We’re getting closer and closer to the robots taking over. Not quite, but it’s a start. 

On Wednesday, the independent Atlantic League, which is a partner of Major League Baseball, debuted the electronic strike zone during its All-Star game, making it the first American professional league to do so.

An umpire is still needed behind home in the event that the system fails to pick up a pitch, or registers a pitch totally incorrectly or fails altogether.

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The debut of the electronic strike zone was largely well received with many players having already taken note of the new changes.

“One time I already had caught the ball back from the catcher, and he signaled strike,” pitcher Daryl Thompson told the AP.

The umpires have the ability to override the computer, which considers a pitch a strike when the ball bounces and then crosses the zone. TrackMan also does not evaluate check swings.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said there’s no timeline for when the technology will be used in the majors.

“We need to see how it works, first in the Atlantic League and then probably other places, meaning other parts of minor league baseball, before it comes to Major League Baseball,” Manfred said. “Kind of gets back to the question that I was asked earlier about the baseball. We hear all the time from players: Why don’t we have an electronic strike zone, why don’t we have an electronic strike zone? We try to be responsive to those sorts of expressions of concern. We have spent a lot of time and money on the technology. It’s not just to address player concerns. It obviously has broadcasting uses. That same technology can be used in our broadcast, which has value to our fans. But we feel it’s incumbent upon us — people that play the game raised this as something that could make the game better. We kind of feel it’s incumbent on us to figure out whether we could make it work. And that’s what we’re doing.”

It’s eventually going to come to the Majors. It’ll be a ump computer hybrid behind home plate for a while. 

The future is here! 

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