After a long wait to gain access, ChatGPT finally let me in on Friday, and I suddenly found myself challenged to enter a scenario to see what this newfangled Artificial Intelligence phenomenon could produce. My instincts, not surprisingly, took me immediately to baseball.
As Friday was opening day for the Princeton baseball team, on the road at the University of Georgia, I asked ChatGPT to produce a transcript of a radio broadcast of the first inning of a game between the Tigers and the Bulldogs. Within a few seconds, my screen came alive with interplay from two announcers excited to call the game.
The game started, and the broadcasters did traditional play-by-play, with [pitcher] and [batter] in brackets to stand in for the names of the players. I suppose I could try it again and add that Smith was playing first base and Jones was at shortstop, but this first go was merely an attempt to see what would happen.
The announcing read authentically, a generic equivalent of every baseball broadcast I’ve ever heard. I guess that’s the point — the AI interface ingests massive amounts of data from which it draws to produce new content on demand.
I laughed out loud when one batter took a pitch for a ball, and the announcer said, “Just a bit outside” — an adaptation of Bob Uecker’s classic-sarcastic line in the movie “Major League.”
That first inning ended with neither team scoring, and I decided to try something else. Still in a baseball frame of mind, the term “Bronx zoo,” characteristic of certain New York Yankees teams, popped into my head. What, I thought, if the 1927 Yankees played the animals housed at the Bronx Zoo?
I asked for a game recap story, and, well, here’s the story that ChatGPT turned out:
In a bizarre turn of events, the 1927 New York Yankees took on a unique opponent in a baseball game held at the Bronx Zoo. Facing off against a team made up entirely of animals housed at the zoo, the Yankees were in for a wild ride.
The game got off to a rocky start for the Yankees, as they struggled to adjust to the unconventional playing field. The outfield was filled with all manner of creatures, from monkeys swinging from tree branches to zebras grazing on the grass.
Despite the distraction, the Yankees managed to take an early lead in the first inning, thanks to a home run by Babe Ruth that sailed over the heads of a group of flamingos and into a nearby pond.
The animals responded in kind, with a group of sea lions using their powerful flippers to launch a ball over the fence and into the stands for a home run of their own.
As the game progressed, it became clear that the Yankees were having trouble keeping up with their furry and feathered opponents. A pack of cheetahs proved to be particularly formidable, sprinting across the field at lightning-fast speeds to snatch up any balls hit their way.
Despite their best efforts, the Yankees were unable to overcome the unconventional challenge posed by the zoo animals. In a stunning upset, the animals emerged victorious with a final score of 7-4.
As the players and spectators left the field, many were left shaking their heads in disbelief at the unexpected outcome. Though the Yankees may have lost the game, they had certainly gained a new level of respect for the agility and athleticism of the animals that called the Bronx Zoo home.
Not knowing what to expect, I had to give ChatGPT credit for showing imaginative creativity in crafting the story. It’s nicely framed, well-organized and clearly written.
Will cheapo newspaper groups dump their sports reporters and instead have an intern dump a box score into ChatGPT to crank out a game story? I wish I could say I can’t ever see that happening, but the results from ChatGPT using its enormous datasets to produce a credible story worry me that some publishers will be tempted.
I signed up for ChatGPT to find out more about it and to have a bit of fun. I don’t plan to use it for any posts on this blog.
Or do I?
Editor’s note: ChatGPT likely would not have made two typos in the first paragraph as I did. I have since corrected them.
8 thoughts on “Just a bit outside: ChatGPT and Baseball”
I asked ChatGPT to Respond: Since I wrote most of this post, I think you’ve already taken advantage of me.
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Interesting. Very interesting and as you say Dan, the thing showed a lot of imagination. I think your question helped too, putting the Bronx Zoo in there. Great idea!
Is there a difference between the Bronx Zoo and the Yankees baseball team?
Eric, I would say one difference would be facial hair. The Yankees make their players shave, at least beards. Apparently, it’s OK to have a moustache, but beards? Forget it. Over at the zoo, all is allowed.
Thanks, as a Red Sox fan, I was just wondering
Goodness that’s quite impressively creative. How long did it take to come up with that text?
It took all of about three minutes.