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Pioneer League Introduces 'Strike Zone Challenge'

The Pioneer Baseball League, an MLB Partner League, today announced that it has introduced a new rule called the "Strike Zone Challenge", allowing any batter, pitcher or catcher to challenge a strike or ball call in real-time using an automated ball-strike system.

The PBL's computerized strike zone system employs the TrackMan data capture technology already present in each PBL ballpark to track a pitched ball where it crosses or misses the plate.

Each team can issue up to three unsuccessful challenges before forfeiting their ability to challenge the strike zone for the remainder of the game. If a challenge successfully demonstrates an umpire error, the team keeps its challenge but is limited to a total of six challenges throughout the game.

"The Pioneer League is excited to employ this ball/strike appeal process using the TrackMan system," said PBL President Mike Shapiro. "Our umpires do a great job of maintaining a consistent strike zone, but occasionally a call in a critical situation can change the outcome of a game. All of us with the league - the players, coaches and umps - want to be sure to get it right, so we think having a limited number of appeals will help assure the games are determined by the play on the field."

The Pioneer League kicks off its historic 85th season this year on May 21st. Catch all the action from around the league on