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Comment Curveball in the dirt (Score 4, Insightful) 66 66

There's an interesting oddity to the way umpires are currently graded with pitch F/X. Pitches that cross the front of the plate at the batter's knees but then drop before reaching the catcher are strikes by the definition in the rulebook. Those pitches don't look like strikes to the casual observer, so umpires stopped calling them strikes, basically so they don't get yelled at. Batters know this and generally position themselves at the extreme back of the batter's box to give themselves the most time to react to a fastball.

The automatic system currently grades umpires with the standard that balls and strikes have traditionally been called, NOT with a strict adherence to the actual rulebook zone. So when the MLB implements the automatic balls & strikes, will it be the actual strike zone or the traditional zone? Robot umpires don't care when people yell at them. If it's the actual rulebook zone, pitches that bounce before the catcher will be called strikes. Batters will have to adjust by moving up in the box to hit that low curve ball.

Comment OK with me (Score 3, Insightful) 66 66

I view myself as generally a baseball traditionalist. I hate the designated hitter rule. I mourned the addition of lights to Wrigley Field. I view replay review with suspicion.

Automatic balls & strikes seems like a good idea to me.

One of the side effects of replay is that the MLB has become much more civil. Instead of losing their shit, MLB managers calmly wait for the replay review.

For whatever reason, baseball had been unusually tolerant (compared to other sports) of long arguments from players and managers. This trickles down to the way people behave at amateur baseball games. So I'm hopeful that replay will eventually change the expectation for behavior in amateur games without replay. And following behind, automatic balls and strikes will do the same.

Comment bad, bad idea (Score 1) 837 837

Tax fuel. Tax electricity. Those work.

People without kids pay property tax to fund schools because there's a public good. Why on earth would we want in this case to create a complex and intrusive system to tax precisely according to usage when in others we grossly abstract taxation away from usage?

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten