The past couple of seasons has seen plenty of blown calls from MLB umpires that have swayed the outcome of games. Take the one-blown call against the Dodgers and Giants back in July of last season when a swing would have ended the game. Instead, it was called a non-swing which led to a walk and an eventual Giants win. Or we can look to game 5 of the NLDS where a check swing was another blown call that favored the Dodgers.
Umpires all over the league have been slipping up more and more often, but none have been as bad as the infamous Angel Hernandez, and everyone knows it.
I don’t know about any of you but it’s painful to watch any of these videos as a fan of the game. Too many times have umpires affected robbed us of the right call. Well, it seems MLB has gotten one step closer to potentially solving those issues.
The Robots Are Coming!
Robot umpires have made the jump to Triple-A for the 2022 season. The Low-A Southwest League used the practice of robot umpires calling balls and strikes in 8 of the 9 ballparks and was used in the Arizona Fall League back in 2019. Now the Albuquerque Isotopes, Charlotte Knights, El Paso Chihuahuas, Las Vegas Aviators, Oklahoma City Dodgers, Reno Aces, Round Rock Express, Sacramento River Cats, Salt Lake Bees, Sugar Land Skeeters, and Tacoma Rainiers will all be experimenting with robot umpires this year.
While there is no guarantee that robot umpires do get used in the Majors, the Major League Baseball Umpires Association agreed in 2020 to cooperate if they are installed. While umpires blowing calls can really sting, having robot umpires call balls and strikes at home plate just doesn’t feel right.
For now, robot umpires will make their way to Triple-A, remain in the Low-A Southeast League, and make an appearance in some sprint training ballparks in Florida. Let us know how you feel about robot umpires in the comments!