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It’s not really a robot.  It’s not even all that exotic.  Utilizing a simple system of existing technology, the Atlantic League, aka the MLB minors, has implemented a system for determining strikes and balls which centers on a TrackMan computer which using Doppler radar to track baseballs passing through the strike zone.  The home plate umpire receives the signal from an ear piece connected to a common iPhone, and makes the call.

So, there are not really any real robots involved.  We watch the TrackMan system everyday as the rectangle depicting the strike zone on every pitch in every MLB game, we have already done that for years now.  What’s new under this system is that the umpires, for the first time ever, are not only paying attention to the TrackMan info, they are depending on it to make ordinary strike and ball calls.

Of course the umpires still have the power to override the computer if they deem it necessary. For example, a ball that bounces in front of home plate, but still goes through the strike zone, registers on the computer as a strike when the umpire, and everyone else, see it as a ball. That’s just one example.

Obviously the system is still in its infancy and being tested ‘off Broadway’, so to speak, in the Atlantic League.  There will still be plenty of people watching to see how it goes, but the experiment is hardly taking center stage at this point. Some still argue that giving the umpires veto power defeats the whole purpose of the automated system; many do not see it that way at all.

Local play by play announcers in the Atlantic League are playing it up by telling the fans that any blame for disagreements over calls should now be addressed to the computer, not the umpire.

Senior vice president for Major League Baseball Morgan Sword told reporters, “This idea has been around for a long time and it’s the first time it’s been brought to life in a comprehensive way”.  Sword also stated that the league had not received much in the way of negative feedback from the umpires.

Mr. Sword continued, “One of our focuses is not to replace the umpire.  In fact, we’re trying to empower the umpires with technology”.  Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said that there is no set timeline on when the technology will be used in the majors.

Not everyone is in favor of the ‘robot umps’ or even the idea behind them.  The game of baseball is not broken, why try to fix it?  Our ‘National Pastime’ has survived for well over 100 years using good old fashioned umpires to make the calls; to change that would be to change the game itself, wouldn’t it?


clippers logo


Oddsmakers all across the country had to rush back to their calculators and crystal balls when this years’ NBA Playoffs MVP announced that he had just made a deal to play for Doc Richards and the Los Angeles Clippers for the foreseeable future. Ex-Raptor Kawhi Leonard is moving to Los Angeles after signing at 4 year, $142,000,000 contract with the ecstatic Clips.

Just factoring that move into the calculations for the odds to win the NBA Championship next year caused the predictions to go haywire, then it was announced that veteran All-Star Paul George would also be joining Kawhi Leonard in LA and the numbers went into a scramble once again, finally leaving the Clippers as odds on favorites to win the NBA title in 2020 at some venues.

Los Angeles is once again looking like the center of the basketball world after the Clippers latest moves and the acquisition by the LA Lakers of Anthony Davis from New Orleans to partner up with LeBron James, and yes, that is an awesome duo of highly skilled opponents on any basketball court. However, looking at the rest of the Lakers depth chart, the LA Clippers seem to have a significant edge in both front line and bench players. The NBA season is long and endurance will become a key factor before it’s all over.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are both seasoned professional players in their prime.  Both are in their late 20’s and free from significant injuries, although George is nursing a sore shoulder at this time.  Both have displayed greatness on the court individually, together they should be a formidable force to reckon with.  Doc Richards must be laughing.

So the Clippers have moved from 10-1 all the way up to 11-4 overnight! The Lakers, who were listed at 7-5 after signing Anthony Davis, dropped to 4-1 after they failed to also sign up Kawhi Leonard.  However, bettors are still coming down heavily on the Lakers to win the NBA Championship for 2020. Las Vegas sports books took wagers up to $10,000 on the Lakers in June.  In fact, wagers on the Lakers to win the title have totaled almost 5 times the amount wagered on all other teams combined.

Now those numbers have already started moving with the announcement that the Clippers were obtaining the services of both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Thus far however, more money has been wagered on the New Orleans Pelicans to win the title than on the Los Angeles Clippers.

Funny how the balance of power seems to be working out in the NBA.  For a long time the Celtics and the Lakers were the dominant teams, then came the era of the Golden State Warriors.  Now, just as some of the air goes out of the Warriors franchise, here come the LA Clippers to pick up the slack and have their run at being NBA royalty for a while.  They have the coach, and now they have the players to make a real run at the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy for 2020.

Did the Lakers big moves inspire the Clippers to respond with Leonard and George?  Probably so, but it doesn’t matter who went first anymore because now the race is on, and it’s going to be a good one!

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Players like the HostPPH services as well, because it allows them to continue working with a trusted local bookmaker while enjoying all the benefits provided by the professional HostPPH service.

Most bookies who joined up years ago are still with HostPPH today. Their players like the easy-to-read interface that HostPPH bookmaking software provides and bookies everywhere love the easy-to-access, round-the-clock reporting provided which keeps the modern bookie on top of all his action.

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Following the debacle which ended the Saints season on an obviously blown pass interference call late in last year’s NFC Championship game, the owners of the NFL Franchises, meeting in Phoenix this spring, have finally approved what amounts to a major shift in how the leagues’ video replay review system will work going forward in 2019.

Bowing to considerable pressure both from their own NFL coaches and the sporting public in general, the powers that be have voted on and passed a resolution making pass interference reviewable.  No one is really sure how the new rules are going to work out down on the playing field.  How many, and how long, will be these reviews?

Much has already been written and much more will be written before the first kickoff of the 2019 NFL season about the new rules in effect.  Coaches will have the option to call for a replay review on questionable plays while the league itself, through its center in New York, will take over the responsibility of calling for a review where they deem it necessary during the final two minutes of each half of the game.

The new review rules are in place only on a trial run and could be negated for next season should they not work out satisfactorily.  For now, both defensive and offensive non calls will be reviewable upon a coach’s challenge.  However, coaches will still be limited to two challenges per game; but, if they win the first two, a third challenge is then awarded.

New Orleans lost the NFC Championship game last year to the Los Angeles Rams on a very obvious missed pass interference call which led Saints head coach Sean Payton to spearhead the drive to get the outdated system changed to allow non call reviews using the technology already in place.

Payton is a member of the NFL Competition committee and he spoke aggressively both publicly and privately at the Phoenix meetings making a strong push for a solution to make sure that nothing like this will happen again in an NFL game.

Coach Payton told reporters after the vote was in, “There was an owe-it-to-the-game responsibility.  And really I mean that.  I think it’s important that this isn’t going to be perfect always.  We know that.  The mere shape of the ball tells you it’s not going to bounce the same way.  But these are fouls that the analysts are able to tell us they’re the most impactful fouls.  I think we got it right.”

The replay review measure, now known as the Sean Payton rule, was passed by a final vote of 31-1.

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