Merrimack College mathematician Michael J. Bradley was coaching his son’s Little League team in 1996 when he noticed something odd in the rulebook:
Home base shall be marked by a five-sided slab of whitened rubber. It shall be a 12-inch square with two of the corners filled in so that one edge is 17 inches long, two are 8 1/2 inches and two are 12 inches.
That’s impossible. “The figure implies the existence of a right isosceles triangle with sides 12, 12 and 17. But (12, 12, 17) is not (quite) a Pythagorean triple: 122 + 122 = 288; 172 = 289.”
“Thus, these specifications seem to give new meaning to a ‘Field of Dreams.'”