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Automated ball-strike system coming to ALPB

Baseball is getting a technological face lift behind home plate.

One of the most anticipated components of the Atlantic League’s three-year partnership with Major League Baseball, the automated ball-strike system (ABS) will be used league-wide, according to a press release.

Starting with Lancaster, High Point and Long Island on July 25, ABS will be implemented at every ballpark by Aug. 2 and used for the remainder of the season.

ABS debuted in a live-game scenario at the 2019 Atlantic League All-Star game in York, Pa. on July 10.

The home place umpire for the midsummer classic, Brian deBrauwere, heard the call through an Apple AirPod connected to an iPhone in his pocket.

“This is a landmark day for the Atlantic League and professional baseball,” said Atlantic League President Rick White in the release. “After successfully unveiling the ABS at our All-Star Game in York, Pa., and following positive feedback from managers, players, umpires and fans, we are eager to implement the consistent strike zone accuracy offered by ABS technology.”

ABS “utilizes radar technology to provide a reliable, precise, “rule-book” strike zone for pitchers and hitters,” according to the release. The league has conducted tests of the new system throughout the first half of the season however umpires were calling their own games.

The time difference between when the ball hits the catcher’s glove and when the umpire hears the call was one of the main things the league was testing.

The system won’t affect their normal jobs such as determining check swings which, per the second half rules alterations, will be more “batter friendly.”

The release also said umpires will “use their judgement for limited ball-strike issues.”

Follow Dylan Manfre on Twitter for the latest on the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

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Dylan is a sophomore journalism major at Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey and covers the Somerset Patriots and Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. He is also the Sports Editor of Rider's student newspaper, The Rider News.
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