Pickles Baseball & PT Barnum

First this… IMG_5332

And then this…IMG_5336

It was the Portland Pickles (wearing white) playing the Bend Elks (pale yellow jerseys).

Suddenly this bird creature arrived on a motor scooter and began dancing around the third baseman. This interloper, BirdZerk, pressured the fielder to dance with him. The crowd roared. Then BirdZerk stole his glove and motor scootered off the field. Sadly the third baseman lifted his hand and a teammate brought a replacement glove.


BirdZerk appeared again a little later. He sassed the umps and danced around them. He whacked their behinds and mocked them. Then he began increasingly complex dance break dance moves. Suddenly one of the umps (pictured on the right below) jumped in the air and flipped over backwards. He began to dance with the crazy Bird. In fact, the dancing was synchronized and complex. Yes, he was a ringer!IMG_5340

Later BirdZerk appeared in a mad scientist lab coat. He had a remote control device (on the grass in pic below) and he guided his “robot son” (how?!) who was part bird (?) onto the field.IMG_5344

I think we need to overlook what the definition of a son is, what a bird is, and what a robot is as well. Mad Scientist BirdZerk guided the robot over to a real ump…


The robot had limited mobility but somehow squatted down to reveal its most advanced function: It belched loudly, then turned around and let out smoke.IMG_5347

Meanwhile the Pickles scored and scored again and yes, again, including a Grand Slam. They were winning 14-0. Another creature appeared, about 80% baseball and 20% bird. It came down the third base– home plate baseline performing agile dance moves…IMG_5349

Then played catch with a Bend Elk player (ringer!) using its beak.

The Pickles scored again. While admiring their skill, and feeling dismayed about the Elks’ 4 errors, I also had to admire the spirited clown entrepreneurship supporting baseball as PT Barnum style entertainment. I don’t come for the antics, and would rather see a more balanced contest with fewer errors, but it was a fun surprise.

Also note: the association of baseball with birds on the field ever grows.

PS. You can pick up a copy of the RallyBird Baseball board game here.

Theory 4 video: Baseball “Sacrifice” At Bat Evaluation (RallyBird Baseball Board Game)

What is the shape of value of the “sacrifice” At Bat in baseball? In this intuitive approach, I try to offer this. I call it a shape because it’s more than just a yes/no thing, more than a simple risk/reward relationship, but highly situational. Even when you consider all batters equal, there are still a lot of factors to weigh. The answer may have to be your choice of will, not your confident calculation. Lines and shapes are ways to try to wrangle the forces that push on the outcome.

Df6O3sMUEAA-9dl.jpg-large.jpegWhen you’re playing the RallyBird Baseball board game, you have the opportunity to make these evaluations for yourself based on your runners on base, how many outs you have, your inning, the number of runs you need, your opponent’s defensive style, and how many runs you want to score. What combination of risk and reward works best for you tactically and strategically?

This video explores the dimensions of risk and reward behind a decision to hit a ball in such a way to trade the batter’s Out to advance a runner already on base. To me its a fascinating risk/reward question with multiple, drifting variables. With all batters equal, when is it better or worse to hit a sacrifice rather than attempt a normal At Bat? This is one of the decisions you need to make when playing the RallyBird Baseball board game. As I say in the video, this need to make decisions provides the “good pain” in board games that I like.

For sale now (June, 2018) here: https://bit.ly/2rvmzBa .

Also see: RallyBirdBaseball.com . Thank you for watching.

Unintentional Revelations As My Next RallyBird Baseball Theory Video Is Almost Complete

I filmed the next RallyBird Baseball theory video yesterday and editing it today. I’m uploading it now. It should take about six years to upload, possibly quite less than that. Perhaps even later today. I filmed it via my laptop, because I think my camcorder’s audio quality may be irredeemable. That dictates the angle and make it hard not to show my face. (“Don’t look at me!) Here is a still pic of me with my baseball tie and one of my colorful graphs.Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 2.48.15 PM

It is funny and disconcerting to view myself–full stop. For one thing, this video shows my eyes looking upward when I try to be precise about my spoken language.

I asked google about this posture, and it offered this: Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 2.55.53 PM

So I suppose it’s disconcerting to see myself processing information in a way that isn’t entirely self-aware. I’m only self-aware from the inside viewpoint. (“Let me out!”) Sadly I don’t have a sidekick who walks around with a mirror for me, like that wonderful man in the band called “The Time”… you may recall the highly engaging and hilarious performance from the movie Purple Rain.

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 3.02.16 PM

Back to my somewhat less hypnotic and groovy examination of the shape of value of baseball’s sacrifice At Bat… I take an intuitive approach to evaluation, and explain why, and how it reflects on the RallyBird Baseball Board Game.

Here is the RallyBird Baseball board game’s place in BoardGameGeek.com: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/252879/rallybird-baseball

And here’s where you can pick up a copy: https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/rallybird-baseball

PS. Where’s my Mirror Guy?

Where to Buy the RallyBird Baseball Board Game? Plus: a Shape

Hello! I am fielding (get it?) inquiries about where to purchase the RallyBird Baseball board game.

At this time, June 2018, this is the only source: https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/rallybird-baseball

Generally when I write about other things and mention the name of the game, I link it to that website, as I did in the first sentence above.

Now, what’s that I said in my title about a shape? I am constructing the physical shape of the type of At Bat called a Sacrifice. I’m trying to provide novel ways of approaching topics subject to over a hundred years of ferment, brains, brooding, and volume. I think I can offer that with my semi intuitive, math-informed poetic approach to baseball topics. An example is my previous videos such as Baseball Has Dynamic Topography.

Baseball is famous for its statistics, in part because it’s possible to isolate play events to individuals. Statistics as a field is famous for its ability to support lies, and for its revelations so powerful that in recent memory has transformed the way managers command their baseball teams. As a result, fans even say “statistics are ruining the game of baseball” — sometimes.

I’m reading (off and on) a recent book about baseball statistics that mocks baseball stat traditions like the RBI as meaningless. Isn’t that shocking? I am not arguing about that detail. I respect statistics–in fact I loved the class I took on it in high school. I just think I can offer something different, such as a shape. It might be a bit like Special Agent Dale Cooper’s intuitive approach to investigation in Twin Peaks…

So my working title on my next video is The Shape of the Sacrifice. It’s a way for me to mull through the multiple variables in evaluating the Sacrifice tactic, an issue that fascinates me. That’s why I included 3 kinds of Sacrifice available to the Offense in the RallyBird Baseball Board Game.

Final note: It looks like it wasn’t human error that botched my previous 2 videos–the explanation of the rules to a new player, and a complete game session. The microphone is faulty. J’accuse! I ordered a new, different one. We’ll see… or rather hear…

Preparations for the Next RallyBird Baseball Video. Topic: “Sacrifice” At Bats

With the assistance of graphs (see pic) I’m gathering my thoughts for my next RallyBird Baseball video to add to my previous five available on YouTube here.


While I can offer no computer graphics, I do offer my fuzzy, halting, semi-articulate, grainy human self. At least there are no PowerPoint slides, right?

Note to human self: turn on the microphone.