Giants

Buster Posey explains why robot umps could call more balls than strike

Buster Posey explains why robot umps could call more balls than strike

Robot umps.

Weird thought, right? 

But it's something being implemented and tested in the baseball world. The independent Atlantic League was the first victim to test the newest technology that includes a real-life umpire still manning his or her duties behind the plate while they wear an earpiece connected to an iPhone. That person would then relay the call from the TrackMan computer system that uses Doppler radar.

That's at least how plate umpire Brian deBrauwere executed it back in July as he described it to ESPN. And Giants catcher Buster Posey isn't too sure about this new technology, specifically if these robot umps would call more balls or strikes.

"I would venture to say that more pitches would be called balls that are called strikes now," Posey told The Athletic's Jayson Stark.

The human element or emotions would no longer exist -- that's the main factor here. Stark says some of the calls catchers are used to getting "would disappear with an electronic zone."

Not all pitches are created equal which means the calls, no matter how consistent they are, won't always be accurate in the types of pitches. 

Stark also added that Posey's right, but only to a point.

Once again ... emotions.

James Skelton, now pitching in the Atlantic League, has seen this firsthand. He said pitchers could be frustrated as well -- especially those veteran players who typically get said calls. Because of the specifics of this robotic umpire.

A portion of the baseball will have to cross over the 17-inch span from one side of the plate to the other.

"Period," Stark wrote.

That means the high and low areas of the strike zone may not matter as much. Pitchers, who typically love the fact that this zone is opened up, are amazed how much the zone feels with that extra space up top and on the bottom.

But other pitchers don't agree with Posey's thoughts. Mitch Atkins has pitched in the bigs before, but even with the Atlantic League, he said he would accept any strikes he was given. He doesn't feel the system would give more balls than strikes.

[RELATED: 1989 Giants recall watching 2010 squad win the World Series]

It just goes to show without the human element, it could make a huge difference.

Whether that's for better or worse remains to be seen.

Gabe Kapler says Brandon Crawford created self in NBA video game during hiatus

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USATSI

Gabe Kapler says Brandon Crawford created self in NBA video game during hiatus

Gabe Kapler's first Spring Training as Giants manager was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the 44-year-old is using virtual methods to get some reps in with the start of the season indefinitely delayed.

Kapler told KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks" on Monday night that he is playing "MLB The Show 20," using the game to sharpen and hone his managerial instincts, simulating games in around five minutes while making "all the decisions" in each contest. Giants hitting coach Justin Viele, meanwhile, is using the game to study tendencies of opposing pitchers.

Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford also is visualizing success, albeit in another sport.

"I played one game, and Crawford was the star of the game," Kapler said. "So I took a picture of the screen, and ... I sent it over to Craw, and so Craw looked at it, and he sent a picture of him playing an NBA video game where he was one of the players and dropped 71 points and nine assists."

It's fair to assume that Crawford, a Pleasanton native and a lifelong Warriors fan, put himself on Golden State in whichever game he was playing (our money's on NBA 2K20). That wouldn't have been a record in a real Warriors game but not a franchise one, considering Wilt Chamberlain scored at least 72 points an astonishing five times, including his NBA-record 100-point game back when the Dubs played in Philadelphia.

[RELATED: Why Timmy's first no-hitter was so unusual for Kruk, Kuip]

This, of course, leads to even more questions. Did Crawford's create-a-player have photorealistic hair? What position did he play? Were his in-game traits the same as -- or as close to it as possible -- in "MLB: The Show?" Was he still a UCLA alumnus in the game, or would he disappoint NBC Sports Bay Area's Brian Witt by not virtually representing the Bruins?

The NBA reportedly will hold an "NBA 2K20" tournament Friday night featuring player representatives for each time. Is it too late for the Warriors to choose Crawford?

Why Tim Lincecum's first no-hitter was so unusual for Duane Kuiper

Why Tim Lincecum's first no-hitter was so unusual for Duane Kuiper

Programming note: Watch the re-air of Tim Lincecum's first no-hitter against the Padres tonight at 8 PT on NBC Sports Bay Area.

For Giants fans, hearing Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow call a game is a comforting thing.

But on July 13, 2013, Kruk and Kuip weren't together for Tim Lincecum's first career no-hitter against the San Diego Padres.

They were both in Petco Park to witness history, but because the game was on NBC Bay Area rather than NBC Sports Bay Area that night, they were separated.

"Well, you know, Mike and I are together 80 percent of the time, and the other 20 percent, Mike is with Jon [Miller] on KNTV," Kuiper told Amy G in an interview on Monday. "So, that was one of those KNTV games where Mike and Jon actually had the call on TV and Dave [Fleming] and I had it on the radio. So it was a bit unusual not having Mike sitting next to me because it's always great to have a pitcher next to you when a guy is throwing a no-hitter because you get a great perspective as to what's going on."

[RELATED: Five nuggets about Lincecum's no-hitter]

NBC Sports Bay Area is re-airing Lincecum's no-hitter Monday night, and while both broadcasters will be watching, they will be doing it separately due to social distancing caused by the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.