ROBOT UMPIRES TAKING CONTROL
|South Korean Baseball Organization (KBO)|
Automated Ball-Strike Systems Start in August 2020
South Korea's minor league baseball teams will start utilizing robot umpires during regular games starting in August. About 20 games in the Korean Baseball Organization's Future League will have the automated ball-strike systems operating for the entire 2021 season. If it works as expected, South Korea's Major League baseball teams will deploy it too for their 2022 season.
Advanced Radar Technology
The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) calls the system the "robot umpire". But, there are actually no robots behind the catcher on the field to make the calls. This is a radar-based ball tracking system that is automated/robotic, pinpoints the location of the pitch and tells the human home plate umpire, via an earpiece, the correct call. The ball's trajectory is shown on a large screen display at the ballpark.
Major League Baseball's Electronic Strike Zone
In the United States, Major League Baseball experimented with the electronic strike zone system at the minor league level with eight teams in 2019. They liked the system and wanted to expand the automated system to other minor league teams. But the pandemic hit and put baseball on hold in the spring and thus far in the summer of 2020. Nonetheless, the games will resume. They are going to resume in South Korea. And, South Korea's grand experiment with robot umpires is another great example of automation and robotics becoming part of our lives, including favorite pastimes. And in this case, taking the element of "human variables" out of the very personal, volatile equation of strike and ball calls in professional sports.