Robots should take over the world of baseball … or not

Jordan Hay and Robert Petrie

YES TO ROBOTS
Jordan:
Referees and umpires in sports get thrown under the bus constantly. To some degree, you have to feel sorry for them. They are out there doing their best and get put under scrutiny all of the time. Major League Baseball umpires are no different.
They have the most opportunity to get stuff wrong out of every sports official. Even on a simple ball or strike call, if an umpire is slightly wrong in their judgment they will get heckled by the players, coaches, fans and even the commentators. With human error being a possibility, there have been things added to sports to help the officials out.
The greatest example of this is an instant replay. Instant replay was added to the National Football League in the last 20 years of play.
Major League Baseball has adopted a form of instant replay as well. Replay has been added to baseball with some hesitance and rare usage.
There is one step further than baseball could go, which could revolutionize the sport. The implementation of “robot” umpires and an electronic strike zone.
With television broadcasts already showing us the strike zone and what should be called a ball or strike, this should be an easy next step for the MLB to take.
With the World Series ending recently, there were outcries for the MLB to try and implement these, due to be some of the worst officiated baseball games.Washington Nationals fans even started an uproar online after game 5 of the World Series because of a slew of missed calls by the umpires.
The idea of having automated strike zones and “robot” umpires is one of the multiple ways that can optimize the game of baseball.
These ideas will shift the umpire from being the so-called “law” to being more a messenger. Some may say that this takes the human element out of the game but, this may be technically true.
However, most spectators and players would rather see the right call than have some old umpire who probably should be retired by now to be blowing calls left and right.
With the “robot” umpires and automated strike zones being implemented in independent leagues such as the Atlantic League, it will be interesting to see and hear about the developments of it.
If it were to be successful in the lower leagues, there’s no doubt about it that we could see it soon in the MLB.


NO TO ROBOTS
Robert:
Major League Baseball (MLB) should not add in the electric strike zone. There are few reasons for this.
The first is history. The game has been played for about 100 years without the electric strike zone.
Second, in sports, there is always going to be one bad call that angers people and makes them lose their minds, but adding an electric strike zone could make the situation worse. The league officials do not even know how it would affect the outcome of a professional baseball game.
For example, during the All-Star break, the league added it to the game to test this out, which was the first time it has been added to a professional baseball game. But there is just not enough data yet to make a conclusive decision.
The MLB, just like every other sport, gets a bad call here and there, but officials should not change the way it has been played over the last century. While the lower leagues of the MLB have added it, it should not yet have its place in the majors.