While there is likely some way to go before such a system could be implemented on a universal scale, it’s certainly interesting to see how one of America’s oldest sports is attempting to modernize itself.
MLB set to implement robot umpires in Triple-A
According to reports, Major League Baseball is expected to begin using an automated ball-strike system across the Triple-A class in the upcoming 2023 season. As per reports, half of all Triple-A contests will be played using the electronic strike zone, while the other half will utilize a challenge system, which of course has been seen in professional tennis matches wherein players can request the use of a video review, if they have issue with a call.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that MLB has opted for what many call “robot umps” at the Triple-A level. Just last summer we saw the automated ball-strike system implemented in the Pacific Coast league. At that time, Colorado Rockies star Kris Bryant was in the middle of a rehab stint and was able to observe the system while playing in the PCL. “I wish there was more of, you have to have X percentage of the ball that crosses the zone for it to be a strike,” Bryant said at the time. “Because the ones that just nick the corner, that’s the gray area. As a pitcher you’re like, ‘maybe it’s a strike?’ And as a hitter you’re like, ‘I don’t know either.’”
MLB has been experimenting with tech for some time
In truth, MLB has been toying with the idea of using technology in its games for a while now. We’ve already seen tech being turned to at lower levels in addition to satellite leagues such as the Atlantic League. While it would be fair to say, that players weren’t entirely happy about it at the time, especially considering there was even a trial that saw the mound moved back from its present distance, the reality is change is coming. To be clear, there is no official word on whether or not MLB will implement the system at highest level of the game, however, this move does represent a significant step closer to such a reality. As we always say, watch this space.
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