Non Sequiturs + Other Quasi-Funny Stuff #5: The Martian’s Tale — Part 2

The Martian’s Tale — Part 1

Once upon a time, Martian scientists and scholars were planning a trip — the first-ever journey from Mars to Earth. Before embarking, they used their Web search engine — called Gaargle — to gather information about Earth’s customs. And while Gaargle is an amazing tool, its performance can be spotty because of the vast space it reaches across…

As the Martian researching Earth’s sports Gaargled our Web, he came upon some puzzling info — and as he had done previously, when he sought help in understanding what he’d read, he sent an M-mail to a fellow scholar:

SUBJECT — Earth sports research on Baseball

Thank you again for your assistance earlier with the sports of soccer and MLB. According to further Gaargle evidence, there is a sport played on Earth called baseball. I think baseball might be closely related to the Earth sport called MLB. However, I’m still researching the issue.

In the meantime, I need your combined linguistic and mathematical expertise. Here is a baseball list I came across via Gaargle:

Most Consecutive Scoreless Innings: Single Postseason
1905 Christy Mathewson: 27 (Giants)
1957 Lew Burdette: 24 (Braves)
2012 Justin Verlander: 23 (Tigers)
2006 Kenny Rogers: 23 (Tigers)
1981 Jerry Reuss: 23 (Dodgers)
1930 George Earnshaw: 22 (Athletics)

I haven’t been able to determine conclusively what an inning or postseason is — you guessed it, I encountered Gaargle issues when I searched these terms. It does appear, however, that an inning is a unit of measurement within a game of baseball (a game is a single contest).

Apparently, baseball games are extremely lengthy, because Justin Verlander is responsible for 2,012 scoreless innings of baseball in a single postseason (see the above chart).

If baseball games are not extremely lengthy, here’s another hypothesis: The inning might be an especially tiny unit of measurement within a game – maybe an inning is even synonymous with a single pitch.

By the way, a pitch is an instance when a baseball player (known as the pitcher) throws a small spherical orb toward an opposing player known as the batter, who then decides whether to attempt to hit the orb with a bat. Oh, a bat is like a thick stick, about one meter in length.

Communicating about a distant sport we have little knowledge of is challenging. It seems necessary to define every term, or every third word.

Baseball definitions aside, do you think I’m correct in my interpretation of the above numbers? Please advise and let me know if you concur with my observations. As I’ve indicated, I believe the first number indicates the number of consecutive scoreless innings (in a single postseason) that pitcher is responsible for — for instance, 1,905 innings for Christy Mathewson.

Also, I’m curious about the second number next to each name. What do you think the second number represents? I wonder if it’s the player’s uniform number.

Please advise, and thank you in advance for your assistance.

After the Martian scholar M-mailed his colleague, he wondered further: “How can I know if I’m accessing reliable information via Gaargle about Earth’s sports? What if some untrustworthy earthling has posted false or mistaken information, and that’s the info I’m finding? In that case, all my research will be for naught.”

Using his scientific and scholarly Martian logic, he arrived at a preliminary conclusion — to obtain reliable information about Earth’s sports, he would need to meet in person and interview earthlings who were not only knowledgeable about sports, but also truthful.

If possible, he also wished to meet the inventor of the Earth sports he was researching.

But this line of thinking suddenly discouraged him. No decisions had been made yet about which Martian scientists and scholars would be on the spaceship that was scheduled to depart Mars for Earth. So while he had a chance, he might never be able to meet earthlings and learn firsthand about Earth sports.

As he waited for news of who would be chosen to be part of the interplanetary expedition, he reasoned that the best he could do was to keep researching via Gaargle and draw the most accurate conclusions possible. And if a colleague asked him for enlightenment about Earth sports, this Martian scholar realized he would need to make a decision and commit to the Gaargle information that he believed was most accurate and trustworthy.

In short, he saw that he’d need to trust that info and the earthling who provided it — in other words, take it by faith.

“At least Earth sports are basically benign,” he thought. “I could have been assigned a life-and-death Earth topic — like medicine or religion.”

© Bruce William Deckert 2013

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