Atlantic League to experiment with ‘stealing’ first base

Atlantic League to experiment with batters “stealing first base”

As you're no doubt aware, Major League Baseball and the independent Atlantic League recently entered into a three-year agreement in which the Atlantic League will adopt experimental rules suggested by Major League Baseball to study their effects on game play.

"Some of the pitches they call strikes (now) don't look like strikes".

Atlantic League President Rick White said it's going to be implemented league-wide over the next few weeks. The human behind the plate simply was relaying the call on the field.

Atlantic League and MLB officials called the night a success and heralded deBrauwere's poise officiating the game and players' willingness to take part in an experiment in baseball's future. Atlantic League players are highly experienced professionals, having progressed through professional baseball developmental levels (A, AA, AAA). Robots have arrived at home plate, and while they haven't come to Major League Baseball yet, they may very well be the future of baseball. "What we know is technology can help umpires be more accurate, and we're committed to that. But it would be nearly impossible to be consistent with [that pitch without Trackman] because it's at the bottom of the zone, but also because catcher's influence is real". The system involves TrackMan software, which uses a radar system to determine balls and strikes.

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People often joke about fast guys who can't hit by saying "you can't steal first base". In an effort to shorten game times, the period between innings and pitching changes were additionally reduced from two minutes and five seconds to one minute and 45 seconds.

"This strike zone is different than what every player has known in the past", said Atkins, the York pitcher. "So if this helps the game and the officiating of the game, that's what we're here for", deBrauwere told the Record.

"If that was the one blunder", Terdoslavich said, "I didn't really hear any complaints from anyone".

"One time I already had caught the ball back from the catcher and he signaled strike", said pitcher Daryl Thompson, who didn't realize the technology was being used until after he disagreed with a call. Sabermetric analysis reveals the startling defensive value that catchers add by their "pitch framing" prowess - what some catchers call "receiving", or "presenting" the pitch to the umpire. The Freedom Division, composed of teams in southern Pennsylvania, Maryland and Texas, won with a single long ball.

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