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Robots Set to Steal the Show, and the Soul, from America’s Pastime

Backlash against the changes are likely, given that Major League Baseball’s video review rules were subject to fervent and heated discussion just some years ago.

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baseball

When it comes to iconic, American imagery, nothing quite beats a day at the ballpark.

We as Americans have grown up hearing the stories, nay, legends surrounding some of baseball’s greats.  Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and even the ornery and ugly Ty Cobb are all household names whose personalities can be interwoven to create a tapestry of archetypal characters here in the US of A.

Our nation’s children will, almost undoubtedly, swing a bat or a stick at a ball, or a makeshift version of one, at some point during their upbringing.

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Heck, many of us would be fine with including a question about the rules of baseball in the citizenship test for would-be American citizens; that is just how intrinsic the game is to our national identity.

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Naturally, this means that a great many fans will be disappointed or angered when changes are made in the way the game is played, broadcast, or officiated.

Such is the case in the Minor Leagues here in America, where not only are adjustments being made to the field itself, but robotic umpires are set to begin calling the game.

The 60-foot-6-inch distance between the front of the pitching rubber and the back point of home plate has been standard since 1893, but Major League Baseball reached a three-year deal to experiment in the Atlantic League, an eight-team circuit that occasionally produces big leaguers. Infield defensive shifts will be limited. Pitchers there will have to get used to 62 feet, 2 inches this summer.

Plate umpires will wear earpieces and be informed of ball/strike calls by a TrackMan computer system that uses Doppler radar. Umps will have the ability to override the computer, which considers a pitch a strike when the ball bounces and then crosses the zone. TrackMan also does not evaluate check swings.

Backlash against the changes are likely, given that Major League Baseball’s video review rules were subject to fervent and heated discussion just some years ago.

Unlike that situation, the electronic umpire will be used at nearly all times, leading many to believe that the soul of the game itself could be irreparably harmed.

 

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Sports

LeBron James Discovers that Michael Jordan is STILL the GOAT in the Public’s Eyes

…And it wasn’t even CLOSE.

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basketball

LeBron James may be the media’s favorite liberal athlete, but in the public’s eye, Michael Jordan still takes GOAT status, and it isn’t even close. James has been racking up more achievements every season and for the last few years debate has raged over whether James has finally taken GOAT status (greatest of all time) away from Michael Jordon. But while sports reporters and NBA statisticians may bicker over the particulars, it appears that the public still considers LeBron James a pretender to the GOAT. As Business Insider noted: Supporters of Jordan pointed to Jordan’s six championships, his undefeated record in the NBA Finals, and his overall influence in taking the NBA’s popularity to a new level as reasons why he’s the best. Fans of James point to his longevity, his eight consecutive NBA Finals appearances, of which he won three, and his overall brilliance on the floor beyond scoring. James is also still at his peak and passing Jordan in several statistical achievements. But a new INSIDER poll finds that James is a big loser in this barnyard battle. The poll of 1,082 Americans found former Bulls star Michael Jordan earned 66 percent of the GOAT vote while James only saw 10.4 percent support for top status. Others who found small numbers of supporters included Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Stephen Curry. Jordan picked up support across all ages, not dipping below 54 percent in any age range. Granted respondents between the ages of 18-29 were more enthusiastic about James, then again many of those respondents weren’t around for Michael Jordan’s great career. Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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Sports

Murder Conviction for Former NFL Player Aaron Hernandez Reinstated

With its decision, the high court agreed with state prosecutors who said it was not fair to vacate Hernandez’ conviction.

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NFL

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has reinstated the murder conviction of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez in a decision that Overturns decades of legal precedent. The state’s highest court ruled that the practice of vacating a criminal conviction if the defendant dies during the case is a nonsensical practice and that the doctrine will be ended in the Bay State, according to the Boston Globe. Hernandez was convicted of murder in 2015 and was in the process of appealing the conviction when he committed suicide in jail in 2017. His lawyers then filed for abatement ab initio to vacate the conviction because he died during the appeal. But the state Supreme Court ruled against vacating the conviction. “We conclude that the doctrine of abatement ab initio is outdated and no longer consonant with the circumstances of contemporary life, if, in fact, it ever was,” Justice Elspeth Cypher wrote. With its decision, the high court agreed with state prosecutors who said it was not fair to vacate Hernandez’ conviction. During his arguments before the court, Bristol District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III said, “The practice of wiping out a jury verdict like it never occurred is not fair or equitable. Just to snap your finger and have that go away because the defendant died — it’s not fair.” The former New England Patriots player committed suicide two days after he was acquitted in a second murder case concerning the deaths of two men which occurred in 2012. Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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