Disembodied

On the CBS broadcast of the Florida-Florida State football game:

"Well, Chris Rix beat the Gators last year with his legs, and this year he beat them with his arm."

The significance? The media matrix is composed of disembodied, and usually idealized, body parts: consider the myriad images of isolated washboard abs, curvaceous breasts, or taut glutes. Holism does not exist in this space. As a result, we consider others in these very terms, as a series of manufactured parts that may be leveraged in a production role.

Double Jointed

Neale's (1964) "The Peculiar Economics of Professional Sports" is a classic in sport management, whose main contribution to the field lies in describing the nature of the professional sport product and how it contributes to a professional sports league's existence as a natural monopoly. It makes particular use of term "product joint", which describes how two firms (the teams playing in a sporting match) combine to produce a single product, namely, the sporting match itself.

Basically, in selling the sporting match to the consumer, one was selling the uncertainty of the game outcome: that is, sporting fans paid to see a decision of Truth, a determination of who was the winner and who was the loser. This is why the concept of a tie is so alien and distasteful in American sport: consumers don't feel they have received full value for their money. The American sporting establishment, with its linear mindset, has historically been focused on outcome rather than process, and if no (valid) outcome has been reached (ie. a tie), then the consumer leaves disgruntled with their "purchase".

This is one reason why soccer has never fully taken off in the United States (or Canada, for that matter). The paucity of goals and plethora of draws forces the fan to become an aficionado of the aesthetic process — which is no problem for the non-linear pre- and post-literate cultures around the rest of the world, but which presents a significant challenge to the linear-minded, production-oriented norteamericanos.

Process takes on a different meaning in North American sport, as savvy sport managers have decided that too much wastage occurs on the shop floor. Thus, efficiencies are sought in order to capture byproducts of the uncertainty-of-outcome process and turn them into saleable products of their own. These byproducts are the images and information that are produced by the athletes during each game, and which then move upstream for the manufacture of highlight videos, fantasy leagues, and videogames.

Thus, the "double jointed" nature of professional sport today: two different firms (the competing franchises) co-operate to jointly produce an uncertainty-of-outcome, and in doing so, execute a joint production model in which two different outputs (the uncertain outcome and the digital information stream) result from the one process.

Of course, other production technologies such as television cameras and broadband networks are required to capture the digital information output, move it upstream, and convert it into something saleable. In this light, professional sport resembles many other industrial-age manufacturing processes. The difference, however, is this: in the material age of industrial manufacturing, an input may only be used once, but in the semiurgic age of post-industrialism, the digital information stream may be used over and over, copied and pasted, and generally recombined ad infinitum into various forms to suit the myriad "needs" of the consumer.

Gibson's Finest

Wanted to sample this classic for sportsBabel:

Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts… A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights receding… (Neuromancer, 1984).

Digestable Cookies

The World Championship of Golden Tee is held in Orlando:

Steve estimated he's made more than a quarter of a million dollars playing the game over the course of his Golden Tee career. Every year, through the Incredible Technologies website (which keeps stats for all its registered players), Steve prints out his stats and earnings and then sends that print-out to the IRS. That way, he's able to declare the money he puts into Golden Tee as a tax write-off.

And Steve doesn't let injuries hinder his game. Many players suffer cuts on their hands from how violently they swing forward on the game console's trackball to get power on their shots. Players have even broken hands playing Golden Tee.

"I'm usually the one bleeding," Steve said. "But I just say, 'Patch me up so I can keep playing!' I even learned to play left-handed. Nothing's gonna stop me. I'll take the pain, if that's what it takes to win."

EA Sports strikes a deal with Nike and other shoe manufacturers to have the authentic shoes worn by players appear on their virtual counterparts:

Not only does the game boast a store, where gamers can use points they rack up to purchase a host of items including shoes the Nike Shox Supremacy, the Air Max and, of course the most expensive, the first Air Jordan, but Nike and EA plan to release 50 cheat codes throughout the year to allow players to unlock old retro favorites or shoes that are hitting the market.

"When making the games, we not only look at the rulebook to make sure we have everything right, but seek to touch on relevant cultural hot points," Chin said. "And shoes definitely fall into that category."

So far, three codes have been released — for the Nike Shox BB4's (the shoe Carter was wearing when he dunked over poor Frederick Weis in the 2000 Olympics), the famous Air Jordan III's (the first Jordan's featuring the now very recognizable Jumpman logo) and the LeBron James' Air Zoom Generations, which became unlockable on the night James plays his first game on Oct. 29.

Courtesy of EA Games

EA Games releases the Quidditch World Cup, featuring the fantasy Harry Potter and friends with real-life nationalism:

Starting with any one of the four Hogwarts house teams — including Harry Potter's Gryffindor — players learn Quidditch basics with five original challenges and the Hogwarts House Cup competition. Once completed, players can enter the Quidditch World Cup, choosing from a range of international teams including the USA, England, France, Germany, the Nordic Team, Japan, Spain, Australia, and Bulgaria - featuring Viktor Krum. Each national team sports its own Quidditch gear, has a unique stadium environment, and different strengths that lend depth and strategy, especially when two gamers face off in two-player competition for the first time ever in a Harry Potter video game.

Scientistically Speaking

smithers:

[Aside] I am posting from the Ontario Science Centre, just because I can.

(Note: the Sports section sucked…)

[Exit]

S(t)imulations

[T]his stage of serial reproduction (that of the industrial mechanism, of the factory belt, of expanded reproduction) is ephemeral. As soon as dead work wins out over living work — that is, as soon as the era of primitive accumulation is over — serial production yields to generation by means of models. And here it is a question of a reversal of origin and finality, for all the forms change once they are not so much mechanically reproduced but even conceived from the point-of-view of their very reproductibility, diffracted from a generating nucleus we call the model. (Baudrillard, Simulations, p.100).

Practically and historically, this signified the substitution of social control by the end (and by a more or less dialectical providence which surveys the accomplishment of this end) for social control by anticipation, simulation and programming, and indeterminate mutation directed by the code. Instead of a process which is finalized according to its ideal development, we generalize from a model. Instead of a right to a prophecy, we have the right of registration. There is no really radical difference between the two, only the schemes of control have become fantastically perfected. From a capitalist-productivist society to a neo-capitalist cybernetic order that aims now at total control. This is the mutation for which the biological theorization of the code prepares the ground. There is nothing of an accident in this mutation. It is the end of a history in which, successively, God, Man, Progress, and History itself die to profit the code, in which transcendence dies to profit immanence, the latter corresponding to a much more advanced phase in the vertiginous manipulation of social rapports (Baudrillard, Simulations, p.111).