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Robots on the Mound

Baseball is a thinking man's game. But if you talk to 'fans' around the country you'll find that less and less of them appreciate the subtleties of the sport. The most obvious example is the desire for more offense. It brings to mind the ads that ran on ESPN for a while showing the glamorous life of hitters versus the mundane one of pitchers. The hitters just shrugged and said, 'Chicks dig the long ball.'

When Barry Bonds is chasing down another homerun record the country goes a little nuts with every at bat. 'Did he hit one today'' However, if Randy Johnson is closing in on another 20 win season only the ESPN crowd truly appreciates the magnitude of such a feat. Unfortunately, neither may do much of anything this season.

When I saw the "S-3" launch a rainbow towards the plate at PNC Park to kick off a game between the Orioles and Pirates, it frightened me a bit. Maybe this is a harbinger of what baseball will become one day.

With a little work we could certainly make these robots come to life and perhaps give real players a run for their money. Hey Pixar's doing it with the movies. Why can't Major League Baseball do it too' It's one way to fight teams with bloated payrolls.

We'll have robots pitch for all the teams. The robots can be programmed to randomly throw any number of pitches. There will be no intentional walks and no bunting allowed. We'll completely remove all the subtleties of the game. Just bring it and hit it. The games will go faster because teams won't have to be continually bringing in middle relief and closers. Each team gets one tricked-out super robot. With the money they save in the long term they can spend on juiced up oversized sluggers to hit the long ball and keep the fans coming to the game.

Hey don't blame me. I didn't invent the robot. The 'S-3' was designed by Carnegie Mellon University and RoPro Design of Pittsburgh. I guess Pittsburgh is into a different kind of steel these days.

Keep it funky --Rick Spence

Visit RoPro Design for more information.

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