Human Fallibility and the Case for Robot Baseball Umpires

WIRED 

I, for one, will welcome our robot umpire overlords, at least when it comes to calling balls and strikes. The automated strike zone is coming, probably within the next three seasons, and I am here for it. If you've spent any time on Twitter during baseball season, especially the postseason the last few years, you've probably stumbled on fans arguing for #RobotUmpsNow against those who argue for "the human element," two sides of the ongoing debate over whether baseball should move to automated calling of balls and strikes. It came up yet again in the 2019 World Series, when umpire Lance Barksdale missed two obvious calls in Game 5, one of which he openly blamed on Washington catcher Yan Gomes, which led Nationals manager Davey Martinez to yell at Barksdale to "wake up," and another so egregious that the victim, Victor Robles, jumped in anger and tossed his batting gloves after Barksdale called him out on a pitch that never even saw the strike zone. Both calls were bad, and in both cases there was at least the appearance that Barksdale was punishing the Nationals--punishing Gomes for assuming the strike call before it happened, then punishing the whole team later for questioning him in the first place.

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