Baseball — The Future of?

Baseball 2021

Jessee Traylor stepped to the plate and planted himself in the batter’s box. Left foot on the back line and front foot placed in a slightly open stance the Anaheim Angel shortstop made ready for the first pitch of Opening Day.

Harold Mein of the Oakland Athletics threw a 97 mph fastball that just missed the outside edge of the plate at Traylor’s knees.baseball

“Ball one,” proclaimed the Angel Stadium public address system as the schematic of the pitch’s location was shown on the new right field screen.

Jessee turned and grinned at umpire Billy Rourke, with whom he had a history of feuding, “Well, at least you didn’t get that one wrong.”

Rourke, although feeling a bit redundant in his crouch behind A’s catcher Torin Jones, said not a word.

Mein wound up and threw another 97 mph fastball; this time, just a half-inch closer, it clipped the corner of the plate.

“Strike one,” proclaimed the Angel Stadium public address system. This time the schematic lit up with the enlargement showing the ball edging the plate at Traylor’s knees.

“What a shame, Jessee,” said Rourke, as he grinned at Traylor. “I think I might have called that one a ball.”

“Yeah, right,” responded Traylor.

Traylor swung at and missed the next waist-high fastball, clocked at 98 mph.

Mein then threw an 84 mph curve that crossed the plate six inches below Traylor’s knees and at which he swung and badly missed both in time and space.

As he walked back to the dugout grumbling not quite to himself the embarrassing schematic was shown in slo-motion, much to the delight of scattered A’s fans in the stands.

Introduced just three years previously and subject to extensive testing in the minor leagues and major league spring training, the new “chipped” baseballs were making their regular season debut this opening weekend of the 2021 season.

And, not only were the balls chipped, but so were the bats, gloves, bases and shoes. The umpires wore body-cams in addition to all of the cameras surrounding the field.

baseballThe second batter, Mark Muskie, then came to the plate and entrenched himself in the left side of the batter’s box; Mein threw another curve. Muskie dug it out in a golf shot that headed to left field and hit the wall rebounding into the fielder’s glove. In a single motion he turned and threw to the shortstop standing on second base waiting on Muskie’s attempt to stretch an easy single into a double.

The shortstop’s glove, second base and Muskie’s right hand in a headfirst slide seemed to merge in a single instant and most of the fans in the stands thought the runner was safe.

“You’re out,” cried the public address system as the schematic of the touch appeared on the screen.

The sensors in the baseball, the shortstop’s glove, second base and the runner’s left-hand glove sliding into second base detected the contact between Muskie and the shortstop’s glove less than a millisecond before Muskie touched the base.

Two out.

And so went the game.

The computers adjusted for each batter’s individual strike zone–pre-programmed into the system, of course. Homerun distances were measured to the inch as well as to how far they would have gone if the wall or stands were not in the way.

Pitch speed was measured both as the ball left the pitcher’s hand as well as when it crossed the plate.

Bat speed and the ball’s velocity as it left the bat were posted alongside pitch speed after every swing and hit ball.

The speed of the hitters and runners on the base paths was measured as was the length and velocity of the throws made by the fielders. All became grist for the baseball stat machine.

The closest thing to an argument was a foul ball detected on a second strike in the fourth inning but was not noticed by the batter, the catcher nor by the umpire–but it was noticed by the sensors in the ball and the bat. And posted as such on the board. As Shakespeare might have said, “little ado about less than nothing.”

Play-by-play announcers and color commentators who couldn’t tell an interesting baseball story to save their lives now had a multitude of additional crutches in the form of these new stats to blather about to their poor listeners and, hence, “justify” their existence and jobs.

Younger fans and fantasy leaguers had more reasons to immerse themselves in their portable electronic devices and ignore the game itself. (Including one “fan” whose iPhone X was smashed by a foul ball–the only injury of the day.)

Older fans enjoyed the game, which ended in the tenth inning on a Muskie two-run homer and traveled 512 feet-4.37 inches into the parking lot. Some of them lamented the lost humanity of the redundant umpires, but a Vegas sports book opened a betting pool on when major league baseball would opt to eliminate umpires from the field.

Billy Pillgrim, whose company made the chips and sensors used in the bats, balls, bases and clothing of the players, just smiled and relished the future.

Read 3 (2015) — Books, books and more books

2016 Reading List

On my To Be Read shelf:

Spheres of Influence by Ryk E.Spoor

Read -- Thunderbird by Jack McDevitt
Thunderbird by Jack McDevitt

The Lost Stars: Imperfect Sword by Jack Campbell

A Little Rebellion: Crimson Worlds III by Jay Allen

An Ancient Peace (Peacekeeper #1) by Tanya Huff

Currently being read:

Grand Central Arena by Ryk E. Spoor

Thunderbird (Sequel to Ancient Shores) by Jack McDevitt

Unrelenting (Kris Lingknife #13) by Mike Shepherd


 

2015 Reading List

In reverse order these are the books I’ve read this year. Some of them have been reviewed on my Book Reviews page and most of those, If not all of them, have also been posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

  1. No More Heroes (In the Wake of the Templars #3) by Loren Rhoades
  2. Kill by Numbers (In the Wake of the Templars #2) by Loren Rhoades
  3. The Dangerous Type (In the Wake of the Templars #1) by Loren Rhoades
  4. Raising Caine (Tales of the Terran Republic #3) by Charles E. Gannon
  5. Trial by Fire (Tales of the Terran Republic #2) by Charles E. Gannon
  6. Fire With Fire (Tales of the Terran Republic #1) by Charles E. Gannon
  7. Tenacious (Kris Lingknife #12) by Mike Shepherd
  8. Defender (Kris Longknife #11) by Mike Shepherd
  9. Furious (Kris Longknife #10) by Mike Shepherd
  10. Cost of Victory by Jay Allen
  11. Daring (Kris Longknife #9) by Mike Shepherd
  12. The Cost of Victory by Jay Allen: 3 of 5 stars
  13. Liaden Universe Constellation III by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller: 4 of 5 stars
  14. Phoenix in Shadow by Ryk E. Spoor: 4 of 5 stars
  15. W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton: 4 of 5 stars
  16. The Spellsong War by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.: 4 of 5 stars
  17. The Elysium Commission by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.: 4 of 5 stars
  18. Infinity Beach by Jack McDevitt: 4 of 5 stars
  19. Monsters of the Earth (The Books of the Elements #3) by David Drake: 3 of 5 stars
  20. The Forgotten Room by Lincoln Child: 4 of 5 stars
  21. Steadfast by Jack Campbell: 4 of 5 stars
  22. Dragon in Exile by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller: 5 of 5 stars
  23. Balance Point by Robert Buettner: 3 of 5 stars
  24. Shadow of Freedom by David Weber: 3 of 5 stars
  25. Survivor by Mike Shepherd: 4 1/2 of 5 stars
  26. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough: 4 of 5 stars
  27. Paradigms Lost by Ryk E. Spoor: 3 of 5 stars
  28. The 47 Ronin Story by John Allyn: 2 of 5 stars
  29. The Better Part of Valor (Confederation #2) Tanya Huff: 4 of 5 stars
  30. Valor’s Choice (Confederation #1) Tanya Huff: 4 of 5 stars
  31. The Clone Apocalypse by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #10): 2 of 5 stars
  32. The Clone Assassin by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #9): 4 of 5 stars
  33. The Clone Sedition by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #8): 4 of 5 stars
  34. The Clone Redemption by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #7): 4 of 5 stars
  35. Madness in Solidar by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (The Imager Portfolio #9): 4.5 of 5 stars
  36. Castaway Planet by Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor: 3 of 5 stars
  37. Undercity by Catherine Asaro: 4 of 5 stars
  38. The Clone Empire by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #6): 4 of 5 stars
  39. The Clone Betrayal by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #5): 4 of 5 stars
  40. The Clone Elite by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #4): 4 of 5 stars
  41. Antiagon Fire  (The Imager Portfolio #7) by L.E. Modesitt Jr.: 4 of 5 stars
  42. Imager’s Battalion by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (The Imager Portfolio #6): 4 of 5 stars
  43. Princeps by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (The Imager Portfolio #5): 4 of 5 stars
  44. Carousel Seas by Sharon Lee (Archer’s Beach #3): 4 of 5 stars
  45. Scholar by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (The Imager Portfolio #4): 4 of 5 stars
  46. The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower: A Biography of C. S. Forester’s Famous Naval Hero by C. Northcote Parkinson: 4 of 5 stars
  47. The Abyss Beyond Dreams by Peter F. Hamilton (A Commonwealth Novel): 3 of 5 stars

Read Again:

These are books I’ve read before and re-read during July and August when I had no new books on hand. It does not include my re-reading of all of the Liaden books to get myself set for Dragon in Exile.

  1. A Rising Thunder – David Weber
  2. Shadow of Freedom – David Weber
  3. The Shadow of Saganami – David Weber
  4. Watch on the Rhine – John Ringo, Tom Kratman
  5. A Cruel Wind (A Shadow of All Night Falling; October’s Baby; All Darkness Met) – Glen Cook
  6. Dread Empire’s Fall: The Sundering – Walter Jon Williams
  7. The Thin Man – Dashiell Hammett
  8. The Glass Key – Dashiell Hammett
  9. The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett
  10. The Dain Curse – Dashiell Hammett
  11. Red Harvest – Dashiell Hammett
  12. The Truth of Valor – Tanya Huff
  13. Valor’s Trial – Tanya Huff
  14. City on Fire – Walter Jon Williams
  15. The Way to Glory – David Drake
  16. The Far Side of the Stars – David Drake
  17. Ambassador of Progress – Walter Jon Williams
  18. Target (Vicky Peterwald) – Mike Shepherd
  19. The Warmasters – David Drake, David Weber, Eric Flint
  20. Paying the Piper – David Drake
  21. In Fury Born – David Weber
  22. Night’s Master – Tanith Lee
  23. The Birthgrave – Tanith Lee
  24. The Gods Themselves – Isaac Assimov
  25. Judas Unchained – Peter F. Hamilton
  26. Pandora’s Star – Peter F. Hamilton

Read 2 (2015)

2015 Reading List

In reverse order these are the books I’ve read this year. Some of them have been reviewed on my Book Reviews page and most of those, If not all of them, have also been posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Currently reading: Daring (Kris Longknife) by Mike Shepherd

  1. The Cost of Victory by Jay Allen: 3 of 5 stars
  2. Liaden Universe Constellation III by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller: 4 of 5 stars
  3. Phoenix in Shadow by Ryk E. Spoor: 4 of 5 stars
  4. W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton: 4 of 5 stars
  5. The Spellsong War by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.: 4 of 5 stars
  6. The Elysium Commission by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.: 4 of 5 stars
  7. Infinity Beach by Jack McDevitt: 4 of 5 stars
  8. Monsters of the Earth (The Books of the Elements #3) by David Drake: 3 of 5 stars
  9. The Forgotten Room by Lincoln Child: 4 of 5 stars
  10. Steadfast by Jack Campbell: 4 of 5 stars
  11. Dragon in Exile by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller: 5 of 5 stars
  12. Balance Point by Robert Buettner: 3 of 5 stars
  13. Shadow of Freedom by David Weber: 3 of 5 stars
  14. Survivor by Mike Shepherd: 4 1/2 of 5 stars
  15. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough: 4 of 5 stars
  16. Paradigms Lost by Ryk E. Spoor: 3 of 5 stars
  17. The 47 Ronin Story by John Allyn: 2 of 5 stars
  18. The Better Part of Valor (Confederation #2) Tanya Huff: 4 of 5 stars
  19. Valor’s Choice (Confederation #1) Tanya Huff: 4 of 5 stars
  20. The Clone Apocalypse by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #10): 2 of 5 stars
  21. The Clone Assassin by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #9): 4 of 5 stars
  22. The Clone Sedition by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #8): 4 of 5 stars
  23. The Clone Redemption by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #7): 4 of 5 stars
  24. Madness in Solidar by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (The Imager Portfolio #9): 4.5 of 5 stars
  25. Castaway Planet by Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor: 3 of 5 stars
  26. Undercity by Catherine Asaro: 4 of 5 stars
  27. The Clone Empire by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #6): 4 of 5 stars
  28. The Clone Betrayal by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #5): 4 of 5 stars
  29. The Clone Elite by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #4): 4 of 5 stars
  30. Antiagon Fire  (The Imager Portfolio #7) by L.E. Modesitt Jr.: 4 of 5 stars
  31. Imager’s Battalion by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (The Imager Portfolio #6): 4 of 5 stars
  32. Princeps by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (The Imager Portfolio #5): 4 of 5 stars
  33. Carousel Seas by Sharon Lee (Archer’s Beach #3): 4 of 5 stars
  34. Scholar by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (The Imager Portfolio #4): 4 of 5 stars
  35. The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower: A Biography of C. S. Forester’s Famous Naval Hero by C. Northcote Parkinson: 4 of 5 stars
  36. The Abyss Beyond Dreams by Peter F. Hamilton (A Commonwealth Novel): 3 of 5 stars

Re-Reads:

These are books I’ve read before and re-read during July and August when I had no new books on hand. It does not include my re-reading of all of the Liaden books to get myself set for Dragon in Exile.

  1. A Rising Thunder – David Weber
  2. Shadow of Freedom – David Weber
  3. The Shadow of Saganami – David Weber
  4. Watch on the Rhine – John Ringo, Tom Kratman
  5. A Cruel Wind (A Shadow of All Night Falling; October’s Baby; All Darkness Met) – Glen Cook
  6. Dread Empire’s Fall: The Sundering – Walter Jon Williams
  7. The Thin Man – Dashiell Hammett
  8. The Glass Key – Dashiell Hammett
  9. The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett
  10. The Dain Curse – Dashiell Hammett
  11. Red Harvest – Dashiell Hammett
  12. The Truth of Valor – Tanya Huff
  13. Valor’s Trial – Tanya Huff
  14. City on Fire – Walter Jon Williams
  15. The Way to Glory – David Drake
  16. The Far Side of the Stars – David Drake
  17. Ambassador of Progress – Walter Jon Williams
  18. Target (Vicky Peterwald) – Mike Shepherd
  19. The Warmasters – David Drake, David Weber, Eric Flint
  20. Paying the Piper – David Drake
  21. In Fury Born – David Weber
  22. Night’s Master – Tanith Lee
  23. The Birthgrave – Tanith Lee
  24. The Gods Themselves – Isaac Assimov
  25. Judas Unchained – Peter F. Hamilton
  26. Pandora’s Star – Peter F. Hamilton

Root Beam Float

Here I am on vacation again. I know some of you think this is a redundant statement as I have been retired some three years now, but it is not. There is something about being away from home that adds to the experience.

While reading today’s edition of the Grand Forks Herald, I came upon the following recipes:

White Wine Sangria:

  • 2 bottles of dry white wine
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of brandy
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
  • 3 cups of assorted sliced fruit
  • Combine all ingredients in a clear glass serving pitcher. Stir gently and let ingredients sit for 8 to 24 hours. Serve chilled.
  • (Wine snobs, please, omit the brandy, agave nectar/honey and fruit.)

Root Beam Float:

  • 8 ounces of root beer
  • 1 ounce Jim Beam or bourbon of choice (here’s a chance to get rid of/use the bottle of Old Crow your great-aunt Matilda gave you twenty years ago)
  • 2-3 curls of zest from an orange
  • 1/2 cup vanilla bean ice cream
  • Combine the first three ingredients in a float glass. Stir gently to combine bourbon and root beer. Top with vanilla bean ice cream and serve.

Ah, well, time to take the wife shopping. will return in an hour or three. Will open a beer and resume reading one of my books–either Phoenix in Shadow by Ryk E. Spoor or Liaden Universe Constellation: Volume III by Sharon Lee.

Oh, yeah–here are Smoke and Mist, also on vacation. HB North

Reading Old in the Summer

We are now well into summer–prime reading time. The days are long and getting shorter. It’s vacation time and my wife does not have to go back to work in August–she’s now retired.

Yesterday we went to Barnes and Noble and she stocked up on books (to go along with those still unread from her stock up a couple of weeks ago). I, however, am out of new books to read. Well, I am out of books I currently own that I haven’t yet read, and there are no new current hardcovers that I want to read enough to pay hardcover prices–I’ll wait for them to come out in paperback.

So, I went into our garage and the double stacked bookshelves I built some twenty-five years ago–and I found some things to re-read:

  • The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov. In my humble opinion (and those of you who know me know exactly just how humble my opinion is) it is the best of Asimov’s books. Truly imaginative and truly alien aliens. I like it the best of all of his books I’ve read (and I’ve read most, if not all of them).
  • The Birthgrave by Tanith Lee. I first read this book and the others in its series (Vazkor, Son of Vazkor and Quest for the White Witch) in the mid to late 70s. I’ve completely forgotten their storylines, plots and characters. Gee, “new” books and I don’t even need to go out and buy them!
  • Night’s Master by Tanith Lee. I first read this book and the others in its series–Flat Earth (Death’s Master, Delusion’s Master, Delirium’s Mistress and Night’s Sorceries) in the late 70s to mid-80s. If I can find Night’s Sorceries in the garage, I’ll have another set of “new” books to read without buying them.
  • Merovingen Nights Series by C. J. Cherryh (the complete series) I also found the Fortress, Morgaine & Vanye and Faded Sun series.
  • E. E. “Doc” Smith: Lensman and Skylark series. I couldn’t find any of my Family D’Alembert books.
  • I even found my Cities in Space books by James Blish.

Maybe these will carry me for a few weeks as I await Alliance of Equals and The Gathering Edge by Lee & Miller and X by Sue Grafton. At least, I don’t have to wait a year of two for X, just a couple of months.

Ah, yes, still plenty to read.

NOTE to Glen Cook: I’m still waiting for A Pitiless Rain and Port of Shadows–hint, hint, HINT!