Søren #Kierkegaard, #Baseball, and My New #RallyBird Rules (PDF)


If I may translate the philosopher’s concepts in my own way, then baseball’s four bases represent Søren Kierkegaard’s scoring strategy. They exemplify his coaching observation of the first aesthetic, then ethical, and finally religious modes of base running, with a difficult slide (or leap) of faith to reach Home plate. Kierkegaard argues that one can have faith that the cloud of dust transforms into a Run on the colossal electric scoreboard, but one can never believe it, because the bright click of that scoreboard is beyond muscle achievement and beyond reason. The cerulean Run is something else. This unrelentingly requirement of test on individual strength and resolve relates to the compelling existentialism of baseball.

1st base is an achievement of individual aesthetics, the batter’s skillful use of the passions to swing the bat just right. This does not mean an abuse of passions, but the motivation is pleasure. Who among you has not exalted, as I still do, at the musical sound of the bat hitting the ball in its sweet, sweet spot? O sensual raptures! Mind you, to maximize pleasure thoughtfully, an Epicurean life is smarter, measured, more calculated than a hedonistic life. A runner can take an 11-foot lead from first base, sometimes a 12- or even 13-foot lead, but a hedonistic 14-foot lead? That cannot last. It won’t last. It doesn’t last.

A moment comes when the baserunner found a way to move beyond the limitations of the aesthetic approach and achieved second base. It’s a new way. Wary of mere pleasure-seeking, from oneself the player naturally thinks of the team, of the friendly dugout clearly in view, of what 2nd base represents as the border of a Runner In Scoring Position. From second base the player can easily see the comrade at bat. Trading glances, the second base runner can spy the pitcher’s grip on the laces of the ball and signal, with hand on chin, then hand on knee, that he’s loaded a fastball. (RallyBird’s Take the Pitch card reflects this specific possibility.) This is legal, but baseball’s unofficial regulations frown on it; at least, Defense may respond by beaning the player next time at bat. Ethics brings responsibility. Ethical responsibility means the player has moved from thinking about the self to others, but the self remains.

As baseball commentator Kierkegaard says, no player on second base has ever reached Home plate by running in a straight line toward it. The absurd fact is, that the player seeking Home must run obliquely (beyond logic, proof and reason) from the ethical second base toward the Third Base of religious feeling. The greater the uncertainty, the more likely that this will be a great sports moment, we in the crowd lean forward and making sounds beyond language. The baserunner blurs between third base and home. The ball returns like a cannon shot from the center fielder. The catcher reaches his glove. Unable to see the ball or Home, the Knight of Faith dives into the obscurity, with trust that Home plate will reach back to tag the player’s outstretched hand.

This RallyBird rule pdf (link below) is in progress, but I offer to share it with you. It looks different, but it is the same 1-hour baseball board game with quick decisions for offense and defense each at bat. I’ve added a couple of new variants including Series rules. Also I learned I could add an additional card to the game at no cost to you, so I added a trophy card. The rules include a picture of it. When I proof these rules, mull and ruminate a few more hundred times, I’ll replace the current ones that come with the game with this set.

RallyBird Board Game Rules version May11, 2019

Here is a concise and sensible summary of Kierkegaard’s stages.

You can buy the RallyBird Baseball Board Game here.

The Game of #Baseball Is Not Symmetrical. The RallyBoard #BoardGame Reflects This.

Is this controversial? I don’t believe the game of baseball is symmetrical. The RallyBird Board Game reflects this. Yes, the field has bilateral symmetry, sure. But the game includes the action. Runners only may move in a counter-clockwise direction. First base is a lot different than third base! The relation of second base to first base is a lot different than second base to third base.

This play action differentiation impacts the action value of the left side of the field compared to the right side. It impacts situations, and I think delivers a feeling of action value to the bases that is not level. When measured by action value and potentiality, the level field actually has “altitude” differences (I made a whole video about baseball’s topography.)

Because I believe that baseball is not symmetrical, some pairs of At Bat card tactics are also not symmetrical. Here’s one pair:


Grounder Right is slightly more effective than Grounder Left. In the RallyBird Baseball Board Game, Grounder Right moves a non-forced runner more often.

Grounder Left and Grounder Right aren’t the only non-symmetrical cards in the RallyBird Baseball Board Game. I show these two similar Left/ Right card treatments in the video I made on this topic below, Infield Left and Infield Right.

Let’s not forget there are more right-handed athletes than left-handed…

Thanks for reading! There’s more information about the game below.

Here’s a link to the RallyBird Board Game Rules PDF. 

The board game is currently for sale here.

Dynamic How to Play video below!

Testing MLB Team Rules for the RallyBird Baseball Board Game

I designed the RallyBird Baseball Board Game for a easy, 1-hour, thoughtful board game experience of the sport. This meant when I recently took on the task of adapting historic MLB team performance to Rally Bird, I did not try to drill down on the charismatic, individual statistical performance of players. Instead, these optional, add-on MLB rules I’m testing depend on team averages over the season. This is a necessary simplification to keep the RB board game quick and playable, yet with emphasis on decisions for offense and defense each At Bat.

Within these broad modifications, the decisions of the board game players and their dice determine the individuality of events. It’s fun for me to try to adapt MLB team performance to the characteristics of this board game. Does it succeed? I don’t know yet, but I’ve designed and ordered the components I need to test the playable asymmetry of the 2018 season. This includes a larger set of Glove defense tiles, and the print out of the adaption rules (1 page) and individual team ratings in RallyBird Board Game categories.

By the way, enjoy today! It’s opening day of the new MLB season! –PG

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?