I refer to this broken bat double which swerved into play, as:
The Triple Kiss
Hunter Pence knocked in three runs when this ball left his broken bat after a crazy series of three collisions – the last of which caused it to swerve in the air and bound past the outstretched glove of the shortstop.
Second-year Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma, who was very well positioned, reacted at lightning speed, but was caught going the wrong way for a fraction of a second because the third point of contact changed the ball’s direction.
The Triple Kiss happened in less than half a second. Watching it live, as broadcast, I had no idea the ball hit the bat three times; not until seeing it like this.
I knew it was a broken bat hit, my shoulders slumped at the same instant that Kozma jumped – and then suddenly, the ball took a crazy turn in the air and, as if it had eyes, bounced past the outstretched glove of the recovering Kozma, on the second base side.
The Triple Kiss was significantly faster than the human eye … even the highly trained eyes of a ballplayer, or an umpire. It affords us the opportunity to discuss the intense amount of new information that slow motion yields.
Slow motion was originally known – in analog filmmaking – as overcranking, a method by which the speed of the film was altered through handcranking the frames. Overcranking was first used in sports as long ago as the 1930’s in the coverage of boxing matches.
It took a long time for overcranking to become slow motion and in that time we got pretty used to it. We allowed slow motion to creep into our observation of games with such ease and normality that the NFL, NBA and MLB now all stop play to incorporate it as a tool in evaluating what has actually taken place.