Guess I'm too old, as I don't like robo umps, mic'd up players, bat flips, pitch clocks, elbow guards, infield shifts, sabermetrics, SP only going 5 innings, disappearance of the bunt/SB and a lack of collisions at 2B and home plate.

Don't mind replays, for some reason though...

As an umpire, I do NOT subscribe to the “human element is part of the game” rationale for accepting bad calls.

 

I want to get the calls right, and I welcome tools that improve accuracy—as long as they don’t disrupt the game or put the calls under the jurisdiction of someone other than the on-field umpires. 

The way this demonstration was conducted makes sense. The plate umpire had the information but he knew the tool’s limitations, such as not being able to measure the 3-dimensionality of the zone, and was able to override when it seemed right. 

I would also welcome video replay, especially on plays we know that the two-man system puts umpires in sub-optimal positions. 

I’m almost with FenwaySouth: Bring it on—carefully. 

CTbballDad posted:

Guess I'm too old, as I don't like robo umps, mic'd up players, bat flips, pitch clocks, elbow guards, infield shifts, sabermetrics, SP only going 5 innings, disappearance of the bunt/SB and a lack of collisions at 2B and home plate.

Don't mind replays, for some reason though...

Age has nothing to do with it.  I'm an old dude too!  But I have seen what technology has done to make other sports better and more accurate, and that should be the goal.   I don't like many of the things you've listed bat flips, SPs going 5, disappearance of the bunt/SBs)  but they have nothing to do with implementing a tool to make a more accurate call.   The title is "robot umpires" but that is not what it is.   Think of this as an umpire tool (it's Artificial Intelligence plain and simple)  to make their jobs easier and their calls more defensible.  The umpire is still in control of HIS game.

CTbballDad posted:

Guess I'm too old, as I don't like robo umps, mic'd up players, bat flips, pitch clocks, elbow guards, infield shifts, sabermetrics, SP only going 5 innings, disappearance of the bunt/SB and a lack of collisions at 2B and home plate.

Don't mind replays, for some reason though...

I don’t have a problem with technology being an aid to umpires. What I don’t want to see is the possible future of umpires removed from the field, making calls from a booth and the call is on the scoreboard.

A couple of years ago I watched a Rays broadcast where someone explained the 3D limitations of robotic strike zones with 3D graphics. Umpires are definitely needed. Otherwise pitchers would start dropping strikes from over the top like we did as kids with the strike zone being the squares on the garage door.

If we could blend eras imagine this scenario ...

Earl Weaver: What kind of a chicken bleep call is that? Are you bleeping blind? 

Umpire Hal: I honestly think you ought to calm down; take a stress pill and think things over.

 
Catcher-in-the-Rye posted:

My son is a catcher for high school and a travel team. I asked him before what his opinion on robot umps was and he said he did not like it because it took away the catchers framing skills.

 

The number of high school catchers  whose receiving skills increase the number of strike calls is pretty small. 

It’s far more common for me to go out on a limb and call strikes so as not to punish pitchers for the catcher’s actions.

Too many yank the ball toward the zone even on borderline pitches (and remember, by rule, borderline is a strike), which tells the whole world they think the ball was out of the zone.  

On occasion I have told catchers, “Look, I want strikes almost as much as you do. Stop yanking the ball in. My butt is more than 17” wide, so your best chance is to just stick it where it is, and you and I will be the only ones who know.”

The best high school receiver I’ve worked behind, a young man who has since played in Omaha, was great about sticking it only when it was a plausible strike. I worked about a half dozen of his games and gave him about 95% of his sticks.  On occasion, he’d try to stretch it a couple inches but would cheerfully correct when I’d tell him that was a little too far.

Swampboy,

 

Thank you for the response but his response was not about machines calling the strike zone at the high school level. (LOL) He will be long out of HS by the time these things make it there if ever. Though he has been complemented by a number of umps on his "sticks".

 

His response was more in relation to MLB catchers and this would take away the need for that skill.

I like the robo ump. In tennis hawk eye has improved it a lot too as there are almost no umpire arguments anymore, players just challenge and if they are wrong they accept the machine. 20 years ago players would insult umps all the time now the game is much quieter and less emotional.

Sometimes it makes it tough mentally though as in extreme high pressure moments it can help a player to blame the umpire and go off a little while now you just have to give in to a god like machine.

But still in most cases it is better to have the better decision and in tennis players players learned to deal with this too.

Forget the robo-ump, anyone paying attention knows it is only a matter of time and that has been true for 10 years at least.  Ending the ball/strike arguments will be awsome...it really will be.

The bigger deal is stealing 1st base.  If that gains traction it totally changes the game bacuse it would probably end forever pitching in the dirt as a tactic.  A 54' curve now could become a baserunner.  A defensive catcher premium will happen.  Blocking will be more valuable than ever.  A lousy catcher could cost a run or two a game.

Anything that forces the ball into the strike zone and contact is worth considering IMO.  I'd like to see at bats limited to 5/6 pitches.  Pitch clocks.  There are a bunch of other things that can be done to address the 5 Inning starter, ball in play and time of game that baseball is way overdue for doing. 

If I were king of baseball I would focus on getting the game down to 210 to 225 pitches.  This would make things better than any other single thing that can be done.  If that happened complete games would be 100 to 110 pitches and they would return to being a big part of the game.

Swampboy posted:
Dominik85 posted:

And yes, the robo ump will kill framing but this a collateral damage you have to accept.

It's not collateral damage; it's removing two sources of distortion at the same time. 

A disadvantage might be aesthetic. Here is a robo ump called strike

https://twitter.com/BaseballQu...092060424364035?s=09

 

Catchers might just sit on their ass and slap at the ball with their glove, no need for "proper" receiving anymore. So why waste energy doing it?

Still I think the advantages of the robo ump are bigger than the disadvantages.

Errors in both horizontal and vertical movement have never been higher in the four years that Statcast has made some of its data publicly available. So it’s not just your imagination as you watch the game on TV: In-broadcast representations of the strike zone (like FoxTrax) take their data from Statcast, and Statcast’s errors, in turn, have bred anger with umpires and confusion over how pitches are being called. The root cause of Statcast’s troubles is unknown.

https://www.baseballprospectus...ne-not-simple-think/

RJM posted:

Errors in both horizontal and vertical movement have never been higher in the four years that Statcast has made some of its data publicly available. So it’s not just your imagination as you watch the game on TV: In-broadcast representations of the strike zone (like FoxTrax) take their data from Statcast, and Statcast’s errors, in turn, have bred anger with umpires and confusion over how pitches are being called. The root cause of Statcast’s troubles is unknown.

https://www.baseballprospectus...ne-not-simple-think/

I think that's what the umps are using that as cover.  I didn't read anything that said errors in hor or vert. movement resulted in Statcast errors on the call.  The article didn't provide that.

Looking at the Boston U study of 4 million called pitches from 2008 to 2018, umpires were twice as likely to ring up a strike 3 on a true ball as any other count.  (15% to 30%).  That's too big of a difference with a very large sample size to be driven by the statcast side of the comparison.

Pitcherdad:  I love umpires!

Hitterdad:  Umpires suck! Bring on the robo umps!

originally posted by midatlantic dad https://www.bu.edu/articles/20...strike-zone-accuracy

 

RJM posted:

I remember the BU study. I’m not saying umpires are better or worse. But if there’s a margin of error with a tracking system how accurate is it’s analysis of umpires? 

One inch is what both articles referenced.  Whatever it is, it can get better.

Don't take any of my arguments as wanting robo-umps.  I'm concerned with the game changing beyond what is intended.  Nothing wrong with testing it in independent or minor leagues.  The biggest and quickest improvement (again my takeaway from the BU study) is to move to a merit based system for umpires, instead of seniority.

Go44dad posted:
RJM posted:

Errors in both horizontal and vertical movement have never been higher in the four years that Statcast has made some of its data publicly available. So it’s not just your imagination as you watch the game on TV: In-broadcast representations of the strike zone (like FoxTrax) take their data from Statcast, and Statcast’s errors, in turn, have bred anger with umpires and confusion over how pitches are being called. The root cause of Statcast’s troubles is unknown.

https://www.baseballprospectus...ne-not-simple-think/

I think that's what the umps are using that as cover.  I didn't read anything that said errors in hor or vert. movement resulted in Statcast errors on the call.  The article didn't provide that.

Looking at the Boston U study of 4 million called pitches from 2008 to 2018, umpires were twice as likely to ring up a strike 3 on a true ball as any other count.  (15% to 30%).  That's too big of a difference with a very large sample size to be driven by the statcast side of the comparison.

Pitcherdad:  I love umpires!

Hitterdad:  Umpires suck! Bring on the robo umps!

originally posted by midatlantic dad https://www.bu.edu/articles/20...strike-zone-accuracy

 

Most other publications think that robo ump would help pitchers more than hitters. Yes there are more false positive strikes than false negative balls but this is because far more pitches outside the zone are taken so there is a big bias. 

The zone in mlb actually shrinks in two strike counts and gets bigger in hitters counts. Contrary to popular wisdom umps don't love to ring guys up (or send them walking).

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/th...trike-zone-by-count/

 

I can't wait for automated ball/strike calls!  But whoever is setting up the strike zone needs to read the rule book and apply it accurately when setting up the boundaries.  I'm tired of watching MLB "K Zone" boxes that are well below where the rule book says the upper limit of the zone is.  Who is responsible for doing that?

Either implement the rule as written or, if supposedly everyone (other than me) wants it changed, change it.  After all, it has been changed from time to time over the decades.  It's not like we're monkeying with something from 1905.

Buckeye 2015 posted:

This league is the WWE of baseball.  The stealing first rule is the dumbest rule in the history of sports....and it's not close

I found the above experimental rule change as interesting, but quite frankly don't know how often it would be used. One of the rules proposed benefits a runner on a pick-off, which naturally a baserunner dad would like. The one rule I think I really like of the four proposed changes is that you can bunt foul once on two strikes and it is a foul, not a strikeout.

Midlo Dad posted:

I can't wait for automated ball/strike calls!  But whoever is setting up the strike zone needs to read the rule book and apply it accurately when setting up the boundaries.  I'm tired of watching MLB "K Zone" boxes that are well below where the rule book says the upper limit of the zone is.  Who is responsible for doing that?

Either implement the rule as written or, if supposedly everyone (other than me) wants it changed, change it.  After all, it has been changed from time to time over the decades.  It's not like we're monkeying with something from 1905.

Basically the mlb zone de facto ends a hand width above the belly button, nobody really calls mid point of the upper body 

Dominik85 posted:
Midlo Dad posted:

I can't wait for automated ball/strike calls!  But whoever is setting up the strike zone needs to read the rule book and apply it accurately when setting up the boundaries.  I'm tired of watching MLB "K Zone" boxes that are well below where the rule book says the upper limit of the zone is.  Who is responsible for doing that?

Either implement the rule as written or, if supposedly everyone (other than me) wants it changed, change it.  After all, it has been changed from time to time over the decades.  It's not like we're monkeying with something from 1905.

Basically the mlb zone de facto ends a hand width above the belly button, nobody really calls mid point of the upper body 

Seems like (IMHO) when watching MLB games and even down to some high school games, the belt high fastball rarely gets called a strike much less above the belt.  I agree with Midlo either get the upper limit right or change it to what is actually being called.

The problem with referencing Deadspin is they’re one of the lowest forms of unprofessional, punk journalism. Their quality is right up there with the drunken, frat boy journalism at Barstool. 

RJM posted:

The problem with referencing Deadspin is they’re one of the lowest forms of unprofessional, punk journalism. Their quality is right up there with the drunken, frat boy journalism at Barstool. 

Is something in the article factually wrong?  If so, I’d like to know (seriously). 

Why not test the rules in this league? Imo experimenting is good, if the new rules suck they won't make it to mlb.

The stealing first rule might not be terrible either as you can only steal on a dropped pitch or passed ball so it won't happen a ton. The rule would give catchers some importance back they lost with the robo ump. 

In youth ball this rule would be terrible but in pro ball maybe 2-3 wild pitches or passed balls per game happen so the effect wouldn't be huge. 

Chico Escuela posted:
RJM posted:

The problem with referencing Deadspin is they’re one of the lowest forms of unprofessional, punk journalism. Their quality is right up there with the drunken, frat boy journalism at Barstool. 

Is something in the article factually wrong?  If so, I’d like to know (seriously). 

The worst part of the article was that the author said it sucks they are testing it at a low level. Sure the level makes a difference but where else do you want to test it? Testing it in indy ball, then maybe in the minors if successfull and finally the majors is exactly the right process.

I think this is just an argument by traditionalists who don't want change at all.

I mean the guy raves about how great adam silver is but NBA made tons of rule changes the last 20 years including two huge ones with allowing zone defense and moving the 3 point line back. Making some changes doesn't mean you hate the game, sports are changing rules all the time.

I also disagree that fans hate the juiced ball and homers. They hate the strikeouts and low batting averages but most casual fans like the bombs. If you de juice the ball without doing something to increase contact you make baseball unwatchable because it means you get the worst of both worlds (low average and low power). Bombs are the consolation price for the fans who want to see offense, very few like 2-1 games.

luv baseball posted:

Forget the robo-ump, anyone paying attention knows it is only a matter of time and that has been true for 10 years at least.  Ending the ball/strike arguments will be awsome...it really will be.

The bigger deal is stealing 1st base.  If that gains traction it totally changes the game bacuse it would probably end forever pitching in the dirt as a tactic.  A 54' curve now could become a baserunner.  A defensive catcher premium will happen.  Blocking will be more valuable than ever.  A lousy catcher could cost a run or two a game.

Anything that forces the ball into the strike zone and contact is worth considering IMO.  I'd like to see at bats limited to 5/6 pitches.  Pitch clocks.  There are a bunch of other things that can be done to address the 5 Inning starter, ball in play and time of game that baseball is way overdue for doing. 

If I were king of baseball I would focus on getting the game down to 210 to 225 pitches.  This would make things better than any other single thing that can be done.  If that happened complete games would be 100 to 110 pitches and they would return to being a big part of the game.

Good post. Totally didn't think about the stealing first thing forcing pitchers in the zone a little more and maybe make them throw less breaking balls. This could create more offense and less Ks.

Article on early results on the athletic.

https://theathletic.com/113782...lectronic-overlords/

 

Some players comment they like it others not.

But interesting think is results. According to the article the robo ump calls a narrower zone side to side (especially less outside strikes) but more strikes below the zone and above the zone.

So real umps make the zone shorter and wider compared to what it should be.

Interestingly runs per game and k rate are virtually unchanged pre and post robo ump, just the walk rate slightly dropped very slightly (but nothing dramatic) with the robo ump. Time per game is even a minute shorter now so delay is not an issue.

Btw the league actually already made a rule adjustment to account for the higher robo upper boundary, now a pitch at the top of the zone has to be in the zone whole diameter and not just graze it so basically rule book strike zone now is a ball shorter.

Early on they had technical difficulties with the system (even delayed the installation of the system a little) but now it seems to work pretty well. 

 I think this seems to be a success. Hitters will need to make adjustments a little as low and high is harder to adjust than in and out (swing and miss rates below and above the zone is higher than off the plate in and out) but they seem to be doing ok especially after the league adjusted the height of the zone a little.

Imo they should soon start to test it in the minors.

No surprise there... As coaches will tell/remind you they can seen up and down, but left and right not so much.  I wonder if batters knowing the outside pitch won't get called adjusted in the box to better attack those inside pitches. Still waiting for some pitcher to perfect his eephus pitch ;-).

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