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Thread: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

  1. #46
    post hype sleeper cincinnati chili's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    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.
    How, then, are those people of the future—who are taking steroids every day—going to look back on baseball players who used steroids? They're going to look back on them as pioneers. They're going to look back at it and say "So what?" - Bill James, Cooperstown and the 'Roids

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  3. #47
    KungFu Fighter AtomicDumpling's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    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.

  4. #48
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by cincinnati chili View Post
    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.

  5. #49
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    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.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

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  6. #50
    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    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.
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.

  7. #51
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by RedFanAlways1966 View Post
    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?

  8. #52
    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 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?
    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.
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.

  9. #53
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    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.
    "I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road." Stephen Hawking

  10. #54
    Flash the leather! _Sir_Charles_'s Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by RedFanAlways1966 View Post
    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.
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  11. #55
    Start the Reactor! *BaseClogger*'s Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    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...
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

  12. #56
    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    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?

  13. #57
    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by _Sir_Charles_ View Post
    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?

  14. #58
    Member SidneySlicker's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    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?

  15. #59
    Flash the leather! _Sir_Charles_'s Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by kaldaniels View Post
    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.
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  16. #60
    Flash the leather! _Sir_Charles_'s Avatar
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    Re: Why we need computers calling balls and strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by SidneySlicker View Post
    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.
    2014 predictions:
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