MLB should keep the human element in baseball, robot scraps
The Houston Astros won the World Championship the other day after a six-game streak with the Philadelphia Phillies. It was Houston’s second win since 2017, when they won their first title despite a cheating scandal. The series had memorable moments, including a 10-run opening with Homer from Phillies catcher JT Realmuto and a no-hitter by the Astros staff in Game 4. Philadelphia’s Zack Wheeler was hooked after 70 throws.
With a 1-0 lead in the sixth game of Game 6 only to watch loyal Jose Alvarado cede Homer three runs to Houston’s Jordan Alvarez, effectively ending the World Championship. It couldn’t have been much more devastating to Phillies fans when bowlers used to throw 140 or more shots into the game, especially when it counts.
In Fort Myers Beach, most of them couldn’t watch the series – not at home. There is no cable yet. Most of them have bigger fears than baseball games. People’s lives were lost in Hurricane Ian. Homes and businesses were destroyed. People are trying to rebuild under FEMA’s 50% rule restrictions while county, town and state are dealing with whether municipalities can make above-market-value exceptions in determining whether these homes can be rebuilt or demolished. Debris is still piled high, as in other areas of Lee County and neighboring counties. Some live under roofs with tarps and most restaurants are closed. Many people do not know if they can rebuild their homes. Hospitality workers are unemployed. Today, a tropical storm or a Category 1 hurricane named Nicole might land on us.
Some of these stories are in today’s newspaper and more will be told in the coming weeks.
Sports are one of the distractions many Americans look to when switching from life’s challenges or even a hurricane. That’s why it’s worth mentioning baseball.
After the events of 9/11, the baseball season was temporarily suspended although the lasting memory of the consequences that brought the country together was the 2001 World Series in which President George W. Bush threw first pitch in a game between the New York Yankees. and Arizona Diamondbacks. Baseball is America’s pastime and has played a big role for many decades in southwest Florida as baseball teams prepare each spring for the long season.
Due to Hurricane Ian and a year in which bad weather swamped our ability to watch enough of the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (the Minnesota Twins’ Solo Company A), we didn’t have a chance to write about their division-winning season. Which ended in a playoff loss to the Dunedin Blue Jays. The team’s season included several promising young shooters. Right-hander David Vista provided a batting average of 148 hits in five games before being promoted to High-A Cedar Rapids. Festa went down well there with a 7-3 record and 2.71 ERA.
Some of the other good guns for Fort Myers this year were Travis Adams, Jordan Carr, Pearson Uhl, Marco Raya and John Stankovic.
Third baseman Keuni Cavacou was named Florida State League Player of the Year in September after scoring 0.345 with three homers in his last eight games.
One of the pieces of the baseball season at Fort Myers that was difficult to bear was the introduction of a challenge system based on the robotic hitting zone (known as robot referee). Under the system tested this season in Single-A, on certain days there is a challenge system in place where the umpires call balls and hits, and the bowler, hitter, and hitter have the ability to appeal the referee’s call to ABS. Each team received three challenges while retaining the successful appeals.
If this sounds difficult to fathom, it has been more difficult to watch the coaches shouting challenges with it unclear whether balls or hits are being supported or rejected, and the pace of play stalled. The “robot rule” Appeals to those frustrated by the lack of response to ball and strike calls. But computers have limits, too. The electrical diagrams on TV and computers that show us where the stadium is, are not always accurate. The camera used in “stomach muscles” Or the robot referee does not catch the ball as it moves across the board. A curved ball or slider that rests on the knees or shoulders at the top of the board (where the camera captures the pitch), can land in or out of the strike zone while landing in the catcher’s gauntlet. These referee calls are the human element in the game.
In a time of humanitarian crisis here at Fort Myers Beach, we wish the human element could still be in the game in baseball.
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