Hot Spot in the Park

From SABR member Larry Granillo at Baseball Prospectus on October 20, 2011:

Anyone watching Game 1 of the World Series last night saw the new toy Fox brought to the broadcast this year. An infrared imaging system – borrowed from cricket and called Hot Spot – was set-up in Busch Stadium to watch every pitch and record when and where the ball hit the bat (or the ground or the batter or…). Here’s an animated clip from the broadcast. Note the angle at which the ball hits the bat and the exact spot on the heel that it hits Albert Pujols.

If anyone missed Hot Spot’s use early in the game, though, they certainly didn’t miss it in the ninth inning when Texas’ Adrian Beltre was called out at first after he fouled a ball off his foot. The ball only grazed Beltre by the slightest of margins, so it’s understandable if the umpire thought that the ball hit nothing but dirt (though how he could think Beltre was faking his pain is beyond me). With Hot Spot, however, Fox was able to show the millions of viewers at home just how wrong the umpire’s call was, as the infrared technology clearly showed the slightest of heat marks on the tip of Beltre’s shoe, evidence that he did indeed get hit by the ball.


It makes me wonder, though: other than the very rare instances when a player will foul a ball off his body that the umpire doesn’t notice, is there anything else that we could use Hot Spot for?

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Originally published: October 20, 2011. Last Updated: October 20, 2011.