It had to happen. With robots now in education, medicine, space exploration, science, manufacturing, and many other fields, it was only a matter of time before they invaded professional sports. And the time is now!
Okay, okay, the debut of a robot pitcher (it threw out the first pitch) last month at a Phillies game wasn't impressive. Nothing to write home about. But still, it was an event that opened the door and sparked lots of interest in the robot phenomenon in baseball. "We've only just begun," says a computer scientist working on robot pitchers. "Rome wasn't built in a day, y'know."
The rumor is that several major league teams are supporting this research and are willing to fork over big bucks for a robot pitcher that can come up with the goods. As one manager says, "With the proper programming and everything, I think it would be fantastic. I'd have me a star whose behavior I could trust. No drinking, late night carousing, womanizing, insulting of fans, or temper tantrums. In short, a totally dependable player who'd always be ready to play, sign autographs, mingle with the fans after the games, etc."
Cash-conscious financial managers of baseball teams are also enthralled by the prospect of robot pitchers. To them it means bye-bye to ice packs, physical therapists, days off for rest, and the financing of those expensive scouting trips to the Dominican Republic to find pitching prospects.
There is, however, one dissenting voice. The voice of a skeptical fan, who's reminding anyone who will listen: "Sandy Koufax, star pitcher of the Brooklyn Dodgers, once said, Pitching is the art of instilling fear. Let's see them invent a machine that can do that. It ain't gonna happen."