Solution to Baseball

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Answer: PRIME TIME INTERVIEW

by Josh Alman and Jakob Weisblat

Answers in this round:

AUTUMN ORCHID
CILANTRO
ECTOPLASMIC
FIRST VOLUMES
KESHORN WALCOTT
QUIZMASTER
UGLY SIMPLE
WATER IMPACT
ZONE PLATE

We are presented with a video containing 18 clips from different baseball games. It is tempting to gather data about the teams; however, several of the clips are old, and one of them is an All-Star Game, so this route doesn't seem productive. Thus, we turn to the plays that are shown.

In each clip, the ball is pitched and then hit (or, in the clips where the catcher is the relevant fielder, not hit) to a fielder. The fielder then fields the ball and throws it to a base, where an out happens. We note that each position fields the ball in exactly two clips, and that in scoring baseball games, each fielding position has a canonical number from 1 to 9.

We can make a table of the above information, but we won’t make more progress until we figure out what to do with the answers.

This round has some funky answers that have little semantically in common. Thus, we theorize that the letters contained in each answer are relevant. Noting the “hard time on the diamond” flavor, we might think about rocks on the Mohs hardness scale. And, in fact, each of these answers is an anagram of a rock on the Mohs scale (encompassing all the rocks on the scale except diamond) with 4 extra letters. Matching each rock’s hardness (which also runs from 1–9) with the corresponding baseball position, we get:

#PositionRockAnswerLeftovers
1PitcherTalccIlaNtROINRO
2CatcherGypsumugLy sImpLELILE
3First BaseCalciteectOPlaSMicOPSM
4Second BaseFluoritefirSt VoluMeSSVMS
5Third BaseApatiteWateR iMpaCtWRMC
6ShortstopOrthoclase (feldspar)KeshorN WalcotTKNWT
7Left FieldQuartzquIzMaStErIMSE
8Center FieldTopazzoNE pLatENELE
9Right FieldCorundumAuTumn orcHIdATHI

Each answer contains four extra letters, which begs the question: what’s so special about the number four? The answer, of course, is that there are 4 bases in baseball! Thus, we can correspond each extra letter to a base.

Now we return to the video. For each clip, we take the letter corresponding to the base where the out occurs:

FielderFielder NumberCorresponding 4 LettersBaseExtracted Letter
1B3OPSM2P
3B5WRMC2R
LF7IMSE1I
2B4SVMS3M
CF8NELE4E
SS6KNWT4T
C2LILE2I
1B3OPSM4M
LF7IMSE4E
P1INRO1I
SS6KNWT2N
RF9ATHI2T
C2LILE4E
P1INRO3R
2B4SVMS2V
RF9ATHI4I
CF8NELE2E
3B5WRMC1W

Extracting one letter from each clip and reading in video order, we find what the baseball players need to help them end their losing streak: a PRIME TIME INTERVIEW.