This might be a first, but it’s very doubtful it’ll be the last.
The Arizona Fall League is experimenting with a robot umpire. The human home plate umpire is notified by the automated ump whether or not the pitch is a ball or a strike, and then calls the pitch accordingly. This system is supposed eliminate disputes over pitches. So far, there are still some kinks to work out.
Take for example the above video featuring Giants outfield prospect Jacob Heyward, the younger brother of Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward. Heyward appears to take a curveball that is both low and inside, a pitch that nearly hits the ground before reaching the catcher. Not according to the robot ump, however, which determined the pitch to be a strike, as you can see by scrolling over on the above post.
Regardless, the call upset Heyward who reacted accordingly, and was then tossed by the human umpire behind the plate, despite his protests that, “I wasn’t even talking to you!”
We can see how this would be this would be very frustrating for hitters like Howard. We also find it quite amusing.