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MLB Gets One Step Closer to Getting Rid of Angel Hernandez



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. There’s no more human element. Doing so could alter the way the game is played. What happens to the practice of framing or what happens to pitches just on the corner? There’s still a lot of questions. 

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!

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35 Comments

  1. Going to eliminate the need to teach catchers to “frame” a pitch.

    Going to be hard for managers to see a catcher set up on the inside and catch a pitch on the outside corner for a strike. Will have to get use to a lot of movement behind the plate that will have zero influence on the umpires call.

  2. I don’t “get” how robot umpires will be used. If there is a laser or some kind of optical line defining the strike zone, does the ball have to be fully INSIDE these lines? If it BARELY grazes the outside of the line is it still a strike?. Does only the white part of the plate count or does the black border count as in or out?

  3. Unbelievable comment: “having robot umpires call balls and strikes at home plate just doesn’t feel right. ”
    Having game outcomes changed by blown calls doesn’t feel right. When you have the technology to improve umpiring, USE IT!

    Now we just need the technology to supplant Roberts the Clown.

  4. Robot umpires are not the answer. That’s not baseball. Robots aren’t good for the game and will ruin Americas Favorite Pastime. Accountability and having the ability to manage bad umpires is the solution. Force the hand of the Umpires Union to take some responsibility and make them keep their guys honest. Right now the MLB can’t fire an umpire. That is the travesty. When someone can’t perform their job – they are let go. That is the way we fix the issue. But by all means let take the human element out of the game. That will be better for umpires and the idiotic Umpire Union in the long run. SMH.

  5. I could see using robot umps an an assistant tool. I.E., robot ump sends a ball or strike signal to umpire’s ear phone, but the call is still made by the human ump, who can agree or not. After a sufficient period of time, each ump’s record is reviewed to see how often he changed the call, and how accurate his changes were. This works as a review not only for the human umps, but the robots as well.

  6. Yea, if the robots only figure into balls and strike calls, they are not replacing umpires. Merely standardizing the strike zone. We wouldn’t be considering them if every umpire didn’t have a personalized strike zone. Highly annoying! Bring ’em in..the sooner the better!

  7. I’m opposed to robot umpires because MLB has an alliance with sports betting companies. How do we know they won’t rig the robots to make calls in favor of these sports betting companies?

  8. Last MLB season was the worst ever for umpire’s balls and strikes calls. It doesn’t even need to be reviewed. It was that terrible. Still, (please, God!?) once MLB automates balls and strikes, batters having umpires their whole lives will have times when they turn to argue with the…oh…..woops!

  9. The union can cool their jets. The umpires still have many other responsibilities, so it isn’t like they would be gone from the game. I think everyone hates seeing blown calls, and this whole “pitch framing” garbage is the same as drawing fouls in basketball and flopping in soccer. It cheapens the game. It isn’t a tactic. it is making up for shortcomings in order to gain an advantage through deception. Baseball is a game of precision and it doesn’t need that crap. Want strikes? Pitch better.

  10. I think something ought to be done about pitch framing. To me, it’s “legalized” cheating. I’d like to see a rule where once the ball lands in the catcher’s mitt he is required to freeze for two seconds, otherwise the call should be an automatic ball. After all, catchers only frame to deceive the umpire into thinking the pitch was a strike. Catchers freeze on a hesitant call of an actual strike, but move the ball over the plate before freezing when framing.

    I don’t think the solution is having electronics call the balls and strikes. But, I would like to help umpires become better umpires by eliminating pitch framing.

    • “once the ball lands in the catcher’s mitt he is required to freeze for two seconds”??? and what is the catcher supposed to do in the case of a runner attempting to steal?

  11. I don’t believe that anyone really wants more technology in sports. However, this “ball and strike” situation is completely out of hand. It has been shown since instant replay started decades ago that the “gods of the diamond” (umpires) just miss too many ball and strike pitches. Also, if robots are used to call pitches, imagine how refined the batters knowledge of the strike zone will be by the time they make the major leagues.

  12. I think we need the human element but we also need accountability. Accountability on the umpires. If they dont cut the mustard then cut the umpire. Stop giving them a huge door to fail. Keep humans in charge of the game. If a screw up that bad at work i lose my job.

  13. Come on give it a break enough of this crap there’s nothing wrong with the way it’s been since beginning of baseball always been in the past the Umpire is part of the show

  14. Unfortunately its time for robot umpires. The amount of blown calls in balls and strikes is getting out of hand. They have brought it upon them selves, they have become arrogant and combative. Their mistakes have caused the losses of games. There is to much money at risk over a badly called game and there were many

  15. Seems to me the idea of robots is way over-thinking this. These days, the best view of a pitch is the view from the center-field camera, and now it’s even augmented by the little super-imposed box on the screen.

    So just have a human umpire in front of a tv screen somewhere calling balls and strikes based on that. He could beep the calls into an earpiece worn by the guy behind the plate.