Around the Majors

MLB plans ‘robot umps’ to call balls, strikes during spring training games

mlb1

MLB plans for plate umpires, crouched in their normal position behind the catcher, to wear earpieces connected to a phone that relays ball or strike calls from a camera system during spring training games this year. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Commissioner Rob Manfred says Major League Baseball plans to use a computerized camera system to call balls and strikes in spring training games this year, expanding the sport’s implementation of “robot umpires.”

Manfred announced MLB’s plans Wednesday during an interview with Fox Business Network, saying that the “camera-based system” will be “more accurate than a human being standing there.”

“We believe over the long haul it’s going to be more accurate,” Manfred said. “It will reduce controversy in the game and be good for the game.”

Manfred also said that baseball would start using the camera system for balls and strikes in “some of our minor league(s) this year.”

MLB began experimenting with a computerized strike zone last year in the independent Atlantic League. Plate umpires, crouched in their normal position behind the catcher, wore earpieces connected to a phone that relayed ball or strike calls from a camera system.

Baseball also used the system in the Arizona Fall League this past year.

Manfred cautioned Wednesday that referring to the system as “robots may be an overstatement,” and emphasized that “from the fans’ perspective, it looks exactly like it looks today.”

“We think it’s more accurate than a human being standing there,” Manfred said. “The current strike zone design is actually three-dimensional, and a camera is better at calling a three-dimensional strike zone than the human eye.”

ESPN.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.