‘And…You’re Out!’

Major League Baseball is testing new technology to help settle often-occurring ball vs. strike conflicts. The tests will occur nationwide in all AAA parks. They call it the “automated ball and strike calling system,” or ABS. Engineers from MLB have been working on the system since 2019. It uses specialized cameras from Hawk-Eye, arranged strategically around the park to track the ball from the pitcher’s mound to the catcher’s mitt.

The umpire is still there to call balls and strikes, but when a hitter, catcher, or pitcher challenges a call, the in-stadium scoreboard displays the ABS decision, confirming or changing the umpire’s ball/strike call. Each team will still have three challenges per game, and if the player wins their challenge and the call is overturned, the team keeps their challenges. The technology, however, may make them less likely to challenge since they may be more likely to lose very close calls.

The technology will act as the final judge. Current testing is to ensure that ABS doesn’t drag too much on the game’s flow.

How do you feel about this addition to the game? Are we getting too precise? Are call errors part of the game?

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