Yesterday, ESPN.com posted an article about why an automated home-plate umpire would improve Major League Baseball. I couldn't agree more.
One of the things I like about baseball compared to other sports is that for the most part, umpires (or referees) don't determine the outcome of close games. Alternatively, this happens all the time in the NBA and NFL. In those leagues refs can call fouls or penalties on just about anything, and the inconsistencies in their decisions frequently affect who wins and who loses.
With MLB, that's not really the case. When somebody gets a game-winning hit, there's rarely any debate. In football and basketball players defend each other, which gives referees the ability to award penalties and fouls if that defense is not played fairly. In baseball, guys defend the ball--either they make the play or they don't. It's not up to umpires to decide things like "no that's not an out, you defended too aggressively to make that catch, I'm ruling it a hit instead."
However, there is one part of baseball where the umps do have complete control and human error plays a major part: Calling balls and strikes. Check out the stats in the article I linked to above on the difference between hitting with an 0-1 count vs. 1-0, or 1-2 vs. 2-1. They're staggering.
The TV networks broadcasting the games already show us whether or not balls cross the plate in a batter's strike zone. Why not just give this info to umpires to make their calls? It seems like a no-brainer.