Monday, August 19, 2019

Citing Atlantic Lg, Manfred Ready for Robo-Zone

Two MLB executives appear to have made conflicting calls—and they're not even umpires.

Just weeks after Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre soured on the robot strike zone concept, Commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN he is ready and "very comfortable" with the technology, pointing to the Atlantic League automated ball/strike system experiment—yes, the same one where the umpire ejected a coach during the first inning of the first day of the first game for arguing a computer-aided ball/strike call—as a success to support his view.

The Commissioner also discussed his desire to tweak the game's offense by automating the strike zone: "I think an automated strike zone puts you in a position to manage that strike zone. Where should it be exactly to produce the amount of offense that you want?"

"Manage that strike zone?" It's already happened. The Atlantic League in late July put conceptual strike zone management into action by changing the definition of the electronic-defined zone, effectively shortening the strike zone's verticality by approximately three inches at the top and bottom of the zone.
Related PostALPB's Strike Zone Change & 1st ABS Call (7/26/19).

Manfred's comments marks a stark contrast to Torre's own statements on The Dan Patrick Show in July, during which Torre said, "I don't see the robotic strike zone happening."
Related PostTorre Doesn't Want Robot Umpires in MLB (7/26/19).

Meanwhile, it might just be this strike zone issue that brings National League West rivals Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers together: both ace pitchers recently referred to the electronic and robot strike system as "stupid."

Listen to Manfred, Torre, and MadBum's quotes, as well as a clue for what could happen to TrackMan at season's end (hint: Hawk-eye's coming). | Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Did Manfred just overrule Torre about the electronic strike zone? (CCS)


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