Volumetric Boundaries

baseball power

Baseball's anachronism is that it still favours power over speed (borne out as an optimization strategy in quantitative 'sabermetric' analysis); whereas basketball, football, hockey in particular — while once celebrating power in greater proportion — have all reversed the equation today to favour speed over power; meanwhile volleyball and tennis stand perhaps as the best examples in which the development of speed and power have maintained a relatively stable balance.

One imagines in baseball this is due to the relatively discrete separation of offensive and defensive bodies during play on a baseball field, which stands in stark contrast to the immediate intermingling of bodies that occurs in basketball, football, and hockey (after the brief formalist separation of bodies that indicates an address to one's opponent in advance of the agonistic event — ie. the jump ball, snap, or faceoff).

But don't volleyball and tennis have an even more discrete separation of bodies, given the net that separates both teams? True.

Baseball tilts the equation in favour of power because the ball is not required to stay in the park in order to score: the possibility of the home run encourages the balance of skill to tilt heavily in the direction of power.

volleyball power

Volleyball and tennis do not necessarily require the ball to stay in the court, either, so long as the ball hits the ground on the opponent's side before exiting the space of play. Not over a wall with no possibility for defensive intervention, as with baseball, but spiked to a floor with all of the defense waiting for your very stroke, power and speed required to score the point.

(This leads to the question of speed and power in cricket, for example, which also does not require the ball to stay in the park during play but permits batting in a 360-degree direction, as opposed to baseball's 90-degree home run; etcetcetc for other sports.)

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?