On July 10, 2019, the very first “Robot Umpire” in North America went live. The tech debuted in the independent Atlantic League’s midseason All-Star Game. The technology relies upon a computer system to determine balls or strikes, but a human umpire still relays the outcome. There are still glitches to work out, but it looks as though Major League Baseball is heading in the direction to remove subjectivity and discretion from the umpires. In other major sports, we see the same drive to replace human judgement with technological measurement.
In the NFL, a blown pass interference call in the 2019 NFC Championship game between the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams led to the immediate implementation of a coaches challenge for pass interference. Essentially, coaches can now look to the instant replay and contest the subjective call of the official. In the NHL, a costly yet unwarranted 5 minute major given to the Las Vegas Golden Knights in Game 7 of their second rounds playoff series against the San Jose Sharks this past spring likewise got the NHL to change its rule concerning a coaches challenge for major penalties.