Ray Kurzweil, in his recent book The Singularity is Near writes about the moment, which he sees just over the horizon, when machines will surpass human abilities and be actual thinking machines (Bob, please help me out with the explanation in comments if I’ve gotten this wrong.).
Well, in baseball terms, the moment of machine superiority may already be here. At a Marlins exhibition game yesterday, the star wasn’t any of the Marlins’ suspect prospects.
It was a pitching machine. That recorded five strikeouts.
Which lead me to think about how a pitching machine should be programmed to pitch to Old Sammy Sosa, pre-batting eye (or New New Sammy, post-batting eye): “Pitch 1: low and away slider. Pitch two:
low and away slider. Pitch 3: low and away slider. Strikeout!”
Corey Patterson, on the other hand: “Pitch one: throw ball into stands. Pitch two: throw ball into dugout. Pitch threee: roll ball to plate. Strikeout!”
And I think even a robot would take Lefty Gomez’s advice about pitching to Stan Musial: “Make your best pitch and back up third base. That relay might get away and you’ve got another shot at him.”
Opening Day can’t come too soon, if I’m talking about baseball robots.