detailing, digits, painting the corners

catcher-trans

"Of course he and she can as easily be she and he (and everything in between). The point is not so much the singular biological body that performs the role of catcher, but rather the catcher's affective modulation of pitching, hitting and adjudicating bodies through a proximity of flesh resonance that we have come to identify as the feminine — expressed in the signal of the called pitch. Ronell's figure of the switchboard operator looms present in this context, though the linguistic signals of telecommunication have been replaced, at least in part, by a more subtle consideration of co-resonance with these three other performing bodies."

(sportsbabel, march 2010)

-

"Of course, the direct human agency involved to trigger the commands and activate the card stunt emerges as a fourth required element to follow the first three, which during the history of college football is a responsibility that has fallen to the cheerleading corps. Given the gendered histories of cheerleading in football, we might inquire into the specific ways that women were involved with triggering these program activation commands. It seems not a stretch to read the figure of the card stunt leader in resonance with both Kittler's figure of the typist and Ronell's figure of the switchboard operator — that is, one (woman) who can both inscribe a new flow of coded data as well as one who can connect an existing flow-in-potential, suggesting further that the history of technotext is always already a feminist one."

(sportsbabel, february 2010)

abstract lines and butterfly kisses

knuckleball

"A knuckleball or knuckler is a baseball pitch thrown so as to minimize the spin of the ball in flight, causing an erratic, unpredictable motion. The lack of spin causes vortices over the stitched seams of the baseball during its trajectory, which in turn can cause the pitch to change direction – and even corkscrew – in mid-flight. This makes the pitch difficult for batters to hit, but also difficult for pitchers to control and catchers to catch; umpires are challenged as well, since following the path of the ball makes it difficult to call balls and strikes." (Wikipedia)

knuckleball

"Unlike a fastball, which conjures images of fire and smoke, the dipping, floating knuckleball compares to the flitting of a butterfly." (NY Times)

~

"The picture that emerges from the trajectory analysis is that a knuckleball trajectory is an example of a chaotic system. That is, small changes in the initial conditions (e.g., seam orientation, rotation rate, or rotation axis) give rise to large changes in the average lateral force on the baseball, resulting in approximately random movement." (Alan Nathan)

~

"Butterflies aren't bullets. You can't aim 'em — you just let 'em go." (Charlie Hough)

apt excerptations

don larsen

Auctioning a Piece of Post-Season Perfection Highlights Uniform Evolution

By Jason Turbow
October 8, 2012
4:45 pm
Categories: Gadgets, gear & games

 

In 1956, Don Larsen was paid $13,000 by the New York Yankees for a season's worth of work, which included throwing the first (and still only) perfect game in postseason baseball history.

Today, the uniform he wore on that historic afternoon, during Game 5 of the World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, goes up for auction. It is expected to fetch more than $1 million.

. . .

The proceedings . . . will run for 56 days — marking both the year the perfect game occurred, and the amount of time, 56 years, since then — through Dec. 5. . . .

[T]he Yankees' uniform design, alone among Major League Baseball, has seen no significant changes in well over a half-century. . . .

. . .

. . . The Collective Bargaining Agreement now maintains that players' pants not drop below the top of the heel.

. . . Once, baseball players wore white socks underneath colored sanitary hose. The reason: The dye for the stockings, far from colorfast, offered an assortment health risks should it come into contact with an open wound.

. . . (Another stylistic fad into which the Yankees failed to buy included uniform numbers on the fronts and sleeves of jerseys.)

. . . The Yankees continue to be the lone big league club to eschew names on the backs of their uniforms, both home and away, but in 1956, the practice was status quo. That changed in 1960, when the presence of slugger Ted Kluszewski probably made the Chicago White Sox equipment manager sorry about his team’s decision to become the first to so identify players. (It should be noted that the Yankees were the first team to utilize uniform numbers on a permanent basis, in 1929. They assigned numbers according to players' spots in the batting order.)

Larsen has already sold his cap, glove and shoes from that game, as well as the baseball used to strike out Dale Mitchell for the final out. They went in 2002, for a total of $120,750. In 2010, Berra's jersey from the same day sold at auction for about $565,000.

. . .

"The San Diego Hall of Champions already validated it," he said. "In addition, we've done extensive picture matching of historical photos — of the stitching, the interlocking NY, how his name was sewn (stitched inside the uniform for identification purposes, not an external-facing nameplate) in relation to everything else. Honestly, this was probably the easiest match from any jersey we’ve sold because there are so many great images from that game for us to use."

babe ruth wind machine

that tumbling blue punctum

catcher signal pitch deliver
battery,           generated

blue sparkle telegraphic
wind tunnel wave crash

a blow.

Sonic the Hedgehog
that tumbling blue punctum

or ellipsis,           if the indigo wind
whipped the studioed muybridge gaze.

Hot Stove retrocode
d|becomes obscura, pointedly

though its three dots at least
smile in opening the breeze . . .

_____

(for baby ruth.)

Numerical Blackface?

42 - Courtesy C. Krupa

Proposition: The uniform is the protective and symbolic skin of baseball, while its numbering number serves as a marker of identity.

Minor Tangent: In his rhetorical analysis of sports videogames, titled "Performing Blackness: Virtual Sports and Becoming the Other in an Era of White Supremacy," David Leonard invokes such terms as high-tech blackface, minstrelsy, and virtual black athletic body when describing the skinned characters that may be donned by the gamer at home. We also recall that these identity-vehicles are polygons dancing in a mathematically-generated ludic non-space — which is to say they are composed of numerical code.

42 - Courtesy C. Krupa

Question: Then in this tribute to Jackie Robinson, who broke Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947 wearing number 42, do we not introduce a symbolic appropriation of his struggles through a form of transhistorical numerical blackface? And by corporate decree do we not also homogenize the identities of the current players and coaches on the field in this donning of the cloned skin?

The Voice (and its Mingled Bodies)

Courtesy of Kellogg

With professional sport — and particularly those major professional sports leagues that play a large number of games in a season, such as the NBA, NHL or MLB — there exist at least three distinct tempos at play which animate the television broadcast. The first is born of the Flesh that plays the game proper — that is, the athletes that literally provide the muscular motor for the sporting spectacle that is being produced. Fast-twitch fibres, razor-sharp reflexes, power: everyone says the game is always fasterthe athletes that much more impressive — when they are witnessed in person, which is to say volumetrically.

The second tempo is provided by the multiple Eye that captures this fleshy expenditure in its becoming, both for telecast to audiences far removed from the sports stadium as well as for archival purposes and their future extractive values — from in camera to on camera. Obviously this is the tempo most apparent to the television viewer at whatever contingency is called home, even though its aim is to achieve a perfect transparency that allows for the truth of sporting copoiesis and its measureable objectives to illuminate the living room or sports bar space.

Paradoxically, this is a tempo of acceleration: while slow-motion instant replay allows the network producer to loop back ad infinitum to show athletic exploits at reduced speed in startling detail, the multiple cuts they entail and indeed the slow-motion techniques themselves serve overall to somatically accelerate a pace that has been largely compromised by the wide-angle tracking shot.

This subtle narcosis of the TV screen is in turn partially offset by a third tempo, that of the Voice (play-by-play, colour commentary) which narrates the athletic emergence and channels its discursive formation in a fashion that toggles between registers of servomechanism and agency. While the fleshy bodies on the field of play must eventually decay and be replaced by other peak bodies, the Voice is timeless — or at least of a pace that introduces nostalgia through the rhythmic undulation of its articulations and periodic spasms of hyperbole (if you are sleeping then you are not paying full enough attention).

Puberty is metamorphosis for the Voice: expression has changed, a phase shift that for both genders generally deepens the tone and produces a different quality of intensity to the air that is expired with every word spoken. After puberty, one's voice barely changes throughout the rest of one's life, even while the rest of its fleshy container grows old and withers. While peak athletic bodies come and go at great pace, the timelessness of the announcing Voice is ensured so long as it does not become strange and lose its ability to connect at this slower tempo.

The Voice is a Skin (or perhaps an aural form of what Serres refers to as a veil) that does not appear on the TV screen too often — in fact, we might consider it a form that ruptures the pellicule (skin) itself. Its performative expression is much less for the television than it is a performance of the television and its network affiliations for the hordes in attendance at the stadium. At the very least the Face of the Voice is visible on-screen rarely enough that the sight of bad toupees, weaves or awkward botox treatments are either barely registered or offer a quaint and queer artefect produced as the excess of nostalgia's claims to truth.

_____________ _ _ _

Rewind: Sept. 2008: "Structurally, late modern sport operates along two primary temporal vectors: it is at once the eternal recurrence of a particular sporting history wrapped in the warm folds of nostalgia (or better, what LCD Soundsystem might call borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered century) and a continual preparation for contagion, processing, incarceration and trauma. Somewhere in between this implicated past and future is the now of consumption."

_____________ _ _ _

Generally speaking, we might suggest it is the multiple Eye (and its interface with the touch of Skin) that governs the preparation for contagion, processing, incarceration and trauma found in late modern sport, while the Voice (and its interface with the touch of Skin) anchors its eternal recurrence of particular sporting histories in nostalgia.

Finally, we might suggest that the Flesh (and its interface with the touch of Skin) both implicates and is implicated by the now of consumption. It is here that exchange occurs, tempos slightly out of joint, though one hopes not overly so. It is here that we gesture towards new forms of encounter, new politics, new exchanges — in part through and with the Skin, but also by interfacing Flesh directly, in resonances of harmony or interference.