Back in the day, the thought of robots calling a professional baseball game would have seemed like a pipe dream at best. It would have been something you read in a fictional story that seemed unrealistic. However, here in the year 2021, it seems as if we are not too far away from this becoming a reality.
Testing in the Minors
MLB has been testing the robot umpire possibility in the minor leagues. The MLB has used them in the Atlantic league in an effort to try the idea out and see if it works. No, there is not a full-sized robot standing behind home plate making the calls.
Rather, there is a sensor above home plate and a device that connects to a cord which is relayed to the human umpire standing behind home plate. The sensor has the ability to determine if a pitch is indeed in the strike zone.
This is truly some technology from the future, but could help clean up the game of baseball.
A former big league infielder and current manager in the Atlantic League made this statement about robot umpiring, “This is way more accurate than an umpire. And will it be in the big leagues? Absolutely.”
Many umpires have expressed their frustrations about the potential usage of robot umps, since they had to pay their dues learning the craft of calling balls and strikes. While they have a fair argument, fans have expressed frustration as well.
With the ability to rewatch pitches in slow motion video, fans are often upset by the calls of umpires. Why would we continue to let them make wrong calls and deal with the taunting of fans when a little bit of technology could leave all of that in the past. Already in the 2021 postseason, if the correct calls were made in certain games the outcomes would have been drastically different.
Effects on the Strike Zone
The traditional strike zone could see some changes as well. MLB has considered widening the strike zone from east to west, and shortening the zone from north to south. Once again, these are just ideas so nothing is set in stone just yet.
In today’s game, the rule book zone does not always hold up which is why we might see that change and it would be incorporated with the robot umps.
For those of us who have been baseball fans for a long time, this change would bring a whole new era of the game we love so dearly.
While nobody likes bad calls from umpires, there is a traditional mindset when it comes to arguing with umpires and dealing with that frustration. While some of that may be missed, I think what everybody wants is for the correct calls to be made on a consistent basis.
Robot Umpires are the future of Major League Baseball.
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