Thursday, January 23, 2020

MLBUA Defends Spring Human Ump Autonomy

Faced with Commissioner Rob Manfred's grandiose electronic strike zone claims in Davos, the MLB Umpires Association (MLBUA) issued a statement to ESPN, reiterating that the technology in Spring Training will remain behind the scenes and that human umpires will continue to call games as they have always done.

Yesterday's news report on this website indicated that home plate umpires would remain in command and the technology would debut in a "test only" mode.
Related PostManfred Decrees Computers More Accurate Than Human Umpires; MLB to Test Electronic Zone at Spring Training (1/22/20).

MLBUA's statement confirms this: "Reports that MLB will use 'robo-umps' to call balls and strikes in spring training games this year are completely inaccurate. ... Our understanding is that a camera-based tracking system will be running in the background during some spring training games for technology development and training purposes. But any game in which a Major League Baseball umpire is working will have a human calling balls and strikes...

We bargained hard for these protections, and the process we negotiated has not even started. Use of ... technology in spring training games this year would be premature and would violate our new agreement. We have received absolutely no word from the Office of the Commissioner that MLB intends to do that."

Yesterday's article and video addresses several of Manfred's claims that remain unsupported by years of public data and other evidence, such as the zone's 2D/3D problem, accuracy rating compared to human performance, and so-called fan experience.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Manfred Says K-Zone Tech to Debut at Spring Training (CCS)


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