Baseball Umps Get High Tech Glasses

from the uh-oh dept

One of the coolest thing about baseball (in my opinion) is that unlike other sports, the umpires have a big part in each game. Instead of just enforcing the rules, baseball umpires call balls and strikes. A lot has been made this year about how umpires are going to be forced to call the strike zone as it’s written (meaning higher strikes) and now Major League Baseball is employing missile technology to make it happen. In many stadiums special missile technology (used for aerial mapping and missile tracking) will be used to call its own balls and strikes – which will then be given to the umps after the game so they can see how well they did. The potential downside of this is that eventually balls and strikes could be called by a computer, taking away a lot of the character of a baseball game.

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Comments on “Baseball Umps Get High Tech Glasses”

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xdroop (user link) says:

That's a pretty strange outlook

Now I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a sports fan, and I’ll tell you why: it’s the “character of the game”.
At least, if you define “character of the game” as being the completely arbitrary, random, or completely favoratist method in which the officials enforce the rules of the game.

Take hockey. Every time I watch a game, I am floored by the way that the officials fail to call the hitting, hooking, holding, tripping, or other offenses which go on regularly. Also astounding is the way in which players which do get into fights are permitted to bang away at each other for a minute before the officials put a stop to it. This isn’t helped when you have the intellectually impaired like Don Cherry blathering on about how the refs should just stay out of it and “let du boyz play du game!”

On the other hand, when the teams are forced to play four-on-four hockey, the players are forced to play the game and not piss away time hitting each other. It’s a much better game. It’s actually entertaining.

The idea of an umpire or referee is to ensure that the rules of the game are applied fairly and equally to both teams. That way the better, or more lucky, team can win. If a computer can do it in a manner that will encourage umpires to actually call the rules (although I doubt that will happen until the computer’s calls are published along with the umpire’s), then I’m all for it.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: That's a pretty strange outlook

Well, that’s the difference between baseball and any other sport… In baseball the umps aren’t there to “enforce” the rules. There aren’t penalties for breaking the rules. In fact, in baseball you can get away with a lot of stuff and the umpire will *never* call you on it. It’s up to the other team to make a play. So, for instance, you can run around the bases and not touch a single bag and the ump will never say a damn thing. However, if the other team sees it and tags one of the bases, you get called out. If baseball were run like football, then the refs would call a penalty for not touching the bag or something. So, it’s not about the ump enforcing the rules and keeping the game in line with some arbitrary method – the umpires in baseball are more about being the final call on plays that are disputed.

As for balls and strikes, generally umpires are internally consistent. They call balls/strikes pretty much the same for everyone during a game. Part of the challenge is learning to figure out how a particular ump calls a game, and using that to your advantage.

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