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Geeks and Baseball

With the baseball season in full swing, it’s time to remember how nerds and technology have transformed the game of baseballOver the past three decades, the Internet, medical advances, and the media of globalization have fundamentally transformed the way fans consume baseball and the way ball players play America’s entertainment. Below is a study of some of the ways in which technology has affected baseball and some ideas on how some new technologies will continue to affect baseball.

Baseball, technology and fans

1. Video games

From the beginning, video games have tried to play baseball. In 1971, Don Daglow of Pomona College wrote “Baseball.” In the early 1980’s, Atari and Mattel also launched baseball video games. In 1983, Mattel launched Intellivision World Series Baseball. For the first time, World Series Baseball players could use multiple camera angles to show the action. A player could see the beat from a modified “center field” room, see the base players in the corners and see the defensive games from a room behind the home board. “World Series Baseball” also integrated fly balls into their interface.

In 1988, baseball video games took another leap when Electronic Arts (EA) released “Earl Weaver Baseball,” which added a real baseball manager driven by artificial intelligence. The importance of “Earl Weaver Baseball” was recognized by Computer Gaming World in 1996, when it named “Earl Weaver Baseball” 25th on the list of the 150 best games of all time. This was the second highest ranking for any sports game in the period 1981-1996, behind FPS Sports Football.

Nintendo also recorded a homerun in 1988, when it released “RBI Baseball”. RBI was the first video game to be licensed by the Major League Baseball Players Association. The game contained players and authentic lists from the major leagues and, unsurprisingly, it was a huge success with players.

Twenty years after the first baseball video game, “Tony La Russa Baseball” appeared on shelves across the country. The game has made significant progress in the game of baseball. First, “La Russa” included a circular Fly Ball slider that appeared where the ball was to land and increased or decreased in size depending on the height of the ball. If the wind was blowing, the cursor would move to reflect the changing course of the ball. Fly Ball Cursor introduced real balls and pop-ups into computer baseball games, eliminating the last segment of the sport that had never been accurately simulated. Second, “La Russa” allowed users to make sketches and set up their own leagues, all with access to the game’s comprehensive player statistics. Third, “La Russa”  was the first baseball game to provide accurate statistics for each individual pitcher against each individual hitter, data that current managers widely use in dugout. Unlike many sports celebrities who have simply borrowed their game names, Tony La Russa has spent extensive sessions working for years to make the game’s artificial intelligence as accurate as possible.

The quality of baseball games continued to grow at La Russa. EA’s “MVP Baseball” development, Sony’s “MLB The Show,” Out of the Park Developments’ text-based simulation out. of the Park Baseball ”, and the growth and growth of gaming systems (from Genesis to XBox360) has transformed the depth and reality of baseball games. Even the players themselves admit that they use them to prepare for games. According to a 2004 FHM article by Cy Young winner Johan Santana (April 2006 pg. 113), “I can see each player’s hitting areas and statistics where he doesn’t like the ball. I can also feel when he will swing at fast balls and when he might not expect a change.

2. Internet Fantasy Baseball

Hate it (girlfriends, wives) or love it (pretty much every baseball fan), fantasy baseball has become as popular as the sport itself. Once regulated by drug addicts who calculated and managed everything on their own, the expansion of the Internet allowed millions of fans to participate in leagues with friends and other fans across the country. That couldn’t affect the sport itself, could it? Wrong. Fantasy Baseball has a huge impact on the interest of fans. Did your team throw in the towel in the middle of the season or are you currently in a year of rebuilding that can’t be traced? That’s ok. You can still watch your fantasy team and continue to watch games that involve your players through the MLB Baseball Cable package. Major League Baseball is a product and anything that allows your customers to read, write,

Fantastic baseball would not have become popular without technology. Computers and the internet have led to this sporting revolution. The advent of powerful computers and the internet revolutionized fantastic baseball, allowing the score to be achieved entirely by the computer and allowing the leagues to develop their own scoring system, often based on less popular statistics. In this way, fantastic baseball has become a kind of simulation of baseball over time and has allowed many fans to develop a more sophisticated understanding of how the game works in the real world.

According to a recent Fortune article, “The American man’s obsession with sports is nothing new, but try this for the size: more than half of fantasy sports fans spend over an hour a day just thinking about their teams.” Fantastic baseball is a “billion dollar industry.” However, like the RIAA and the MPAA, Major League Baseball is clamoring for the fantastic technology that fueled the resurgence of professional baseball since the 1996 strike  . . Official licensees will now likely be restricted to three major ESPN sites, CBS Sportsline and Yahoo! (Some reports add AOL and The Sporting News). “Mom and Dad”  stores that helped bring the fantastic baseball phenomenon into existence will be severely limited by the licensing agreement. They will only be allowed information to serve 5,000 customers each. Everyone else who uses baseball stats to lead fantastic small leagues will have to choose between downsizing, closing the store, or getting a visit from MLB lawyers.

3. User-created media

Before the Internet, media creation was limited to professionals. Newspapers, radio, television, and niche sports magazines, such as Sports Illustrated, had virtual control over the broadcast of sports news and information.

The first user created by sports media took place with the advent of Sports Talk radio. An extension of talk radio, which has existed since the 1940’s, sports radio became widespread in the early 1980  ‘s. Today, more than 30 major sports radio stations exist throughout the country. The sports talk radio provided fans with a box of soap to express their grievances, thoughts and analysis of the sport. However, instead of revealing only to friends and family, sports radio has given fans the opportunity to share their ideas with a potential audience.

Wanting a voice, sports fans used technology to spread their ideas on the internet. The first of these technologies was sports messaging communities. While sports message boards have never reached general popularity, they have a strong online presence. A quick search for “baseball message boards” in Google will return over 8.5 million hits.

Internet message boards have also been the first Petri dish for user-created environments. This sentiment is best exemplified by a scandal that broke out in the early 2000’s.  Bobby Valentine, then manager of the New York Mets, gave a lecture at the Wharton School of Business – an “off-the-record” discussion. But “off-the-record” is just a relevant term for journalists. While the Pennsylvanian Daily made a superficial mention of the speech, one student participant went much further. Brad Rosenberg, using the username brad34, connected to a message board from the Mets and claimed that Bobby V destroyed several players and leadership. The mainstream media ran with him; then-general manager Steve Phillips boarded a plane to Pittsburgh to pow-wow with Valentine; and a minor scandal was going on.

Today, the phenomenon that started on message boards has spread to blogs. Blogs have exploded over the past two years. Everyone (from grandparents to babies) is starting their own blogs and it is not surprising that some of these blogs are about sports. Blogs provide individuals with a sports radio community and potentially endless worldwide coverage. A strong combination. Today, there are approximately,  1158 baseball blogs floating on the internet.

4. Satellite TV

Satellites broadcast baseball games around the world, fueling global baseball. While the first satellite television signals were transmitted in the early 1960s, consumer television reception became widespread in the 1980s.  For the first time, geography did not limit the broadcast of moving images. The power of television without geographical limits has translated into new opportunities for major league baseball.

Until the late 1990’s, baseball games could be broadcast smoothly and relatively cheaply around the world. This allowed Major League Baseball to reach foreign labor and commercial markets, especially in Japan. Without satellite television, the Seattle Mariners would probably have passed MVP player Ichiro Suzuki, and the New York Yankees would have passed All-Star Hideki Matsui. Satellite television has helped turn regional icons such as Ichiro and Matsui into a global phenomenon.

Today, if you take a trip to Japan, you might see Hideki Matsui’s game played in a Tokyo bar, a subway station, or even on the side of a building. Satellite TV helps baseball stay afloat.

Baseball, technology and players

5. Improved operations

Before 1974, if you were a pitcher and you happen to tear the ligament of your unlar collar from the “old” elbow, you would have changed your hat and tips for a suit and tie. Dr. Frank Jobe changed the fortunes of hundreds of future professional pitchers when LA Dodgers pitcher Tommy John asked him to “invent something” after being diagnosed with a career-threatening injury. The procedure, now called the famous “Tommy John Surgery”, involves replacing the elbow ligament with a tendon on the other side of the body (often the forearm, hamstring or leg). Today, retirement is not the only end, because the success rate for this type of surgery is estimated at 85% – 90%. Recovery time is reduced to about one year for pitchers and half a year for hitters. In fact, pitchers often return by throwing a few
extra MPHs on the fast ball. Just think that without this procedure, Mariano Rivera, closer to the star for the New York Yankees, would not have been able to win all those post-season victories and 4 recent World Series titles! Yankee fans
everywhere owe a big thank you to Dr. Frank Jobe.

6. Enlargement for the eyes

Many professional athletes have undergone a well-known laser eye surgery called LASIK. LASIK, an acronym for laser-assisted in situ Keratomileusis, is a form of laser eye refractive surgery performed by ophthalmologists to correct vision. Since baseball players rely heavily on their sight to pick up a fast 95 MPH ball flying past noggin, it makes sense that LASIK was so important. Jeff Bagwell, Jeff Cirillo, Jeff Conine, Jose Cruz Jr., Wally Joyner, Greg Maddux, Mark Redman and Larry Walker have improved their vision to 20/15 or better. The popularity of LASIK surgery has led the Minnesota Twins medical staff to educate their players diligently about the benefits and risks of LASIK surgery.

Similarly, a contact lens designed by Bausch and Lomb and marketed by Nike was made to help hiters. The lenses are red and filter out certain shades to allow you to see the seams on a fast ball. The sooner the hitter can follow the ball that leaves the pitcher’s hand, the faster they can react to it. Is it different from steroids?


QuesTec is a digital media company known primarily for its controversial Referee Information System (UIS), which is used by Major League Baseball to provide feedback and evaluation to major league referees. The company, based in Deer Park, New York, has been mostly involved in television and graphics reruns throughout its history. However, in 2001, the company signed a 5-year contract with Major League Baseball to use its pitch tracking technology as a means of reviewing the performance of home referees during baseball games.

The UIS system consists of 4 rooms located in strategic locations around a stage that feeds a computer network and records the locations of the fields during a game. The computer software then generates CDs that referees and their superiors can review and learn from. These CDs include videos of the grounds, as well as graphical representations of their locations, plus feedback on referee accuracy.

The controversy over the Referee Information System arose over the next few years, as referees and players alike expressed concern about the accuracy of the system, on the one hand, and the partial and potentially biased coverage of major league games, on the other. on the other hand. The company has installed its cameras and computers in only 10 of the 30 stadiums around the league. The arbitrators filed a complaint with the National Council for Labor Relations (NLRB) to get rid of the technology; Meanwhile, a more practical approach has been taken by Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Curt Schilling. Schilling used a baton to smash one of QuesTec’s field cameras, an act that led to a fine for the former World Series MVP.

8. Statistical analysis

In recent years, several Major League Baseball teams have changed their approach to running the organization. Traditionally, players are evaluated by scouts using statistics that have existed for centuries, such as Runs Batted In, Batting Average, and how fast a pitcher can roll. The “Moneyball” School of Thought (named after a book by Michael M. Lewis published in 2003 about Major League Baseball Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane) considers this method to be subjective and flawed. Now, CEOs will evaluate their players directly from their laptops, which collect all sorts of numbers that are centered around the ability not to record an exit (hey, that’s the general basis of the game, right?). So who can prepare a better ball team,

9. Steroids

We can’t have a baseball article without mentioning S-Word now, right? Steroids are an invention of modern medicine. German scientists first developed anabolic steroids in the 1940s, learning how to produce testosterone in a laboratory setting.

Now, two San Francisco Chronicle reporters have written a book detailing the use of steroids by Barry Bonds, called “Game of Shadows,” which goes into great detail behind everything Bonds has done to chemically improve his body. Bonds would have used any imaginable method of using steroids, including pills, liquids, creams and injections (by himself and the trainer). His methods obviously worked (although there was no testing to get around them), as Bonds (41 years ago) has multiplied enormously over the last 8 years and started hitting homers at record rates.

The more these players come out, the more 1995-2004 will be known forever as the “steroid era.” We may never know exactly who took the steroids during this time, but everyone will definitely treat the statistics of the last decade with skepticism. Now that MLB has finally started testing players, will certain players desperate for that undetectable advantage try new technologies? It’s ironic though. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa virtually saved the sport after the 1994 hit, captivating fans with their 1998 pursuit of Roger Maris’ 61 home run record. Now, after numerous hearings in Congress and many “no comments,” their reputation is complete. stained due to alleged steroid use. However, he may have saved baseball.

The future of baseball and technology

10. User-controlled broadcast

Earlier this week, Rupert Murdoch, speaking to the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers, said: . What does this mean for baseball?

Baseball on demand will continue to grow. Wait a minute! Can’t I already get baseball on demand? I can buy the MLB cable cable package or stream every MLB.TV game. True, but here we are talking about the future, and the scope of sports on demand will only expand over the next two decades.

Don’t be surprised if Major League Baseball takes video games into account and begins to give consumers control over how they watch a baseball game. Imagine the following: start a ball game and with the remote control you are given the option to choose the angle of the room in which you want to watch the game. You want to watch the match from the perspective of catches, click on the remote control and you can show what a big league slider looks like. Want to watch a play from the perspective of a field player? It’s your choice, you control how you want to see the game.

Fans will also have the opportunity to choose a announcer. Do you think Joe Morgan should be fired? Why be forced to listen to his show? Instead, fans will be given the opportunity to choose from a wide range of skulls. Do you want funny skulls? Click. Do you want cranials in your hometown? Want to hear the game in Russian? Click. It’s your decision.

Don’t be surprised if many of these skulls are not hired by a professional sports team. Instead, these skulls could be your neighbor, your friend, or even your grandmother. The continued growth of podcasting and the inevitable maturation of podcasting distribution channels will make it easier for anyone to try their luck as a professional broadcaster.

11. Markets information to predict the game

Information markets aggregate information in a test and seem to be the best tool people have for predicting future events. Based on Friedrich Hayek’s ideas, various professions and organizations began to use information markets to help them make better decisions. For example, the electronic markets in Iowa, TradeSports and WahlStreet predicted election results better than opinion polls. Google also uses product launch data for forecasting information markets, new office openings, and many other things of strategic importance to Google.

How does an information market work? Information markets aggregate the decisions of individuals and translate those decisions into a consensual probability that a certain future event will take place. For example, at Google, the company issues shares for 146 events in 43 different domains (no payment is required to play). Like a stock market, Google employees buy and sell these shares at a market price – the consensus decision. Google looks at these market prices when deciding whether to make an important decision.

The same tool that helped turn Google into one of the most powerful companies in the world will eventually be used by professional baseball teams to make important baseball decisions. Baseball teams will use these markets to decide when to promote their AAA to senior prospects, whether or not they should replace their older star with a younger prospect.

Just as baseball statistics transformed the way baseball teams operate in the 1990s and 2000s, information markets will change the way baseball organizations operate in the future.