It looks like robot umpires are one step closer to being used in the Major Leagues. According to an AP report,” Robot umpires have been given a promotion and will be just one step from the major leagues this season. Major League Baseball is expanding its automated strike zone experiment to Triple-A, the highest level of the minor leagues.”
Major Leagues’ website posted open positions for seasonal employees to operate the Automated Ball and strike system. “MLB said it is recruiting employees to operate the system for 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.”
Back in 2019, Robot umpires made their debut at the independent Atlantic League All-Star Game and were also used in the Arizona Fall League during that season. From the AP “The Major League Baseball Umpires Association agreed in its labor contract that started in 2020 to cooperate and assist if Commissioner Rob Manfred decides to utilize the system at the major league level. ‘It’s hard to handicap if, when or how it might be employed at the major league level, because it is a pretty substantial difference from the way the game is called today,’ Chris Marinak, MLB’s chief operations and strategy officer, said last March.”
Major League Baseball has said the robot umpires will be used at some spring training ballparks in Florida, remain at Low A Southeast, and could be used at non-MLB venues.
More details to come.