Fox News Flash top headlines for Oct. 25 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com First baseman Ali Sanchez was standing in the on-deck circle so he had a great vantage point of the two-strike breaking ball to Jacob Heyward. It finished so low that by the time it reached the catcher it nearly bounced in the dirt. Sanchez -- like everybody else who was watching this game on a Tuesday night in the Arizona Fall League -- had an immediate mental reaction.
FILE - In this May 13, 2018, file photo, MLB umpire Joe West, right, talks with a player in the ninth inning during a baseball game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Washington Nationals in Phoenix. West, who has umpired more than 5,000 big league games, said the 2016 TrackMan computer system test was far from perfect. NEW YORK – Get ready for strikes by robots. Computers will be used for ball/strike calls starting April 25 in the independent Atlantic League, where the distance between home and first will be shortened by 3 inches. The ground between the mound and home plate will lengthen by 2 feet for the second half of the season beginning July 12.
Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. Pitchers, catchers and batters will be able to appeal calls from human umpires to "robo umps" in the Low-A Southeast League this season, while pitch clocks, anti-shift rules and larger bases will be tried in the minors ahead of possible big league use in 2023. MLB announced a slate of rules trials Monday, including updates to the Automated Ball-Strike System (ABS) and a ban on infield shifts, that will expand on several experiments from 2021. Some could be introduced to the majors as soon as 2023.
The Houston Astros' use of cameras to steal signs and conceivably cheat to win the World Series has driven many recent conversations about the place and meaning of technology in sports. The Major League Baseball season is on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, but this has only delayed the league addressing the controversy of using technology within the game. New MLB-sponsored technologies, specifically those used to call balls and strikes, will spawn an entirely new set of questions about tech in baseball. These will only heighten the sport's identity crisis. Baseball is a game heavily rooted in its history, and beloved traditions can make it very hard to change any aspect of the game.
USA TODAY Sports' Gabe Lacques breaks down how MLB is trying computer generated strike zones in the Atlantic League. An automated strike zone that converts the home-plate umpire from arbiter to mere messenger is right far more often than it is wrong. A ban on mound visits and relief specialists undeniably speeds the game's pace. And rules changes aimed to encourage balls in play and runners in motion – Thou shalt not shift defensively, but you may "steal" first base – gives hitters options beyond launching balls over a vexing alignment of fielders. Yet as its experiment with a "robotic" strike zone and other nuances enters its second month, the formal partnership between MLB and the Atlantic League illustrates the upsides and consequences of optimization.