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Thread: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

  1. #301
    Vampire Weekend @Bernie's camisadelgolf's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    I like the human element. It's not perfect, but neither is life. It makes the game more interesting and entertaining. Also, you get stories like this: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...s_mlb&c_id=mlb

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  3. #302
    Stat geek...and proud
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    Whether you are pro ump or pro robot, I hate the term "human element." The players are human aren't they? There is your "human element."
    numbersinthereds.blogspot.com I actually made a post on 10/17/14. I promise.

  4. #303
    Member smith288's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    If there was an automated system that calls balls and strikes, the only reason an umpire would need to "control" anything was between two team's drama. For the life of me, I can't understand why only in baseball are the umpires/officials allowed to instigate yelling matches with the competitors on the field and vice versa. NFL has a very good reputation between players/coaches and umpires and only a few times do I remember any conflict on the field.

    If I had my druthers, I'd:

    A. Automate balls and strikes
    B. Enforce a remote instant replay system like NHL to review all plays meting replay criteria
    C. Rather than throwing a player out of a game, reward an out to the opposite team.

    I like C only if an automated system is in place as well as remote replay since the player no longer should have the need to yell at an umpire for balls/strikes, or missed plays a remote replay official could correct. Any yelling at an umpire is surely sour grapes and needs to be penalized like in football.

  5. #304
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    http://www.baseballanalytics.org/bas...-squeezed.html

    Saw this today and thought it added more to the whole argument.
    David Golebiewski looked at the strikezone and then the velocity of fastballs thrown and came up with how often those pitches were called strikes. The harder you throw, the less likely you were to get a pitch in the zone actually called a strike.


  6. #305
    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
    http://www.baseballanalytics.org/bas...-squeezed.html

    Saw this today and thought it added more to the whole argument.
    David Golebiewski looked at the strikezone and then the velocity of fastballs thrown and came up with how often those pitches were called strikes. The harder you throw, the less likely you were to get a pitch in the zone actually called a strike.

    I'm not arguing with the numbers but it is hard to believe 1 in 4 taken strikes 98+ is called a ball.

    If true that is simply disgusting.

  7. #306
    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    http://www.baseballanalytics.org/bas...-squeezed.html

    Saw this today and thought it added more to the whole argument.
    David Golebiewski looked at the strikezone and then the velocity of fastballs thrown and came up with how often those pitches were called strikes. The harder you throw, the less likely you were to get a pitch in the zone actually called a strike.

    * All-time leader in walks allowed? NOLAN RYAN.
    * All-time leader in walks allowed in NL play? STEVE CARLTON.
    * Most walks allowed in the AL in a single season? BOB FELLER.
    * Jim Maloney once allowed 10 walks in a single game... a game in which he threw a no-hitter!

    All of these guys threw hard. Which computer system tells Golebiewski that he is correct in his argument? History has usually shown that hard-throwers walk more batters than soft-tossers. I think there is more truth that hard-throwers have less control/command than Golebiewski's above-argument.
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.

  8. #307
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by RedFanAlways1966 View Post
    * All-time leader in walks allowed? NOLAN RYAN.
    * All-time leader in walks allowed in NL play? STEVE CARLTON.
    * Most walks allowed in the AL in a single season? BOB FELLER.
    * Jim Maloney once allowed 10 walks in a single game... a game in which he threw a no-hitter!

    All of these guys threw hard. Which computer system tells Golebiewski that he is correct in his argument? History has usually shown that hard-throwers walk more batters than soft-tossers. I think there is more truth that hard-throwers have less control/command than Golebiewski's above-argument.
    I am not entirely sure that I get what you are trying to say here.

    Are you saying that the system is wrong and that hard throwers aren't actually throwing strikes? If so, how are you coming to that conclusion based on how the system works?

    Or are you saying you don't need the system to tell you that hard throwing pitchers get squeezed because historically they have higher walk rates/lesser control?

    Or is it something entirely different?

  9. #308
    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    I am not entirely sure that I get what you are trying to say here.
    Just that history shows that hard-throwers tend to be more wild. And most of us know that. Even "that one kid" who threw faster in little league tended to be more wild. The author states that computers show that hard-throwers get squeezed. I call BS on that and history shows it. I do not agree that 5-10 mph faster make umpires less accurate.
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.

  10. #309
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by RedFanAlways1966 View Post
    Just that history shows that hard-throwers tend to be more wild. And most of us know that. Even "that one kid" who threw faster in little league tended to be more wild. The author states that computers show that hard-throwers get squeezed. I call BS on that and history shows it. I do not agree that 5-10 mph faster make umpires less accurate.
    So you are saying that the computer is determining the strikezone incorrectly then?

    What makes you believe this? What about the system in place, is doing something incorrect, that is registering these pitches as strikes that are actually balls by the definition of the strikezone?

    Did you even read the article? Do you know what was used to come up with the data?

    The data is that pitches that are within the rulebook strikezone according to Pitch F/X are not being called strikes for pitches thrown harder and harder. It isn't a sitaution of total amount of pitches, but only pitches that were not swung at that also fell into the rulebook strikezone through the Pitch F/X system.

    So, where is the problem at for you? It is clearly with the Pitch F/X system. What is it doing incorrectly? Right now, it uses three cameras to triangulate the pitch speed and location from the release to home plate, almost in real time (the delay is only that in which it takes time for the information to travel from the camera to the computer and then a tenth of a second for the computer to spit out the coordinating data).

  11. #310
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    http://www.baseballanalytics.org/bas...-squeezed.html

    Saw this today and thought it added more to the whole argument.
    David Golebiewski looked at the strikezone and then the velocity of fastballs thrown and came up with how often those pitches were called strikes. The harder you throw, the less likely you were to get a pitch in the zone actually called a strike.

    And the more likely that you would have a pitch out of the strike zone called a ball.

  12. #311
    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by kaldaniels View Post
    I'm not arguing with the numbers but it is hard to believe 1 in 4 taken strikes 98+ is called a ball.

    If true that is simply disgusting.
    Ancecdotally, Chapman gets screwed pitch after pitch.
    Can't win with 'em

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  13. #312
    Danger is my business! oneupper's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Even the accuracy rate on the "slow" fastballs is unacceptable.
    "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."

    http://dalmady.blogspot.com

  14. #313
    SERP Emeritus paintmered's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Thinking about the technical feasibility of real-time automatic tracking of pitches, I think it is definitely possible depending on the requirements (I know, that's such a cop-out). But for an initial goal-post, I'll go with 1 cm in a single direction (up/down, left/right, etc.). Cheap? No. Possible? Very.

    My solution requires five infrared cameras placed at various useful angles. Optical sensors afford very good angular resolutions of a few miliradians. In other words, a single camera should be able to place the location of a baseball in a spacial area plus or minus the size of half a baseball. With just one sensor, we're on the right track but don't achieve all the accuracy we need. That's okay, the other cameras and processing will buy us some more. The cameras don't have to be super-duper high speed either, a frame rate of 100-150 Hz should be good enough.

    I would then arrange the cameras as follows: two will be located above the backstop, one will be located in the batter's eye, in line with the pitcher. That last part is important, because while we can adjust for any angular offset, it will have some detrimental effects. The second camera will be above the backstop, high above home plate. The next two will face head-on with the batter with one on each side to allow for left- and right-handed hitters. The last camera will go somewhere else. It doesn't really matter where, but the farther separated from the other cameras the better. The last camera only exists to help time sync the other three (we can ignore the camera staring at the batter's backside). The first camera will give us the up/down and left/right position of the ball. The second camera will give the left/right and let us know when the ball crosses the plate. The third and fourth camera will also let us know when the ball crosses the plate and how high the pitch is.

    One of the fundamental problems with tracking objects, whether it's a baseball or a supersonic jet is contrast with the background. For this reason, I think IR is the way to go (specifically, long-wave IR). If our eye was the camera and we could only stare directly onward to a hitter, I doubt any of us would be able to see the ball at all. The ball is mostly white and often the home team is wearing a white jersey. Similarly, looking directly down on the plate gives us the same problem: the plate is also white. IR provides us with the contrast to know what is the ball and what is a player or dirt or the plate. And since it's optical, we still have our angular resolution. It also helps that our background is cooperative. That is, we know it and it won't be changing rapidly. The location of the plate doesn't change (a good thing), the amount of IR it radiates might as afternoon turns into evening and such. But taken over the length of time for one pitch, it will be constant. Contrast can be further improved with a simple treatment to the ball or the thread in a player's uniform. It's completely invisible to the players without any eye safety concerns.

    After applying some real-time image processing and estimation techniques (both of which are widely used in many applications), we will have a volume of space that is elliptical but hopefully close to spherical in shape and ~3.5" to each side. This is our uncertainty volume at the time the ball or strike decision must occur. Place the ball in the center of that volume. Repeat this for the height of the strike zone for each batter for each pitch. There's your answer.

    I REALLY like thinking about this problem.
    What if this wasn't a rhetorical question?

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  15. #314
    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Interesting plan paintme.

    Would would you say to someone like Doug who (paraphrasing) says that pitch f/x is very very accurate already. I don't even know where to begin to question the issues (if there even are any) with pitch f/x.

  16. #315
    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    So you are saying that the computer is determining the strikezone incorrectly then?

    What makes you believe this? What about the system in place, is doing something incorrect, that is registering these pitches as strikes that are actually balls by the definition of the strikezone?
    Is Pitch FX 100% accurate? It has been argued here, but does it change for every hitter based on his height and his stance (Rose being an extreme with his squat)? It is 2013 and I understand that people will use technology as they deem fit.

    However, I am about keeping some aspects of the game the way they were meant to be. That includes human umpires making judgment calls (strikes/balls, out/safe, interference/not, etc). No MLB umpire is perfect, but most are damn good. That each man has a bit of a varying strikezone is OK by me and most teams (just be consistent). It is one of those things that I love about baseball. I am in no need of the "perfect" game. I might be old or I might be a purist (or both), but make the game robotic in this fashion and it loses some of that taste that me and many others love.

    I want baseball types ruling baseball games. Not a Silicon Valley type that has never played the game nor understands the importance of the game and it's history. Wendelstedt can call the game I attend while Gates can be responsible for the software I utilize to study the stats from that game.
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.


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