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Home Plate Umps Should Be Replaced by Robots


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Posted (edited)
59 minutes ago, Overlord said:

That ump didn't like Witt's little jig as he crossed home plate and decided to teach the talented youngster a lesson. 

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if witt would have touched home plate the ump wouldn't mind the little  jig

Edited by mks
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I've been a baseball fan for 35 years. I want robots calling strikes.  Umps are less accurate and have biases. Some of their egos are getting to be a bit much now too, which is the worst part.

Overhead view. If you think this "two seamer" ever crosses the plate, then I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree.    

Also handing out new baseballs, dusting off the plate, and giving the catchers someone to talk to in between PAs.  No jobs eliminated, just computers helping them do their existing job like they do fo

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After reading/posting in this thread, I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to allow replay review of a called strike 3. They've already been reviewing all swinging strikes forever, way before replay, with the 1st/3rd base umps.

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22 hours ago, tonycpsu said:

You keep latching onto this as if the rulebook was handed down from God on stone tablets.  The vertical strike zone in particular has been redefined many times over the years:

There is nothing stopping MLB from making subtle changes that would make it trivial for computers to call balls/strikes without the need to try to guess a batter's intent or make minute adjustments based on whether they're crouching.  And even if it just did things based on the batter's height without any rule changes, it would still result in fewer errors than humans trying to judge that while also judging horizontal positioning and many other things at the same time.  Only a handful of balls are going to end up in the narrow range where a batter's stance would affect things, and, again, a simple rule change could make the point moot.

To me this is the way to go. MLB could adjust the rule book to precisely define zone, including specifying the three dimensional aspect based on player measurement. Each player could be laser measured and given a predetermined zone irrespective of batting stance.  I think the idea of an ump “relaying” ball strike calls is a bit ridiculous - just have a scoreboard specifically for players which shows calls/count at all times. Home plate umpire is there to make safe/out calls at plate, other judgement calls, supply balls as needed. 
 

FWIW it’s also worth considering umpire safety. An umpire standing directly behind home plate is in a dangerous situation and injuries, including serious injuries, are not uncommon. With an automatic strike zone the umpire wouldn’t need to be directly behind the catcher - MLB could determine if there was a safer positioning (there may not be) which would allow for plays at the plate to be called. For example if they didn’t need to call balls and strikes the ump could be placed in the batters box area and move into position to make out/safe calls as needed. 

 

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15 hours ago, GamblorLA said:

1) It's all a human drama. Bad calls are good.  There should be bad calls. There should be controversy. It's fun to yell at or boo the umps. There should be umps many fans hate. The players and managers should occasionally get mad at the umps, sometimes incorrectly, sometimes correctly.  When sports are completely staged (WWE) we want comically bad refs because it makes a better story. Even that guy who lost a perfect game on a terrible call... that will be remembered for far longer than if he'd gotten it.

2) It's a zero sum game. And an inconsequential one. Doesn't matter who wins.  One group of fans will be happy, the other unhappy. This isn't international relations. All that matters is it's engaging and entertaining. 

The game and competition itself is the entertainment and it provides its own drama.   We don’t need manufactured drama.   The real issue at stake is who on the field rightfully earned what.   Bad calls are bad.  

 

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11 hours ago, mks said:

if witt would have touched home plate the ump wouldn't mind the little  jig

 

11 hours ago, Members_Only_76 said:


 

 

 

Do we need the bases to have technology in them to tell the ump if the bag was touched or not? I think so! 

 

kidding...

 

Looks like Bobby may have actually missed the plate, crazy!

 

 

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Don't want to be rude or anything but the "bad calls add to the excitement and suspense of the game" take is some of the dumbest **** I've ever heard. 

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10 minutes ago, Gohawks said:

Don't want to be rude or anything but the "bad calls add to the excitement and suspense of the game" take is some of the dumbest **** I've ever heard. 

I miss the manager coming out and protesting calls and eventually being tossed. To me that was good entertainment. 

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17 hours ago, GamblorLA said:

1) It's all a human drama. Bad calls are good.  There should be bad calls. There should be controversy. It's fun to yell at or boo the umps. There should be umps many fans hate. The players and managers should occasionally get mad at the umps, sometimes incorrectly, sometimes correctly.  When sports are completely staged (WWE) we want comically bad refs because it makes a better story. Even that guy who lost a perfect game on a terrible call... that will be remembered for far longer than if he'd gotten it.

2) It's a zero sum game. And an inconsequential one. Doesn't matter who wins.  One group of fans will be happy, the other unhappy. This isn't international relations. All that matters is it's engaging and entertaining. 

Seriously?

You are advocating for bad calls because "it's better for everyone" that Armando Galarraga had a perfect game stolen from him by an umpire making a terrible call on what should have been an obvious call? With your reasoning being that some may remember the fact that he had it stolen from him more than they'd remember it if he had gotten what he deserved? What about him though? What about him being robbed of having his name in the record books?

Calls should be made correctly. I am not understanding how anyone can disagree with that? The only question (IMO) is how do we get to the point where calls are correct.

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26 minutes ago, ThreadKiller said:

Seriously?

You are advocating for bad calls because "it's better for everyone" that Armando Galarraga had a perfect game stolen from him by an umpire making a terrible call on what should have been an obvious call? With your reasoning being that some may remember the fact that he had it stolen from him more than they'd remember it if he had gotten what he deserved? What about him though? What about him being robbed of having his name in the record books?

Calls should be made correctly. I am not understanding how anyone can disagree with that? The only question (IMO) is how do we get to the point where calls are correct.

I would argue that Armando Galarraga is more known because of Jim Joyce's call than if he actually got the perfect game...

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, posty said:

I would argue that Armando Galarraga is more known because of Jim Joyce's call than if he actually got the perfect game...

Well posty, my friend, that is simply because.....you just like to argue. 🤣

You/re right! Armando should thank Jim Joyce!

Edited by collucho
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On 6/8/2021 at 12:49 PM, Richard Kimble said:

Umps and refs actually positions demanding strong ethics and integrity in our society (see the stain of Tim Donaghy on officiating in general) in the same way airline pilots and police and firemen are. If you give those occupations the benefit of the doubt, you should be as reverential and respectful towards umpires, as well. Even on their worst day like Jim Joyce they can still show us that we are all imperfect. Unlike those occupations I mentioned, an umpire having a bad day is not literal life and death (or self driving cars, point taken).

I cited Jim Joyce earlier as the reason to be compassionate about umpire mistakes; Armando forgave him, and if you watched the documentary, you see they have a friendship. That play also is one that specifically led to replay, so that shouldn't happen again. If you want to boil the point down, a guy losing a perfect game like that is the literal worst thing that an ump could do to a player, and so the logical question is, what is the worst thing a bad strike call could do to a team?

In theory, you're trying to prevent a situation of a team hypothetically losing the World Series on such a call. That does seem to be of great magnitude-just not life and death. If it happened to my team, I might curse the call til the day I die, but it would still be a part of sports lore on the level of the Seahawks final decision in SB 49 or the LeBron James block against the Warriors. I'm not sure what people are afraid of, sports are meant to evoke passion. Personally, I will have no enthusiasm for a computerized zone. 

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It's not that he should thank him. I felt bad for him, and the ump as well.  But nobody died. Nobody lost their home. Ultimately it's just a crazy plot twist in a piece of entertainment.  And it'll stick in our minds till we die.

Remember the George Brett pine tar event episode?  Sure you do. They have shown replays of it 100s of times. Why is that?

Other times, it's a close call and is debated long after the fact by fans and provides material for journalists, talk radio people and social media.

I think part of the reason we watch sports is to have all this drama, highs and lows and mistakes and injustices contained in a little world where nothing that bad can really happen, outside of extreme injuries.  

 

As for expanding instant replay, that's the worst possible option.  Boring. 

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, GamblorLA said:

Remember the George Brett pine tar event episode?

I was too young to witness it but it was like, one of the first plays when I became a fan of baseball people were like "You gotta see this." You have to understand-weren't no "YouTube" or Intranets in them days, you had to get a VHS tape from the libary, watch it, rewind it, you get the idear. Fun factoid-Tim McClelland who tossed Brett was the same umpire who found Sammy Sosa's corked bat at Wrigley Field. That is one I'll never forget seeing unfold live in front of my eyes (on TV). 

Edited by Richard Kimble
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6 minutes ago, GamblorLA said:

As for expanding instant replay, that's the worst possible option.  Boring. 

 

I agree, this discussion should exclude replay and focus on giving umpires help with ball/strikes with the available technology to help make the game LESS BORING. Keep the umps, give them help.

 

I mean, it's so entertaining and fun to see a rally killed because of an obvious ball being called a strike, or on the flip side....to see a pitcher make the perfect pitch to end an inning only for it to be called a ball. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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3 minutes ago, Richard Kimble said:

I cited Jim Joyce earlier as the reason to be compassionate about umpire mistakes; Armando forgave him, and if you watched the documentary, you see they have a friendship. That play also is one that specifically led to replay, so that shouldn't happen again. If you want to boil the point down, a guy losing a perfect game like that is the literal worst thing that an ump could do to a player, and so the logical question is, what is the worst thing a bad strike call could do to a team?

In theory, you're trying to prevent a situation of a team hypothetically losing the World Series on such a call. That does seem to be of great magnitude-just not life and death. If it happened to my team, I might curse the call til the day I die, but it would still be a part of sports lore on the level of the Seahawks final decision in SB 49 or the LeBron James block against the Warriors. I'm not sure what people are afraid of, sports are meant to evoke passion. Personally, I will have no enthusiasm for a computerized zone. 

To get even deeper into the muck: suppose the Twins (or whoever) get to the world series and lose game 7 due to a blown call. Would robo umps prevent this from happening?

Yes, but they would alter the sequence of events so much that that actual scenario would never have occurred. In fact, the twins probably wouldn't be in the world series.  

So if this ever does happen to your team, robo umps wouldn't have delivered the trophy.  It would very likely be some other team that won the world series, just in a more boring fashion.

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2 minutes ago, GamblorLA said:

To get even deeper into the muck: suppose the Twins (or whoever) get to the world series and lose game 7 due to a blown call. Would robo umps prevent this from happening?

Yes, but they would alter the sequence of events so much that that actual scenario would never have occurred. In fact, the twins probably wouldn't be in the world series.  

So if this ever does happen to your team, robo umps wouldn't have delivered the trophy.  It would very likely be some other team that won the world series, just in a more boring fashion.

 

So now the argument is the "butterfly effect"? That works both ways, will never know which was the better outcome ultimately. But it's more entertaining watching a true/fair outcome, or as close as we can get. Evolving/improving is a good thing.

 

What if the robo ump had caused Mike Trout to be traded to the Brewers who then went on to win back to back WS? No brainer, bring on the robo ump! ;)

 

 

The Butterfly Effect (2004) - IMDb

 

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2 minutes ago, Members_Only_76 said:

 

I agree, this discussion should exclude replay and focus on giving umpires help with ball/strikes with the available technology to help make the game LESS BORING. Keep the umps, give them help.

 

I mean, it's so entertaining and fun to see a rally killed because of an obvious ball being called a strike, or on the flip side....to see a pitcher make the perfect pitch to end an inning only for it to be called a ball. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Isn't part of the fun of going to the game the fans booing all the real and perceived bad calls? Kind of lobbying for their side. Or saying "man, that looked like a strike to me." Using your own judgement as a fan. Asking your friend if they saw it the same way.  All that interaction as opposed to the passivity of a computer telling you the answer every time.

Ump/ref jokes?

Maybe it's not the best comparison but I think it's a similar principle.  Poker has been solved by computers. High level poker matches are now mainly contests about who can best remember/emulate what the computer would do.  While it's interesting in it's own way, it's far less exciting and far fewer people watch. And there is very little to debate or discuss afterwards. Should he have made that call? You just ask the computer.

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14 hours ago, mks said:

I guess pitch framing would not be a thing with a robot ump.

Welcome to the discussion

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Reading some of these responses by some of you, if you didn't know better, you would come to the conclusion that the home plate umpire gets the call wrong about 80% of the time...

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19 hours ago, GamblorLA said:

1) It's all a human drama. Bad calls are good.  There should be bad calls. There should be controversy. It's fun to yell at or boo the umps. There should be umps many fans hate. The players and managers should occasionally get mad at the umps, sometimes incorrectly, sometimes correctly.  When sports are completely staged (WWE) we want comically bad refs because it makes a better story. Even that guy who lost a perfect game on a terrible call... that will be remembered for far longer than if he'd gotten it.

I agree with this and can't understand why this post is getting so much grief. Bad calls are clearly great for baseball. That's why we should have robots - the human umpires are too good, and their terrible calls aren't random or often enough. Robots can be programmed to have a high error rate. Heck, we could make each call a 50/50 chance of being right or wrong on every single pitch. Imagine the controversy that would entail when programmed randomness caused one team to get a ton of bad calls while the opposing team got a bunch of good calls! Sports talk deejays would have a lifetime of material! The inevitable controversy would finally give me a chance to not just be a long time listener, but a first time caller. My only issue with this solution is it removes umpires from the equation. I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't just go to games to watch a pitcher vs hitters battle it out all day - I also go so I can watch umpires dance around to each strikeout. I think we could get some trained professionals to dance around after certain pitches to maintain my interest levels. Though vigorous dancing can take a lot of focus, and with the speed in which balls travel these days, that could get pretty dangerous if they're left unprotected. So perhaps we could get some sort of cage for them to stand in and keep them safe...

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1 hour ago, posty said:

I would argue that Armando Galarraga is more known because of Jim Joyce's call than if he actually got the perfect game...

While maybe true, that doesn't make it right. Or fair. So to say it's better that way makes no sense to me. It's not like that incorrect call brought on more fans than if the right call were made.

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, posty said:

Reading some of these responses by some of you, if you didn't know better, you would come to the conclusion that the home plate umpire gets the call wrong about 80% of the time...

That's not the point though. The point is, if something isn't as good as it could be, why not fix it? Or are we just content with something just because "that's the way it is"?

Edited by ThreadKiller
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