Take me out of this ball game♫

On 7 July, Nippon Professional Baseball saw the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles take on the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. Much like a fight between two such birds of prey might play out, this game was a real nail-biter. The Hawks edged out a one-point lead in the bottom of the fifth, and then…


I actually don’t know how the game turned out because this happened after the seventh inning.

What you are witnessing is about 40 units of both the Japanese personal companion robot Pepper and Boston Dynamic’s dog-like robot Spot which made headlines recently for patrolling Singapore parks to enforce social distancing.

Since Peppers are products of SoftBank, it’s no surprise to find them in Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, filling in for the lack of human spectators during a coronavirus audience ban. They’ve been seen in the bleachers since the season reopened last month.

However, this game marks the first time Pepper and Spot have joined…up...

Sorry, I got to see this one more time.

Man, that’s wild stuff.

By the way, they are dancing to the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks’ team song “Izayuke Wakataka Gundan.” Unlike some Major League Baseball stadiums in which fans show their support by hurling obscenities and/or size D batteries at players, Japanese baseball games tend to feature a lot of singing and dancing to songs such as this in the audience.

So, when spectators were barred from entry, it left a considerable void in the overall atmosphere.

Personally, I find myself both deeply unsettled and yet unable to look away from this new atmosphere, but let’s see what others online had to say about it.

“This is the dystopia.”
“Even when society collapses these robots will continue to dance, long after anyone can remember why.”
“I saw this once when I had a fever.”
“It’s like a Pixar movie.”
“Those South Korean love dolls were way better than this.”
“Spot does have impeccable timing.”
“Super Baseball 2020?”

Indeed, this future has been foretold in some ’90s games such as Cyber Stadium Series: Base Wars, but you really have to hand it to Super Baseball 2020 for nailing the exact year in which robots and baseball came together, even if it didn’t pan out quite the same way.

▼ Still waiting on the addition of landmines in the outfield

Although an interesting oddity for spectators to look at, this has got to be a major adjustment for the players themselves to deal with. But this is the new normal, and maybe soon enough a whole new generation will pick up a bat for the first time and swing it with a head full of dreams that they might grow up to be the focus of Pepper’s hugely dilated pupils and whatever the hell that stuff is on the front of Spot.

Source: Robot Start, My Game News Flash
Top image: YouTube/Yakyu No Mori
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!