(Blogathon ’16!) The Sliding Scale of Fictional Baseball Realism

This post is part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

Earlier today, in my look at Touch, I mentioned that you can make a 0-10 scale of baseball realism in works of fiction, with zero being baseball-in-name-only and ten being actual footage of a game.

Well, I’m going to expand upon that:

0: Baseball In Name Only

In this category, it’s not really baseball at all. They may call it baseball, but it certainly isn’t the actual sport that we know. The Moe Cronin version of baseball fits here.

1: Utterly Absurd

In this category, while it’s clearly meant to be baseball, the rules of the game and the laws of physics have clearly taken a vacation. Some classic cartoons fall into this category.

2: Very Absurd, but still with some realism

In this category, the work might have cartoonish physics and occurrences, but it still is grounded in reality enough to have the rules of baseball still be mostly the same. In theory, a baseball movie where the rules are not consistent or are wildly different but where everything else is played straight could also qualify here. Classic cartoons that aren’t “utterly absurd” usually fall in this category.

3: Absurd, but mostly consistent

Works in this category are clearly absurd and cartoonish, but are at least consistent: the laws of physics may not be what they are in the real world, but they don’t suddenly change mid-game, nor do the rules suddenly change simply because the story demands it. Most “cartoon” baseball video games, like Backyard Baseball and the Mario Baseball series, fit in this category.

4: Many absurd elements

While clearly meant to be a realistic world that has our baseball’s rules and our laws of physics, the amount of absurd, cartoonish or unrealistic elements in the work make it more strange than realistic. Consider Mr. Go, for example, which has two baseball-playing gorillas, a little girl acting as a first-base coach and a finale that involves the baseball coming undone into a million pieces, which sort of overwhelms what would probably otherwise be a 6 if, say, it only had one gorilla.

5: Equal Mix of Realism and Fantasy

A work that sort of teeters between being realistic and being bizarre. This is more of a transitional spot on the scale, as it’s rare that anything ever stays at 5, inevitably going to 4 or 6 instead.

6: Realistic, but with one or two “big lies”

This is mostly realistic but it has one or two big elements (or the equivalent of one or two big elements made up of lots of smaller elements) that keep it from being something that you can honestly expect to ever happen in the real world. Sidd Finch could fit here, as could most of the movies in which a kid becomes a big league skipper or ballplayer.

7: Realistic, but highly unlikely

There’s nothing in this work that couldn’t happen, but it’s highly unlikely and any real event like this would probably instantly become one of the most notable things in baseball history. You could argue that Major League fits here, sort of.

8: Near total-realism

While some rules might be bent or not enforced on a strict basis, and some things might happen that are unlikely (although not nearly as unlikely as things that fall at seven on the scale), this is pretty realistic. Casey At The Bat, the classic poem, could be considered as this, with only the ability of everybody to seemingly hear everything keeping it from being a nine.

9: Utter realism

The only things that are not realistic in works of this category are omnipresent techniques like camerawork and editing for time, or stylish touches added in to indicate, say, that a player is angry. Bull Durham could, in theory, fit in this category, as could most (but not all) fairly true-to-history biopics and most realistic baseball video games.

10: Actual Baseball Footage used/Documentary

If you are watching an actual baseball game, or watching a documentary that uses baseball footage and does so without changing things for dramatic effect, you are watching a 10.

 

Feel free to consider where on the sliding scale your favorite piece of baseball fiction would fall!

6 PM: First References

This post has been part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

 

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Bizarre Baseball Culture: Ultraman 80 vs. An Evil Baseball-Glove Monster

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

(Note: The following is different from what I previewed last time, because, well, I couldn’t just ignore such great material as this.)

Baseball is a hard game. A game of failure. A game where even the slightest mistake can have horrible consequences for your team.

It is also a game of much superstition. What a player eats or what rituals they perform may affect their performance. And they may even believe their equipment- their bats and gloves- may be what decides victory and defeat. It is not that uncommon to see somebody slam a glove or a bat if they fail or have just been ejected from a game.

But, perhaps you should consider that maybe those seemingly inanimate-objects have feelings too, and that all of that negative energy (mixed with pollution) will cause them to become GIANT EVIL BASEBALL GLOVE MONSTERS, as happened in the 47th episode (“The Evil Glove. Be Careful What You Throw Out!”) of the Japanese documentary science fiction show, Ultraman 80!

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Yes, buckle up, everyone, because I may have finally found something weirder than Mr. Go!

(Go below the jump for more)

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Review and observations of the first episode of the 2012 edition of the Franchise (and the debut of the “Ozzie Guillen ‘Carlin Word’ Counter”)

The first real episode of The Franchise aired on Wednesday night (a preview episode aired earlier in the year, and this episode recycled some of the material from that). While last year they dealt with the relatively-boring San Francisco Giants, this season, Showtime and MLB Productions are following the Miami Marlins, a far more hectic and colorful club. This episode- which covers roughly the first half of the season- features a bit on the team’s off-season makeover, the opening of the new stadium, Ozzie’s infamous comments about Fidel Castro, and the setting-up of certain players and storylines that will probably be followed throughout the season. It’s a good show, perhaps only failing in not sticking with the Castro incident longer (it was covered far more in the preview episode, if I remember), but make sure no young children are around while watching.

More after the jump (and SPOILERS), including the first installment of the Ozzie Guillen “Carlin Word” Counter:

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