Technology: A Curse or A Blessing for Baseball?
As baseball implements more technology, is it good or bad for the integrity of the game?
Sports, for players and fans alike, is mainly about competition. But for fans, enjoying the sport is also equally important.
The popularity of various sports has increased exponentially because of clever marketing strategies, influence of social media, etc. Baseball is no exception. As teams are getting wider recognition their financial power is also increasing each day.
The financial standing and the emphasis on competition is well-evident in the way technology is being used in sports these days. Umpires in baseball, being humans are prone to errors and that plays a part in the outcome of the game.
To make the competition fair authorities are relying more and more on technology. It is good for the competition and the business of a team. But where does it leave baseball for fans? Many feel that efficiency is being prioritized at the expense of excitement.
The widespread opinion among fans is that baseball is for enjoyment, not for taking pride in a team’s financial capabilities.
On the other hand, there’s another section of baseball followers who might equate the pre-technology era with the pre-steroid-testing era, when home runs used to come very regularly and baseball was more popular than now, and relent such developments.
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About Instant Replay
It has been in implementation in the MLB since 2014. Managers get to challenge one decision per game and if it goes in their favor they are awarded another one. Mass media has been full of praise for this review system and influenced fans’ opinion.
Goose Gossage hasn’t been impressed though. In an interview he explained what has gone wrong with MLB. Managers could get into the Umpires faces when decisions went wrong. That energy would flow throughout the stadium. Goose Gossage says “Now you have to sit there for five and wait for a f****** replay.” He believes that the human element is the fabric of the game.
Data Analysis a real buzzkill
This analytic whirl began back in 1990s when the philosophy of ‘Moneyball’ was introduced by Billy Bean’s Oakland A’s. Now all you hear in baseball terminology is exit velocity, launch angles, spin rates, etc. All this technology has made playing more efficient but at what cost.
The joy is being sucked out of the game.
The playing style is being changed in order to comply with the data analysis. On the basis of analytics a batter is encouraged to strikeout more often that earlier. It’s acceptable as long as they substitute it with efficient and quality hits (home run). Analytics also tell how the risk involved in getting caught stealing is not worth the reward. Sports get boring without the risk.
Players are being judged on the basis of statistics now and not what fans see with their own eyes. Sports should make you jump around. But it is merely becoming an instrument of revenue generation in the hands on big corporations.