News Release, Atlantic League of Professional Baseball
(Lancaster, Pa., July 25, 2019) – The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) has announced it will donate an artifact from the Automated Ball-Strike System (ABS) to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The Atlantic League began the permanent use of ABS technology to assist umpires calling balls and strikes at this evening’s games hosted by the High Point Rockers, Lancaster Barnstormers, and Long Island Ducks.
The ALPB will donate the earpiece used by the home plate umpire in the New Britain Bees at Long Island Ducks contest, the first regular-season game to utilize ABS to call balls and strikes. The earpiece is symbolic of the new technology the ALPB will feature in all games as part of its partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB). “I am humbled to have an item I have worn be added to the Hall of Fame,” said Fred DeJesus, a 13-year professional umpiring veteran who used the device. “I can’t wait to visit Cooperstown.”
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum requested the umpire earpiece to represent the first steps of ball-strike technology in baseball. Stated Tom Shieber, Senior Curator at the Hall of Fame, “ALPB’s introduction of ball-strike technology to high-level professional baseball is historically significant. Even more fascinating is the prospect that ABS technology may reach the big leagues as a result of the Atlantic League’s partnership with Major League Baseball.”
“We are honored to have this object become a part of the Hall of Fame’s permanent collection,” said Rick White, President of the Atlantic League. “This draws attention to our league, our players and especially our umpires, who have enthusiastically prepared for the adoption of ABS. We are grateful for their hard work.”
Throughout the second half of the Atlantic League season, home plate umpires will be assisted calling balls and strikes by the ABS, which utilizes radar technology to provide a reliable, precise, “rule-book” strike zone for pitchers and hitters. Umpires will use their judgment for limited ball-strike issues such as check swings while continuing to perform their other duties. The use of the Automated Ball-Strike System is part of the three-year partnership between MLB and ALPB, which tests experimental playing rules and equipment initiatives throughout the Atlantic League’s Championship Season.