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San Rafael Pacifics to Host Game with Automatic Umpire | Comcast Sports Net Bay Area

For the first time in baseball history, batters will have zero reasons for complaints with an umpire -- well a human umpire, that is. 

The San Rafael Pacifics, an independent baseball team of the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs, will be making history by having balls and strikes be determined by a computerized video system rather than a human umpire for the first time in a professional baseball game. On July 28 and 29, the Pacifics will partner with Freemont-based, Sportvision Inc., and install a Pitch F/X system for two games. 

Both games will be a part of of the Pacifics second annual Pat Tillman Foundation Nights at the ballpark. 

Though the balls and strikes will be determined by a computer, there will be a special human side of the story as well. Former Oakland A's outfielder and current MLB Network analyst, Eric Byrnes, will serve as the Strike Zone Umpire. Byrnes, a long-time proponent of an automated strike zone, will be relaying balls and strikes calls to players and fans. 

Along with voicing balls and strikes, Byrnes will also donate to the Pat Tillman Foundation based on the automated strike zone's performance. For every walk and strikeout over the two games, Byrnes will donate $100. If any player or manager argues with the computer and Byrnes puts his ump hat on and makes an ejection, he will up the ante by donating $10,000.  

"Pat lived his life as a forward thinking man and I feel like the automated strike zone is a fitting way to honor his memory," said Byrnes. "Making history in his name is just another way to teach the next generation about who Pat Tillman was, what he stood for, and the incredible sacrifices he made."

The Pacifics will also donate $1 for every ticket sold over the two games and will auction off Byrnes' game-worn umpire jerseys.

"This is an incredible opportunity for baseball as a whole," said Pacifics Assistant General Manager Vinnie Longo. "The fact that we are able to honor Pat Tillman's forward thinking initiative at the same time only makes it a more special and historic moment."

Both games are being played at Albert Park in San Rafael.


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