Monday, January 29, 2018

On robot umps

I didn't post on Saturday. I didn't actively post on Sunday (The Sunday Funnies were all composed weeks ago). I almost didn't post today either. Until the Twins make some moves, posts are likely to be rare here. (I still believe there will be moves, just not on my preferred timeline.)

But this article on why "robot umps" aren't coming to MLB anytime soon caught my eye this morning. It's long and it can get a bit technical, but there's at least one guy on the Twitter feed who ought to read it before resuming his "robot umps now" mantra this spring.

Eddie's Cliff Notes version: At best, an automated system on balls and strikes would trade one set of inconsistencies for another. With human umps it's largely east-west; with the automatic systems used on TV, it's north-south. And it would carry some risks not involved with human umps, such as hacking. (And don't kid yourself; teams will try to hack a robot up.)


  1. I haven't read the story yet, but I would favor robot ump. Even if it is not entirely accurate, it is consistent and unbiased. When a batter gets a strike call he thinks was a ball, with an ump he doesn't know whether that was a mistake or whether the ump really intends to call the strike zone there. With a robot, the batter knows the robot will call the next pitch in the same spot the same way. Another big advantage is it will eliminate bias in favor of the home team or in favor of specific teams (the Yankees).

  2. Keep the human elements in the game.