Testing The Waters
Major League Baseball is testing out using robot umpires in the major leagues by rolling it out in the minors first. Baseball officials have signed an agreement with the Atlantic League to see if using a robot umpire can help speed things up and get the fans engaged more. Officials want baseball to become more action-packed, and robots are seen as the key to the future.
What They Do
Combined with an automated ball system, the robot umpires are there to call whether pitches are good or not, and to tell if it’s a strike or not. The umpire wears an earpiece in one ear and has a phone on their person, which will let them know if the ball is called good or not. Technology is being used in many sports to help officials get the calls right, so why not baseball too?
In its maiden performance, the robot umpire cut out several times in the Atlanta League All-Star game. The real-life umpire stepped in and called the balls as he would have done without the tech. It didn’t take long for the umpire to recover, and there were no glaring mistakes by the system.
With some fine-tuning and a wider testing range, the future of baseball umpiring is in the hands of the robots. The strike zone is already there for everyone to see on TV, and now it’s being used to call pitches.