|Monday, July 29
Umps dislike new system that tracks balls and strikes
COCOA, Fla. -- Upset that baseball is using a new computer system to track ball-and-strike calls, the sport's umpires have hired physicists and engineers to examine its accuracy.
Robert Kemp Adair, a Sterling Professor Emeritus at Yale who wrote the book "The Physics of Baseball," was among those on the panel announced Monday by the World Umpires Association.
Serving on the panel with Adair are Lawrence Carlin of Duke, John Carini of Indiana, Richard Fitzpatrick of Texas, Ernest C. Hammond of Morgan State and James Whitney II of Morgan State. They are joined by Grant Segrist, formerly of Southern Utah.
Umpires say Questec's umpire information system is not accurate, especially on breaking pitches.
"The umpires are confident these independent scientists will get to the bottom of the matter," union president John Hirschbeck said. "Our independence is central to the integrity of the game. No one should interject into the game a system that has not been scientifically verified. This is a matter of man against the machine."
The use of the system has sparked a lawsuit and two grievances, with the WUA saying baseball won't respond to a list of 50 questions out the system.
"If major league baseball believes the Questec system works and they are proud of it, they owe it to the fans and supporters of major league baseball to answer our questions, and to give our impressively qualified scientific experts an opportunity to evaluate the system."
Management lawyer Rob Manfred said the sides had agreed after the 2001 season to use the system as a training tool this season.
"The umpires already made an agreement that this system will be evaluated in the joint committee after the season,'' he said. "I really have no idea what they're up to.''