Baseball Ink

Baseball The Way It Was Meant To Be

5th Dimensional Baseball

by T. C. Moore

As baseball fans, I'm sure we are all aware of the latest physical theory that states the universe—all energy and matter—is made of little tiny strings and actually sports a lot more dimensions than the three spatial dimensions we are aware of: 11 dimensions, as a matter of fact, counting the time dimension. Apparently, the additional spatial dimensions are wrapped up like tiny tubes, so we don't notice them, even though we move through them constantly.

Well, if you're still with me, then let's add just one more spatial dimension and play ball!

To help us visualize with an example, let's first visit Flatland, a fictional two-dimensional world of shapes, lines and points. Flatland is a universe that is a plane, and there is no up or down! The only directions are left-right and back-forth. Like those of us in three-D space, the inhabitants of Flatland can only see each other's outsides—which are lines. They can only move in two directions, but they don't miss a third dimension as they have no concept of "up"! Their ballpark is the same shape as ours, but they can only hit line drives and they can't go over or under players or bases, only around and next to them!

Okay, so one of us three-dimensional folks visits Flatland. We say "hello," but the Flatlanders have no concept of where we are unless part of us intersects their plane. Our voices come from above, but they don't know where "above" is: for them, that direction doesn't exist! They are further flabbergasted to hear that from our mysterious view from "above," we can view their insides! Gross! Our baseball team can "appear" anywhere in their space merely by moving in and out of their flat universe...and we 3-Spacers sweep the inter-dimensional series.

Now, lets take this model and add a dimension to each one: Flatland becomes our space with three dimensions (3-space), and we take our 3-D Terrestrial All-Stars to the Inter-Dimensional Series. The 4-Space All-Star team (called the "Tessaracts") agree to play with our rules and strike-zone but they can use their extra dimension in the field.

Game Highlight Film:

1st Inning: Junior turns a fastball to right field, and it is almost gone...but Motley, the 4-D right fielder appears briefly to make the catch and promptly returns to 4-D "above" us and disappears. Bobby Cox protests that he can't make adjustments cause the other team won't stay in our space. Umpire consults rules; calls use of 4-space OK.

2nd Inning: Bases loaded, 2 outs. The 4-Space slugger appears in 3-space to bat, pops a Randy Johnson slider on a 2-2 count straight up. Runner from 3rd comes in on Lopez, slides into his 4th dimension, and reappears on other side of the plate—but McGwire makes catch to end the inning.

3rd Inning: 2 out, Sosa on 2nd, McGwire up with a count of 0 and 2. The 4-Space pitcher winds up (but McGwire only sees intersecting parts of him moving through 3-space). Then, the 4-Space catcher (who can see all points of 3-space from "above") says to McGwire, "Hey, what the hell is that green stuff in your stomach?" Big Mac, thus distracted, takes a high fastball over the plate, and the 3-Spacers take the field.

4th Inning: Score is 3 to 1, 4-Space All Stars leading. The 4-Spacers can read curve balls a little easier than the 3-Spacers, but the knuckle ball is just as unpredictable even in only three dimensions. Cox's decision to put in Tim Wakefield is a success, as the three 4-Spacers are retired in twelve pitches.

5th Inning: Because our 3-space is merely a "slice" of 4-space, the 2-out grand slam by the 4-Space cleanup hitter appears only briefly in our space as it sails through the slice and over their 4-D outfield wall as well. (As our wall in 3-space is a curve though 2 dimensions, their "wall" is a curve through 3-dimensions—that is, a sphere.) Score: 7 to 1, Tessaracts.

6th Inning: After a four-run rally by our Terrestrial All-Stars (including an interesting missed throw at second that rolls out of 3-space), we are retired when Piazza hits into a 2-man-on triple play, the first ever recorded in 3-space by a 4-space team. Score 7-5, 4-Spacers up.

7th Inning: The intersection of our space and 4-space is moved when foul balls start swooping up and leave the stadium. Apparently, the 4-space planet is too close to our planet and begins to counteract our planetary gravity, but 3-spacers can't tell where "above" us it is. This violates the single gravity-source rule. Game continues; no scoring.

8th Inning: As a dot divides a line, and a line divides a plane, 3-space divides 4-space in "half," In 4-space, you are on one side of a 3-D universe, or the other. Bobby Cox therefore signals to hit only to right field, which has no effect to the 4-Space fielders, but makes the players think he's got something figured out. Morale is up, we score 2—its a tie!

9th Inning: In the top half of the inning, the 4-Spacers take advantage of removal of Mariano Rivera from the game (and their extra direction) to piece together a three-run rally. The crowd screams furiously at Cox's decision, but Bobby just cracks his chewing gum and sends in his pinch hitter. Albert Hawking is up (no one in 3-space has ever heard of Hawking—Cox has scouted another league and pulled in a free-agent rookie especially for this game). 2 outs, 3 on, Hawking comes up—but as he practice swings, the 4-space pitcher sees his quarry's bat appear and disappear in his 4-space! The pitch is a 4-space curve ball, at which Hawking takes a deep cut...the ball disappears immediately from every player, even the 4-spacers! 2-out, bottom-of-the-9th grand slam!

Final Score: 4-D Tesseracts 10, 3-D Terrestrial All-Stars 11!

Epilogue: Our victory in the Inter-Dimensional All Star game was contested by Suds Beelegs, 4-Space baseball commissioner, and after a binding interleague arbitration, the victory was upheld. However, a new rule stating "no team may recruit from a league in any dimension greater than said team's dimension" was added to the Official Rule Book.

Albert Hawking decided to stay in 3-space. Retiring after one season, Hawking runs a bait and tackle shop called "5-D by the Sea" in Fort Myers, Florida. You may have seen him (well, that section of him) on his Championship Wheaties Box.