Manfred says robot umpires in MLB could have “unintended consequences” on the strike zone

Manfred says robot umpires in MLB could have “unintended consequences” on the strike zone

NEW YORK — For at least two years, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has made it clear that if some form of automated strike zone ever reaches the majors, he would prefer it be a challenge system — used multiple times a game — rather than one that is used at every stadium. On Thursday, he said that others seemed to be moving towards that view, but that there was still a lot of uncertainty regarding the actual implementation of the automatic ball-stroking system, or ABS for short, in major tournaments.

One issue is the shape of the strike zone that the system will be programmed to recognize. Manfred has said in the past that the strike zone as described by umpires appears more rounded than one might expect.

“The shape of the attacking zone,” Manfred said. “We haven’t started those conversations (with the players) because we haven’t decided yet on what we’re thinking about.” “It’s hard to have those conversations before you know what you’re thinking.”

Overall, Manfred said the league has collected a lot of information from players.

“You know, in the beginning, we thought everyone would wholeheartedly support the idea, ‘If you can do it right every time, that’s a great idea,'” he said. “One thing we’ve learned in these meetings is that the players feel that they have There are other effects on the game that could be negative if you use it all the way.

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“The second reason is that those who played it had a strong preference for the challenge system over the ABS system that called out every pitch, and that definitely changed our thinking about where we might go.”

Catchers may be the most affected.

“It’s the unintended consequences of ABS,” Manfred said. “The thing that’s often referred to, but not the only one, is the frame catcher. I think players feel that the frames are what attracts attention, if I may use the word ‘art’ in the game.

“And if framing no longer actually matters, the type of players who would occupy that position might be different than they are today. And you could assume a world where instead of the framing player, who is focused on defense, the catching position becomes a more offensive player. I mean that changes “People’s professional lives. These are real and legitimate concerns that we need to think about before we jump off that bridge.”

In April, pitcher Max Scherzer called for increased regulation of umpires. Manfred on Thursday defended the current system in place.

“Honestly, I think there’s a lack of complete understanding among players about exactly how to run referees. Part of that – a big part of it – is our fault because we don’t like, for example, to announce: ‘We sent Rob Manfred to Arizona in the winter to train Therapeutic treatment of ball strikes.” You can imagine the effects that this field may have.

“But there’s actually a really detailed evaluation system in place. They’re evaluated twice a year, mid-season and at the end of the season. There are financial ramifications to those evaluations in terms of what they get in terms of postseason assignments, which is a big part of — a significant increase in what they earn.” There are, in fact, mandatory remedial activities imposed on referees more frequently than people realize.

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“However, I think managing referees is a physically demanding job. It goes beyond just assessment, training and discipline. It’s also about things like thinking about their career path, how long should they be there? And that includes things like your retirement programme. I mean There are a lot of things about management that I don’t think everyone fully appreciates.

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(Photo: Cooper Neal/MLB Images via Getty Images)

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