“A voice is a ball, if we don’t break it”… the baseball misplay cover-up controversy

Imagine if a robot made the right call, but the referee got it backwards, and it was the difference in the game. A strange situation like this happened in the KBO (Korean Baseball Organization) league.

On April 14, Samsung and NC played a baseball game in Daegu. NC starter Lee Jae-hak pitched well until the third inning. He was on his way to his first win of the season. The score was 1-0 with runners on first and second. Lee threw a two-pitch fastball for strikes one and two. The ball appeared to be in the strike zone. Samsung’s Kim Ji-chan stole second base.

But referee Moon Seung-hoon didn’t say anything. It’s a ball. The ball count was 1-1. But it was a strike on the monitor. NC manager Kang Myung-hwon later confirmed it on the dugout tablet PC monitor and challenged the call.

ABS stands for Automatic Ball-Strike System, which uses pitch tracking equipment such as radar or cameras to automatically call strikes and balls. It has been called “robot umpire,” “AI umpire,” and so on, but the name “automatic pitching judgment system” has been established.

The ABS calls strikes and balls, but the final announcement (call) is made by the umpire wearing an earpiece (in-ear). The KBO provided one tablet PC to each team so that players could check the ABS results in real-time from the dugout during games.

ABS calls cannot be appealed. However, if there is a discrepancy between the real-time data provided to the club and the umpire’s call, or if there is a suspected system or operational error, the manager can ask the umpire for confirmation. Kang took advantage of this system. The problem is that this was after Lee had thrown three more pitches. The ball count was 3 (ball) – 2 (strike).

The umpire, assistant umpire, and third base umpire then gathered to discuss whether to accept the NC protest. Lee Min-ho, the umpire’s assistant, said, “It was verbally communicated as a ‘ball’ to the umpire. However, when we checked the ABS monitor, it was ruled a strike.” “We appealed the NC, but according to the rules, the appeal must be made before the next pitch. The ‘appeal statute of limitations’ has passed, so I’ll go with the original pitch.”

At first glance, it sounded like a reasonable decision, but during the process, their voices were caught on the replay screen. “If you didn’t hear the voice, you should have signed that you didn’t hear it,” Lee said, “but it went through.” “Hear me say that I recognized the voice as a ball. This is the only way we can get out of this. The voice is a ball,” Lee said.

When referee Moon Seung-hoon said, “It was sizzling and it was like a ball,” assistant coach Lee Min-ho said, “If you say it was like a ball, not like a ball, then say so. We don’t want to lose.” At the time, the KBO ABS situation room workers also reportedly heard the machine call a strike. As a result, they allegedly missed the ABS call. So, they decided to call it a ball and then conspired to avoid 스포츠토토 admitting the mistake, which was then broadcast to the viewers on the broadcast screen.

If the umpires had heard the ABS call correctly, Lee Jae-hak would have likely called Lee Jae-hyun out with a favorable ball count (two strikes and no ball).

Instead, Lee ended up walking Lee Jae-hyun on a six-pitch count, giving up a double to Koo Ja-rook and an RBI double to McKinnon. In the fourth inning, he gave up a solo homer to Lee Sung-gyu and a two-run double to Kim Jae-sang. The game ended with Samsung outscoring NC 12-5 and Lee suffering his third loss of the season (no decision).

The KBO requested an explanation from the umpires of the Daegu game on Thursday. If the umpires tried to blame the machine for the call, they could face severe disciplinary action.

Lotte manager Kim Tae-hyung has previously criticized the ABS issue. In the game between Lotte and Kiwoom on March 13, Jeon protested a slider from Kiwoom starter Kim Sun-ki that was called a strike when Jeon Jun-woo was batting. The pitch appeared to be outside the strike zone on the TV replays, and the catcher’s position was some distance away, but the umpire called it a strike. Kim’s protest was not upheld. Kim argues that there are too many problems with ABS to fully trust it at this point. He points out that there are too many strange calls to assume it is an infallible system.

If the referee makes a decision that is not related to the ABS call, as was the case in the NC, the controversy over ABS could continue.

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