MLB: Is Too Much Technology Possible?

Cliff Eastham@RedsToTheBoneSenior Writer IIApril 7, 2010

Technology is a good thing, right?

Can it become overdone? I mean, do we know when to say "enough"?

Case in point: Fox Sports pitch tracker "FoxTrax". It shows the overall speed of the pitch, the speed at a certain distance from the plate, measurement of descent, measurement of break, and the temperature of the ball (just kidding about the last one, but why not?)

That is more pitch delivery 411 than I am allowed to process in this limited gray matter inside my skull. You may be different, maybe that isn't even enough information for you.

What was the genesis of the technology coup? Was it lights illuminating the darkness for a night game? Or was it the electric scoreboard, keeping people from having to manually place numbers in their proper slots (apologies to the Fenway faithful).

How did they track the speed in days of old? Did they have a guy timing it with a stop watch and then whipping out a slide rule or abacus? If so, what was their fudge factor, five or six mph? I bet that extra six inches proved to be a bitch in the calculations.

Is it now time to bid farewell to the Home Plate Umpire? Is he nearing his last called strike three? Or does he have a receiver of some sort in his hand that is connected to the 'Trax, thus eliminating the cry for a mechanical takeover?

I truly love technology. I said "amen" when Fox rolled out their yellow line to spot a first down on the screen (years after John Madden called for it in one of his books).

I was right there when Fox initiated the "fan's need to know" scoreboard on screen at all times. It looked like a blimp to me. In olden times you could watch a football game for 15 (real time) minutes before finding out what the score was.

I actually thought the K-Zone by ESPN was the coolest thing ever. I had to have Alex give me Bull$hit for $200 when TBS put that silly looking shadow on the infield side of first base to show the kind of lead a baserunner had.

Sometimes the need to know is outweighed by our common good. I don't need to know that Ryan Franklin threw a ball 94 mph, crossed the plate at 92 mph dropped four and a half inches and broke to the right three inches.

Seriously, what am I suppose to do with all that, wonder how the hell Joey Votto was able to hit it into the second deck to the opposite field?

Now that brings me to the announcers. Do we need 'em? Couldn't they be replaced by voices of Gary Thorn and Steve Phillips? It works good in a video game, you would swear those guys were actually calling the game.

The Fox thingy looks great, on HD it looks like you could reach out and readjust it, but I am afraid it is too much info for an average sports fan to digest.

What are your thoughts?

 

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