SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) — The San Rafael Pacifics are no strangers to promotions, but a computerized umpire being showcased Tuesday could offer a glimpse into the future of baseball.
The Pacifics hosted the first professional game played with a computer calling balls and strikes.
Home plate umpire Dean Poteet didn’t move much during the game. He called fair and foul balls, but not balls or strikes.
“They told me to stick my thumb in my belt loop so that I didn’t call strikes,” Poteet said.
The robotic umpire is designed to determine each player’s strike zone, and make the call.
Former Oakland A’s player Eric Byrnes announced the robotic umpire’s calls.
“This is something down the road that will change the game of baseball forever,” Byrnes said.
The technology has been around for a while, but has never been used to call a professional game until Tuesday. Three cameras strategically placed around the field triangulate the ball’s location, and the computer makes the call.
“This helps the accuracy of the game and getting the calls right,” Pacifics Owner Mike Shapiro said.
Relief pitcher Michael Kershner wasn’t sure what to expect from the robotic umpire.
“I think everyone is just pretty curious as to how it turns out,” Kershner said.
Earlier this year, a player said his wedding vows on the field during a game.