What with the weather good and the family home, the TV’s been mostly dark; but the other day I was too burnt-out to work, flipped it on and was captured by the Mariners (kind of the local team here) vs. the Angels. So I had to go back the next night, and now I’m watching the Mariners and the Red Sox. And it’s been some remarkably pleasurable baseball.

It’s awfully nice that Seattle’s playing better, maybe a contender. If only because of Ichiro, whose speed and grace are wholly beautiful; but in recent years he’d been a diamond in a dustbin.

I’ve also admired the Angels lately, just because Vlad Guerrero is so much fun to watch. There were two moments in Wednesday’s game that I thought were more or less perfect baseball. First, Vlad challenging Ichiro to gun him down at the plate. It’s not surprising that Ichiro won, after all it was a pretty short fly and he caught it coming in at speed. What’s surprising is that Guerrero made it close; on that play, Ichiro gets almost any other player in the game by ten feet.

Second, later in the game: Guerrero at bat, takes this monster swing at a nasty breaking ball. It’d have been gone if he’d hit even 60% of it, but he only got about 1% and it went rolling up to the third baseman, who was (obviously) playing back. Vlad laid on some serious hustle and crossed first base safely, laughing. That’s how the game ought to be played.

Now I’m going to shut up and watch the Mariners and Sox, close in the seventh.



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From: Clint Hill (Aug 04 2007, at 07:49)

It's nice to hear you're a fan of baseball. Even if maybe only to watch a game here and there. I myself played baseball in college. A close friend of mine had a short career professionally. We work together and have great conversations about the details of the game. Most folks often talk about the highlights and never really understand that the beauty of baseball is in the short moments and tiny details between those big homeruns. They way the middle infield might shift for particular hitters - especially when they know the call from the catcher. Fork ball may mean a weak dribbler up the middle so sinch up to the mound a little. Or even better is to watch the catcher perform the magic that is called framing. A pitcher may throw a moving fastball just a little high and off the plate, but with a very subtle flick of the wrist and a gesture toward the plate the umpire only sees that the catcher caught the ball on the plate. Strike.

I often use this stuff when I am writing code. The clean compile is the homerun stuff, but the terseness of the code is this detail stuff that really make code beautiful like baseball. The batting lineup is the stack and how did you strategize your stack to last through the opener, middle reliever and the closer?

It's fun. Sometimes it feels silly, but when it actually clears up questions it feels like voodoo.

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August 03, 2007
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