Weird thought, right?
But it's something being implemented and tested in the baseball world. The independent Atlantic League was the first victim to test the newest technology that includes a real-life umpire still manning his or her duties behind the plate while they wear an earpiece connected to an iPhone. That person would then relay the call from the TrackMan computer system that uses Doppler radar.
That's at least how plate umpire Brian deBrauwere executed it back in July as he described it to ESPN. And Giants catcher Buster Posey isn't too sure about this new technology, specifically if these robot umps would call more balls or strikes.
"I would venture to say that more pitches would be called balls that are called strikes now," Posey told The Athletic's Jayson Stark.
The human element or emotions would no longer exist -- that's the main factor here. Stark says some of the calls catchers are used to getting "would disappear with an electronic zone."
Not all pitches are created equal which means the calls, no matter how consistent they are, won't always be accurate in the types of pitches.
A called third strike by the Trackman system/robot umpires in the Atlantic League. pic.twitter.com/eBO74kNcqi— Baseball Quotes (@BaseballQuotes1) July 13, 2019
Stark also added that Posey's right, but only to a point.
Once again ... emotions.
James Skelton, now pitching in the Atlantic League, has seen this firsthand. He said pitchers could be frustrated as well -- especially those veteran players who typically get said calls. Because of the specifics of this robotic umpire.
A portion of the baseball will have to cross over the 17-inch span from one side of the plate to the other.
"Period," Stark wrote.
That means the high and low areas of the strike zone may not matter as much. Pitchers, who typically love the fact that this zone is opened up, are amazed how much the zone feels with that extra space up top and on the bottom.
But other pitchers don't agree with Posey's thoughts. Mitch Atkins has pitched in the bigs before, but even with the Atlantic League, he said he would accept any strikes he was given. He doesn't feel the system would give more balls than strikes.
It just goes to show without the human element, it could make a huge difference.
Whether that's for better or worse remains to be seen.