Bryce Harper has this week’s fastest home run trot


By Alex Brandon/AP.

 

As a rookie last season, Bryce Harper recorded baseball’s two quickest home-run trots of 2012: a 16.2-second sprint on Aug. 30, and a 16.35-second jaunt on May 26.

We’re only a few days into the 2013 season, but Harper is all over that particular leaderboard already. The fine folks at Tater Trot Tracker have Harper’s first home-run trot of the year clocked at 17.61 seconds. His second home-run trot was more than a second slower, but in these early days of the 2013 season, that’s still good for fourth in the big leagues. It would seem that Harper will be a permanent member of the fast-trotting club for the foreseeable future.

And because that’s not really long enough for a blog item, let me again quote from Michael Frayn’s 1965 comic romp The Tin Men, because it’s awesome. Did you know Frayn also wrote Noises Off? I didn’t, but my dad did, because he knows everything.

Anyhow, this comes in the passage about automating lotteries, which leads to a discussion about automating sporting contests, which leads to a discussion about automating fandom.

“When you come to think about it, you could programme a computer to appreciate the cricket results for you — or even to appreciate the actual automated game as the playing computer played it,” one engineer says. “It would be instructed to register applause as amazing freaks — at, say, the announcement of a slip catch off a fast bowler in poor light….It would be programmed to register boredom when nothing unusual happened for some time — without boredom being inflicted on any actual human being….So far as I can see, [spectating is] a finite activity, which means it’s a programmable one. The spectator is eminently replaceable.”

“But,” said Rowe, “the spectator enjoys watching.”

“He may I suppose, but that’s rather beside the point. The hydraulic press operator who is replaced by a computer when his factory is automated may enjoy operating a hydraulic press. But that doesn’t save him from being replaced. A human being, my dear Rowe, is far too complex and expensive an instrument to be wasted on simple finite tasks like operating presses, filling up football pools and watching cricket. The whole world of sport, I believe, will gradually become an entirely enclosed one, unvisited by any human being except the maintenance engineers. Computers will play. Computers will watch. Computers will comment. Computers will store results, and pit their memories against other computers in sports quiz programmes on the television organised by computers and watched by computers.”

And computers will blog. Oh, how they’ll blog. About hot dogs and mustaches and home-run trots. And then computers will read these blog items, and be programmed to write “slow news day?” in the comment section.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.

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Dan Steinberg · April 4, 2013