Monday October 31st, 2016

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Could balls and strikes in Major League Baseball be soon called by robot umpires?

One manager thinks so.

Following Game 3 of the World Series on Friday night — where the Cleveland Indians defeated the Chicago Cubs 1-0 — Cubs manager Joe Maddon was asked generally speaking about instant-replays, which included three such instances during the game. He commented that he likes the technology integration but still believes some aspects of it need to be addressed.

“For example, like when hovering over a bag and all of a sudden you say the guy came off the bag, something like that or the hand was above home plate, almost like breaking the plane in football, I’d like to see some adjustments, but I think overall it’s wonderful,” Maddon told reporters on Friday night.

“Furthermore, I would imagine eventually you’re going to see it call balls and strikes at some point. But for right now I think it does a great job.”

Of the three replays last night, one was overturned, a pickoff by Chicago pitcher Kyle Hendricks of Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor. The number of replays overturned have increased from 47.3 percent two years ago to 50.4 percent in 2016. How MLB continues to improve replay, which began in 2008 with home run review, still remains to be seen.

Last week, Maddon was again in the news around technology, this time for a hiccup with his own iPad as he couldn’t submit his game lineup. After 90 minutes of talking with IT support, Maddon did it the old fashioned way and called it in.

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