the calls would still be at his discretion officially, but it would be there to inform him when he didn't feel comfortable making the call or wanted a "second opinion". The signal would not be public, outside of the data on enhanced gameday (which we already have) and the gizmo would be small enough that only the umpire could see it.

    On calls where he felt comfortable, he could make it on his own. If he wanted the electronic call, he could use it without anybody knowing. His ego wouldn't be bruised and he might actually be a little better at self correcting, given instant feedback rather than trying to remember the experience of seeing a certain borderline pitch 2 hours later in his review session.

    One of the biggest challenges of being an umpire is that you have to make every call and make it quickly. As a fan, we can pay attention 80% of the time and then blow up when we see a bad call. If the ump blinks, gets bad glare, or loses the ball in a shadow, or just has a little trouble on balls low and away, he has no 2nd opinion to fall back on.

    This would be a fairly seamless transition, can be pitched to the public as simply a way to support umpires, rather than "replacing" them, would be virtually unnoticeable from the fans perspective and would likely have a net positive effect on accuracy. If down the road, the technology develops sufficiently and has the confidence of MLB leadership, perhaps you can move to a definitive automatic electronic call, but I can see the above as being a realistic step in getting there.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  12. #146
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer: Computers calling Balls and Strikes!

    Doesn't take more than one inning of watching C.B. Buckner work to make me want to donate to the R&D effort on an automated system.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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  13. #147
    Member red-in-la's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer: Computers calling Balls and Strikes!

    What I do not understand is the argument that we should be sure to keep the errant calls by umpires a part of the game.
    "Is there a problem officers?"

  14. #148
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer: Computers calling Balls and Strikes!

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Tucker View Post
    I still would like to see some in-depth description of how this technology works.

    From what I've read of Questec, judging of balls and strikes is not done in real-time, i.e. within a second of when the ball hits the catchers mitt. That the evaulator has the luxury of time to figure it out, to sit back and ponder it.

    How would a ball/strike be communicated to an ump in a timely fashion? How is the strike zone determined? Armpits, letters, belt, thighs, what? Are there sensors that do it or is it a human that adjusts a dial? When is it determined? When the batter first takes his stance? Is it before every pitch? When the pitcher takes his wind-up? Is it automatic or does a human determine when it happens? I'd like to see the use cases.

    I may be all wet but I need to be convinced the technology truly is better. Not *can* be better, but *is* better.


    Roy, I agree that unless the technology is completely nailed down, you'd never want to implement it.

    I think the biggest arguments here are between those who don't want it no matter if it's proven to be accurate or not.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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  15. #149
    Member red-in-la's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer: Computers calling Balls and Strikes!

    There is tolerance in any system. But I find it hard to believe that any of the technologies that might be applied today could be as erroneous as an umpire.
    "Is there a problem officers?"

  16. #150
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer: Computers calling Balls and Strikes!

    I'm of the opinion that a system like this will always shaped by the perceptions that the rules makers have of technology and its place in the world. Currently the world is run by guys who listened to Radio drama and remember the DuPont Network, next will be the 3-4 Channel Brats, they never played Video games or owned a computer in primary school, after them will be the kids who grew up with technology leaking into every avenue of their existence.

    Then they'll start to ponder it realistically.


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