You might soon be making sports betting picks based on the calls of a robot in Major League Baseball. That’s not a sentence that most ever thought would be likely, but that is exactly what could happen in the coming years.
Major League Baseball continues to explore the use of robot umpires and that “experiment” will be moving up to the Triple-A level for the 2022 season. At this point it feels less like an experiment and more like a clear sign that these robot umps are coming to MLB.
The Automated Ball-Strike (ABS) system is the one that is used by MLB and it was first introduced just a few years ago. This system has been working its way up through the minor leagues and it’s now just one step away from getting to the Major Leagues.
In order to implement the ABS system in MLB, it would take approval from both the owners and the players, and those two sides haven’t exactly gotten along. MLB would also want to ensure that there are no errors with this new piece of technology, because there is too much riding on each game.
Improvements in technology is typically viewed as a good thing, but there is some worry about this specific product. The ABS system has been working great since it was implemented, but there are some concerns about how it will change the game moving forward.
The current MLB umpires have agreed to work with the league if this new system was implemented, but it’s unclear how that will work. Humans and technology don’t always mix, especially when they are both looking to do the exact same job.
Major League Baseball executives and front offices have been investing in technology behind the scenes, but having robot umpires would bring that technology onto the field. With the rapid growth in technology, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened.
Why the Need?
It’s pretty easy to see why there is a need for robot umpires in Major League Baseball, and it’s due to the recent uptick of blown calls. It’s hard to know whether the umpires have gotten worse in recent years or if social media has brought the mistakes to light.
Players and coaches love to critique the strike zone on a daily basis and the commissioner’s office has taken notice of that. The league has also seen a number of older umpires retire over the last few years, and they were running out of options to take over the games.
There is an actual strike zone that is written in the MLB rule book, but each umpire has always made up their own rules. This will change when robot umpires come along, and the strike zone should technically be the same for every game.
Until these robot umps have been implemented into MLB for a few years, it’s hard to know if this will give pitchers or hitters an advantage. Robot umps are going to change the game forever, but it’s unclear in what way that change will occur.
An Impact on Betting?
Betting on baseball has always included having a human element to the game, and it was expected that some errors would occur. These errors always seemed to even out throughout the course of a game or season, but robot umpires could be a complete gamechanger.
If these robot umps are behind the plate for MLB games in the future then it’s going to take some time to see how this will impact the game. Will a more consistent strike zone lead to more offense, or will the pitchers take advantage?
Technology is already playing a big role in the sports betting industry, but having a robot impacting a game will be much different. It’s unclear what this impact will be, but there is going to be a learning curve that takes place for both bettors and sportsbooks if this does take place.