Dr. James Andrews had better find a hobby because he’s about to have a lot of free time — and soon.
As the list of baseball’s Tommy John surgery victims reached epidemic levels (Jose Fernandez, Matt Moore, Jarrod Parker, Brandon Beachy, Patrick Corbin, et al.) commissioner Bud Selig, long revered for his quick responses to the sport’s big issues, decided something had to be done.
So he made the biggest change to the sport since the mound was lowered in 1969.
In a stunning announcement Selig revealed that following the All-Star break, Major League Baseball would replace all pitchers with JUGS brand pitching machines in an effort to cut down on UCL injuries and keep the sport’s stars off the disabled list.
The Commissioner’s Office released the following statement on Tuesday:
“After careful consideration, we believe that it is in the best interest of baseball to remove the traditional “pitcher” from the field. Despite an increased focus on pitch counts and proper rest, UCL injuries continue to rise and drastic action had to be taken to protect the future of this game. Although fans may initially be disappointed with this decision, the decrease in season-ending injuries will see their favorite players spending more time on the field and less on the D.L. Baseball has adapted to major changes in the past and we are confident that it can do it once again. “
According to sources close to Selig, pitchers will still allowed to stand on the mound and select which pitch and how hard the machine throws, as well as field the position, but will not be allowed to throw any pitches themselves.
Players around the league were quick to voice their opinions about Selig’s decision.
“I haven’t had much luck hitting against humans so I’m looking forward to taking my cracks at a machine,” said Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak. “I fixed things in my daddy’s workshop growing up so I got a good idea about how these machines tick. It’s go time for the ole Smoakamative.”
Other players were less than enthused with the change.
“I’ve been busting my hump every off-season to stay healthy while all these young guns blow out their arms,” seethed veteran southpaw Mark Buehrle. “I planned on pitching for a few more years but this latest stunt might be the last straw. How can they even call it baseball anymore?”
America’s pastime is trying to protect it’s future, but in doing so, has the sport sold its soul?
How long until robots replace umpires and technology allows for other so called improvements to baseball?
Perhaps the answer lies in the seminal 1991 video game Super Baseball 2020:
“The game follows the basic rules of baseball, but there are several upgrades since the game takes place in the year 2020. The most obvious difference from real baseball is that some of the characters in this game are robots. All the human characters are equipped with powerful armor, computer sensors, and jet-packs for improved offense and defensive skills.”
Brace yourselves baseball fans…it’s just six years away.