2012, Cardinals, crazy, critique, David, definition, hd, high, hunter, kiss, Kozma, League, Ma, mlb, moments, motion, National, NCAA, nlcs, overcranking, pence, Pete, referee, replay, review, screwball, series, slow, slow-mo, sports, St.Louis, triple, umpire, video, volleyball, weird
I refer to this broken bat double which swerved into play, as:
The Triple Kiss
Hunter Pence knocked in three runs when this ball left his broken bat after a crazy series of three collisions – the last of which caused it to swerve in the air and bound past the outstretched glove of the shortstop.
Second-year Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma, who was very well positioned, reacted at lightning speed, but was caught going the wrong way for a fraction of a second because the third point of contact changed the ball’s direction.
The Triple Kiss happened in less than half a second. Watching it live, as broadcast, I had no idea the ball hit the bat three times; not until seeing it like this.
I knew it was a broken bat hit, my shoulders slumped at the same instant that Kozma jumped – and then suddenly, the ball took a crazy turn in the air and, as if it had eyes, bounced past the outstretched glove of the recovering Kozma, on the second base side.
The Triple Kiss was significantly faster than the human eye … even the highly trained eyes of a ballplayer, or an umpire. It affords us the opportunity to discuss the intense amount of new information that slow motion yields.
Slow motion was originally known – in analog filmmaking – as overcranking, a method by which the speed of the film was altered through handcranking the frames. Overcranking was first used in sports as long ago as the 1930’s in the coverage of boxing matches.
It took a long time for overcranking to become slow motion and in that time we got pretty used to it. We allowed slow motion to creep into our observation of games with such ease and normality that the NFL, NBA and MLB now all stop play to incorporate it as a tool in evaluating what has actually taken place.
But yesterday, after a fascinating conversation with an NCAA referee in another sport, David Ma, I began to wonder whether there’s a measurable visual side effect of using high definition slow motion when trying to call a game.
A paranoid part of me also began to wonder whether we’ve already begun what sci-fi feared: letting machines that are ‘more than us’ run our most human aspects.
David Ma believes we should alter the rules of instant replay review so that any referee or umpire using video replay should NOT be allowed to use the slow motion effect in the review.
Ma says, “I have no problem with the use of multiple camera angles for the review, but video review referees should not be allowed to use slow-motion.”
Ma believes there is a significant effect on the field when calling games with video review that includes slow motion, which he refers to as akin to “refereeing under a microscope.”
He points out that no human being could possibly see some of the things that slow motion reveals. In fact, Ma believes referees are already changing the way they call a game because of the presence of the super-slow-motion of HD:
“In pro football now there’s mandatory booth review on any score and in the final two minutes … if you’re a ref and you know that, why would you make a call? The camera can see everything you can’t so you’re most likely going to be wrong!”
Ma speaks with the authority of knowing what it’s like to have to make a call with a super-slow-mo eyeball looking over your shoulder: “With HD slow motion, by far, most of the time the referee’s call is going to be wrong.”
It opens up a discussion about what our perception of real-time is. For example would an umpiring or refereeing crew allowed only to watch the replays in real-time be more effective within the state of play? Ma believes assuredly yes.
This process by which we have accepted the super-slow-mo eyeball as the authority has taken place without significant consideration of the side effect – a human response to the presence of a machine that can see things we can’t.
But perhaps more significantly, the use of slow-mo in sports coverage points out that despite the presence of a tremendous amount of data being added to the information of the events of real-time by slow motion, it’s an effect we’ve subconsciously accepted without critique as a part of our capacity to watch something that has happened.
To David Ma, we’ve stepped onto an escalator which will take us to the point where it will be impossible for a human being to call a game.
I argued that perhaps the refereeing crew could judge the play on the basis of human terms: take in all the data, including the super-slow-mo stuff, and then the video review ref might say: ‘Well, sure we can see that under scrutiny, but there’s no way we could have seen that in real-time’ – thus overriding the machine.
But David Ma reminded me who pays the bills:
“The broadcast media, which is putting out incredibly detailed HD video in super slow-mo will grab that ref by the collar and say, you’re calling it like the nation just saw it, now.”
It rang true. But not one to make an issue of the problem without offering a solution, Ma says the only smart fix is to take slow-mo away from the refs. Alter our use of video replay to remove slow motion.
It’s a bold idea designed to keep the real-time on the field … well, real.
But there would emerge the huge issue that we, the fans, would have the access to all this information that the super-slow motion yields and would be stuck with an unresolvable dispute against the call made by humans trapped in a real-time consideration of events at hand.
The best example – when such frustration peaked – is the now infamous “intertouchdownception” that gave the Seattle Seahawks a victory in the waning seconds over the Green Bay Packers by virtue of a Hail Mary pass that was impossible to call with the human eye and replacement refs and the current NFL rules and the tacit agreement that management isn’t calling interference on Hail Mary’s (lol).
One of the refs on the field who signaled touchdown still believes he made an acceptable call as per one reading of the rule book. Fans remain unconvinced.
CBS, the widest, slowest form of sports broadcasting, interviewed two of the replacement refs a few days later.
If, as Dave Ma suggests, we were to remove slow-motion from the toolbox for referees, could we as fans accept the difference of our view being an enhanced view from that of the refs?
Would we hound the refs for their inability to see what only a machine can see?
Or could we embrace the idea that we are keeping machines out of what is a fundamentally human exercise – sport.
In games like tennis and cricket, slow motion is used to define where or when a fast-moving object or person is at a given moment: the ball on or outside the line, the bat past the line before the ball strikes the wickets and so on.
The absolute exclusion of the slow motion effect would be a pointless exercise. However, it may be that the exclusion of slow motion from video review in certain situations would help keep the game real.
ask, baseball, bolt, Darren, draft, Ford, Francisco, freelance, get, giants, home, jackie, karthikm.t., Mays, mlb, mtk, pinch, play, robinson, rookie, runner, San, series, speed, squeeze, steal, usain, Willie, world
After listening to fans of Usain Bolt talk during the Olympics about using him as a wide receiver or kickoff returner in American Football, it suddenly struck me there may be a better fit for his crossover to commercial US sports:
The San Francisco Giants should hire Usain Bolt to pinch run.
He would never bat, never face a pitch. Why not teach the Jamaican how to position himself, when to run, how to turn the corner and how to slide?
He’d be used in the exact way Bochy used Darren Ford in ’10 and ’11: to manufacture runs in key innings, in late innings and extra-inning games on the road, for our generally run-depleted squad.
Darren Ford’s exploits, which gained him the nickname The Bullet, are well remembered by fans of the current two-time World Series Champion SF Giants.
Most famous was his game-winning run in the 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies in September during our run to the division lead in 2010.
“With the game tied 1-1 in the eighth, Mike Fontenot drew a walk. Fontenot runs fine. Ford, however, might be one of the fastest guys on any big league roster. Ford ran for Fontenot and broke for second, and was standing on the bag, when Colorado‘s Ubaldo Jimenez fielded Tim Lincecum‘s quite average sacrifice bunt.” reads this b/r piece on the play.
Usain Bolt might be a very effective pinch runner if he can be taught the mechanics of base-running. Willie Mays stole home 5 times, Jackie Robinson 9 times … how many do you think Bolt could take if he could be put in position? Think squeeze play.
Bay Area Sports Guy hosted a piece on how important base-running is to the SF Giants just before this season started, but anybody who understands baseball and what just happened with the Giants versus the Tigers will get it, so please comment and spread the discourse.
Here’s the man, doin it:
Usain Bolt as solely a pinch runner – a specialist position. Inexpensive, but possibly very effective in tight games, when you have great pitching and defense. Discuss amongst yourselves.
If you are at the game, be at the game.
Here in San Francisco we’re struggling to win baseball games at home down the stretch and I’m convinced it’s because our fans, led by Comcast, are way too into things that have nothing to do with the game, even while the game is being played!
We’re distracted and our team needs us to be focused.
This was never true at Candlestick, where it was cold, windy and miserable most of the time. You were there because you loved the Giants and watched every pitch.
If we want to win home games, fans have to focus on the game, on every pitch. It’s called watching the live action and all long-time fans do it. You may chat between pitches, but when the pitcher sets, you do too.
These days, because of the incredible number of distractions from the scoreboard and the overtly non-baseball production of the media, I see fans bringing children under six or seven who have no interest in the game, who are there solely because the parent is making them be there, but who are wholly distracted from the action.
These parents bring them as though it’s just an entertainment for their children, which would be cool if they kept them abreast. But they also don’t spend the requisite time making them watch, and indeed focus intently on, the action when it is live. I saw two young girls facing each other talking for an entire inning in the Lower Box. They could’ve been beaned so easily by a foul ball. Their Dad was on the phone!
I also see lots of tourists in our crowd – people here for our fabulous Indian Summer – it’s the high season after all. But these fans are hardly as loud or supportive as our own home-grown fans, which is why we have to lead them.
I watch Comcast spend more time following people goofing around or wearing funny hats or the Delorean hovercraft in McCovey Cove than the game itself; listen to Kruk and Kuip (normally solid baseball analysts) making inane social commentary and I think this is driving the more social fans and the distracted attitude at the game.
ENOUGH. Fans have to get involved.
Mat Latos was on the mound for the Reds earlier this year and he was tearing us apart. It was the bottom of the third at AT&T Park, midweek, daygame. It felt like a morgue. As soon as Latos strode to the mound I yelled, loudly, “Hey Mat! Oh My God! You have a no-hitter going! … Woah! Don’t think about it man!”
It freaked out my whole section and some tittered nervously.
On the next pitch Angel Pagan singled to right.
This was calculated. The way to do it is to plan your comment, wait for a quiet moment and throw it out into the field of play.
Second example was against the Nats when Timmy faced the Phenom and Melky was suspended – crazy game. But we were within striking distance at the end when Pablo popped up to the infield and ran hard for first. The crowd above the first base line shouted and screamed and went nuts forcing the second baseman to drop the pop-up, an error that allowed Panda to get on. It was awesome. Fruitless, but awesome.
The guys need you. Get involved in every play. If you brought kids, teach them to do the same. Pay attention and root for our guys. They can hear you.
You need to pump Zeets up. You need to encourage Pence and Blanco to be more patient at the plate. You need to push the Dodgers into mistakes.
When you are at the park, BE AT THE PARK.
TOGETHER WE’RE GIANT.
1080, AT&T, August 15, baseball, cabrera, dc, drug, Francisco, giants, hd, Karthik, Lincecum, melky, milan, mlb, mtk, Nationals, omm, park, policy, San, sf, sfg, Stephen, Strasburg, suspended, testosterone, Tim, violation, washington
This past Wednesday was a crazy day at the park.
My son and I had been excited for weeks because we figured with both teams in the hunt for the pennant and young, premiere pitchers on the mound, it’d be a defensive battle. The Freak vs. The Phenom
Then SHOCK! – we find out at the ballpark moments before the game starts, that Melky Cabrera, who leads the Giants and the National League in hits and is second in batting average only to the Pirates’ Andrew McCutcheon, had been suspended for 50 games for violating MLB’s substance abuse policy.
Numb, speechlessness … and the game began:
It was amazing how none of us knew or suspected up to the last minute.
I was at the park yesterday with my son and we had no idea. We got there early to watch BP and see if any of the players would sign autographs (Thanks, Jeremy Affeldt!).
Then a family of four came walking up the aisle wearing crisp, new Melkman hats and I heard the daughter say, “Daaaaad … why am I wearing this? They just suspended Melky for 50 games!” and I laughed out loud.
She clearly didn’t want to be at the park wearing a silly hat her Dad bought her, so I figured someone was just telling her that to annoy her and she was not informed enough to know it wasn’t true.
Ten seconds later, I sat, stunned, holding my mobile phone staring into space – Melky Cabrera suspended 50 games for violating substance abuse policy of MLB.
Oh Melky, why? Oh Sabean, Why? Oh Bochy, Come On!
Finally today, after hours of being stunned and speechless, I was able to make a joke:
SF Giants Fans are now lactose intolerant – is there a guy named Soy available out there who could play left field?
this is really gorgeous in 1080pHD – choose that option when playing
I’m one of the guys who has been rough on Barry Zito, culminating in my calling him “our own beloved, expensive, Prince of Inability, Barry Zito.” in a story about a game from the Championship Season, Eleven to Eleven in the Bottom of Eleventh [aka The Greatest Comeback in SF Giants History].
Worse, I was verbally and casually at the bar rather abusively mean to Barry Zito throughout the winter. I apologize. I was way out of line.
I feel bad now, because Zeets’ effort and focus (and wins) are back and I have no idea what it must be like to work in his field,I feel bad about it.
but anyway, one of those mean jibes I used to make was:
“Lou Seal works harder than Barry Zito – we ought to make him go out there and wear the Lou Seal costume for as much as we’re paying him …” (and worse) I mean, if he can’t do what we’re paying him to do!”
Ohhhhh snap. that was mean … and I didn’t mean it. I was frustrated and just wanted to defend our World Series Championship. Barry Zito, I am sorry. I really feel bad about that.
Then hilariously on Thursday before the game I had both of them in focus, by chance! This was August 2nd at AT&T Park before the Giants vs. Mets.
I mean the footage as an apology to Barry Zito and an appreciation of Lou Seal. Hector Sanchez, whom the program says the guys call Baby Panda, catches. Watch clip to very end and you’ll catch a glimpse of his eyes. His eyes are incredible. Check out Baby Panda’s eyes from the centerfield camera calling a game. It’s rad.
Unfortunately, just minutes later, Zeets had two outs in the first and all of a sudden lost it: a walk, a walk and a third batter hit by pitch! then a double and another double, spotting the Mets four runs in an exhausting 36-pitch top of the first. ugh.
The San Francisco Giants OWNed major league baseball’s All-Star Game.
Our pitcher started, was best and got the win (Matt Cain),
our big bat (Pablo Sandoval) got the only triple with bases loaded ever scored in the history of the All Star Game, scoring three,
the first of whom was our best hitter for average (Melky Cabrera) who won the MVP going 2 for 3, with 2 runs and 2 RBI, had the game’s only HR, and was the first and last man across home plate.
Together We’re Giant
1912 NY Giants Jersey with blue pinstripes for Throwback Jersey Day.
also, check out the crazy image where a bubble blown by a kid behind home plate floats in front of the catcher (or appears to from my pov) just as a pitch comes in low for a ball. The result is Melky, catcher and ump all seem to be looking at this little bubble in the strike zone instead of a baseball.