Ump Cam captures the scary moment for José Altuve as the pitch flies up and down

Major League Baseball has experimented with a number of changes to the game’s presentation in recent years, drawing mostly positive reviews.

Most notable, of course, is the pitch clock. The 15- to 20-second timer between each pitch sped up the game tremendously and eliminated the five-hour marathons that took place every night in the postseason.

Baseball broadcasts have also added some interesting elements, including the referee camera, which gives the viewer a unique perspective on the game. While a camera is attached to the mask of a referee Unsurprisingly, the film is shaky at times, but it gives the viewer a close look at what hitters see when an MLB pitcher retires to throw.

Sometimes the results are a little scary. Just ask Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who was forced to go to the deck Thursday when a changeup from Texas Rangers pitcher Dane Dunning flew high and right into his face in the fourth inning of Game 4.

Altuve stood up after the frightening moment, giggling and assuring the referee that he was fine. He then talked Dunning into a walk, part of a four-run fourth. Altuve scored when Jose Abreu blasted a 438-foot three-run home run that gave the Astros a 7-3 lead. They won 10-3 and finished the series 2-2.

Jose Altuve
Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros hits a single in the second inning against the Texas Rangers in game four of the Championship Series at Globe Life Field on October 19, 2023 in Arlington, Texas. Altuve had to avoid a bad substitution on Thursday.
Stacy Rere/Getty Images

The referee camera was first used by FOX Sports during the 2022 All-Star Game, and ESPN planned to use it 15 times during broadcasts last season.

“Having a guy whose job it is to stand in the perfect spot to watch the field, right over the catcher’s shoulder and without moving his head, is a big deal to put a camera in that spot, because all other cameras are basically on.” “A 400-foot circular perimeter on the edge of town,” ESPN vice president of production Phil Orlins told Sports Business Journal in March. “By definition, his job is to place his head exactly where you want to put a camera.”

Thanks to the referees, we know what a transition at 84 miles per hour looks like when you’re right in the face. We also know what it looks like to try to line up a 99 mph fastball.

Hitting a fastball is widely considered one of the most difficult tasks in professional sports (which is why even the best hitters in the world hit about three times in 10 at-bats). With a close look like this, it’s easy to see why.

Always wear your helmet, kids.