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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Ready Player One

Anyone who’s ever tried to explain baseball to someone genuinely encountering it for the first time knows how hard it is to put the game into words. But I noticed something else about how I told the story. It was entirely about the batter and his brave adventure. It’s a strange decision, given that the batter is only half of the equation. In some sense, it’s understandable. When trying to explain any game, it’s a good idea to start with one of the universal features of competitive games, which is that someone usually wins and someone usually loses, and to talk about the ways in which that winner and loser are determined. Baseball is a “points game” (as opposed to the other common type of competition, the “clock game”), so I naturally described the ways in which baseball’s points are scored. You can’t score in baseball if you are pitching.

I think there’s more to it than that, though. The batter maps a bit better onto our cultural norms of the hero on a quest. There he stands, alone, in the right-handed batter’s box, and with a simple weapon he must somehow elude nine different monsters as he attempts to both hit the ball and make it to the next station. It’s the storyline to every non-sports video game and “guy on a quest” movie that I saw growing up. For some reason, the batter always feels like the hero of the story.

Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: April 18, 2018 at 10:10 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball, newbie

Sunday, December 10, 2017


 

 

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