New video system to monitor pitch calls
Beginning Opening Day, a new video system will be employed in all 30 Major League ballparks to monitor umpires' pitch calls, the New York Times reported Tuesday. The new system, called Zone Evaluation, will replace the QuesTec system that was used since 2001 in one-third of the parks. Zone Evaluation relies on pitch-tracking data already collected at every venue and distributed through MLB.com, The Times reported. "It's an upgrade from where we were," Mike Port, baseball's vice president for umpiring, told The Times. "The umpires, they don't want to miss a pitch any more than a batter wants to strike out. Where the Z.E. system will give us a lot of help is more data to help identify any trends: 'The last three plate jobs, you missed seven pitches that were down and in. Here's how one of the supervisors can help you adjust your head angle or your stance to have a better chance of getting those pitches.'" The World Umpires Association, the umpires' union, approved the change, Port told The Times. A union spokesman declined to comment to The Times. Port told The Times that Zone Evaluation was more accurate in collecting data. The pitch-tracking software being used was developed by Major League Baseball Advanced Media and Sportvision. It records the ball's position in flight more than 20 times before it reaches home plate. Port is optimistic about the new system. "I don't think it will be that noticeable because the aspiration of the umpires, as I have come to know it, is they want to do their jobs well," Port told The Times. "This is a tool. Hopefully, it will show just how good they are."John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com.