Friday, July 12, 2019

History - Baseball's First Ejection Due to TrackMan

The Atlantic League's first ejection due to TrackMan occurred on the Automated Ball/Strike System's first official day on the job as High Point Rockers pitching coach Frank Viola was ejected by HP Umpire Tim Detweiler in the 1st inning of the first regular season game with ABS in play after Viola yelled at Detweiler about a first-inning walk and demanded the plate umpire overrule TrackMan following several calls he disagreed with.

Ejection Report: With two out and two on (R2, R3) in the bottom of the 1st inning of the Rockers-Revolution game, Revolution batter Ryan Dent took four balls from Rockers starting pitcher Dominic DeMasi around one swinging strike, for a five-pitch walk. Following the at-bat, Viola was heard yelling at Detweiler to "do your f*ing job" as the High Point pitching coach demanded the plate umpire step in to overrule ABS, which had deemed DeMasi's recent offerings as balls (Detweiler did not overrule ABS to call any strikes during the Dent AB). Viola then charged out of the dugout and attempted to pursue Detweiler, where he was intercepted by 3B Umpire Bill Worthington and 1B Umpire Kyle Fecteau.

Viola disagreed with TrackMan's balling.
Computer graphics indicate three of the four pitches ruled "ball" in TrackMan's second official game in York were located partially within the strike zone, while the fourth ball was located above the zone.

Umpires are allowed to overrule ABS if the electronic system is clearly wrong, but determining when to overrule TrackMan on a borderline pitch that may or may not be properly officiated via the automated ball/strike system vs when to stay with the computer's judgment may be a sticking point that is bound to get both teams fired up ("Why did you overrule it?" or "Why didn't you overrule it?" as in Viola's argument). As always, arguing balls and strikes is discouraged and an overly passionate argument about such matters is an ejectable offense.
Related PostAtlantic League Debuts New Rules, E-Zone (7/10/19).

As we mentioned in our review of the Atlantic League's first official ABS game on Thursday (yesterday), the electronic balls/strikes system appeared to disagree with the public-facing computer graphics on 38 occasions (38 out of 101 = 37.6%), including several times with Dent at the plate.
Related PostReviewing Atlantic League's Automated Strike Zone (7/11/19).

A small step for man & an ejection for ABS.
It was apparently too much for Viola, a retired 15-year MLB veteran (Twins, Mets, Red Sox, Reds, Blue Jays), who was ejected just two outs into his team's first experience with the technological experiment, in apparent protest of a ball/strike robot that called a few too many balls. That'll mark a grand total of one game with TrackMan ABS for the High Point Rockers and one ejection for TrackMan's human messenger, the first-ever regular season professional baseball game using the present iteration of TrackMan ABS to call balls and strikes on TrackMan's first regular season day on the job.

Wrap: High Point Rockers vs. York Revolution, 7/12/19 | Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Detweiler ejects Viola after TrackMan helped walk a batter early in York (WOYK)

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