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MiLB to experiment with robot umpires in 2020

Robot Umpires

It seems the time has come.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in an interview that automated strike zones may appear in some Minor League stadiums in 2020. According to The Athletic, who cited an MLB Network interview, Manfred believes if the technology can be upgraded sufficiently, then in-game testing can begin.

SportTechie relayed how the tech would work. A radar system would determine if the pitch was a ball or a strike. Then, through a headphone in the home plate umpire’s ear, would tell the ump its decision. The ump would then announce it out loud.

Robot Umpires
Ben Zobrist earns his first career ejection after calling for an automated strike zone. (Photo by David Banks/Associated Press)

While there has been push back against implementation of an automated strike zone, there has been vocal support inside the MLB. Cubs infielder Ben Zobrist suffered the first ejection of his career after telling the home plate umpire that players want robot umps.

TrackMan, as the system is called, seems like an inevitability. As technology gets better and better, the front offices of any sport are going to use those steps to ensure human error is removed from the game as much as possible.

There are no concrete plans or information on what stadiums or teams will use the automated strike zones, yet.

Featured Image courtesy of Associated Press

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