The White of the Plate
Jayson Stark, writing in The Athletic, has the most recent take on the upcoming robot apocalypse i.e. computerized ball-strike calls via TrackMan.
What James Skelton sees — what everyone in the Atlantic League sees — is that TrackMan has no feelings, doesn’t care who is on the mound, does no favors for whatever hitter is in the box, isn’t interested in how the strike zone used to be called. To get a strike call from TrackMan, there is one thing that never changes:
Some portion of the baseball has to cross over the 17-inch span from one side of the plate to the other. Period.
So there’s almost no such thing as a pitch “on the black” anymore. What has messed with many pitchers’ minds in the Atlantic League, says York manager Mark Mason, is that “it’s making them throw it over the white of the plate, not the black.”