Created By: foxley on February 20, 2017 Last Edited By: foxley on March 19, 2017
Troped

Ball Cannon

A ball launching machine is used as a weapon.

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trope
A lot of sports involve striking a ball that is moving at high speed. To allow people to practice, many of these sports have machines designed to launch balls at a player: bowling machines for cricket, pitching machines for baseball and softball, tennis ball servers for tennis, etc.

Given these machines are essentially miniature cannons, designed to launch projectiles, it is not surprising that, in fiction at least, these devices have been turned to lethal intent. This trope is for when a ball launching machine is used to kill someone.

Related to I Know Madden Kombat.


Examples:

Film - Live Action
  • The Hero of the bloodsport Rollerball (1975) invokes this as retribution for the on-track killing of his best friend. Jonathan beats the killer nearly senseless, then drags the inert fellow onto the track so that his head rests in the launching lane. Moments later, a fresh steel ball is fired from the game cannon, obliterating the victim's head. No foul is called for this, of course.
  • Hudson Hawk. During the movie, the Mayflowers' evil dog Bunny performs a Groin Attack on Hudson Hawk and bites the neck of Hawk's girlfriend Anna Baragli. Eddie eventually gets his revenge, using a tennis ball launching machine to fire a ball at Bunny and knock her out a window and over a cliff to a Disney Villain Death.
  • In The Catcher, a killer commits several murders using baseball themed methods. Coach Foster is strung up in the batting cages and shot to death with a pitching machine.

Live Action TV
  • Midsomer Murders: In "Last Man Standing", the first Victim of the Week is killed by being tied in the cricket nets in front of a bowling machine, which is then used to bowl twenty cricket balls at him at high speed and batter him to death.
  • A sketch on The Paul Hogan Show had an assassin killing prominent Australian sports stars. Tennis player John Newcombe was murdered by pouring sugar into his tennis ball server while he was practising. The machine went berserk and unleashed a barrage of balls that killed him.
  • Scream Queens: In "Drain the Swamp", one of the Green Meanies attempts to murder the Chanels with a pitching machine. This is not effective, and only succeeds in injuring one of the Chanels.
  • CSI: NY: In "Buzzkill", a man attacks attacks a group of models doing a live billboard display with a tennis ball launcher. The balls injure several of the models, and one of them smashes a neon sign and drops a live wire into the oversize glass a model is frolicking in. This would have electrocuted her, except she had already been poisoned.
  • Castle: In "Suicide Squeeze", a well-known Cuban baseball player is found dead of a wound to the head with an automatic pitching machines still throwing balls at him.
  • The Disney TV movie (Walt Disney Presents) The BRAT Patrol features a tennis ball launcher used as a "weapon" to annoy people. See it here.
  • The Gauntlet game from American Gladiator has the contestants attempt to defeat the muscular gladiator while being shot at with a ball cannon. Even a glancing strike from a tennis ball counted as a One-Hit Kill on the contestant.

Video Games
  • Pitching Machines are a category of weapons in Let It Die. Pitching Machines are a one-handed ranged weapon with a bit of ramp-up time in exchange for massive damage potential.
  • The first case in Dangan Ronpa ends with the killer (Leon Kuwata) executed by being chained to a post and shot to death by a baseball pitching machine.
  • Get Amped: The "MVP Slugger" gear will enable baseball-based attacks for your character; one of its skills is setting down a baseball launcher that can damage enemies (and set them on fire) if they get hit by the balls. It's also possible for you to bat the launched ball at enemies for greater damage.
  • The Tennis Ball Launcher is a weapon in Dead Rising 2: Off the Record. When combined with motor oil it creates the combo weapon Molten Cannon. When combined with a saw blade it creates the combo weapon saw launcher.

Western Animation
  • The Tom and Jerry cartoon "Tennis Chumps" has the opponents Tom and Butch form an alliance against the subversive mouse, Jerry. One of Jerry's defenses is to activate a tennis ball cannon and set it on high, whereupon it buffets Tom repeatedly in the face.
Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • February 21, 2017
    sailing101
    Ball Cannon would be a better name, since the trope proposal is focusing on the launcher.
  • February 21, 2017
    Prfnoff
    And we already have a different trope called Bowled Over.
  • February 21, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • The Hero of the bloodsport Rollerball1975 invokes this as retribution for the on-track killing of his best friend. Jonathan beats the killer nearly senseless, then drags the inert fellow onto the track so that his head rests in the launching lane. Moments later, a fresh steel ball is fired from the game cannon, obliterating the victim's head. No foul is called for this, of course.
  • February 21, 2017
    foxley
    ^^ The name will obviously need to change.

    ^^^ I don't think Ball Cannon captures the nature of the trope as it is about ball launchers specifically being used with lethal intent, not just any appearance of a launcher.
  • February 21, 2017
    sailing101
    And how does 'cannon' not convey the image of a weapon.
  • February 21, 2017
    foxley
    'Cannon' can refer to any launching device, such as 't-shirt cannon' or 'air cannon'. Ideally, I think the title should combine ball sports and death in some form.
  • February 21, 2017
    sailing101
    Clear: A cannon's first and foremost definition is a s a heavy caliber weapon that fires large projectiles using black powder. Other launching devices are named as such in reference to this, the only way any person could ever have any confusion in this is if they never spoke English for any length of time.

    Concise: Ball Cannon is not overly long, it's a nice short phrase.

    Witty: As an inversion of the term, cannon ball, it makes a wonderful play on words.
  • February 24, 2017
    Arivne
    Film
    • Hudson Hawk. During the movie, the Mayflowers' evil dog Bunny performs a Groin Attack on Hudson Hawk and bites the neck of Hawk's girlfriend Anna Baragli. Eddie eventually gets his revenge, using a tennis ball launching machine to fire a ball at Bunny and knock her out a window and over a cliff to a Disney Villain Death.
  • February 24, 2017
    AmourMitts
    A battle droid getting hit by a blue electric ball in The Phantom Menace would work for a page image.
  • February 25, 2017
    foxley
    I've changed the name to Ball Cannon due to there already being a trope called Bowled Over. Still open to other suggestions.
  • February 25, 2017
    Reflextion
  • February 27, 2017
    foxley
    Bump
  • March 5, 2017
    foxley
    Bump
  • March 5, 2017
    Getta
    • Get Amped: The "MVP Slugger" gear will enable baseball-based attacks for your character; one of its skills is setting down a baseball launcher that can damage enemies (and set them on fire) if they get hit by the balls. It's also possible for you to bat the launched ball at enemies for greater damage.
  • March 6, 2017
    Getta
    Um, this is really close to Weaponized Ball.
  • March 6, 2017
    Getta
    Um, this is really close to Weaponized Ball.
  • March 7, 2017
    foxley
    I this is specialised enough to be a Sub Trope.
  • March 7, 2017
    Getta
    "This trope is for when a ball launching machine is used to kill someone."

    Perhaps change "to kill someone" with "as a weapon".

    And I heard Sunset Overdrive has a bowling ball launcher, but I don't know the game enough.
  • March 8, 2017
    foxley
    ^ Thanks. I've changed the laconic. It referred to 'being killed' because the first few examples I collected all involved murders.
  • March 10, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • The Tom And Jerry cartoon "Tennis Chumps" has the opponents Tom and Butch form an alliance against the subversive mouse, Jerry. One of Jerry's defenses is to activate a tennis ball cannon and set it on high, whereupon it buffets Tom repeatedly in the face.
  • March 10, 2017
    NateTheGreat
    The Disney TV movie (Walt Disney Presents) The BRAT Patrol features a tennis ball launcher used as a "weapon" to annoy people. See it here.
  • March 16, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Live Action TV
    • The Gauntlet game from American Gladiator has the contestants attempt to defeat the muscular gladiator while being shot at with a ball cannon. Even a glancing strike from a tennis ball counted as a One Hit Kill on the contestant.
  • March 16, 2017
    Getta
  • March 18, 2017
    foxley
    bump
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