Thea Digiammerino

Bees Play First Home Game With Automated Umpire ‘Trackman'

The New Britain Bees defeated the Long Island Ducks 3-2 on Tuesday night. It was the first game at New Britain Stadium to use “Trackman,” an automated umpire to call balls and strikes.

“I didn’t have any expectations because I didn’t know what to expect,” said home plate umpire Tim Rosso. He still is positioned behind home plate with an earpiece to relay Trackman’s call to the players.

“It was a great opportunity to be out there and use this new software that they’re trying to implement,” added Rosso.

“It kind of takes the human element out of it,” said Bees starting pitcher Devin Burke. “Different umpires have different zones, especially growing up playing in college and then professionally in the minor leagues. Every umpire is different, even here.”

The system uses velocity, spin and other data to project where the ball will cross the plate.

“I would say the timing is about a half a second slower than I would normally call balls and strikes,” said Rosso. “I think umpiring is an art and when you put science into trying to fix art, I think that’s going to be fallible too. I think the professional guys at the major league level are shooting 98-99 percent every night. I don’t know if a machine can beat that.”

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