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Monday, January 17, 2011

Mets Plan To Test Robotic Manager Prototype This Season In Minors

You may have seen that IBM Corporation which in the past created Big Blue, a Grand Master caliber chess playing computer program, has adapted it to the TV game Jeopardy. It's called WATSON and has been having success in practice games against some of the greatest Jeopardy champions of all time.

Our investigative reporter Larry Smith has learned that Sandy Alderson, the Mets' GM, has commissioned IBM to further adapt the program for managing a professional baseball team. Not only that, but that the team plans to start using the program - working name HODGES - as early as this spring.
Smith confronted Alderson who agreed to a short interview on the spot.

SA: Might as well admit it. The press and you relentless blogger guys were going to find out soon enough.

LS: Tell us what this program can do.

SA: We expect it to do everything a major league manager can do. It will make up the lineups, decide what strategies to employ, and even argue with the umpires.

LS: You've got to be kidding me.

SA: No. Really. The program has been loaded with millions of pieces of information and can process all the Sabermetric stats like WAR, SNLVR, BABIP, FIP and the rest. You know, the stuff that is understood by only me, Bill James, and the writing staff at Baseball Prospectus.

LS: Wow

SA: And as for strategies. It doesn't take that much Artificial Intelligence to figure out when to bunt, steal, and hit-and-run.

LS: But Sandy I read where that WATSON program sometimes shoots out gibberish answers.

SA: So what? The Mets have been managed in the past by Casey Stengel and Jerry Manuel. An occasional gibberish response has never disqualified a guy from managing in the bigs.

LS: So is Terry Collins' job in jeopardy? Sorry, no pun intended.

SA: Not at all. Terry is our manager for all of 2011 although we do plan to let HODGES manage all the "B"
games in Florida starting in March.

LS: So it's all perfected?

SA: No, I wouldn't say that.  We are still working on a smoother rolling cart for it to come out of the dugout and get to the plate or a base for a discussion with the umpire. Early prototypes have been toppling over. Can't have that happen. And even worse is that the Phlegm Module isn't right. The emission is coming out the right temperature and consistency but the projectivity is no greater than 6 inches and we figure we need, at minimum, 15 inches for a "Heated Argument - level 3."

LS: So if Collins is in no danger of losing his job, what's the plan?

SA: Just like with a prized prospect we hope to have HODGES manage about 20 games at double-A this year and if he's having success we'll move him up to Buffalo. Next year will take care of itself.

LS: You're starting him at double-A? Has anyone told Backman about this yet?

SA (looking a little red-faced): Frankly, none of us want to be the one to break this to Wally. He's a bit hot-headed, you know.But I figured out what to do. I'm going to bring someone in on a one-day contract and let him tell Wally.

LS: And who might that be?

SA: Tony Bernazard.

All articles featured on The Apple are fictitious. No Mets were harmed in the writing of this story. Story by Larry Smith.  You can follow Larry Smith on twitter @dr4sight

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