After months of testing, the Atlantic League will roll out automated ball-strike technology to assist the home plate umpire at next week’s All-Star Game.
Prior to the 2019 season, the Atlantic League struck a three-year agreement with Major League Baseball to effectively serve as a testing ground for various rule and equipment changes being explored by MLB. Of the ideas that will be tested in the Atlantic League, one of the most notable is the use of an automated ball-strike system (ABS) to assist home-plate umpires in calling balls and strikes. The system will be in place on July 10, when the Atlantic League stages its annual All-Star Game. The home plate umpire will continue to perform all of his normal duties but will be assisted in ball-strike calling by ABS.
The use of ABS in the All-Star Game comes after months of testing in the Atlantic League. Initially the system was to be used in calling balls and strikes starting on Opening Day, but its delay until later in the year was among the changes announced by MLB and the Atlantic League in April.
“The working relationship between MLB, ABS vendor TrackMan, the umpires, and our teams has been terrific,” Atlantic League president Rick White said via press release. “After carefully installing, testing, and tweaking the system to make the transmission of the information to the umpire quick and reliable, we feel ABS is ready for prime time.”
Featuring players from each of the eight ALPB teams, the Atlantic League All-Star game returns to York for the first time since 2011. The York Revolution, winners of three league titles, joined the league in 2007 and play in PeoplesBank Park in downtown York. First pitch is slated for 7:30 p.m.