In this lesson, you will investigate how a technology system that measures balls and strikes compares with the human vision system attempting the same task. For the most part, umpires do a great job of accurately evaluating balls and strikes. They use their eyes to measure the location of a very fast object (a pitch) which is often moving at a trajectory that is designed to fool the hitter, often crossing a variable "strike zone." Nevertheless, the system umpires use to call balls and strikes—human vision—is imperfect. A system called the electronic umpire system is being used in many major league parks as a way to evaluate umpires.
In this part of the lesson, you will investigate how human vision works. Begin by reviewing the information from Human Vision and Color Perception and How Vision Works. Use the information on these sites to answer the questions on the Comparing Ways of Seeing: Human Vision student sheet.
Now continue your investigation by visiting these sites and answer the corresponding questions on the student sheet:
Now you will investigate video replays and animated strikes to see how they compare to human vision.
To do so, begin by going to the Pitch Traxx Demonstration Movies and view the videos on that site. You can use the information from these videos to answer the questions on the Comparing Ways of Seeing: Virtual Strike Zones student sheet.
Then go to On the Ball and watch the videos. You should use the information from these videos to answer the questions on the student sheet.
Write a short essay comparing the measurement system used in baseball before the days of instant replay and 3-D umpiring systems such as the electronic umpire system. Compare and contrast the design and features of the old umpiring systems to current systems. Discuss how technology can improve the design of a system. In particular, discuss this statement: "Systems fail because they have poorly matched parts, are used in ways that exceed what was intended by the design, or were poorly designed to begin with."
This esheet is a part of the Seeing Eye to Eye with the Umpire lesson.