The Fightins'
Apr
19
2011
Pitching Robot: Friend or Foe?
Posted by Dash Treyhorn at 9:39 pm ET 23 Comments

Tomorrow morning, I’ll be making the 90 minute trek down the turnpike to head to my most favorite place in Pennsylvania: Citizens Bank Park. It will be my second game this season, and my first time seeing Cliff Lee in person. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to some afternoon baseball, as most of us would if it meant not having to sit in an office all day while the more fortunate got to sit in the sun and watch the glory and splendor of American’s Pastime.

Then I saw this:

Huh, I thought. A robot that can throw a baseball? How quaint. Here I thought they called those “pitching machines,” and I used one of those in high school, but whatever. But being the ever curious person that I am, I wanted to know more. I loved robots growing up, and I one day dreamed about having a robot best friend or something.

Needless to say, I got a little more excited. It’d be like a real life Transformer, I thought. Then I tracked down this column, and it was then that I realized just how wrong I was.

They started with a Segway, gave it a robotic arm and added a third wheel. They also gave it a pneumatic cylinder, which delivers a burst of compressed carbon dioxide to power the pitch.

Do you see? It started out as a Segway. You know, those fancy scooters that lazy hipsters cruise around in? Only it added a cannon, an arm, and a third wheel. It evolved. But it only get’s worse.

“The robot’s computer brain can be tweaked to change pitch velocity and trajectory.”

Robot computer brain. It has the capacity for thought.

This is it, kids. The age of the machines is nearly upon us. First, they made that computer that could win at chess. Then there was the one that did really good at “Jeopardy.” If dominating at a game show wasn’t bad enough, they’ve now come for baseball. And it won’t stop there. Soon, they’ll learn to bunt. Then they’ll learn how to change tires. And then what?

Remember that episode of “The Simpons” when the robots at Itchy and Scratchy Land became self aware and took over the park, leaving our heroes in peril? That wasn’t fiction. We’re being warned. Think about it, every movie about robots inevitably takes the route of them growing a soul and deciding they want to enslave the human race. Even the “good” robots – Johnny Five, Bender, that goofy bastard from “Lost in Space” – they all went mad, drunk with robot power.

If you think I’m joking, guess again, chuckles. Remember the “Terminator” movies? They practically wrote the book on the machines taking over. And you know how “judgment day” is the day that the machines become self aware because of an intuitive learning program called SKYNET? Guess what day that goes online? April 19th. Today. Two days after, the attacks start. You say it’s science fiction, I say it’s just the future. After all, fiction only just informs on reality, and not the other way around.

Really, I just want to know why the Phillies hate us so much. I mean, we pack the stadium every night so they can afford the Cliff Lees of the world, and they do this? Oh, you think it’s for our benefit. Hey kids, look at all the science! But really, they are doing little more than ushering in the era of human-robot conflict. This is how it begins.

Anyway, I’ll be at the ballpark for Wednesday’s game. If you’re there, come and say hello. I shouldn’t be too hard to spot, after all, because I’ll be the only guy carrying around a sandwich board with “SHOULD OF SPARED HUMANITY.”

If you all don’t hear from me on Thursday, you can assume that I was one of the first of many casualties in the never ending struggle for mankind against the machines.

Or maybe I just took the day off. Either one.

23 Responses to “Pitching Robot: Friend or Foe?”

  1. Ryan says:

    too long; didn’t read

  2. James Fayleez says:

    I’ll be the guy wearing the DROPPIN GLOADS t-shirt.

  3. Ron Hipple says:

    I wish I had a robot that would give me head

  4. Carl Weathers says:

    Dash,

    90 minutes down? Where do you work? Dunder Mifflin?

  5. Watrick says:

    I’ll be the guy wearing the Charlie Manuel Japanese baseball shirt.

  6. FanSince09 says:

    Should of stopped Miles Bennett Dyson!

  7. Reddingwb says:

    Was that a fitting tribute or did Dash just out himself as fansince09? SHOULDA KEPT YOUR ALTEREGO SECRET!

  8. TheOtherJim says:

    If the robot doesn’t throw a strike, should we boo it?

  9. Shamels Raul (formerly Wertiz) says:

    1. Classic Simpsons episode. Win.
    2. Forgot I, Robot reference. Fail.

  10. Maera says:

    I think it’ll be more like Maximum Overdrive with soda machines spitting out cans of Coke at people and semis running people down.

  11. Watrick says:

    People actually watched that movie, I Robot?

  12. Can the robot hit? If so, J-Roll can sit this one out.

  13. Darcy's Mole says:

    @TheOtherJim says: NO DON’T BOOOO it or David Murphy will write a nasty gram about it

  14. CannedHeat says:

    If the robot can throw a strike, it can take the place of KK.. right?

  15. Ruben Amaro Jr. says:

    Can the Robot stick around with the team if I gives Penn. Kyle Kendrick?

  16. Shamels Raul (formerly Wertiz) says:

    @ Watrick- Against my will. It was excruciating.

  17. TC says:

    A robot learning how to bunt doesn’t scare me. A robot learning when to bunt scares me. Like Jim Riggleman. Effin suicide squeeze.

  18. PHLinPDX says:

    Weird Coincidence!!! I watched this episode of twilight zone last night.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mighty_Casey

  19. bert says:

    should HAVE. should of doesn’t mean anything

  20. Lynniemac says:

    Watrick – I saw it. More than once. But I’m a nanny and therefore contractually obligated to watch what the kids watch.

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Written by Dash Treyhorn

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