Baseball Field Guide: Third Edition

Baseball Field Guide cover 3rd Ed_

Ever try to read the Official Rules of Major League Baseball’s Official Baseball Rules? As America’s sport, it is probably the most important, yet worst written document in the US. No kidding! For more than a hundred years it has been added to and patched together by committees that rarely meet. Writing styles vary sentence by sentence. Archaic rules are maintained. Terms are inconsistent. The diagrams are far and few between – and those that are included aren’t great.

The concept for the book is simple – design it like a field guide. See a play, want to know the rule? The book is designed to let you look up rules as quickly as possible.

We completely updated this third, 2016 edition – re-writing and re-arranging every rule, using plain English and placing them in an easy-to-find format. Wherever possible topics begin and end on a single page or a double-page spread, with minimum page-flipping required. We created lots of clearly laid out illustrations. Even the table of contents is designed to provide instant answers where possible. 

Baseball Field Guide_pg58|59 pitching spread

Since it’s introduction in 2006 the Baseball Field Guide has been on several best seller lists. It’s been receiving great reviews ever since, and this third edition is the best yet. The book has its own website – www.baseballfieldguide.com. It can also be seen (and purchased) at Amazon.

Diabetes in East Harlem

City Health Works CHW web site screenshot

East Harlem is a neighborhood in the northeast section of Manhattan that is quite unlike the rest of the island. One striking difference: the rate of diabetes in that neighborhood is 4 to 5 times that of the rest of Manhattan! Many factors contribute – diet, ethnic background and income levels are among them. Several months ago Yvonne Lin and I worked with an organization called CHW (City Health Works) looking for ways to understand the problem – and to find some solutions. The answer was clearly not to adopt the National Diabetes Prevention program established by the CDC (Center for Disease Control). We opted for a more “locally-attractive” attractive program –  invite people into the program, lower the commitment and barriers to entry (for example, start by signing up for four weeks, not sixteen), and make the sessions flexible for instructors so that they can concentrate on their interests and strengths as educators.

Biomechanics

Biomechanics is the study of the mechanical engineering of living things. In design it typically refers to the human body – how the body works, and just as important, how it doesn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biomechanics considers the mechanisms within the body – muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments – as well as external forces imposed on, or required of the body. For example, your ability to lift a box depends on your body mechanics, body position and lifting technique. It also depends on the size, shape, weight, material properties and center of gravity of the box. Similarly, the ability to perform a sports activity depends on the equipment being used or worn, on the forces of motion exerted on your body, your individual strength, conditioning and the effects of muscle fatigue.

Many of these things, not all, can be controlled through design. Design determines the physical properties of the object. It can also affect behavior, influencing how and when we do things. Both aspects of design, of course, are critical.

Not everyone is built the same, or thinks the same. Understanding these variations presents an opportunity. In many product categories gender differences, for example, are largely ignored. So is an understanding of the diversity of people, globally, who will (or who could) potentially be using that product. Unfortunately biomechanics is rarely taught in design and engineering schools. Yet it greatly affects the success of many of the products we touch, from kitchen tools to surgical equipment, ultimately affecting a company’s brand image and equity.

Quantitative and qualitative methods can be used to help understand the physical advantages and limitations of your products, and your competitor’s products. The results can directly lead to innovations in design, many of which may be closer at hand (!) than you may think.