Baseball, unlike many profitable industries, will never be automated to limit costs.  It is true that technology, including an automated ball-strike (ABS) system is appearing in baseball.  But this technology assists and enhances the human factor, rather than reducing the need for players. 

Like other professional sports, baseball lives in a niche where people PAY to watch the workers doing their jobs.  The human side of the game makes it compelling.  I want to see whether my favorite batter will break an individual record that’s within reach.  I want to know whether the new relief pitcher can bail my team out of a tight spot. It’s the suspense of an unfolding story.  A fan’s heart is stirred when an injured All-Star turns a bad season around in the final drive toward the playoffs.

2019 view of Cleveland’s Progressive Field. (Image from wikipedia)

Excitement of Overachieving Teams

Many people have a need to witness healthy competition. 

It’s particularly exciting when the underdogs become champs. 

Seattle has had a negative run differential all season and yet are in the wild card race for the final week. 

San Francisco was not expected to play above .500 ball but were the first team to 100 wins

Tampa has the best American League record and the most wins in team history

This after losing several key players from last year’s pennant winners and playing in a division with three other strong playoff contenders.

Baseball can inspire fans in their daily lives. This checklist shows you how that is true!

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Human Decisions In Baseball 

The host team decides whether a game will start under questionable weather conditions.  Two or three times in every season, a team postpones a game when weather conditions seemingly weren’t that bad.  Was it done simply to line up their starting pitchers more favorably?  Even if the strike zone becomes automated, the umpires will still be calling plays at the bases and foul lines.  They also will decide when to stop the game due to bad weather. 

Rain delay during Game 5 of the 2008 World Series. (Image from wikipedia)

Opportunities for Fans to Interact with Players  

Fans can talk to batters waiting on deck, and players involved in pre-game warmups.  Sometimes the players respond. 

In one September game, Dodgers’ right fielder Mookie Betts asked a fan to throw a home run ball back on the field.  He made sure that the opposing team’s batter received it as a souvenir of his first major league home run.  The next inning, the fan was rewarded with a signed bat. 

While that was a very good trade for the fan, we don’t expect any trades that remove the human element from baseball.