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RailRiders fans will see 'robot umpires' at PNC Field this season

The home opener is next Friday. The first pitch is at 6:35 p.m.

MOOSIC, Pa. โ€” If one of your favorite pastimes at a baseball game is heckling the ump, you might be yelling at a machine this season at PNC Field.

An automatic ball-strike system, often called "robot umpire," is making its way to Moosic for some RailRiders games. It's a trial run to see if Major League Baseball want to bring in the bots. The system was tested out in the Pacific Coast League last year.

Director of Communications Adam Marco explained how it will work:

"On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, there will be basically an automated system calling the pitches. The umpires are still there. They'll still have something to do. Then, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, the players have the ability to challenge whether the pitch is a ball or a strike. The umpire calls it; the player says, 'I don't think so.' And the umpire can put an image up on the video board where the pitch was."

That's just one of the new things swinging into the field this year. The home opener is next Friday.

"Baseball's back. We start on Friday, March 31. We have 75 home games at PNC field this year. We're trying to add new, fun experiences each and every game, making sure that anytime you come to the ballpark, it's a different experience," Marco said.

To make sure that experience is open to everyone, the stadium now has something called the "sensory safe suite."

Krista Lutzick says the stories she's heard and pictures she's received from families who have children with autism and have used the sensory room make her proud.

"We're hosting our first ever Sensory Friendly Day this June 11. We're inviting families to come out and enjoy a RailRiders game. The sound system is going to be reduced. Local organizations are going to be providing sensory-friendly activities," Lutzick said.

And all the fun traditions you associate with a baseball game at PNC Field are still here.

"We have Waggin' Wednesday, my personal favorite. I love having all the dogs that come to the stadium. We also have Thirsty Thursdays, Fireworks Fridays, Giveaway Saturdays, which are probably our fans' favorite, and then Sunday Family Fun Day, where kids can play catch on the field and run the bases after the game," marketing manager Katherine Arata said.

Gates open for the home opener next Friday at 5:30 p.m. The first pitch is 6:35 p.m.

For the full schedule, click here. For tickets, click here, or call (570) 969-2255.

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Posted by Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders onย Thursday, March 2, 2023

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