Independent team tries game without umpires

May 17, 2013 at 3:10 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn., May 17 (UPI) -- An independent American Association baseball team experimented in Minnesota with an unusual idea -- a baseball game without umpires.

The May 11 exhibition game for the St. Paul Saints eschewed umpires and instead had a legal theme, with players from the East Tonka Little League of Minnetonka, Minn., sitting in "jury boxes" with signs declaring players to be "safe" or "out" and the teams' own catchers calling balls and strikes, The New York Times reported Friday.

Local umpire Mike Neubeck, the sole umpire at the game, dressed in a judge's robes and stood behind home plate to resolve any disputed calls and provide rules interpretation for the game.

Mike Veeck, the team's owner, said the idea was suggested by a graduate student at The Citadel in South Carolina. He said he has another idea for an umpire-free game using lasers to determine the ball's position for calling strikes, fouls and other rulings.

However, he said technology currently prevents him from following from that particular plan.

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