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Thread: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

  1. #61
    Member mdccclxix's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    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?

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  3. #62
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by edabbs44 View Post
    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.
    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.

  4. #63
    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveman Techie View Post
    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.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

  5. #64
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by mdccclxix View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by mdccclxix View Post
    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."
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

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  6. #65
    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by _Sir_Charles_ View Post
    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.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

  7. #66
    Member mdccclxix's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    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.

  8. #67
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by mdccclxix View Post
    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."
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

    I'm witchcrafting everybody.

  9. #68
    Member SidneySlicker's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by _Sir_Charles_ View Post
    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.

  10. #69
    Member klw's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    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/fieldin...se/order/false

    Molina's is remarkably similar to the other Tampa catchers.
    Last edited by klw; 11-14-2012 at 11:07 AM.

  11. #70
    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by klw View Post
    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/fieldin...se/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.

  12. #71
    Member mdccclxix's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    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!

  13. #72
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by klw View Post
    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/fieldin...se/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.

  14. #73
    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    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.

  15. #74
    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling View Post
    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.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

  16. #75
    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    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.
    Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2010-2014!

    Nov. 13, 2007: One of the greatest days in Reds history: John Allen gets the boot!


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