A quick food-for-thought article here.
A few years ago, anyone who watched baseball would hem and haw for days on end about how replay needed to be integrated into the MLB. Nowadays, the popular rallying cry seems to be electronic strike zones and/or umpires. But don’t these fans see how wrong that is? Baseball is a sport heavily defined by tradition, and while that repels many would-be followers, it is also what makes the sport what it is. Sure, replay has its uses and has overturned a large quantity of horrific calls, but when does the want for automation stop? Yes, umpires make mistakes, but they are just as human as they players on the field. If we wanted a more perfect sport, then sure, go ahead and throw in electronic strike zones, but why stop there? Why not have all the players replaced by robots who throw the ball exactly to the glove each time and all have perfect swings? Heck, you could even program an AI to become the perfect manager, making all the right decisions at all the right times. Watching humans succeed and fail is what makes sports so entertaining, and the monotonous world of perfection has no place there. If not for missed calls in sports, then what would we yell at during the games (besides the players who we are obviously better and smarter than)? In the last two minutes of an NBA game, if our defender doesn’t touch the other guy but a whistle is blown, we jump out of our seats, turn red in the face and unleash a chain of unfiltered thoughts that would make our mothers cry. Sports revolve so heavily around emotion for both the players and the fans, and adding in automation to try and correct that is just plain wrong. Sure, I hate it when a batter from my favorite team gets rung up on a pitch six inches off the plate, but that’s baseball, and that’s sports.