.013 Seconds ~ A Brain Test

Scientists recently discovered that the human brain can fully process an image that has been seen for just .013 seconds.

I don’t know how long .013 seconds is, except that it’s probably the fastest thing my brain can do. (My brain can take hours — hours — to decide what it wants for dinner. Thank you, Editor/Husband for bringing home carryout.)

In comparison, it takes .4 seconds for a 91 MPH fastball to go from pitcher to catcher (assuming it actually makes it to the catcher and doesn’t end up in the bleachers … but you get the point).

In the time it takes a young college pitcher to wing his fastball over the plate, my brain will process some 30 images.

Including this one from the University of Virginia during the Cavalier’s “Fall Ball” season last October.

Here’s your test.  Look at it for just .013 seconds. Then answer the question below. (No cheating, although it’s ok to click on it to enlarge it on your screen.)

scouts at the game

© The Baseball Bloggess

In .013 seconds, your brain processed the image.

So, how many major league scouts with radar guns did your brain see?

The correct answer is …

Six.

(Or, seven if you counted that one in the lower right corner, which, I believe belongs to UVa and not a scout. But, if you counted it, good for you — I’m giving you credit.)

scouts4 v2

© The Baseball Bloggess

This concludes your brain test.

These photos were taken on October 5, 2014 in Charlottesville, Virginia at UVa’s Davenport Field. The pitchers the scouts had come to watch and clock — Juniors Nathan Kirby and Brandon Waddell.

Both lefties. Everyone loves a lefty.

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© The Baseball Bloggess

 UVa Junior and Pre-Season All American Nathan Kirby.

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© The Baseball Bloggess

 UVa Junior and Pre-Season All American Brandon Waddell.

Just 14 days until the start of the NCAA baseball season.

 

Game 162.

“You don’t know how to slow it down. It just goes by so fast.” ~ Duane Kuiper, SF Giants broadcaster (and former second baseman) on baseball careers

strike

© The Baseball Bloggess

Even if your team will go to the post-season next week, there’s something kind of sad about Game 162, the last game of the regular season.

Six months. Done.

It went so fast.

Sure, 10 teams still play next week.

(Go Orioles!)

But, with 20 teams gone, the box scores thin out day by day, until there’s just one. Then, none.

Not to jump ahead to 2015, when there’s a World Series in Baltimore still to play for …

Oh, let’s jump ahead to 2015 …

Today’s University of Virginia vs. Towson “Fall Ball” game counts toward their 2015 NCAA season.

So, even though Game 162 is a little sad. Somewhere else, it’s just Game 1.

University of Virginia vs. Towson

The Veteran …

Nathan Kirby

Junior Nathan Kirby, Pitcher

The Freshman …

Ernie Clement

Ernie Clement, Second Base

The Sophomore …

thaiss

Matt Thaiss, First Base

The Rookie …

Justin Novak

 Justin Novak, Shortstop

The fans … 

girls

Photos: University of Virginia, Davenport Field. Charlottesville, Virginia. September 28, 2014. © The Baseball Bloggess

It’s A Hoo’s Wrap

clubhouse doorwayLast week, the University of Virginia came within two runs of winning the College World Series.

(This is my gentle way of saying that UVa lost 3-2, without actually saying “UVa lost,” which is still just a little too painful to say, unless I mumble “they lost” quietly inside these parentheses.)

Congratulations to Vanderbilt who took two of three against UVa last week. In Game 3 on Wednesday night, Vanderbilt was just the better team. They played as if they had nothing to lose. UVa played as if they had everything to lose.

Thanks for breaking my heart, Vanderbilt.

(Don’t you find it sketchy when colleges and universities refuse to tell you their location in their names? I mean, I don’t want to start a rumor, but maybe Vanderbilt is hiding something.)

On Thursday night, UVa hosted a “Welcome Home” celebration for the Hoos as they returned to Charlottesville. They may have lost that one last game, but they still had an outstanding 53-16 winning season.

Did I go?

Of course I did. (Thank you to the clients who kindly let me juggle their appointments Thursday evening so I could be there.)

cup2

My very handsome and wonderful Editor/Husband got me this sweet College World Series cup!

It was a great opportunity to cheer the team one more time.

Did The Baseball Bloggess geek out when she got to meet some players and coaches?  She’s not saying.

(Yes. Yes, she did.)

team

Here’s the 2014 UVa highlights video they showed that night.  (Look for me and Editor/Husband in the crowd shots!)

welcome home

A few weeks ago, I met Jeff Curry at a game. He attends plenty of UVa baseball games and he draws them as they unfold.

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He draws basketball and football games, too, but his favorite art comes from the diamond.

jeffnew.jpg

~ Jeff Curry, Artist

Curry used to play baseball, now he draws it. This is his 2014 UVa season wrap-up piece, as he was working on it Thursday night.

“I have been drawing collegiate and professional baseball games most of my life,” he says. “I really enjoy the silent tension that comes with the game as the drawing allows me to fully absorb it. The crack of the bat amidst the calm really opens the creative angle and the pen or paintbrush really flows.”

maryland

~ Jeff Curry, Artist

 UVa defeats Maryland 11-2 in Game 3 of the Super Regionals, June 9, 2014.  The players often autograph Curry’s artwork.

“Witnessing any hit for a go-ahead run is simply the best,” Curry said, “but that walk-off in the 15th inning against TCU [at the College World Series on June 17], please!”

Oh heck, let’s watch it again

pinero 15

 

So, that’s a wrap for the 2014 University of Virginia baseball season.

The other night at dinner, a friend asked Editor/Husband what I was going to do now that UVa baseball is over.

Hey, the major league season is just at the halfway point. There’s a whole lot of baseball left.

But, after the Orioles’ miserable series against Tampa this weekend, it might be one ugly summer.

scoreboard

Davenport Field is quiet tonight. But, UVa’s informal Fall Ball Season is back in September. That means we’ll be back in our seats at “The Dav” in no time.

_________

(You noticed! Yes, I have changed the name of my blog. You can now find me at www.thebaseballbloggess.com … because, well, because someone had to be THE Baseball Bloggess, and it might as well be me.  More on the new “me” soon.)

 

OmaHoos!

Before today, I knew just three things about Nebraska:

1) They have the only unicameral legislature in the country.

2) Carhenge is there(and I once forced Editor/Husband to go there and he got me a tee-shirt).

carhenge

3) The College World Series is played every year in Omaha.

I’m sure Nebraska’s a very nice place, and despite a strong argument that inventing Kool Aid is pretty awesome, I think my Top Three list hits the high points.

(Editor/Husband would like me to point out that Bob Gibson, Rex Barney, Gregg Olson, and Sloppy Thurston are all from Nebraska, and I shouldn’t be so fast to close the door on interesting facts.)

But, this post isn’t about Carhenge (which means many of you will just stop reading now).

It’s about this: the University of Virginia Cavaliers will be playing in this year’s College World Series which kicks off this weekend.

To join the seven other teams in Omaha, UVa first had to emerge from a weekend regional tournament (where they beat Bucknell once and Arkansas twice) and last weekend’s Super Regional best of three against the University of Maryland Terrapins.

Editor/Husband and I went to every game.

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Look, it’s us!

It came down to Game 3 on Monday night against Maryland. And, at the risk of burying the lead, which I’m afraid I’ve already done, this happened at 10:17 p.m.

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Followed by this …

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Followed closely by this …

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You can see the dogpile ballet in slow motion here.

You can see the team climbing into the bleachers with us here.

You can almost see me.

here we are

A recap of the Virginia/Maryland weekend:

UVa lost Game 1 on Saturday.

game 1 box

It was during that especially hot and humid day game that I nearly succumbed to heat exhaustion. I’m not kidding. I almost passed out.  It took two bottles of Gatorade before the field stopped spinning. My face was covered in a thin layer of grit which I later discovered to be salt that my body had leached completely out.

Editor/Husband was impressed that despite my weakened state, I was still scoring the game on my scorecard.

This conversation really happened:

ME: If I die you’ll need to write something on my blog to let people know I’m dead.

E/H: OK. Amanda* can help me with that.

ME: Tell them I died at a baseball game, it will make a better post.

E/H: OK.

amanda* Amanda knows raptors and, apparently, Word Press.

Rehydrated, I rallied for Game 2.  So did UVa. 

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game 2 box

And, it came down to Monday night’s Game 3.

game 3 box

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Happy Hoo.  Unhappy Terps.

FUN FACT: The University of Virginia Cavaliers are known informally as the Hoos, which is short for Wahoos.  Back in the 1890s, baseball fans at Washington & Lee University called UVa’s baseball fans a “rowdy bunch of Wahoos.”  The name stuck.  (UVa didn’t become the Cavaliers until the 1920s.)

You can see University of Virginia take on Ole Miss in the first round of the College World Series this Sunday, June 15, on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. EDT.

If you do, you’ll likely see this guy …

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All-American Pitcher Nathan Kirby

And, these guys …

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Shortstop Daniel Pinero and First Baseman Mike Papi

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Pitcher Nick Howard

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 Third Baseman Kenny Towns

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Third Baseman/Designated Hitter John LaPrise

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Right Fielder Joe McCarthy

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Left Fielder Derek Fisher

“Fish” threw a lot of foul balls into the stands this weekend.  I nearly caught one.

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She caught it instead.

And, this is Wyatt.

Wyatt

He goes to almost all the UVa home games and sits just a few rows down from us.

Wyatt’s either happy the Hoo’s are winning or happy that his mom just bought him some ice cream.

Probably both.

Go Hoos!

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Photos: University of Maryland vs. University of Virginia, June 7, 8, and 9, 2014, Davenport Field, Charlottesville, Virginia

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It’s February … Do You Know Where Your Baseball Is?

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” ~ Rogers Hornsby (legendary 2nd baseman from 1915-1937)

A sunny Sunday, 64 degrees, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Is this winter … and baseball?

Because, while major leaguers use February and March to oil up their joints, warm up their bones, and, apparently, shave for the first time since October, college boys are already grinding.

I was tired of the Olympics anyway. (Oh, wait, what? It’s already over? Goodbye, sweet curling, my friend. You are always a sport to me.)

And, hope springs eternal … even when spring is still a month away.

The University of Virginia Cavaliers win 6-2 over East Carolina

February 23, 2013, Davenport Field, Charlottesville, Virginia

Nearly SpringThe first photo of the season is bound to be a bit fuzzy. Junior Brandon Downes.

dugout dayHappy for baseball season? Yeh, me, too.

thaiss foulMatt Thaiss, Freshman. (This ball went foul, but we named Thaiss our Player of the Game, after he went 3 for 4, reached base all four times, 2 runs, 1 RBI. Did I mention he is a freshman? I was a freshman once.)

mayberry2Pitcher Whit Mayberry’s got his Yoga going on on the mound.

self portraitSelf Portrait.

 

Cleaning Out The Attic

The scratching in the attic has quieted down.

Last count in Editor/Husband’s trapping project: Bears, Raccoons & Squirrels – 0.  Mousies – 6.*

* As in many sporting statistics, context is important and there’s often an asterisk: Editor/Husband has trapped either six individual mousies, or one single mouse over and over. Or, some variation of that. I suggested id’ing the mouse by marking its head with a Sharpie pen before releasing it outside. Editor/Husband is going with the less precise, “This one looks a bit smaller than the last one” method. As usual, my method would be complicated, but far more definitive.

This is what six mice in the attic sound like when accompanied by a stand-up bass. (Fun Fact: mice cannot play stand up stand-up basses, because they are too small.)

drums

I don’t feel too bad putting a mouse outside when the weather is nice. They have their little fur coats after all.  Our cats really don’t care one way or another.

(And, yes, we only use live traps. We’re not murderers.)

# # #

This conversation really took place on Christmas morning.

Editor/Husband hands me a gift bag. I look inside.

Me: It’s an orange.

E/H: It’s a Christmas tradition.

Me: That’s nice. (Reaches in and takes orange.) This orange is cold. (Pause) Did you get this out of the fridge? (Pause) Is this the orange I bought at the grocery store on Sunday?

E/H: It’s a Christmas tradition.

orange

Christmas tradition.

Here’s the other gift Editor/Husband gave me.

ted

It is 855 pages and weighs nearly three pounds … which is about the same weight as 88 house mice.

(I am on page 98.)

# # #

While Editor/Husband continues to de-mousify the attic, I’m cleaning things up as well, by going through a few folders filled with this year’s baseball photos.

And, I keep coming back to this little scrum of photos that I took at the indoor batting cage at the University of Virginia.

They make me smile. Because, they are in focus.

All you really need is just one baseball …

acc baseball

And, just one bat …

a buncha'bats

(Wooden preferred …)

quiet bats

And, a little pine tar if you can spare it …

pine tarMaybe a few extra baseballs in case the first one gets hit into the woods …

bucket of balls

(And, now I’ve cleaned out my baseball attic … for this season, anyway.)

Winter Is Only Three Days Old …

“There are only two seasons – winter and baseball.” ~ Bill Veeck (1914-1986, Renowned Baseball Owner, Promoter, & All-Around Interesting Guy)

And, winter’s only three days old.

There may be no box scores to pore over, but baseball seems far more resilient than my basil plants that quickly kicked their buckets when the nights turned cold many weeks ago.

icy cat

The only cat outside here on an icy night is this terracotta one.

The Baltimore Orioles are still trying to climb out of the PR mess they created when they backed out of their “pending physical” agreement with “Failed Physical” Free Agent Pitcher Grant Balfour last week.

(Spoiler Alert: There is still nothing and no one under my Orioles Christmas tree.)

Watching baseball writers gleefully tear apart this Orioles-Balfour story during an otherwise quiet holiday week is like watching my cats tussle over a handful of turkey treats. Lots of pushing, shoving, pawing, and the occasional shrieking.  (That shrieking would be Stevie.)

stevie 9 21 13

Stevie. Post Treats.

But, it’s never winter for long.

And, the Orioles aren’t the only game in town.

The college baseball season begins in mid-February, which is just a few snowstorms away.

The University of Virginia, which is 40 minutes down the road (hey, UVa, are you reading this? When are we going to get our season ticket seat assignments?) will begin their season on February 14 ranked #12.

And, here’s a weird thing. College Baseball has issued its list of Pre-Season All-Americans. Really? You can do that? You get to be an All-American without even playing yet?

Well, heck, then maybe I’m an All-American. I haven’t played yet either. But, I think a lot about baseball. (I’m thinking about it right now.) That must be worth something. So, thank you for this honor, National Collegiate Baseball Writers.

But, truly, big congratulations go out to UVa’s Mike Papi (who we call El Oso Sueño for no real reason, except that we like the way he stalks around covering left field) and Brandon Downes (who we call Brandon Downes because that’s his name) for being named Pre-Season All-Americans.

Mike Papi

UVa’s Mike Papi out in left field.

Brandon Downes Tips His Cap

UVa’s Brandon Downes cap tipping.

If the temperature at UVA home games falls below 45, there’s free coffee and hot chocolate for fans.

This fall I went to some UVA intra-squad games and the temperature dipped into the 50s. I dressed for a blizzard and below-zero wind chills and I was still cold. (Editor/Husband wants me to clarify that the temperatures dipped into the “high” 50s that night. But, I’m pretty sure it was 10-below.)

So, can February chill keep me away from a baseball game? (Editor/Husband hopes so.  But don’t be so sure, honey.)

In the meantime, while I dream of sunshine and the baseball that comes when the weather turns warm against my face, and the outfield grass grows thick and lush and impossibly green, here are some of my photos of the UVa Cavaliers playing baseball in the sweetness of 2013.

(Most of these photos are from UVa games played in September and October.)

Nathan Kirby

UVa Sophomore Nathan Kirby.

Nick Howard

UVa Junior Nick Howard tidying up.

John LaPrise

UVa Sophomore John LaPrise.

Jack Roberts Freshman

UVa Freshman Jack Roberts.

Safe

(He’s safe.)

counting the days

Counting the days ’til baseball returns.

Waiting For Spring

Waiting for spring in the dugout.

warm bullpen

The bullpen is waiting, too …

And, boy, so am I.

Black & White Chronicles: The Catcher

Blogging is a young person’s game. Either that, or I’m blaming yesterday’s migraine.

In any event, the point of yesterday’s Black & White Chronicles post was to highlight a couple of photos taken from behind the net at Davenport Field (home of the University of Virginia baseball team).

So, imagine my surprise, to see that my favorite behind-the-net photo hadn’t posted. Wasn’t even in the post that it had inspired.

Oops. Let’s try again …

Here’s the catcher.

matt thaiss

Matt Thaiss. He’s a freshman. He was drafted by the Red Sox this spring, but came to UVa instead. He’s very good.

He can hit. He can run (especially well for a guy who squats down for most of the game). He can throw out base-stealers and bunters.

And, I just like this photo and was annoyed it didn’t post yesterday. So, Catcher gets his own post.

Sunday, October 20, 2013. Davenport Field, University of Virginia. Intrasquad Game.

More Black & White From Davenport Field

Black & White Chronicles: Fall Ball

Black & White Chronicles: Timeless

Black & White Chronicles: Fall Ball

homeplateIf I have my choice at a baseball game, I’ll sit as far away from the protective netting as possible.

I would love to catch a ball – fair or foul – to show off to my friends like a deer head stuck up on a wall or the ribbon you get at the fair when your pumpkin tops 200 pounds.

But, it won’t happen. Because, when I see a baseball whizzing toward me (and by “toward”, I mean anywhere, really, within eight or nine sections), I duck.

I will never reach out and grab a ball out of the sky. I will never steal the ball from an outfielder’s glove. And, by golly, Red Sox Fan Out There In The Bleachers, I will never-never-ever wrest a ball away from another fan and throw it back on the field.

I will duck.

So, I appreciate that someone has invented this net to protect me from a good head-wallop. But, given the choice, I’ll take my chances. Because the net gets in my way – just one more barrier between me and the field.

These past few weeks, the University of Virginia has had a fall baseball season – intrasquad games mostly. The games were quite good. But, they closed off the bleachers, because it was chilly and the fans were sparce, and they sat us all in the “good seats”.

Good Seats

Behind that damned netting.

So, all I could do was make the net a part of the photos. More and more over the past several games, I’ve been shooting in black and white. And, I kind of like it.

How better to illustrate a history-rich, simple game? How better to show how baseball is, at its essence, black and white – you pitch, you hit, you run, you throw, you score?

How better to celebrate the true heart of the game than by stripping away all the extraneous noise?

All that’s left is black and white.

first base

strike3

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hes out2

knothole kids

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September 22, October 6, and October 20, 2013. Davenport Field, University of Virginia. Exhibition & Intrasquad games.

More Black & White From Davenport Field

Black & White Chronicles: Timeless

Black & White Chronicles: The Catcher

Turn Down The Volume

October 6, 2013

University of Virginia, October 6, 2013

“Turn down the volume on your day.”

That’s how I start most of my Yoga classes when I teach.

It’s pretty much impossible in our world to turn everything off completely – even for an hour. But, turning down the volume a little, well, that’s a start. If only for that one hour of Yoga.

Turning down the volume is the Yogic path of Pratyahara.

To be Fancy Pants about it, the deal of Pratyahara is this – withdraw the senses inward. Close your eyes and look inside. Close your ears and listen to your breath. Close your touch and just feel the air on your skin.

Just find the quiet inside.

Clearing out the clutter in your brain for a few minutes each day can be as rewarding as cleaning all that forgotten junk out of your garage. (Some of the gunk in your brain can be covered with dust, grease, and mouse nests, too.)

That’s why I love this photo I took.

Hanging out at the batting cage, little kid in the center up there, shows his Pratyahara.

Hey, if the crack of the bat gets too loud, just cover your ears.

The batter in the cage is probably swinging away in his “zone”, oblivious to the rest of us, which is simply his Yoga and Pratyahara without all the Sanskrit.

(And, you thought I would never post about Yoga again!)