Alan N. Shapiro, Visiting Professor in Transdisciplinary Design, Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen, Germany

Blog and project archive about transdisciplinary design, media theory and creative coding

Cactus League Baseball: San Francisco Giants vs. Oakland Athletics

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It was early March on planet Earth. In any of the other places where I have hung out during my apparently long yet in fact rather brief life so far as coder and Richard Daystrom wannabe – Frankfurt, Berlin, New York, Boston, Ithaca, Bologna, Zurich – it would be freezing cold in the middle of winter. But here in Phoenix it was lovely summer weather as we headed out to participate in that most sublime of the Rites of Spring: baseball.

As I exited the car in the parking lot, I noticed this message in the side-view mirror: “Objects in this mirror are closer than they appear.” Baudrillard and Cholodenko both had written extensively about this. For me, objects (consumer objects, software objects) are the “niggers” of today, crying out to be liberated. Just like the workers, the blacks, the third-world “wretched of the earth”, women, homosexuals, and animals and plants before them. But objects will have to liberate themselves. Or form their own “object councils.” Yes it’s true that they are asking for my help, they picked me out because I’m especially sensitive to the plight of underdogs, and I don’t have the heart to say “no” to them.

In the “disciplinary society” (Foucault) or the “society of control” (Deleuze) or the just-plain-old “shut up and do the hell what I tell you” nuclear family society or military society, you are not allowed onto the playing field. Just keep “workin’ for da Man” (not to be confused with de Man) every night and day, and don’t have any fun or fool around. In addition, don’t ever think for a second of objects having any “consciousness” or “subjectivity” or “life” or “intelligence” of their own. If you do happen to think any of those ideas, it is most certainly an indication of your “mystical” inclinations.

Our game tickets were printed out by computer printer. To pass Kafka’s gatekeepers and get into the stadium, we would need to get the bar codes on our papers properly scanned. The particular gatekeeper at the front of the particular queue that we had waited on was not able to scan our printouts and she claimed that our papers were not in order. She motioned for us to go wait on another long queue of those whose papers are not in order. In reality, she was an unskillful scanner and it was all her fault. And I sensed this. A Scanner, Darkly, Philip K. whispered into my inner ear. I instantly dimension-hopped to the adjacent line, and we got our papers processed by a more adept scan-man. We were in!

The great Tim Lincecum was in the house. Between starts, Lincecum liked to watch the game from the stands. For those who don’t know, Timothy Leroy Lincecum ist ein US-Amerikanischer Major League Baseball-Spieler. Er spielt bei den San Francisco Giants als Starting Pitcher. Er hat die Spitznamen „The Franchise“ und „The Freak.“ Es gibt eine sehr lustige ESPN-America TV-Werbespot wo er dabei ist und versucht sich in ein Software-System anzumelden. Lincecum is a right-handed pitcher, but he bats left-handed. Er gewann 2008 und 2009 den Cy Young Award given to the best pitcher in each of the Major Leagues. Charlie Sheen won the Cy Young Award in 1989, as a relief pitcher for the Cleveland Indians.

“He says, ‘The Giants win the pennant.’ A topspin line drive. He tomahawked the pitch and the ball had topspin and dipped into the lower deck and there is Pafko at the 315 sign looking straight up with his right arm braced at the wall and a spate of paper coming down. He says, “’The Giants win the pennant.’ Yes, the voice is excessive with a little tickle of hysteria in the upper register. But it is mainly wham and whomp. He sees Thomson capering around first. The hat of the first-base coach – the first-base coach has flung his hat straight up. He went for a chin-high pitch and cold-cocked it good.” – Don DeLillo, Underworld.

Katie Casey was base ball mad.

Had the fever and had it bad;
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev’ry sou Katie blew.
On a Saturday, her young beau
Called to see if she’d like to go,
To see a show but Miss Kate said,
“No, I’ll tell you what you can do.”

“Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack, I don’t care if I never get back, Let me root, root, root for the home team, If they don’t win it’s a shame. For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out, At the old ball game.”

Katie Casey saw all the games, Knew the players by their first names; Told the umpire he was wrong, All along good and strong. When the score was just two to two, Katie Casey knew what to do, Just to cheer up the boys she knew, She made the gang sing this song:

“Take me out to the ball game, Take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack, I don’t care if I never get back, Let me root, root, root for the home team, If they don’t win it’s a shame. For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out, At the old ball game.”

“Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.

Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,
blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter, come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine! You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon. Shine on you crazy diamond. Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light. Shine on you crazy diamond. Well you wore out your welcome with random precision, rode on the steel breeze. Come on you raver, you seer of visions, come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!”

— Pink Floyd, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” (1975)

Schaefer is the one beer to have when you’re having more than one … Schaefer pleasure doesn’t fade even when your thirst is done … The most rewarding flavor in this man’s world, for people who are having fun. Schaefer is the o ne beer to have when you’re having more than one …

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Baseball and Ballantine. Baseball and Ballantine. What a combination, all across the nation, Baseball and Ballantine.

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My beer is Rheingold the dry beer. Think of Rheingold whenever you buy beer. It’s not bitter, not sweet. It’s the extra dry treat. Won’t you try extra dry Rheingold beer? Rheingold’s head stays so high, ’cause it’s brewed extra dry. Won’t you try extra dry Rheingold beer!

Beware of dog. Beware of bears. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. Beware of avalanche. Beware of the step. Mind the gap. Beware of flying objects. “Bears! They don’t care whom they scare. You got to beware!” – “Bears” was the flip-side song of the vinyl record Number One hit single “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron”, sung by The Royal Guardsmen, 1966.

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