Beep, Boop, You’re Out! Syracuse Mets Launching Robot Umps This Year
Some would argue that heckling the umpires is part of the fun of going to the ballpark. But will heckling a robot feel quite the same?
The Syracuse Mets, along with all AAA minor league affiliates, will be testing out new "robot umpires" during the 2023 season.
The new Automatic Balls and Strikes (ABS) technology hopes to reduce the human error associated with the sport. All 30 Triple A teams will be rolling out the system this year. Half games played this season will be using ABS to determine the strike zone, and the other half will institute a "challenge system." The challenge system will still use human umpires, but offer teams a certain number of strike zone "challenges," which ultimately will be settled by the machines.
The data will help Major League Baseball determine if the technology is right for the Big Leagues.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Major League Baseball Umpires Association agreed as part of its 2020 labor contract to cooperate with the transition, should the robot experiment prove successful.
The new "robot umps" are part of a slew of changes happening to the game of baseball. To name a few, MLB will be adding pitch clocks in 2023 to help speed up the game, along with banning the unpopular "infield shift," which tends to rob the game of action.
Baseball is certainly evolving. Whether or not it's for the better remains to be seen.
The Syracuse Mets' home opener at NBT Bank Stadium is April 4th. Their 2023 schedule can be found here.