04/22/15

Endangered Species

In honor of Earth Day, Tim Tebow is a Philadelphia Bald Eagle.

USP NFL: NEW YORK JETS-TRAINING CAMP S FBN USA NY

In the wild.

Performed by the sintax.the.terrific. Produced by pumpkinFoot.

Today’s blong here:

All Things

03/21/15

Extinction Level Event

I originally posted today’s blong upon news of his trade to the Lakers. Steve Nash has formally announced his retirement.

Maybe the last of a breed.

nash

Performed by the sintax.the.terrific. Music produced by dj clutch.

Today’s blong here:

On Top

03/18/15

March Mental Breakdown

There isn’t a billion dollars at stake this year, which sucks because I finally guessed a perfect bracket. Anyhoo.

This year has brought a whole new meaning to the phrase “March Madness” for me. Basketball and my own.

But, tomorrow the ball is tipped.

Yours truly knows a little something about banging on the boards:

me and kris rotated updated

Not to be racist but but guess who’s not getting the ball here?

Please bear with me until April and I’ll be back on the grind. Until then some blong classics.

Performed by sintax.the.terrific. Music produced by djclutch.

Today’s blong and annual tradition here:

The Madness

03/8/15

Personal Anthem (Phoenix Jones and Last Fan Standing)

Because, well, everybody needs one.

All of song blogging is anthem writing, in a sense. Anthems for events and times and people. Taking topics uncommon, maybe even corny, to song writing and trying to find the kernel of real passion and humanity. Where is the glory and the grit in the story and sh!t?

From Diana Nyad to Work to Ride, the all black polo team, to Dallas Wiens, the face transplant survivor, I’ve been writing theme songs for years, even as I was just attempting to cover the people and stories, of the news, in art. And by “art” I may mean reconstructive surgery raps.

Most famously, the Phoenix Jones theme song:

Phoenix Jones was recently profiled in this ESPN expose. He was previously a regional MMA fighter. Apparently, it gets a little slow around Bristol after football season and before the NBA playoffs.

His ex-colleague in crime fighting and domestic abuse prevention heroin, Purple Reign, had these kind things to say about the anthem:

purple reign facebook
There are two takes. That we overuse hero or that there’s a little bit in all of us. I break slightly toward the latter. Of course, by contrast to Jones, my entire career in heroing consists of a broken arm jumping off a porch, caped, at four and rescuing my cat from the sewer. And, what little Superman I had in me has recently all been evacuated. I feel a lot like this:

So here’s to Phoenix Jones and the imperfect hero in all of us. You have a Personal Anthem. Your day has a soundtrack. Your show has a theme song. Your crew has a battle hymn. I just maybe haven’t written it yet.

In other anthem news, I am happy to officially announce that I have recorded the theme song to Bruce Campbell’s game show, Last Fan Standing, to premier on ConTV, the television adjunct to the famous Comic Cons.

Last Fan Standing Key Art

The show begins next week and the song is available now at iTunes and Amazon and can be streamed on Spotify. Search “Last Fan Standing.”

The real irony of the show is that people have spent a gob smacking number of hours actually sitting to be the fan, last standing. Celebrating the nerdist in each of us, today’s blong below.

Performed by sintax.the.terrific. Music produced by Sir Chamberlain.

Lyrics here.

Last Fan Standing (Official Game Show Theme)

03/5/15

Free Running

As the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev begins, I thought I’d recycle my Boston Marathon blong.

I’ll plagiarize myself from two years ago. I can’t say it any differently:

If you’ve ever been to Boston you’ve probably been forced to walk, likely by a mom or wife, some portion of the “Freedom Trail” against your will. You have to wonder why one must abandon so much self determination to walk a trail named “freedom” but, anyway. The Freedom Trail is, of course, a walking tour of Boston’s historic sites, where I’m proud to say I had a pair of Stan Smith’s re-cobbled only a few years ago. I also had a bracelet smithed out of a soup spoon.

Liberty is a type of collusion. An agreement among everyone to respect the rule of law in service of freedom. It’s completely voluntary.

Collusions, however, are easily broken. In fact, there is extraordinarily high incentive to do so. Our susceptibility to violence, therefore, is evidence of how well and complete the collusion of our liberty is working. We’re easy pickings. When an assailant from within or without violates the contract — the agreement not to fall into anarchy — they exact from us a cost. A toll for being so free, so open, so liberated. Our martyrs, whether at a marathon or in an elementary school or on a skyscraper, are a kind of penance paid to democracy and inalienable rights. Like a soldier or revolutionary, when we are murdered exercising our freedoms, even ones as routine as a road race, it is literally a kind of patriotic act. Every mundane act of our lives is a declaration that we would be free in spite of the ongoing danger to do so.

Pronation. It’s not just the roll of your foot when you run. It’s what we are when we run. Pro-Nation.

And, they’ll run again every year. Regardless the verdict. A marathon and a freedom trail.

boston-marathon-map

Performed by sintax.the.terrific. Music produced by Sir Chamberlain.

Today’s blong here:

Pronation

01/27/15

Cheating in Math

I know about small capillaries. Ridiculed for years at my self-diagnosed claims about them, medical science has vindicated me. (The prior link is illustrative of a small-capillary syndrome and not specifically indicative of mine. Although, the “smallish brain” and accompanied by “brain abnormalities” is certainly familiar.) Even still, my diagnosis remains largely anecdotal, from extremities that won’t warm promptly to um . . . well, extremities that won’t warm promptly, if you know what I mean.

In violation of league rules, Tom Brady’s balls were not properly inflated to start the second half of the AFC Championship game Sunday, which the Patriots won lopsidedly, 45-7.

Prevailing theories on why the balls shrunk, include:

1. Improper handling;
2. Severe cold;
3. Equipment constriction; and
4. The unexpected presence of Tom Brady’s wife in the locker room

tom brady

(Really, guys?? And, to think we all share 99.9% the same DNA structure with these two genetic freakazoids. Holy crap.)

Anyway, the above are all traditional ball deflation culprits, of course. The cause of the shrinkage in this present case, however, may never truly be known.

But, a response narrative has arisen among many pundits and fans:

That it doesn’t matter whether or not shrunken balls affected the outcome of the game, it is a clear violation of the rule, worthy of both severe penalty and moral outrage.

But, this is literally the definition of legalism, right? That the perfectly technical enforcement of the letter of the law is somehow more important than discretion. That the value of the advantage gained is of no consequence; only the strict improrpriety of the conduct should control our view. But, that’s why sentencing guidelines produce uncomfortable result. And history treats pharisees unkind. And, Republicans look out of touch.

Not all cheating is created equal. It just isn’t. J-walking is not plagiarism is not embezzlement. So, how do we measure the reasonableness of our disdain?

In sports, our cheating taboo can be broken into two concerns:

One, over Performance Enhancement – was advantage given?
Two, over Game Confidence – is the outcome of the game credible/reliable?

This conceptualization is of course a little artificial. There are categories of cheating which qualify as both.

But, we have concerns about both Barry Bonds and Shoeless Joe as cheaters but for dissimilar reasons. Bonds threatens our sense of fair play, while The Black Sox shake our institutional confidence in the athletic product. George Brett v. Pete Rose. Pine Tar v. Gambling. We want to be able to rely on what we see as true and not professional wrestling theater. And, we want there to be a semblance of fairness, at least in opportunity if not in talent or the distribution thereof.

They both offend deeply. And, maybe personally more with respect to cheating of the Performance Enhancement kind. But, intellectually, I think most would agree that cheating in Game Confidence is a more systemic and, therefore, more serious danger. That’s why Pete Rose and the 8 men out are banned for life.

Our concerns over Performance Enhancement cheating can be further broken into two types:

1. In game rules violations
2. Acts of extrinsic premedition

The latter is generally seen as more repugnant. So we typically deride vasoline on the brim of the pitcher’s cap differently than we do offensive holding by the left guard. Both, however, are cheating insofar as they are technical violations of rule and disadvantageously aid performance. But, there is something about the premeditation of the vasoline and it’s “otherness” to the game that raises a kind of personal ire that a holding call, even one unpenalized, does not. The prohibition on applying foreign substance to the hardball is not really a rule of game play. It helps to manage the level field, in its consistency, predictability, and equity. But, it’s not like three outs per inning or the requirement that a base runner tag before advancing on a caught fly ball. So we tend to forgive pass interference and foot faults and even things like intentional hand balls or the unapologetic carrying of the dribble but lose our minds over underinflated footballs.

No one, including the Colts themselves, seems to think a regulation ball would have made a musket powder’s worth of Patriot difference in the outcome of the game. So, is the outrage justified?

Real quick. I’m a Washington Redskins fan. But, when they are disqualified for too numerous losses, as so routinely they are, I want the Patriots to win every single possible game. Please briefly skim this prior post as to why.

So I don’t care if Tom Brady personally used a bike pump to syphon off the air. My only frustration is that the issue has allowed other people to detract from the accomplishment of one of the greatest sports franchises in history. That is my personal stake.

So when I say the reaction is reasonably justified, it’s a conclusion against interest. I wanted to write a blong saying you all were redic. But, it wasn’t to be. That’s because I am a bastion of intellectual honesty.

We (as in you all) hate Brady, Belichick, and the Patriots because the shrunk balls are a kind of exacerbating voltron of the previously described types of cheating. In other words, all of the above. The thought is that the footballs have given some performance advantage to the thrower of them. And although maybe infinitesimally so in the context of this particular contest, the performance enhancement is of the most notorious kind — an act of extrinsic premeditation. Said differently, the lack of obvious game advantage, which should otherwise mitigate (y)our offense, is neutralized in one’s internal calculus for the apparent intentionality of the conduct. Moreover, in this case, the flaccid balls play into a broader Game Confidence narrative on the Patriots as recidivist cheats who have undermined the integrity of the game and compromised the reliability of numerous outcomes before, à la Spygate. A course of disingenuous conduct.

So how do we actually quantify the reasonableness of our feigned moral outrage over any particular incident of cheating? How do we know how offended to be?

As it happens, I have an algorithm.

The Moral Outrage Methodology (MOM)
(Isn’t it appropriate that the function would be named for the one person most uniformly proficient at moral outrage? A mom?)

The components, and accompanying set of possible values, for the equation, are as follows.

Performance Enhancement Function (PEF)

Game-Play Rules Additer (GRA):
Value 1 for typical rules infractions – common violations of game play rules
Value 2 for egregious rules infractions – personal fouls, habitual conduct

Extrinsic Premeditation Additur (EPA)
Values 3-8 (including all intermediate values to the nearest tenth; values start at 3 because, as discussed above, all extrinsic premeditation cheating is more repugnant than game play rules violations)
* considerations may include “otherness to the game”, physical risk posed

Effect on Game Multiplier (EOG)
Values 1-3 (Level 1 value – de minimis effect; Level 2 – significant effect; Level 3 – arguably dispositive effect)

Game Confidence Function (GCF)

Acts in Furtherance of the Deception Additur (AFD)
Values 1-5 (including all intermediate values to the nearest tenth)
* considerations may include number and authority of people involved, complexity of scheme, reprehensibility of individual predicate acts

Institutional Confidence Additur (ICA)
Values 1-10 (including all intermediate values to the nearest tenth)
* considerations may include whether confidence is shaken in individual game, series, or entire season; the association of betting or other self-dealing

Contextual Multiplier (CM)
Values 1-3
* considerations include historical pattern of similar conduct, were the participants a surprise or predictable as cheaters (could factor either way), stake of game, coverup

So the Expanded MOM equation looks like this:
(GRA + EPA)EOG + (AFD + IC)CM = Moral Outrage

And, the Simplified MOM looks like this:

PEF + GCF = Fury

Applied to Deflategate, the ball pressure is not a game play rule, like holding. It’s an equipment regulation. Like no gold cleats, Marshawn Beastmode. So, there’s no GRA to speak of.

The EPA is interesting. The alleged acts certainly required premediation and likely coordination of at least two individuals and, presuposing “cheating,” intentionality. (Remember, the MOM is not intended to calculate the degree or presence of cheating but our reasonable outrage over it, wherever it exists.) Deflation of the ball is not supremely “other.” Not a shiv in the sock or foreign adhesive on a glove. Just an adjustment of standard issue equipment. It posed no particular bodily risk. In fact, the softer ball would be, albeit imperceptibly so, more gently and comfortably received by wideouts and opposing DBs. I would liberally set an EPA of 3.7 out of 8.

As to the EOG, there appears to be consensus that whatever advantage the deflated balls of Brady gave Tom, it was inconsequential to the actual outcome of this particular game and, therefore, de minimis. Level 1 multiplier.

The PEF looks like this = (0 + 3.7)1 = 3.7 out of a possible 30.

The PEF affirms the view that the contribution to outrage over the performance effect of the deflated balls would be essentially zero but for the premeditation of the conduct. And, even then, relative to the available scale of values, fairly low.

The AFD is complicated by the mystery still surrounding the details. We don’t really know the story. But, again, assuming actual cheating, a fairly important person was almost certainly in the middle, most probably future Hall of Famer and Blue Steel, Tom Brady. Although, possible, it’s unlikely the ball boy goes rogue in this respect. Maybe not right before this game, but a ball boy would be operating on the preference, professed at some point, of a reasonably significant authority. But, it was not a super sophisticated scheme. This isn’t Pinky and the Brain grandeur. It makes Spygate look like War Games. As to the reprehensibility of intermediate acts, modest. No hostages were taken. Retirement accounts squandered. Or knees shattered. Just ball emasculation.

I have the AFD right at 2.9 out of 5. This is fairly high level stuff, if not complicated or dastardly.

The ICA? We don’t believe the outcome of this game was significantly compromised but how long has this been occurring. I mean, they don’t get busted on the very first deflationary attempt do they? How many “close” games were maybe partially swung by Tom’s comfort with the balls? We don’t have to answer the question in any exact way to simply acknowledge that Deflategate raises the question? What has been the overall effect? For how long? How much aggregate benefit has there been? That it legitimately rattles confidence even to this degree matters. I think a lot.

But, because any single instance of ball deflation would have relatively little effect and only the collective total of all such instances would be consequential and because we don’t have any good and particular reason to assume any type of longevity of the conduct, the ICA is mitigated some where it might be higher. I would put the ICA at 6.7, out of 10, but could be persuaded to an increase.

But, the Pats really get bit on the CM. There’s just too much smoke through the years. The Patriots have pushed every limit and breached some. And, we only know what has been exposed. They are purposefully cloistered about the details of their preparation as much as is permitted. Plus, it was an AFC Championship, table-setting their sixth Belichickian Super Bowl. The CM is an easy 3.

So, the GCF = (2.9 + 6.7)3 = 28.8 out of 45

So our total moral outrage , out of the high possible score of 75, should be 32.5.

I’ve surprised even myself with the intuitive accuracy of this result. And, I made it all up. Because, this output feels about right, right? That our moral outrage over deflateable gate should only be about 43% of our total available outrage for cheating? We can imagine scenarios deserving of a good bit more — widespread, systemic gambling and manipulation of game results — and many much less outrageous — hidden ball trick. If true, this is a bad instance of cheating worthy of a not so insignificant amount of outrage. But, it’s also not the end of the known sports world.

So, there’s no guessing. Next time someone asks you whether you care about Deflategate, you don’t have to equivocate or surmise.

Your exactly 43% morally outraged.

Again. You’re welcome. This is my calling.

Performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by Nomis.

Lyrics, yo.

Today’s blong here:

Cheaters Always Win

10/18/14

Kelly Slater is Not a Sport

Kelly Slater, the livingly legendary surfer, apparently just did this:

Some are reporting it as a 540 (as in degrees). Others as a 720. I don’t really care. However characterized, it’s wildly unimpressive.

But, it does give me an opportunity to repost one of my longstanding personal theories on a deep cosmic question, to the instigation of many personal friends and Charlestonians especially:

What is sport?

The eternal debate over which activities constitute “sport” and which do not, ends now. For too long, we’ve been left to our own individual view. Bass fishing. Ice skating. The WNBA. What are they? We need an objective test. A standardized list. Even the so-called Worldwide Leader in Sports, without distinction, sloppily conflates the performances of Kelly Slater and Jimmie Johnson and Shaun White with those of Lebron James and Colin Kaepernick and Mike Trout. All world class athletes for sure. Not all participants of sport. But, how can we know for sure?

So, presently, I think we’re all working with a kind of intuitive definition of sport that includes three generalized elements:

1. An activity;
2. requiring some threshold level of physical exertion/skill; and
3. performed within a measurable and competitive context.

These three elements by themselves lead to all kinds of controversy. Is race car driving a sport? It requires an above-resting-heart-rate level of cardio; physical strength; and world class eye hand coordination. It’s also a race. But, it sure looks a lot like just driving a car. Is surfing a sport? The physical element is plainly satisfied. But, what really is a surfing “contest”? Non-standardized playing environment. And, physical techniques poorly suited for quantification and measurement. How about billiards? A kind of low-grade eye-hand coordination, relative to something like baseball or golf. But, plainly an objectively measurable competitive outcome.

Most people think the controversy is all in the second element. Are you being “athletic” enough to constitute sport? But, an emphasis on the second element leads to unnecessarily forced accusations like “soccer players are bed wetters” in order to try and discount an activity as sport, when plainly the physical element is present. And, while there is admittedly some grey area caused by our intuition that sport requires “physicality,” I actually think the real confusion is almost entirely in the third element.

When we doubt sport, we are really subconsciously reacting to an activity out of context.

See the problem is that we live in a “game” culture. And, so we are constantly turning everything into a measurable test of wills and talent. Pie eating contests. iPad math games. Iron Chef. Seed spitting. Spelling Bees. Madden Bowl. Project Runway. Jeopardy. Last Comic Standing. That cup stacking thing. Otherwise non-competitive activities that we simply decide to score. And, then we’re stuck wondering if it is a sport. There really isn’t any activity that we can’t quantify and make competitive. And, so we wind up shrugging our shoulders at ESPN’s 2:00 am time slot and reluctantly accepting that the Lumberjack Games must be a sport. “They’re really strong. And they get a trophy carved from a tree trunk.” Check and check.

But, intuitively we know this isn’t right. And, when we can’t clearly challenge on the basis of athleticism, like with The World’s Strongest Man competition or American Ninja Warrior, it’s all the more frustrating. “I know he’s pulling a transport truck with his teeth, but that can’t possibly be a sport.”

Consider the mystery solved. Our definition of sport simply needs to include the following clarification.

If an activity has some context other than its competitive one, it is NOT A SPORT, even if it also now enjoys a competitive context; it is just an activity. By contrast, sport has no other context for its activity than its competitive one.

Football doesn’t have a non-competitive context. Football was invented for football’s sake. You can choose to not keep score but that doesn’t make the performance of the activity any less advesarial. It is always pitting, so to speak. Some activity called “footballing” did not predate the competitive, sport version of football. The activity is a priori, in philosophical parlance. Same with basketball or golf or hockey.

Certainly you can break down the individual elements of an inherently competitive activity into non-competitive ones. Like hitting balls at the range. Or throwing a baseball off a brick wall. But, that’s just practice; not the actual and full activity itself. When you play baseball. You’re playing baseball. And, if you want to say that spinning the football with your dad in the backyard isn’t a sport, we can agree to agree. It’s an activity. Football, however, is a sport.

So, let’s look at the modified rule in application.

Skateboarding? Not a sport. Skateboards were toys and transportation first. X-games came later. It’s an activity. And a public nuisance.

Horseback riding? Not a sport. Horses were for transportation, hunting, and nation-state imperialism originally. The track came later. It’s an activity. And a farm animal.

Car racing? Not a sport. It’s an activity. You may have heard of it. It’s called driving.

And, cycling? Yep. Not a sport. It’s an activity. Horn. Woven basket. Tandem seats. Picnic. The Tour came later.

Surfing. Uh uh. Any activity that includes the risk of shark attack is not a sport. It’s survival.

To be clear, all of these are athletic or rather require athleticism. But, so does hand-to-hand guerrilla warfare. That doesn’t make it a sport.

To the point, this “original context” view eliminates the sort of qualitative judgment the debate about sport presently implies. So, currently, the race car driver has to behave sort of defensively that the athleticism and physicality required of him is high, whenever his racing is not accepted by some as a sport. But, this proposed addendum to the definition of sport effectively shifts the debate from athletic v. non-athletic to activity v. sport. And, truthfully this view is already in line with the culture of these activities. Competition and scoring were imposed on many of these activities, like surfing and skateboarding and axe hurling, whose participants philosophically already see contests and competitions as a kind of existential threat to the purity of the real experience and culture of those things. A definition, which focuses on the original purpose of the activity, therefore, removes this more judgmental and artificial exercise in critisizing the physical talent or skill or difficulty of relative sports.

How about foot races you might ask or long jump? People have been jumping over and running from and after things for as long as we’ve been bi-pedal. And, mostly for non-competitive reasons. How can the 100m or triple jump not be a sport simply because they have other non-competitive contexts?

And, so, I have promulgated an important corollary to our definition, called the “Antiquities Exception.” It goes as follows:

If the activity was originally considered a sport, in antiquity, then it remains a sport in modernity.

Running.

Jumping.

Wrestling/Boxing/Fighting Arts.

Object hurling. Javelins. Shot puts.

All of these were “sport” in antiquity. They’re grandfathered in, so to speak. If it was a “sport” before the invention of pants, let’s say, you can continue to claim it now.

Before I continue, it’s critical that we say a little more about the second element — that physical exertion/skill be present. Although this is where most people believe the debate lies, I think it’s pretty straightforward.

If an activity requires two or more of speed/quickness, strength, agility, flexibility, and eye-hand coordination, it satisfies the physical exertion demands of sport.

Period.

This working definition quickly helps identify inherently competitive activity without physicality, as “game,” and inherently competitive activity with physicality, as sport. Things like board and yard games, therefore, pretty rapidly find their water level as games.

Monopoly. Game.
Chess. Game.
Cornhole. A passion.

It also relegates something like billiards to the game category for its reliance essentially on only one attribute in eye hand coordination but solidifies something like ping pong or table tennis as sport for demanding quickness plus coordination.

Here are some interesting test cases.

The sleddings. Bob, dog, snow. Ancient activities. But, not necessarily ancient sports. 1967 was the first Iditarod. Not a sport. Anything that involves “packing” or “food stores” is not a sport.

Skiing. As a means of snow escape, maybe as old as 5 to 6 thousand years. As a sport, relatively new. It’s, at best, an activity, at worst, suicide.

Sailing. You already saw the spoiler. Not a sport. Anything used to “circumnavigate” cannot be sport. Satellites. Shuttles. Boats.

Roller Derby. Although roller skating itself is an activity, punching women in the face while roller skating has no other context. Sport.

Lumberjack Olympics. Not a sport. Anything that scores or measures “job performance” is an evaluation not a sport.

Arm wrestling. Have you seen Over the Top? Sport.

Fishing. As with the sleddings, if the activity also doubles as a food source or other life necessity, not a sport.

One of my favorites. Cheerleading. Not a sport. It has another context. Called cheerleading.

Horseshoes. A game. Eye hand coordination only.

Ice skating. Regardless of the definition used, ice skating will never, ever, ever be a sport. Panty hose = no sport.

Women’s softball. Begrudgingly a sport.

Clemson football. Not a sport. It plainly has no competitive context. It is strictly non-competitive.

How about swimming? Evidence of “swim meets” and Speedo in the Ancient World is admittedly a little thin, but it has such a high association with modern sport, like track, that it’s hard to not deem swimming a sport. So, is swimming more like skiing, essentially a type of environmentally specific transportation, or more like sprinting, an old sport? To resolve it, the Antiquities Exception should reasonably be extended to cover any competition based on an irreducibly singular athletic movement that doesn’t include equipment. Like running or jumping. Whereas skiing and sailing are an activity in human/equipment hybrid, swimming is a base athletic activity. A sport. You’re lucky, Phelps. Real lucky.

One more canard: gymnastics.

Trust me. The the back layout with a half twist has no other context. And, no one can quibble with the physical requirements. But, it gets such a bad rap for scoring that it seems to fail the measurable/competitive element as simply not well-suited to assessment. I would offer that although the current judging system is an abomination, as with boxing, that doesn’t mean you can’t imagine a more technical and objective type of adjudication. Sport. By the skin of your leotard, Tim Daggett.

So, let’s review. A “sport” is

1. Any activity;
2. requiring physical exertion, to include two or more of the following physical attributes – speed, agility, flexibility, strength, or eye-hand coordination; and
3. performed within a competitive context, so long as the activity has no other non-competitive context,

otherwise, it is a game or an activity.

Antiquities Exception: Any physical activity deemed a “sport” in antiquity is a sport in modernity, to include any competition based on an irreducibly singular athletic movement that doesn’t include equipment.

Got it?

To summarize:

Baseball. A sport.

Surfing (Kelly Slater). Not a sport.

Lacrosse. A sport.

Fantasy sports. Not a sport. Even if you’re in an auction, keeper, league-specific, PPR, rotisserie, War Room league.

So next time someone invites you to a NASCAR event or the Kentucky Derby or the above videoed 2014 Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal, you can confidently say, “Why thank you. I’d love to attend that ‘activity competition’ with you.”

(And, yes, please use air quotes, when you do.)

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Fab da Eclectic. Lyrics here.

Today’s blong here:

Bad Sport

09/30/14

Number 2

So with less than two outs a pop fly to the infield is a Hobson’s choice for the base runner on first. If he advances before the ball is secured, in order to avoid the double play, he will be doubled off at the base he evacuated after the infielder catches the ball. If he stays at the bag to tag up, the infielder will cleverly allow the ball to fall to the ground and then easily turn two. Executed properly, it’s an assured double play that the runners have no opportunity to influence.

So baseball recognizes a special rule in that situation called Infield Fly. It’s fairly controversial for some of the subjectivity involved in calling it, but essentially if the umpire believes that the fly ball is suffiicently playable to implicate the above conundrum, then the batter is immediately deemed out relieving the runner of any requirement to advance.

Here’s an example of how not to apply the rule:

Infield fly is also theipoetlaureate in pinstripe:

sintax baseball

Or what you get when you cross Minka Kelly with 20 years of championship caliber baseball by Derek Jeter, who officially retires this week.

Handsome. Workmanlike. Selfless. The Captain.

Derek-Jeter

Performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by DNL. Lyrics here.

Today’s blong here:

Infield Fly