Strike, You’re Out! What! That Was a Ball! Enter Robo Ump

Baseball, MLB, Electronic Strike Zone, VAR, umpire, robotics, sports, robo ump.

Robo umps are coming. Are you into this idea?

Coming Soon
Total Votes : 10

Scroll down to see how people across America voted.

Have you ever heard of Video Assistant Referee (VAR)? It is a video system used in soccer set up in order to allow referees to look back on video footage of the game and confirm or adjust calls based on their secondary review of the footage. Don’t worry if this doesn’t sound familiar, it’s characteristically similar to the system being created and adjusted for use in Major League Baseball.

This system is called the electronic strike zone, or as other are referring to it as the “robo ump.” Unlike VAR being used for goals, offsides, fouls, etc. in soccer, it will be used in the MLB for calling balls and strikes.

Another key difference is how both systems work as VAR is manned by referees while the ESZ is run be a TrackMan system of highly calibrated lasers and a computer program used to inform the umpire of the data received. This data would be received, through a voice, by the umpire standing behind the plate through an earpiece of whether the pitch was a “Strike,” “Ball” or “No Track.” The latter of the three indicates that the system failed to track it so the umpire must make the call on their own. It also adjusts the strike zone for each player as it changes depending on the players distance between just below the chest to the bottom of the knee caps.

Similarly to VAR, there is no lack of controversy as there has been met with mixed receptions from players, coaches, umpires, and baseball fans alike. One instance of this division is with New York Yankees teammates CC Sabathia and J.A. Happ with both players taking opposite sides as Sabathia believes that “guys would be all for it” if done correctly, while Happ is “not in favor of it.”

Additionally, one of the major concerns with ESZ is its accuracy as opposed to an umpire, and this was touched on by the MLB Umpires Association in a statement the provided to the sports news site, Bleacher Report. In this statement they report, “In fact, under MLB’s own grading system, the entire MLB umpire staff averaged over 97 percent correct ball and strike calls over the 2018 season,” while also stating that a machine won’t be able to get it right 100 of the time unlike some believe it would.

Electronic strike zone is currently being tested in the Atlantic League and the MLB umpire contract expires after this season, so we must wait and see what the future of ESZ is in the MLB.

Here’s how people on the Zip app are weighing in on this all over the country!

Robo umps are coming. Are you into this idea?

28% Ya, great idea
72% Please, no
31% Ya, great idea
69% Please, no
17% Ya, great idea
83% Please, no

Ya, great idea

Please, no

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