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How do you properly heckle a computerized umpire?

Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Daniel Hudson, right, and manager Dave Roberts, center, argue with first base umpire Jeff Nelson after Hudson was ejected during the sixth inning of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Every so often the discussion about how to improve the game of baseball gets into whether a computer should call balls and strikes. Ditch the home plate umpire and bring in the UM-puter.

The technology is already in every major league park for the purpose of auditing umpires and collecting pitching data. Three years ago it was actually used to call balls and strikes in a minor league game.

Technically-speaking it makes sense. A fastball takes about 375 milliseconds to reach home plate; can a guy with a mask really see where it is?

But even if it makes sense, we all know you will never replace the umpire because baseball is not just something you measure. Baseball is not just something you watch. Baseball is something you yell at. It’s the one sport where the participants spend most of their time standing on the field waiting to be heckled.

But how could you properly heckle a computer? You’d have to get a special heckle app. Alexa, heckle the UM-puter:

“Hey, wake up.”

There ya go!

“So far outside.”


“You may not be the worst.”

Hey, now you’re getting mean.

“Someone missing a few pixels today?”

That’s just cruel.

“Your neural network megabytes.”

That’ll get you booted.

Read more of Dave Ross’ commentaries, which air on KIRO Radio every day at 7:35 a.m. 

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