New robot umpire aid steps up to the plate

Sports | REUTERS 12 Jul 2019

Robots in baseball? That was the case yesterday in the Atlantic League All-Star Game, putting them one step closer.

The plate umpire in the game at York, Pennsylvania wore an earpiece that would relay whether a pitch was a ball or strike based on computer evaluation.

The umpire then relays the call to the players and fans, just as always. The umpire can also override the call.

"I think once people actually see this happening, they're going to realize it's not that big a deal," said league president Rick White.

The independent league and Major League Baseball have a partnership as the lower league rolls out new rules, innovations and equipment for MLB to study.

The strike zone system was created by sports data firm Trackman. Software in the press box relays the call to a smartphone, which relays to the umpire's bluetooth earpiece.

Many umpires see the move to robotic help as a matter of time.

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