Robot ref ejected former Cy Young winner Frank Viola

The Twitter post about her husband being expelled for arguing with a robot referee is almost three years old. But with Automated Ball-Strike technology making its way to the Las Vegas Ballpark this week, Kathy Viola’s take held up well.

“Somehow my husband Frank Viola being the first ejection in TrackMan history doesn’t surprise me,” wrote the wife of the former World Series MVP, Cy Young Award winner. and former pitching coach for the Las Vegas 51, now in his third season as pitching coach for the High Point Rockers of the Independent Atlantic League.

The lefty laughed heartily on Thursday as he remembered his wife’s words.

“The very first game we used,” Viola said of throwing a clipboard in the air and being kicked out for arguing with — or at least about — the robo ump in 2019. “It wasn’t ready to be used in this situation yet.”

At the time, the home plate umpire was allowed to overrule TrackMan (which has been replaced by the more efficient Hawk-Eye system) if he thought the robot had made the wrong call, and that’s what had Viola thrown away.

“The machine malfunctioned but the home plate umpire did a terrible job letting us know who was in charge,” he said from baseball’s backcountry, where Las Chasen Bradford and Johnny Field Vegas are trying to get back into the majors.

Viola learned that the system used in Tuesday’s Aviators-Sacramento game appeared to be nearly 100% accurate. But he still has mixed feelings about robot umpires replacing humans behind home plate and further reducing arguments between managers (and pitching coaches) and umpires.

“That’s what people come to see – they come to see Wally Backman go crazy,” Viola said of the former 51 manager, who was known to have the occasional disagreement with men in blue who lived and breathed. .

around the horn

– As he predicted, car owner Sam Schmidt of Henderson and drivers Pato O’ Ward, Felix Rosenqvist and Juan Pablo Montoya were a formidable force in last Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 where the trio finished second, fourth and 11th.

“By far the best field of drivers and teams we’ve had,” Schmidt said on his return to town after O’Ward narrowly missed in a checkered flag duel with race winner Marcus. Ericsson. “We were the only multicar team to finish all of our cars, and we had a chance” on the final lap, when O’Ward briefly edged Ericsson.

It was also a big week for Schmidt off the track. Arrow McLaren SP has signed O’Ward to a contract extension and 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi will drive for the group next year, and his foundation has raised $1 million less than 30 $000 at its annual gala in Indianapolis.

Those interested in helping push the fundraising effort beyond the threshold can donate by visiting the Conquer Paralysis Now website (

– While Schmidt is chasing an Indy 500 title as a driver and car owner for 24 years, the leaders of the tour from Southern Nevada to Indianapolis are Bill Jansen and his wife, Nora. The Court of Justice judge (who has attended the race 55 times) and Ms Jansen (37 Indys) spent the morning of the race in the Gasoline Alley garage of their friend and racing legend AJ Foyt.

–In a May 15 report by RJ on Southern Nevada high school baseball lore, Cimarron-Memorial and Sierra Vista were omitted from a list of local high schools that produced major league talent. Former Cimarron pitchers Mike Dunn and Brad Thompson have World Series rings. As mentioned elsewhere in the report, Sierra Vista product Chris Carter is tied for the National League lead with 41 homers in 2016.


Sometimes a Harvard education isn’t all it’s supposed to be, as Action Network sports analyst Darren Rovell noted in his comments on NFL quarterback Ryan’s retirement. Fitzpatrick Thursday:

— Average value of an education at Harvard in the first 30 years after graduation: $2.72 million.

– Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 18-year NFL earnings after playing quarterback for Harvard: $81.2 million.

Contact Ron Kantowski at [email protected] or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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