The future of baseball continues, as MLB’s “robot umpire” system is set to debut during spring training this season.
Earlier this offseason, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that their “robot umpire” system would be entering the MILB during the 2020 season.
Now, it appears that this system will be introduced before even the start of the minor league season.
During Manfred’s interview with Maria Bartiromo of FOX Business, he stated that the use of their new umpire system would begin starting this spring.
Rob Manfred also said on FOX Business that we’re going to see use of the so-called robot umpire system during spring training.
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) January 22, 2020
While speaking with Bartiromo, Manfred mentioned that this new system should prove to be “more accurate than a human being.” Meaning, the league believes that this technology will serve as a much better way to call balls and strikes.
As a result, Manfred hopes that this system will eliminate a lot of the controversy and conflict between the players and umpires.
This same technology was first utilized in the independent Atlantic League during this past season. While the system was met with a little skepticism, for the main part, the league’s office deemed that it was extremely successful at accurately calling balls and strikes.
Despite its name, there aren’t actually any robots behind the plate making calls. In fact, home plate umpires will still be needed during this new process.
The system utilizes multiple cameras to capture the location of each pitch at many different angles. Then, an umpire will wear an earpiece that is connected to an iPhone in his pocket, which will relay the calls after receiving it from a TrackMan computer that uses a Doppler radar system.
Based on the pushback the Commissioners’ office faced after they introduced the “pitch clock” during last year’s spring training, they’ll likely receive similar disputes from players regarding their new system this year as well.
Although, this new system should benefit both pitchers and hitters as there will be a consistent strike zone throughout spring training.
While it’ll likely be a season or two before this system enters the major leagues, the league’s best players will receive their first taste of it this spring.