Fox News Flash top headlines for July 14 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com An outfielder in the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) made history on Saturday in Maryland by becoming the first baseball player to steal first base in a professional game. During a game between the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs and the Lancaster Barnstormers, Tony Thomas, 33, was at bat in the bottom of the 6th inning when an errant pitch bounced behind the catcher and toward the backstop. Thanks to a new experimental rule change in the Atlantic League, he was able to steal first and make history.
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.
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.
Grown men wearing tights like to yell terrible things at Fred DeJesus. DeJesus is an umpire in the outer constellations of professional baseball, where he's been spat on and, once, challenged to a postgame fight in a parking lot. He was born in Bushwick, Brooklyn, to Puerto Rican parents, stands five feet three, and is shaped, in his chest protector, like a fire hydrant; he once ejected a player for saying that he suffered from "little-man syndrome." Two years ago, DeJesus became the first umpire in a regular-season game anywhere to use something called the Automated Ball-Strike System. Most players refer to it as the "robo-umpire."
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.