May 14, 2013 0
A former Hagerstown resident, Jerry Spessard, has invented the Eagle Eye Electronic Home Plate for baseball. It takes the human umpiring element out of calling balls and strikes via an electro-optical system that will track each pitch.
Spessard, who relied on technical expertise from the University of Maryland and elsewhere, plans to begin manufacturing Eagle Eye at a plant in Hancock by the fall, The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown reports. Some units will be used by amateur teams this summer.
How exactly does it work?
“Coca-Cola has its secret formula and we have ours,” Spessard told the newspaper.
If there is one part of Eagle Eye that is a bit clunky for the moment, it’s the requirement to measure the strike zone — from chest to knees — for each batter and input the information before a game. Spessard speculated that computer chips in uniforms could someday provide the same data for batters.
The unit has been tested by University of Maryland baseball players, so Eagle Eye’s plate has shown itself capable of holding up when stomped on, slid across or surrounded by wet ground.
Which also means that when a manager — like Weaver, the late Orioles skipper — doesn’t agree with Eagle Eye’s calls, the plate can stand up to having dirt kicked all over it.
But, just think, we wouldn’t get to see an umpire emote like Leslie Nielsen in a “Naked Gun” movie.