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Comments (1) Posted 10.09.13 | PERMALINK | DOWNLOAD MP3

Insights Per Minute: Series 3

Rob Forbes on Perfection

Rob Forbes’ career includes work in both the Arts and Business fields. Forbes is best known as the Founder of Design Within Reach and for the vision of a business that has grown into the leading retail destination for modern design in the US. In 2007, Rob formally left DWR to launch Studio Forbes, based in San Francisco, to further his interests in design, culture, and commerce. These interests, and his personal passion for bicycles led him to his new venture PUBLIC. PUBLIC launched in May 2010 as a design-based business with a mission to encourage us to think more intelligently and artfully about the way we relate to our cities and communities. With headquarters in San Francisco, PUBLIC has become the leading nationwide direct source for European styled modern city bikes and gear.

Forbes’ academic training includes a BA in Aesthetics from the University of California at Santa Cruz (1974), an MFA from Alfred University (1979) and an MBA from Stanford University (1985). His art career includes ceramics studio work and exhibitions in the US and teaching positions at the Cleveland Institute of Art and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. His business experience includes work here and abroad in retail management for Williams-Sonoma, London-based Selfridges, The Nature Company, and Smith & Hawken prior to Founding Design Within Reach in 1998 and PUBLIC in 2009.

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Hi Rob, you had me right up to the point where you said baseball was a "painfully boring game." I must say that I feel you do not fully understand the game to utter such folly. While you describe the object of the baseball quite poetically, you appear to miss the dynamics and perfection this hallowed game brings.

To begin, the measurements of the infield are as close to perfect as can be drawn. Ninety feet between the bags give even the fastest runner "a maybe" shot at stealing a base. At the same time, the best catcher in baseball has no guarantee that his throw across the mound can travel the 127+ feet in time to tag out that base stealer. It is like God himself drew these plans and distances, and factored in the best human skill and abilities to create this dynamic. It's breathtaking, and unfolds like modern dance.

The distance between the pitching rubber to home plate is 60' 6", the "perfect" distance for even a moderately fast pitch to cross the plate, and if you are in the batter's box this occurs in the blink of an eye. That distance, and your eloquently stated observation on the movement of the baseball, give even the greatest hitters of all time a very good chance to look silly swinging at air—much less make contact with his bat.

To witness a 6-4-3 double play means two runners are thrown out—the first out is at second and the second out at first. The dynamics of that play alone might witness the shortstop (6) dive outstretched to his right while falling down to snag a blazing ground hit, toss it gently (and possibly) backhanded to the second baseman (4) as the runner from first slides into second cleats high, then witness the second baseman fire that ball with pinpoint accuracy to first base (3). Two outs.

To ignore the poetry of an outfielder catch a ball over his head on a dead run towards the wall is anything from boring. And finally, I would compare a bases loaded, 2 out bottom of the 9th inning with the game tied to be one of the most exciting moments in any sport.

We St. Louis Cardinal fans understand the game like few others, and I invite you to watch as we try for our 19th trip to the World Series. Go Cards!
John Foster
10.10.13 at 08:32

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