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.
3, AT&T, away, baseball, california, championship, detroit, Francisco, game, giants, knbr, Lurie, Marty, Mays, park, Plaza, radio, ring, Romo, San, San Francisco Giants, series, shutout, tigers, vogelsong, Willie, world
ALL YEAR LONG I HAVE HUGE … OK NOT HUGE, BUT ALL KINDS OF LITTLE DIFFERENCES WITH THIS GUY AND YOU KNOW WHAT HE DOES?
He invites me on the radio to talk about it.
and last Saturday he let me wear the Championship Ring from 2010. wow.
Marty Lurie, radio host who joined KNBR after working to cover the A’s, was immediately a lucky element for the Giants.
He and I stood exactly where we are in this photo two years before, and bore witness during the run that finally made the Giants World Series Champs in San Francisco. Marty walked in and we won.
For decades a criminal defense attorney, and at that a New Yorker, Mr. Lurie became a historian of the game of baseball independent of what he does now for KNBR. If anyone must, Marty Lurie must be associated with the cross-country relationship the Giants have that reaches back to the Polo Grounds in New York City.
But yes, by providence and timing, Marty has grown into a unique role and is now an important member of the San Francisco Giants team.
Mr. Lurie’s an excellent radio interviewer whose competence is a direct result of his research. I loved watching him at the Public House in Game 5 against the Braves back in 2010. He sat down to score the game and pulled out a yellow legal pad to do it. He’s a baseball nerd trained as a lawyer!
Mr. Lurie’s interviews of baseball players and managers, which he’s been conducting season-long for three years now, are a growing chronicle of the game.
Lurie brought a whole lot of AL contacts over to KNBR the first year and was eager to share with us NLers the value of certain stories. But slowly over the past three years, he has joined the stewards of the Giants Championships of 2010 and 2012 who collectively are arbiters of our first time championship memories.
So Mr. Lurie is an attorney who can discuss both leagues’ histories very effectively.
Marty, I’m saying it here for the first time: You’re the only lawyer I really like.
Thanks for letting me wear the Championship Ring and for doing such a bang-up job behind the mic.
“M.T.” and, in 2010, “Carter from Oakland”
(just pissed off a whole lot of lawyers I know who think me and them’re “real close”).