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SPORTS TALK: Let's hear it for technology ... and how awful it really is

I don't know if I'll buy this reasoning but I'm game for anything.

A recent study in Integrative Organismal Biology, published by Oxford Academic, features research which showed that facial hair may have evolved over time to help men absorb blows to the head better. It's a fascinating read if you can spare 10 minutes of your life but the study's authors apparently found that fully-furred samples were capable of absorbing more energy than samples that were sheared.

What this means is that the next hirsute dude I see is getting a first-hand trial run.

Anyway ...

Just automate it, they said ...

You know how everyone is talking about getting rid of umpires in baseball and going with an automated system? Because that's more accurate than the human eye and it would be consistent?

Yeah, it's consistent alright in both getting it right and giving players and managers all the grief of a sentient being. The Atlantic League, one of the many minor leagues around North America, used an automated ball/strike system for the 2019 season, including its playoffs and I have been an avid viewer of YouTube videos documenting how silly and hilarious the whole thing has been. If you haven't seen it, go and check it out because it is worth the time.

For example, there are pitches that look like balls and most likely would be called a ball by an arbiter with a pulse. Not the computer, though. No, sir – it is a strike. Same thing with ball calls. Should have been a strike but not to the artificial intelligence.

The reactions of players and managers just makes it that much more funny to watch. What, you gonna yell at the home plate umpire? He's not the one making the call. All he's doing is relaying what's told to him in an earpiece by some stiff looking at a screen.

Perhaps the funniest part of it all is the delayed reaction of the whole thing.

The plate umpire stays in his crouch for two or three seconds and then rises to call the strike. Honestly, is this what we want for baseball? So many other sports have been ruined by video replay simply to placate the diaper brigade who want to "get it right."

Well, this is what we've been told will solve the problem, right? Getting rid of the human element will make things better. Calls will be consistent. No one will complain because it's being called correctly.

You know what's coming next, right? Maybe we should only use automated ball/strike calls when it's a third strike or some other stupid reason for people not to admit they were wrong. Just call the damn game.

Let the shaming continue

The Houston Astros/Asterisks are still the official 2017 World Series champions, even though they cheated to do it. They should have the title stripped from them and given to the Los Angeles Dodgers but for some reason, they are still champs.

Craft brewer Departed Soles has created a consumable reminder of the Houston Astros/Asterisks 2017 season – let the shaming continue!
photo courtesy of Departed Soles Brewing Company/Twitter

The best way you, I and the rest of the world can shame them for eternity is to remind them of how dirty they were back then and thanks to a brewery in New Jersey, we can.

Departed Soles is the name of the craft brewer in the state and it has a new India Pale Ale out called Trash Can Banger.
Yes, it's real and even comes with a top meant to resemble a trash can lid. It's all in memory of how the Astros used that centre field camera and then banged on that trash can in the Astros dugout that everyone claimed not to know about yet was being hammered every inning of every Astros home game to let batters know what type of pitch was coming.

I don't know how I'll be able to get a six-pack or two sent here but if there's any baseball this season, this beer needs to be sent to every ballpark where the Astros will be playing this season. It's an IPA so it's gotta be good.

And finally ...

Good Idea: Renting a baseball stadium for $1,500 per night on Airbnb.

Bad Idea: Why aren't other teams doing this?

Covid-19 has basically taken the revenue streams out of professional sports in North America and unless you're in the big four – NHL, NBA, NFL or MLB – you are really crying poor.

Leave it to minor league baseball, though, to come up with a promotional gig which is absolute genius, in my humble opinion.

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the AA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, is offering up its stadium to those who are looking for the "ultimate baseball experience." For the rather reasonable price of $1,500 per night, you can rent the entire complex with full access to the team's clubhouse, a large bedroom complete with 10 beds and full use of the batting cage and the field. For a little extra, there's even a food and beverage package you can access.

The view is awesome – right on the Atlantic Ocean – and think about what you can do. Late-night games, midnight buffets, movie night, imitating that "natural disaster" scene from Bull Durham ... watch the movie and see what I mean. In any rate, it's a decent little deal and brings in some much needed cash for a team that is no doubt struggling along with the rest of us.

Until next time, folks ...