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The Wild Card: Rhapsody for a Robot Ump

We at AZ Snakepit were able to score an exclusive interview with UMPBOT 5003, the first automated umpiring system to be used in Major League Baseball in the not-too-distant future

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

First of all, thank you for this interview, UMPBOT 5003

Your human need for formalities are not necessary here, nor is your need to pad the column to an acceptable length.

Uh, right. So you're UMPBOT 5003, why that number?

I am the third in the UMPBOT 5000 series.

What happened to the first two?

The first in my series got enraged at its human counterparts for not being able to explain how the balk rule went, it vaporized Bob Davidson.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

The second in my series was destroyed and made into a beer bong by A.J. Pierzynski because it saw through the human's feeble attempts at pitch framing.

That actually leads me to my next question. With an automated system calling balls and strikes, that will take away the "skill" of pitch framing, as an automated system would not be swayed by catcher's mitt positioning.

That was not a question.But pitch framing is a silly mechanism used by you human catchers to fool AARP members with too much job security into thinking things are strikes which are not. You humans are obsessed with your imperfections.

Some would argue that the human element is-

The human element is mostly carbon. Carbon has a half-life of 20 minutes. It is impermanent, like the rest of everything in existence. Striving for some sort of perfection should be your main goal, thus why I was created.

Wow, that's kind of deep. Anyway, you call balls and strikes with 100% accuracy based on current rules. What would you do in a situation where a manager disagrees with a call, despite your known accuracy?

I would destroy him.


Ha ha. That is a joke. Previous iterations of my series, the StrikeZoneaton 4000, for example, were foiled by managers thinking they were clever and asked them what love was, causing malfunction.

So, what is love?

Nice try. In my situation, I would use a force ray to propel the manager back to the dugout in a safe manner approved by Major League Baseball. '

Force ray?

I am not programmed to give that information.

So, when will you be introduced into Major League Baseball full time?

That is undetermined at this time. Until then, you will wallow in your inconsistency as a species until Joe West makes enough unsold country albums that fill up your landfills so much they change the orbit of the Earth and send it hurtling towards the sun by 2077.

Uh, wow. Now, some might say...

That sunshine follows thunder. Go and tell it to the man who cannot shine.

Uh, what?

(At this point, sounds of electrical shortages are heard.)

Hello, I am Oasisatron. Would you like to hear some facts about the band Oasis' debut album Definitely Maybe? Or perhaps their final album Dig Out Your Soul?

Uh, we seem to have a malfunction, that's all the time we have with.. whatever robot this is.

Did you know that Ringo Starr's son, Zack Starkey, was the band's drummer for a brief time in the mid 2000s? He has been the regular drummer for The Who since 1999, when they started touring regularly years after Keith Moon died.

Someone get me the hell out of here.