Erik (eriktrips) wrote,

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baseball came up in class yesterday. i was surprised. i don't know if my professor watches baseball but from what she said it seems likely.

but it made me think more about baseball and what i thought was that baseball is one of the dicier games we play.

well. they play it. i don't play it and never really liked games in the baseball/softball/kickball family because i never could take the pressure of being up to bat or being the one who was supposed to catch the ball.

interestingly i loved playing defensive back in football because there if you catch the ball just once in a great while you are a hero.

but see baseball is inhabited by chance if not actually to a greater extent than any major league sport then at least apparently so. that is chance is far more obvious. once the ball leaves the pitcher's hand, and even before, no one can control what happens to it.

i mean sure they try. fingers on the seams, pull your hands in to hit the sweet spot, but really the final determinant of where the ball goes is blind chance. which is why my professor said see it's like baseball when she was trying to illustrate the unpredictability of the Other.

baseball may be the closest thing we have to calvinball which is the closest thing we have to deleuze's ideal game where only chance operates and there can be no apportioning of chance according to models of profit and loss. to that extent baseball is like any american sport where chance is used only as an occasion to keep score but it strikes me that unpredictability is more or less foregrounded at least immediately prior to that keeping score.

and it is the not knowing that makes the game engaging. it is the not knowing that is perhaps more attractive than the prospect of winning or at least is that which keeps us playing again and again. or watching again and again as the case may be.

this is not to say there isn't something seductive about the prospect of winning. one reason i watch sports is to indulge my desire to be a part of a mob. a winning mob. a mob you'd give your life for.

see i would never give my life for any mob anywhere but i will scream my lungs out for my team. i figure it's a fairly harmless way to sublimate an instinct that i hold in dim regard but which beats away in me.

so you see in baseball you get both death and chance.

the weird thing is that this would be america's pastime. well maybe not. we're all about death. and to a degree all about chance but only in its subjection to models of profit and loss.

it may be that baseball is the only place we can stand to see happenstance happen in its raw form. and even there we cover it over on the scoreboard.

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