My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Monday, June 19

Baseball & Active-Reactive Sports

Baseball is such an unusual sport. For those who have never played it or have never become a fan, it must be like (as my wife is fond of saying) watching paint dry. But for those who are avid fans or have ever played it, the game is a study in mental pressure. Nearly all sports are reactive. That is, a competitor reacts instinctively to some action of his opponent, who then also reacts instinctively to that instinctive move. For example, tennis, except for the serve, is reactive, as is basketball, except for free throws, as is football except for the kicking of extra points and field goals. Boxing, soccer, and hockey are almost entirely reactive. Golf, on the other hand, is almost entirely active with the competitor deciding rationally instead of instinctively what club to use, where to aim it, how hard to swing. The golfer, except in occasional match play events, is not competing with anyone or anything but the course, each stroke for 18 holes set in motion by the golfer’s active decisions. Then there’s baseball, which is about half and half active and reactive, leaving all sorts of possible head games. The duel between pitcher and batter goes on for the entire game. Who can outguess the other? Batter: Which pitch will he throw to what part of the plate and at what speed? Pitcher: Which pitch will he be expecting and delivered to which part of the plate at what speed? The catcher becomes involved by signaling to the pitcher which sort of pitch he thinks should be thrown. The batter looks to the third base coach who will relay the manager’s instructions for the next pitch—bunt, take, or hit-and-run. The pitch is thrown, the batter either lets it go or he swings and misses or hits it foul or hits it somewhere in fair territory. The defender reactively catches it or picks it up and throws it to a fellow defender at whichever base that’s appropriate to produce one of the three outs that comprise that half an inning. And between each pitch, all nine defenders must keep in mind all the possible outcomes when a ball has been hit. It’s all very complicated. And very exciting if you know what you’re seeing and involve yourself in the mental aspects of the game.

Baseball questions:
Why aren’t more young players becoming switch hitters? Why aren’t hitters given a set amount of time between pitches, with each infraction counting as a strike? Why doesn’t professional baseball do away with an umpire calling balls and strikes? To avoid those painfully long games that go into three or four or ten extra innings, why not have only one extra inning? If it remains tied after that one inning, then have each team choose one hitter to bat against one of their own pitchers, the hitter given three swings with the other team defending. Two hits followed by a home run would count as three runs. A home run followed by two hits would count as only one run. Three hits (other than a home run) would count as one run. If the score after this sudden death inning remains tied, then declare the game as a tie. Just think of the interest in the game this sudden death inning would produce.
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