Introducing UmpVision, an Exclusive

Apr 1st, 2021
Are coaches, players and fans constantly harassing you about your strike zone? Ever have trouble calling balls and strikes on the outside corner when you are in the slot position? Or is your vision simply getting worse with age?
You may never have to worry about any of that again. has been working secretly in partnership with a major military-industrial manufacturer to use technology employed in night vision to develop state-of-the-art Ball-Strike Detector Goggles, called UmpVision.
A prototype--tested with local umpires in a batting cage--was just approved for a US Patent (patent number #20110401).
UmpVision GlassesThe technology will be worn and field tested extensively at all levels throughout the 2021 season. Look for it at a ballpark near you or contact Sherie Sandifer at if you are interested in being a part of testing this game-changing product.

How does it work? Night vision works by amplifying existing light several thousand times. The white of the baseball and of home plate is already bright in contrast to its surroundings, so light from these objects is enhanced to infrared levels by night vision technology. Here, the goggles’ sensors can easily and automatically detect and then simultaneously calculate where the ball is as it crosses home plate.
The decision will be rendered visually on an integrated LCD display along with an auditory cue so that the umpire can then relay the ball or strike call to others in his or her own individualized and/or overlydramatic way.
"I can't contain my excitement!" said Jim Kirk, CEO of "Not only will it seriously impact our overall position in the marketplace, it will forever increase the respect umpires receive by giving them one less thing for those on the field, in the stands or at home on their couches to be mad at them about."
Some baseball purists may argue that this will lead to more technologies replacing umpires. On the contrary, just as instant replay on foul/fair and home run calls implemented in 2008 at the MLB level has not replaced umpires, this technology, will only enhance the profession (and without all the umpires having to run under the dugout to make a decision). Umpires are still required to understand the rules, make other calls, eject managers and wear the equipment and apparel we sell.
With each strike or ball, the umpire will hear a familiar "click,” and the count will be automatically tallied and shown on-screen. With each new hitter, the umpire can press a button on the side for no-look resets to the count.
The only thing the Ball-Strike Detector Goggles will replace besides QuesTec, the controversial MLB umpire ball-strike feedback and evaluation system, are hand-held ball-strike indicators. It will make those as out-of-style as balloon-style chest protectors and plate coats.
We have had our share of kinks. Currently, the lithium battery technology can only last through a typical three and a half hour nine inning game. Besides increasing battery life, we are working on including a flip-up mechanism and increasing the font size on the LCD screens for far-sighted umpires.
UmpVision will fit on any helmet and standard profile masks. It is expected to debut for retail in the spring of 2022 for about $499, barring any glitches or red tape with the US Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD), the governing body behind night vision technologies.
If you're still reading...Happy April Fools Day!

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About the Author

Picture of Jim Kirk

President Jim Kirk

Jim is a leading expert, educator and author on umpire gear, safety & appearance. After playing baseball at Centre College, he worked as a high school umpire. He became involved in E-Commerce while working on an MBA in the early 2000s and bought in 2006, He eventually led it to the leading umpire gear & attire retailer worldwide, a “Best Places to Work in Louisville” honor in 2020 & 2021 and a National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) Preferred Vendor. He maintained a long-standing relationship with Minor League Baseball Umpire Development & Training Academy for 10 years. He serves as an adviser to UMPS CARE Charities, the charity of MLB umpires, served as a 2-term board of director from 2012-2018, and was named their 2015 Ambassador Award recipient. A supporter since the inception of the Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy, he was named to their Board of Directors in 2020.


  • Hilarious, who knows we may have the technology to create something like this one day.

    • Comment by Michael Materasso
    • Jan 4, 2022
  • April fool's!!!

    • Comment by Elise Lallement
    • Apr 1, 2020
  • Awesome!!! One of many reasons I like Ump Hopefully you can work on baseballs that repel from umpires for next year!

    • Comment by Gregor Braniger
    • Apr 1, 2020
  • Lol!!!!

    • Comment by Chris Hyatt
    • Apr 1, 2020