Dodgers: Fans React to Idea of Robot Umpires in MLB

Well folks… it’s happening. No, I’m not talking about spring training baseball finally being here, I’m talking about the robot takeover.

With MLB set to start test driving robot umpires — or rather the electronic strike zone — in the Grapefruit League over the next few weeks, we asked your thoughts on the topic over on our Twitter account.

Here’s how you voted:

The majority of the more than 2,700 votes are against the idea. But let’s first look at the general feeling among those that think this a great idea:

Of course, there are those (53%, the majority) who would rather not



Of course, there is one thing we could all agree on…

Late last season, long-time Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw spoke out against the idea with The Athletic.

How would there not be more offense? If they shrink the box and there’s no give at all, it’s going to be crazy. There’ll be more walks. And then the walks are going to slow down the pace of play. And then the games will be longer. And then the pace of game is gone. So it’s, like, what do you want? You want a fast game with more offense but not too many walks? So I mean, that’s embarrassing, honestly.

What do you think about robot umpires? Electronic strike zones? Angel Hernandez? Let us know in the comments below!

NEXT: Umpires to Wear Microphones to Explain Review Calls in 2020

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  1. Bad calls are part of the game. Yes when one goes against you, no when one goes in our favor.

  2. I, for one, welcome our new digital overlords. I mean really, how many times have I sat in a chair 1500 miles away from the game and easily saw that a pitch was either a ball of a strike because of PitchCast. We’ve all been doing it for years, so why not have an earpiece in the Chief Ump’s ear letting him (or her) know that the ball actually did pass through the strike zone. I am tired of blown ball/strike calls …even IF bad calls are “part of the game” ppphhhttthh!

  3. Angel Hernandez is the only reason you need to know why baseball needs electronic balls & strikes.

  4. It wouldn’t be shrinking the zone it would be calling balls and strikes the way the rules of the game intended it. Off the plate is supposed to be a ball

    1. So called Baseball Fans that are in favor of robots controlling the game have no real love for the game. Every change made, such as this ridiculous experiment takes the human element away! You want robots play video games you morons! The game has been around for 150 years, and before idiots started messing with it, it was great! Take me back to the 50’s/60’s when the game was played the it was supposed to be played. The rest of you can take a hike!

      1. The athletes that play the sport and the crowd. There’s your human element and that’s all that’s necessary

  5. Gosh kersh. That would be awfull if they called balls, balls and strikes, strikes. How would baseball survive! Oh yeah those are supposed to be the rules. Pitchers would have to learn to pitch and batter’s could focus on the strike zone, not today’s umpire and his personal strike zone.

  6. Bad Calls are BAD part of the game. Ans must go away.

    Hitting is way down because the large strike zone. It needs to be shrunk. Aren’t you tired of so many hitters hitting .220, 230, or worse?

    And hitters should know what the strike zone is. Pitchers had the advantage for way too long.

    Everyone knows what strike zone should be, all robo umps do is actually enforce it.

    1. Nice try…hitting is down because everyone is trying to hit that perfect launch angle. That leads to more uppercutting at the ball which mean more whiffs, fly balls and topping the ball into grounders. The taller player can take advantage of the launch angle thing like Bellinger, Judge, Yellich, Trout and such. Very few of the short guys can do it. The guys that still hit line drives to all fields or into the gaps are as important as they ever were. Those guys are the ones setting the table for the others. If baseball rewarded 200 hits the same way they reward 40 homeruns, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

      I don’t mind the robotic strike zone. Everyone will adjust and as many pitches that pitchers didn’t get before (like the hard low and away slider or sinker) they will now get with certainty… When its in the strike zone. The masters will be those who can make batters swing when they are not.

      And best of all, there will be no bitching by the batters. The strike zone will be the same every time so get in the box, get ready and swing away because if you won’t swing at that chest high pitch or the one at the knees because you don’t like it, get ready to be rung up with regularity.

  7. I would like to see it so there is consistency in the calling of balls and strikes. It won’t depend on which umpire you have that day, and if that umpire is having a good day where he can be fair and accurate with the calling of balls and strikes. That, to me is the only real reason why we should do it.

  8. There’s too many custom strike zones in the game the strike zone isn’t supposed to be up for interpretation

    1. As a former umpire I can say this. The Strike Zone is 100% about interpretation. Every umpire has a different vantage than another, as well as different positioning behind the plate, because of how they believe it helps them see the ball. So as long as the human element is there, the strike zone will always be subject to interpretation. Only a cut and dried regulation strike zone not subject to rain, wind, weather, dust, medical issues, etc will eliminate HUMAN interpretation and only a computer can be that rigid and think that fast and see what actually happens.

      One thing it will eliminate is catchers stealing strikes because of how they quickly frame the pitch. That will keep light-weight “Mendoza-line” players out of the big leagues and make the quality of the offense better. No offense to Austin Barnes but do you think he would be on the Dodger roster if he wasn’t such a great framer of pitches? Not with his batting average.

      I say bring on the electronic eye and lets see what really happens!

      1. I wasn’t talking about mistakes I’m talking about purposely creating your own custom zone they talk about certain umpires having different zones all the time like giving a few inches off the outside or below the knees or inside or wherever. Electronics should call balls and strikes and the human umps can make the other calls because there’s replay review that can correct any mistakes. The only human element that’s needed is from the athletes playing the game and the crowd

    2. To me it’s not about the variations of strike zones that is the problem, it is the CONSISTENCY of those zones pitch-by-pitch. This technology only increases the accuracy, therefore the consistency. Trust me, if the league had this technology 20 years ago, we wouldn’t even notice it now. I mean, the instant replay works much better than I anticipated….

  9. This is 50/50 for me. You would gain accuracy, consistency, and eliminate personal umpire strike zones. The high heat at the top of the zone which is rarely given to the pitcher would now be in play, but dangerous in a live ball era. I would simply say this about computer detection of strikes. Strikes should be based on any part of the ball touching the zone. If the computer detects even one seam touching the outermost edge of the zone, with 99.999999 percent of the ball outside the zone, it should be called a strike. We’re in a live ball era that greatly favors hitters right now. I don’t want to see pitchers placed at an even greater disadvantage

    1. That is exactly how it will be determined. Just like those strikezone insets in the TV that show and elongated cylinder with just a little part of the plate caught within the cylinder. And that is fair for the reason you state. Imagine the success of the guy who can live at the very edge of the white and get mostly black. That will be the 30 million dollar pitcher.

  10. Dodger106W I agree with you. These personal strike zones of each umpire has always screwed up the game. Some of the umps are terrible about a moving zone or calling a strike on a ball at the shoe tops. A constant zone would be great to establish.
    It will help the pitcher also as he will know were it is instead of needing to guess. I do not believe it will result in more walks. The time is now lets get this done and take the error out of the zone.

  11. I am 100% in favor of the electronic strike zone. It is so maddening seeing how bad calls effect the game. It’s not just Hernandez that is a poor ump to have behind the plate, Joe West is a terrible Ump too as well as a few others. We have reviews via replay for calls on the bases so let’s complete this effort to get the calls right with the electronic calls of balls and strikes…….And if that does not happen at least get rid of the Umps that are so bad at it. Maybe they should have to qualify every year and prove they are major league level Umps.

  12. I’m all for the test. There should still be plate umpires, to overrule the robot if it makes an obvious mistake, or to call interference, or outs at home, etc. I guess, from people’s mood, that tech is banned. Welcome to day baseball, and the immortal cry, “Kill the ump!”

  13. Calling balls and strikes electronically is perhaps the stupidest idea baseball’s ever had (and that’s saying a lot). The human element is part of the game. What’s next? Replacing all human umpires because they’re not perfect? Of course human players, coaches, managers, and GMs make tons of mistakes too, so they should be replaced as well. Bye-bye human MLB, hello computerized MLB, run and controlled by sabermetricians. Thanks, but no thanks.

  14. give umps training to see how good they are,remove they do not beat they test send them home. some are so bad you can see it on the radio

    1. Interesting take Jim. You could not only train but also test umpires by requiring 90 percent agreement with the electronic strike zone before you are allowed to ump behind the plate. Anyone who can’t make the grade is restricted to base ump, or something other than behind the plate.

  15. Let’s get the strike zone correct and consistent for everyone. Kershaw seems to think it will lead to more walks but let’s face it, the batters are still going to swing and miss, they’re still gonna be called out on strikes. Guys like Justin Turner who have very keen eyes for the strike zone will do better and pitchers will have to adjust a little. In the end it will make the game more fair and who should be against that?

  16. Well, I said it before, it was bound to happen. Hey, let’s try it out. It may not be permanent. There has been a lot of complaints about bad calls so now they’re trying something new.

  17. I’m for accurate results just like cyclops has brought to tennis. But one consequence is that catchers who are adept at framing pitches will start making a LOT less money. Also pitchers who have pitches that bend into the tiniest slice of black at the end will start racking up more K’s. Umpires can give up on a pitch just like a hitter when it seems to start so far out of the zone.

  18. If you go to an electronic strike zone, you should go all the way with a 3d zone. The 2d outline you see on TV is inadequate. Home plate is 17 inches wide at the front. It extends 8.5 inches straight back on both sides before coming to a triangular point nearest to the catcher along two 12 inch lines. Don’t ask me who came up with that goofy configuration, that’s what it is. If any part of that outline is even nicked by the ball, it should be a strike. For example Randy Johnson was tall, long armed, and threw semi side arm. He could throw pitches that missed the front edge of the strike zone, but hit deeper in. This would be hard for a human umpire to detect, but not for a computer with 3d imaging capability. Give pitchers every millimeter of the strike zone to work with. Up and down, side to side, and even in terms of depth. Maybe the old eephus, slow ball pitch could make a comeback. It could be head high at the front of the plate, and drop into the zone at the back of the plate. I don’t see that happening, but I’m in favor in giving the full zone to the pitcher to offset the live ball advantage for hitters that is already turning games into home run derbies.

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