Foul Balls & OODA Loops
Last week, I caught a foul ball at a Spring Training baseball game.
OK...not on the fly, and not quite off the first bounce. But I grabbed it before it came to a rolling stop.
That still counts, right?
Before the baseball game started, I turned to my kids and told them we were in Foul Ball Territory -- the sections in the stands where batted foul balls were likely to land. And be caught by fans!
How did I know this? Or less arrogantly: What made me believe this?
Because I've watched enough baseball games to know where a high percentage of foul balls land. It's a pattern of batted ball behavior. Garnered from decades of experience from playing, watching, and attending games.
Where we at the epicenter of Foul Ball Territory? I'm not sure. But we could (dis)prove it.
What if we had the data to plot against the stadium seating chart? We could feasibly create a heat-map of where foul balls landed.
Professional sports is filled with data. Here are a few examples, with the last being exactly as I suggest above.
From Exploring Baseball Data with R, plotted batted balls for a particular player:
From Furman University research, data (shown as heat mapping) that supports the shifting of defensive position players for certain batters:
And from Time magazine, discussing an app that helps track and calculate balls batted into the stands, to suggest which sections receive the most foul or home run balls:
As you can see, some data does exist. However, there is almost no incentive for baseball teams to collect data on where foul balls land. Therefore, we are stuck with private apps like that discussed in the cited Time magazine article. Or through personal experience.
Human intuition is the natural, organic, experiential, and subjective portion of mental modeling. It's what humans have been using to make sense of things since the beginning of humanity. (Think of instinct as operating software that comes with the computer; intuition is the software library you download onto it through living.)
Is that why intuition is referred to as "second-nature?"
That's where OODA comes in.
- Observation - the sensing of information;
- Orientation - the comparison, analysis, & processing of that information;
- Decision - the evaluation of options & simulation or prediction of outcomes;
- Action - the implementation or "doing" of the selected decision.