Back in the days of rec.sport.baseball, Gary Huckabay advocated the use of cameras and computers to call balls and strikes for baseball games. He knew the technology could do it, but also knew it would take some time to be accepted.
Now it will be tried in an independent baseball league for a couple of games on an experimental basis. Yea!
According to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Pacifics will use an automated computer system to call balls and strikes later this month in the first human umpire-less games in professional baseball history. The team plans to use the technology on July 28 and 29 against the Vallejo Admirals.
The system is called PitchFX, and utilizes a multitude of camera angles to calculate pitch speed and trajectory. All 30 MLB stadiums are already equipped with PitchFX, and it is used to evaluate umpires as well as for analytics purposes.
I must say that after watching the pitch tracker for the past several years and seeing how many incorrect calls are made, I welcome this development. May it please happen in my lifetime!
Eventually, I expect the sport will use computerized voices to call balls and strikes and not rely on someone to relay the computer results. I can also imagine that a similar scheme can be put in place to assess whether a batter holds up on checked swings. However,
As my umpire friend Jim Cressman says, though, who will sweep off home plate?