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Robot Umps? Please, NO!!!!


Today's Washington Post brought a story about the growing possibility that someday balls and strikes in major league baseball games may be called by robots instead of real, live umpires.


That is asinine.


A huge part of baseball is the human connection between players, managers, coaches and umpires, from ongoing banter to yelling, screaming, kicking the dirt, and guys getting tossed out of ballgames.


An ump makes a crappy call at home plate and my mind's eye goes to former Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver, all 5'7" of him, poking his finger in an umpire's chest, following him around like a banty rooster and telling him to go f--k himself. Video.


Or the time he threw his hat from home plate down the first base line because he was angry about a call.


That's baseball lore. It's memories that become indelibly ingrained in your mind. If you're a baseball fan -- and there are millions of us -- that is important. It's something we tell our kids and our grandkids about. It's fun. It's an important part of the game.


And they want to turn it over to robots? Are you kidding me?


I can see it now. A robot calls a ball on a pitch that the catcher believes is a strike in a crucial part of a game -- say the seventh game of the World Series. The bases are loaded and the winning run scores. Who's that catcher going to yell at? Who's the manager going to scream at? Who are the fans going to vilify?


A robot? What? Is the batter going to go over and bash the robot over his freaking head with his bat?


Why would anybody even go to a baseball game? Talk about killing the sport!


Technology is good. Efforts to speed up baseball games are worthwhile, to a point. I'm not crazy with the new rule limiting mound visits by the catcher, coach and manager, but it's an effort to speed things up.


But don't mess with such cherished traditions as the manager being able to argue with an umpire, or the fans being able to scream and holler at a bad call.


That's the dumbest thing I ever heard of.


No, it's worse than dumb.


It's just plain stupid.


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