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Independent Teams In California To Be First To Use Computerized Strike Zone In Pro Ball

(CBS) A glimpse of baseball's future may be coming next week in a game between independent teams in California next week.

The San Rafael Pacifics will use a computerized strike zone -- not an umpire -- to call balls and strikes next Tuesday and Wednesday when the play a pair of home games, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. It's being billed as the first time that a computerized strike zone is being used in a professional baseball game of any sort.

Former major league outfielder and current TV analyst Eric Byrnes, who's a big proponent of the computerized strike zone, will oversee the Pitch F/X system and be the "strike zone umpire," the Chronicle reported. Pitch F/X is a system that uses triangulation from three cameras to discern a pitch's trajectory as it crosses the plate. It's familiar to fans because it's often used on TV broadcasts after a pitch.

Byrnes is using the games as a means to raise money for the Pat Tillman Foundation, as he'll donate $100 per walk and strikeout to the foundation -- and $10,000 if he gets to eject someone for arguing balls and strikes with the computerized system.

"This is an incredible opportunity for baseball as a whole," Pacifics assistant general manager Vinnie Longo told the Chronicle.

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