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Photo: Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Change is coming to the baseball diamond, as "Computers will be used for ball/strike calls starting April 25 in the independent Atlantic League," AP's Ronald Blum writes, noting the space between home plate and first base will condense by 3 inches while the gap that separates the mound and home plate will grow by 2 feet for the second half of the season.

Details: "Plate umpires will wear earpieces and be informed of ball/strike calls by a TrackMan computer system that uses Doppler radar ... Umps will have the ability to override the computer, which considers a pitch a strike when the ball bounces and then crosses the zone."

Good news for humans: Joe West, who has umpired more than 5,000 big league games and is on track to break Bill Klem's record in 2020, said a past TrackMan test was spotty, missing 500 pitches in one month.

  • "The beauty of baseball is that it's not foolproof," said West, who umpired his first big league game in 1976.
  • "You've got to hit a round ball with a cylindrical bat square, and then you've got to get it past people. The game is typically American. It's always somebody else's fault when they lose — and usually it's [the umpire]."

Go deeper

Updated 9 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.