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For the Love of the Game

Have you ever been personally victimized by an umpire? Even as a fan, you can have your heart ripped out from you due to something your favorite players cannot even control, Blue.

Calls on the field by the crew of human umpires have had drastic effects on games and the history of sport throughout time. One costly moment I always think of when it comes to an umpire screwing up is Armando Galaraga’s perfect game or should have been a perfect game. Back on June 2nd of 2010, Galaraga was dealing for the Detroit Tigers against the then-called Cleveland Indians. It was the top of the 9th, one out away from a perfect game (which has only happened 24 times in MLB history), and a dribbler was hit between first and second. The first baseman scoops up the grounder, flips it to Galaraga and he’s there in time to get the final out… WAIT, Jim Joyce calls the runner safe at first? This is a pivotal moment for the pitcher and umpire’s careers for the rest of time. We now have some review replay challenges in the game because of this moment. But today I want to discuss on further steps for technology to become prevalent in our country’s pastime through robo umps.

The Case for Robo Umps.

Proponents of robotic umpires argue that automated systems would significantly improve the accuracy of ball and strike calls. Human umpires are prone to errors influenced by various factors such as the pitcher’s delivery, the batter’s stance, and even weather conditions. In contrast, robotic umpires use sensors and cameras to precisely track the ball’s trajectory, determining whether it passed through the strike zone with high accuracy. This technology could eliminate the controversy and frustration that often arise from incorrect human calls.

Additionally, robo umps could speed up the pace of the game. Human umpires sometimes take several seconds to make a call, slowing down the game and disrupting its rhythm. Robo umps, on the other hand, could make calls almost instantly, allowing the game to flow more smoothly and keeping fans engaged.

The Case Against Robo Umps.

Opponents of robotic umpires argue that they would remove the human element from the game, which is a cherished aspect of baseball tradition. Many fans appreciate the unpredictability and drama that human umpires bring to the sport. While human umpires can make mistakes, their judgment calls also add to the excitement of the game. Implementing robo umps might make some fans feel that the game has lost an essential part of its character.

Another concern is the cost of implementing robotic umpire technology.

The sophisticated systems required to accurately track balls and strikes would need significant investment. There would also be ongoing maintenance and upkeep costs, making it potentially unfeasible for smaller, lower-budget teams to adopt the technology.

There is a healthy debate on the art of baseball versus what actually happens in the milliseconds it takes for a ball to leave hand and hit a mitt. I watch players of disproportion get screwed on strikes calls often, like Aaron Judge being so tall, or Jose Altuve being so little. One would think they are some of the players that would be leading a push towards a robo ump system.

June 2024

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