Mason Dixon

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Technology is changing the way baseball is being played. Robot umpires will be calling balls and strikes at Tampa Bay area ballparks.

Automated Balls and Strikes technology (ABS) is a reality. It started last year when nine out of the 10 teams in the Florida State League used ABS. This year they are adding it to the five minor league ballparks in the Tampa Bay area.

Now don’t expect to see an actual robot umpire standing behind the plate. No, the ump will still be flesh and blood. What ABS does is use cameras around the stadium to create custom strike zones for each batter based on the player’s height. The balls or strikes calls are fed to the actual umpire through an earpiece and they relay the call to the crowd. The goal is to make the call at the plate more consistent because human error is taken out of the picture.

With ABS, players and managers can’t yell at the umpire for a questionable call. That bums us out because we do enjoy a good home plate argument!

MLB Umpire

Umpire Larry Vanover calls a strike as the Tampa Bay Rays play against the Texas Rangers (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated that he wants to see some form of ABS used by 2024 in the big league.

So far the ABS technology will be calling games on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the Florida State League. The rest of the week will have human umpires calling the games.

Robot umpires are warming up and you’ll get to see them in use around Tampa Bay.

[SOURCE: Fox 13]


Mason Dixon's 15 Favorite Summer Blockbuster Movies

Summer has officially begun, and there are already a couple of summer blockbuster movies out there. This brought me to look back and see which my favorites are of all time.

Already, “Top Gun: Maverick” has exceeded $900 million worldwide, and “Jurassic World: Dominion” is on Tom Cruise’s heels with over $630 million so far. With those become all-time favorites? I did see “Top Gun: Maverick” and it was great. It might end up on my list of all-time favorites someday.

Having said that, let’s take a look at which summer blockbuster movies did make my all-time list.

  • 15 "Dirty Dancing" (1987)

    With a fantastic mix of new songs and songs from when it takes place, Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach and Cynthia Rhodes make a great cast. By the way, you can see Patrick Swayze and Cynthia Rhodes in the video for “Rosanna by Toto, which came out 5 years earlier.

  • 14. "National Lampoon's Vacation" (1983)

    They got it all started with Clark and Ellen Griswold as they made their way to Wally World. Without “Vacation,” I wouldn’t have my favorite all-time Christmas movie!

  • 13. "Shrek" (2001)

    You can’t go wrong with a donkey and an ogre. Oh, and a Lord Farquaad.

  • 12. "Weekend at Bernie's" (1989)

    They were the only ones who knew. They just had to make sure everyone though Bernie was still alive.

  • 11. "Grease" (1978)

    The sing-along showings of “Grease” still fill up theatres.

  • 10. "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982)

    Possibly the best family sci-fi film of all time.

  • 9. "Caddyshack" (1980)

    Still an immensely quotable film. Even if you’re not a golfer, this cast makes the links funny.

  • 8. "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1986)

    The perfect way to have so much fun in a single day. Some great advice from Ferris? “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

  • 7. "Ghostbusters" (1984)

    The movie stands the test of time. They tried again a couple of years later, and it wasn’t quite as good. They tried it with a female cast a few years ago, and that didn’t work either. They tried it one more time in “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” and it was directed by Jason Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman who directed the original and… it worked. If you haven’t seen it, watch for lots of Easter eggs.

  • 6. "Stand By Me" (1986)

    The story by Stephen King brought to the big screen by Rob Reiner. Toss in kids like Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell and Kiefer Sutherland.

  • 5. Top Gun (1986)

    It took a long time to finally get a sequel. Go back and watch the original one again. Then watch “Top Gun: Maverick” yet again.

  • 4. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981)

    The beginning of a franchise. Hard to believe they’re about to make another one.

  • 3. "Independence Day" (1996)

    This wasn’t E.T’s family. These visitors were not here to be our friends.

  • 2 "American Graffiti" (1973)

    Wow, what cars they had in this movie, and you know I’m a car guy!

  • 1. "Jaws" (1975)

    It’s the one that began the ‘summer blockbuster movie’… It’s also the one that scared people out of the ocean!

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