“Robot Umpires” Have Arrived in Pro Baseball . . . with One Glitch, and No Controversy
Major League Baseball is testing its ROBOT UMPIRES in the Minors, and the system launched on Wednesday night in the Atlantic League.
The automated ball-strike system, or ABS, is being called ‘TrackMan.’ There aren’t actually any robots, sadly . . . all the human umpires are still there. The only difference is the guy behind the plate signals what the computer TELLS him to.
ABS involves radar and cameras that create a personal strike zone for each hitter, based on their height and stance. The umpire has a smartphone with an earpiece, and once he hears from the computer, he makes the call.
He can override the system . . . in case there’s a check swing, some kind of technical glitch or weird circumstance.
On the first night, there was a problem where the system went down for a half-inning, and the umpire made the calls himself. But generally, it worked without any controversy.
Obviously, there are kinks that need to be ironed out . . . like awkwardly delayed calls. There’s no timetable for when they might come to the Majors.