People have long scoffed over my persistent advocacy of laser strike zones (including none other than George Will in a phone conversation once), but this thing is happening, people:
The either long-dreaded or long-awaited arrival of digitally rendered ballpark justice has come to professional baseball. Robot umpires have arrived.
Except, they’re not really robots. They’re human umpires wearing a Bluetooth-connected earpiece, connected to an iPhone, connected to a software program in the press box. The software doesn’t make every call, just balls and strikes. And if it’s wrong, the human umpire can step in to overrule the program, and his decision, not the software’s, is final.
The Atlantic League, an independent circuit with seven teams on the East Coast and one in Texas, became the first American professional baseball league to let a computer call balls and strikes at its All-Star Game on Wednesday night.