clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Cub Tracks Cases the joint

New, comments

Ben Zobrist is in South Bend, Ben Zobrist signed autographs in South Bend, Ben Zobrist had a good time in South Bend, Cubs win, and other bullets, plus actual poetry

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Marlins vs Cubs
Him.
Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images

Cubs win! It’s big-boy time! It’s also time for Ben Zobrist to dominate the news cycle. I chose what I saw as the the best-of the numerous articles concerning his debut at South Bend and the chain reaction that event sets in motion. There are also some other things. While we’re all young, how about a few words concerning robot umpires, from my friend (poet extraordinaire) Frank Coffman, who was kind enough to write them for us?

CaseBot at the RoBat

(with apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer)

by Frank Coffman

The outlook wasn’t LED Lights for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
And when Cooney’s Robot died at first, and Barrow’s did the same,
A virtual silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A few turned off their Wall Viewers in “I’ve been hacked!” despair.
Some actually at the park clung to hope in the ozone-fillled air.
They thought, “If only Casey-bot could but get a whack at that—
We’d put up even money now, with THAT BOT at the bat.”

But Flynn’s bot preceded Casey’s, as did also Jimmy Shaw’s,
And the former was a decade old, while the latter had some flaws;
So upon that stricken vidience grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey-bot at bat.

But Flynn-bot stroked a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake-bot—though so unsynchronized—tore the cover off the ball;
And when the astro-dirt lifted, and vid-screens showed what had occurred,
There was Jimmy-bot at second and Flynn-bot stood at third.

Then at least the fifty present throats gave out a lusty yell;
How many in man caves and living rooms—impossible to tell.
It made fractals on the scoreboard and frazzled the betting stat,
For Casey-bot, great Casey-bot, was rolling to the bat.

There was ease in Casey-bot’s, manner as he pivoted into place;
There were lights in Casey-bot’s grill plate—a seeming smile lit CaseBot’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he anti-gravved his hat,
No viewer near or far could doubt ‘twas Casey-bot at bat.

A hundred eyes were on him as he leaked grease in the dirt;
And fifty tongues applauded when he wiped oil on his shirt;
Then while the writhing pitch-machine spun the ball in gyro grip,
Red and Blue lights flashed in CaseBot’s eye, he sneered with plastic lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And CaseBot stood still watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batbot the ball unheeded sped—
”Out-of-the-zone,” said Casey. “Strike one!” the UmpBot said.

From the benches, fifty people—all watching the replay pitch,
And through home sets many millions shouted, “I’ll be a son of a bitch!”
”Adjust it! Adjust the UmpBot” shouted all who saw the play;
For the pitch was clearly outside on the wall-to-wall display.

But CaseBot simply rolled back upon his tank-like tread,
He raised the bat on high and turned—his eyelights glowing red;
Back in the batbotbox he rolled; again the spheroid flew.
“That’s low, inside,” said CaseBot. It was. But UmpBot said, “Strike two!”

”Fix it! The thing’s been tampered with!” cried all the Mudville Crowd—
The fifty who were at the park—and those home were just as loud.
Then CaseBot’s copper cap flew up upon a cloud of steam,
And settled back upon his head. His eyes were now agleam.

The sneer is gone from CaseBot’s lip, steel teeth are clenched in hate,
He pounds—with mechanical precision—botbat upon the plate;
And now the pitchbot holds the ball, and now it lets it go,
And now—a giant WHOOOSHING sound—the force of CaseBot’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this future world of twenty-thirty-eight,
Wild RoboRapRock’s playing, virtuality still feels great;
And some few folk are laughing, but CaseBot is forgotten,
For Mudville’s twenty games behind—they knew their bots were rotten.

Now that’s entertainment! Let’s have a round, and then we’ll applaud! Thank you, Frank, and now, back to our sponsor!

Here’s today’s Cubs News and Notes. As always, * means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome). {$} means paywall. {$} means limited views.

Food for thought:

Thanks for reading.