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Brewers Reacts Survey Results: Fans want automated strike zone

Inconsistent umpiring across league has fans ready for more changes

MLB: Spring Training-Milwaukee Brewers at Los Angeles Dodgers Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the MLB. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Milwaukee Brewers fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to participate.

In this week’s Reacts survey, we asked fans if they’d like to have an automated strike zone implemented in the MLB. After multiple questionable calls were made by home plate umpire Scott Barry during the Brewers loss to the Diamondbacks on Monday, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 82% of Brewers fans want an automated ball-strike system.

As we shared in the release of the survey, Barry’s poor umpiring was estimated to favor the D-backs by 1.49 runs. While the Brewers ended up losing 3-0, the difference could very well have fallen to one or two inconsistent calls behind the plate.

An automated ball-strike system was implemented in minor league baseball and the Arizona Fall League in 2022. Rather than simply having “robot umps,” the AFL had umpires make the calls as usual, but with the ability for hitters, catchers, and pitchers to challenge the calls, which triggers a decisive visual of the pitch on the video board. Each team gets three challenges per game, with successful challenges retained for later use in the game.

The use of the system brings to mind tennis’ use of reviews on the video board to determine whether balls are in or out of bounds.

Given that we know Rob Manfred is willing to make changes to the game we all know and love, is a change in store for MLB umpiring? Only time will tell.

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