Airmen among Triple-A teams to test robot umpires at home plate for 2022

NEW YORK (AP) — Robot umpires have received a promotion and will be just one step away from the big leagues this season.

Major League Baseball is extending its automated strike zone experience to Triple-A, the highest level in the minor leagues.

The MLB website posted a job notice seeking seasonal workers to operate the automated Ball and Strike system. MLB said it is recruiting employees to operate the system for Isotopes Albuquerque, Charlotte Knights, El Paso Chihuahuas, Las Vegas Aviators, Oklahoma City Dodgers, Reno Aces, Round Rock Express, Sacramento River Cats, Salt Lake Bees , Sugar Land Skaters and Tacoma. Rainier.

The Independent Atlantic League became the first American professional league to let a computer call balls and strikes in its All-Star Game in July 2019 and experimented with ABS in the second half of that season. He was also used in the Arizona Fall League for top prospects in 2019, prompting complaints about his calls to break balls.

There were no minor leagues in 2020 due to the pandemic, and robot umpires were used last season at eight of nine Low-A Southeast League baseball diamonds.

The Major League Baseball Umpires Association has agreed in its employment contract that began in 2020 to cooperate and assist if commissioner Rob Manfred decides to use the system at the major league level.

“It’s hard to handicap if, when or how it could be used at the major league level because it’s a pretty substantial difference from how the game is called today,” said manager Chris Marinak. of MLB Operations and Strategy last March. .

MLB said the robot umpires will be used at select spring training stadiums in Florida, will remain in Low A Southeast and may be used at non-MLB venues.

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