Sunday, April 18, 2010

Clockwork Oranges and Ticking Bombs

Anyone who knows me, or reads this blog regularly, knows that I am a soccer fan. Some would say, a rapid soccer fan. Others might lengthen the word and call me a fanatic. While there is some merit to these opinions, there are other sporting events that occasionally pop-up on my radar.

Like when the Giants come to town to play the Dodgers for instance. Having grown up in the Bay Area and lived in San Francisco, I have a soft spot for the Giants. So I must admit it was a real pleasure watching them clean the Dodgers clock yesterday. But I'm digressing. . . Or rather, I'm gloating you could say

Watching a baseball game live for the first time in a couple years got me to thinking about some of the fundamental differences between baseball and soccer. And being a tech blogger, of course, it's my job to see how such sports compare to things in the tech world.

Let's start with soccer, the sport which I watch and play so passionately. Soccer involves twenty-two men in nearly constant motion. With the exception of the goal keepers, almost no one stands around, but instead they are continually repositioning themselves into attacking and defensive formations based on the movements of the ball and the other players on the pitch. This near constant rotation of players is something like the workings of a clock and indeed the great Dutch World Cup teams of the '70s were called the "Clockwork Oranje."

In a tech sense, soccer could perhaps be likened to a fast processor: expansive, flowing, constantly processing and shifting information and capable of producing a sudden, instant result. Just as the eleven men on both teams are constantly running and moving to score or prevent goals, the processors in one's computer are constantly shifting and processing information to produce the applications that appear on your screen.

Baseball, on the other hand, like most computers, seems to have a kind of sleep mode. Innings change, coaches come out to the mound to chat, fans meander off to buy beer and hot dogs. The whole thing can be rather like a '90s era Internet connection: you click on a link and wander off to do something else while it loads.

But of course when it does actually load, it can be very exciting.

Baseball games play more like ticking time bombs than clockwork oranges. Players stand statue like as tension mounts. Pitchers and batters face off with the same posture as gunfighters in a western. Muscles tense, crowds fall silent. Then all it once everything explodes! The pitcher pitches and the batter swings. If it's a hit men on the attacking team begin running bases while the outfield team spring into action, trying to shut down the danger as quickly as possible. Everything is very dramatic for a few seconds, and then of course, it all falls static again.

Baseball can be a very exciting sport, and far be it for me to knock it. I love a good day at the ballpark and all that goes with it. However I guess when it comes to sports, I prefer the action to be the same way like I like my Internet connection: fast moving, instantaneous and constant.

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