Gossels: On robot umpires and Dennis Eckersley

From Jennifer Gossels at The Hardball Times on March 26, 2019:

I’m a moderate on robo-umps. On the one hand, I support any amount of technology that will help get calls right. On the other hand, I am swayed by the experts who tell us the machines are not yet ready to call balls and strikes in real time; I worry about the potential backlash against the analytics and progressive baseball community if and when the machines blow a call. One argument that I do not find convincing involves a nostalgia for the human element of the game. I love tradition as much as the next person, but I feel no nostalgia when I think about this game, which took place on May 6, 2016.

However, when I reflect on a particular Little League contest from the spring of 2001 and the place it has since secured in Gossels family lore, I begin to reconsider.

The place: Codman Field in Lincoln, Massachusetts. The date: I don’t remember precisely, but some time in April or May 2001, perhaps exactly 15 years before the Ron Kulpa game that still haunts my memories. The participants: a bunch of nine-year-olds in the Sudbury/Lincoln Little League. Specifically, the game in question featured my un-victoried Athletics (un-victoried: the opposite of undefeated) against the Pirates of one Jake Eckersley, son of Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley. The Eckersleys lived in Sudbury at the time, and Jake was in my grade in school. I was aware that Dennis Eckersley was a former major leaguer, but I had no real appreciation for his greatness; he hadn’t yet been elected to the Hall of Fame.

Read the full article here: https://tht.fangraphs.com/on-robot-umps-and-dennis-eckersley/

Originally published: March 29, 2019. Last Updated: March 29, 2019.