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David Brown

Storied legacy of sportswriting passed to robot stat monkeys

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Welcome to the future, where the umpires might not be killer robots just yet, but the sportswriters already sport electronic brains.

Scientists at Cyberdyne Systems Incorporated the Intelligent Information Laboratory at Northwestern University say they have developed a computer algorithm that can write an AP-style baseball gamer.

It's the end of the world as AP writers Ron Blum and Ben Walker know it. Read it and weep, boys. Shirley Povich = 20th century. Uniblab = 21st.

The project is called Stats Monkey (as in, I guess, the line about putting a million chimps with typewriters in a room for an indefinite period and one eventually cranks out Shakespeare). And it works! Sort of, as this post at the New York Times' Media Decoder Blog points out.

But what if the killer robut monkey program had to write up Tuesday night's Yankees-Angels game? Sure, if properly programmed, it can regurgitate the facts in their plainest form via the inverted pyramid method. But what if the game pulls a Tim McClelland and the umpire makes a call that is incomprehensible to the human brain? Let's see Stats Monkey turn that into a recap!

At the Stew, we put our own monkeys to work on such a task. This is what they produced:

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ANAHEIM — High-paid superstars Carsten Charles Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez(notes) led the New York Yankees to a rare blowout in the 2009 Major League Baseball postseason, a 10-1 victory against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Tuesday night in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.

Sabathia, the second-highest paid player in the league at $23 million per season thanks to a free-agent contract he signed with New York in the off-season after finishing the 2008 season with the Milwaukee Brewers, allowed one run and five hits over eight innings despite pitching with three days of rest. Pitchers usually pitch with four days of rest.

"This team's good. We have great players, Hall of Fame players," said Sabathia, who has won three of the Yankees' seven playoff games. "We've got all the confidence in the world."

Rodriguez, the highest-paid baseball player in Major League Baseball at $27.5 million American dollars per season, hit his fifth home run in seven playoff games so far, a two-run shot in the fifth inning against right-hander Jason Bulger(notes) to help the Yankees pull away to the second-largest victory margin by any team in the playoffs to date.

The largest margin is the Phillies' 11-0 victory against the Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLCS. The average margin of victory in 20 playoff games was 2.6 runs before this game. The average salary for a major league player is $4.68 million, Sports Business Journal reports.

The Yankees lead the series three games to one and can clinch their first World Series berth since 2003 with a victory at Angel Stadium on Thursday. Angel Stadium is the home ballpark of the Angels. It is located in Anaheim, California.

"We just need to close it out," Sabathia said. "It's that time."

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Rodriguez currently is dating Hollywood actress Kate Hudson, whose films include "Fool's Gold" co-starring Matthew McConaughey, "How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days" co-starring Matthew McConaughey and "Almost Famous."

"It's the happiest I've felt in a long time," Rodriguez said.

Hudson is the step-daughter of actor Kurt Russell, whose films include "Miracle," "Tombstone," "Captain Ron" and "Escape From New York."

After Rodriguez's home run, Jorge Posada(notes) walked and left-hander Darren Oliver(notes) relieved Bulger. Hideki Matsui(notes) followed with a strikeout and Posada stole second base. It was Posada's second stolen base since 2007.

Robinson Cano(notes) followed with a double to left-center with Posada advancing to third base.

Beep! Does not compute. Beep!

Nick Swisher(notes), the next batter, hit a comebacker to Darren Oliver, who threw home to catcher Mike Napoli(notes) and ...

Beep! Beep! Does not compute! Does not compute! Illegal function!

Name your game, beep! Name your game, beep!

Jupiter Gin, Planet Poker, Planet Poker. Beep!

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