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.