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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

1/14/23 : Today at the Complex

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

A blustery day by Florida standards this morning with temps hovering in the high 40’s/low 50’s and a cold Canadian wind coming to us from the north making it chillier.  Didn’t stop the fellas from working outdoors however as chirps were heard “it’s cold in October too”.   That’s what happens when the organization is coming off a World Series appearance 🤓.

We watched nine infielders take ground balls on Roberts Field which eventually evolved to be hit in rapid fire style by four coaches concurrently ( each coach hit to fielders at one of the four infield positions ).

I took a day off yesterday and as fate would have it missed the initial bullpen sessions of various pitchers - apparently they threw on the practice mounds by Ashburn Field which is one of the areas I have access to watch 🥴.  Oh well - maybe next time.

Will try to get back out there on Monday.

Other Notes :

“The electronic strike zone will be used in all 30 Class AAA parks in 2023, sources told ESPN, seemingly another significant step toward the implementation of the technology at the big league level in the near future.  The Automatic Balls and Strikes system, commonly referred to as ABS, will be deployed in two different ways. Half of the Class AAA games will be played with all of the calls determined by an electronic strike zone, and the other half will be played with an ABS challenge system similar to that used in professional tennis.  Each team will be allowed three challenges per game, with teams retaining challenges in cases when they are proved correct. MLB's intention is to use the data and feedback from both systems, over the full slate of games, to inform future choices.” - Buster Olney - ESPN

We’ve watched games with both the challenge process in play and the full blown ABS process in use.  In the Florida State League last season half the games utilized the challenge system in each weekly six game series while the other three used the ABS system to call the pitches.  In the challenge setting the hitter taps the top of his helmet to make a challenge - the catcher or pitcher do the same - since the ABS is always on the process to review the call is very quick - only a few seconds.  The PA announcer usually would say a challenge has been issued after being notified by the umpire and then also state if the call stood or was overturn.  I never took count but in my opinion at least an equal amount of the calls stood as were overturned.   I’m not a fan of the ABS usage either by challenge or in full scale - just seems too robotic to me, however I won’t die on the sword going against it either.

A fun and true story - we were at a Threshers game in Dunedin when they were playing the Jays - a fan sitting alongside the third base line rode the home plate umpire the entire game over ball and strike calls.  After the contest was over I made my way over to that fan and asked if he realized that the game was being called by the ABS system meaning that the umpire didn’t actually make any of the pitch call decisions - he smiled broadly and said that he didn’t realize that but if that was the case then the “computer sucks at calling pitches also!”  Regardless he was gonna disagree with the pitch calls - guess some folks are like that 😂.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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