Monday, April 6, 2009

The End Of Civilization, But For A Good Cause

TigerBlog has long believed that contemporary civilization is threatened as much by an erosion of human interaction as it is by crazy people with weapons of all kinds.

Little by little, human beings continue to drift down the path of not actually needing to speak to/see/debate/rely on another actual human being in any number of ways. Eventually, TB fears, we will have retreated in a world where no one ever actually leaves the house.

All of this is why TigerBlog has been very slow to jump on the livestats bandwagon. Yes, it is a great tool for bringing game action directly to fans in a "real-time" fashion (as an aside, TigerBlog hates the term "real-time"). Why, TB has long wondered, would we want to be responsible for having people huddle in front of their computers, desperately waiting for it to refresh, to see if the score has changed?

Slowly, though, TB has realized that you can't fight some things, including in this case livestats.

And so there was TigerBlog yesterday, following Princeton-Harvard baseball and softball via livestats. The softball doubleheader was standard enough, as was the first game of the baseball doubleheader. Little did TB know what the second game had in store.

The first look saw Harvard up 8-0. Oh well. Game over. About two hours later, it was time to get the final. Only it was 8-6 Harvard in the ninth. Then it was 8-8.

With that comeback in the books, TB figured to check later on the final. Only it still wasn't final. It was actually in the 13th inning, still tied at 8-8.

The livestats uses graphics, with little red men for Princeton and little blue men for Harvard in this case. The little baseball players are only slightly less freaky looking than the ones used to play Wii baseball, except in this case, Princeton had two little red guys on with only one out. Pause. Pause. Pause. "Refresh already," TB was screaming to himself. "Refresh."

Eventually, it refreshed enough to reveal that it had become 10-8 Princeton. Surely, this would have to stand up.

So, it wasn't until a few hours later that it dawned on TB to check the final. What? It was 13-12 Harvard? In 17 innings?

A look at the final livestats update showed that there had been 52 hits in the game. Could that be the NCAA record for a game? Off to and the record book, which was dowloaded onto the laptop. A quick look at the pdf version showed that Princeton-Harvard now ranks sixth for the most hits ever in a Division I baseball game.

And where did this leave the Tigers in the Ivy League? Off to for the answer. Still plenty of baseball left for Princeton and a legitimate chance to win the division.

And that was it. What would have been impossible a few years ago became simple. Follow the game, despite no radio or TV coverage. See where this fit in historically. And where it left Princeton in the short run.

How great is it to have all of this access to information, all without any delay of any kind?

Of course, TigerBlog never had to talk to another human being. But oh well.


Anonymous said...

TB, Your story "watching" the wild comeback in the P-H baseball game via Livestats reminds me of my experience "watching" the 1999 Princeton-Penn game at the Palestra on my Bloomberg terminal.

The Bloomberg newswire updates sports scores not in full real-time but reasonably close to it, especially considering that this was back in 1999, near the dawn of civilization.

The Quakers get out to an early lead, then are ahead by double-digits. Oh, this is getting ugly. By midway through the first half, Penn leads 27-3. Wow, this isn't ugly any more, it's historic. The halftime score is 33-9. Hmmm, we're in "SportsCenter" territory now.

Early in the second half, Penn opens its lead to 27 points. Can this really be happening? Then, curiously, the Bloomberg newswire goes dead. Oh well, no big deal. The outcome of the game of course is a foregone conclusion -- time to get some work done at the office.

There are no scores posted on Bloomberg for a good half hour. Then, suddenly, an interim score crosses the tape: Princeton 48, Penn 49 with two minutes left. What?! This can't be. It must be a typo related to problems with the newswire.

Another minute passes, then another score: Princeton 50, Penn 49 with just under two to go. Huh? Is this for real? This headline, more than anything, seems to suggest that 48-49 was not a technical glitch.

Now staring uninterrupted at the Bloomberg terminal, pouncing on every headline. 50-49 with a minute left. Time passes very slowly. 50-49 with 35 seconds in regulation. Now time has come to a complete standstill.

And then, the headline to beat all headlines: 50-49 Final.

Anonymous said...

I follow Princeton Softball and unfortunately for the last 2 weekends the gametracker via livestats connection has not worked! Mostly, it freezes in usually the 3rd or 5th inning or doesn't come up at all. Can someone please fix this????

Princeton OAC said...

Livestats are done by the home school, and not every school either does them or has them in a format that we can use. As for baseball and softball here at Princeton, for some reason those fields exist in areas of campus where wireless internet is either not available or not always reliable. We have invested in a cellular internet card that we hope will fix the problem, at least for home games.