Minor League Baseball Team Tests Out Robotic Umpire

SAN RAFAEL, CA- Technology meets baseball.

A minor league game in northern California became the first to use a computerized umpire.

The traditional fabric of baseball is now being challenged by technology.

"This is something that I've always thought about with the technology in '85,'" said Eric Byrnes, a former professional baseball player. .

He says America's pastime needs to call on a new tech recruit.

"The outcome of that count, all of sudden, changes the outcome of a game, because why? Because potentially the umpire went out and had one too many cold beverages the night before," Byrnes said.

At Tuesday's San Rafael Pacific's game, it wasn't human eyes deciding the strike zone, but several cameras.

"I'll be doing everything that an umpire normally does except calling balls and strikes," explained home plate umpire Dean Poteet, "I'm excited to see how it works. Forty years of umpiring, this will be my first time with something like this."

The cameras track the ball 40-to-50 times from the moment it's released from the pitcher's hand, until it crosses home plate.

At that point it will either be called a ball, or a strike.

A camera in center field is also adjusted up and down, based on the height of the hitter.

 Pitchers admit they'll need to switch things up.

"Probably the biggest difference is going to be the high strike and being able to get that pitch that you probably normally wouldn't get. Just because the umpires are used to looking low," said Pacific's Michael Kershner.

Most players and fans seemed to welcome the technology, and to critics who worry 'robot strike zones' will destroy a little piece of baseball's soul, Byrnes says the game is constantly evolving. 

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