Entries Tagged as 'technology'

What are they saying, really?

Ok, I can’t help but see this little gimmick at the first Phillies home game as a subtle message about the inherent possibilities of technology at baseball games ala instant replay

Robot to throw first pitch at Phillies game

But I’m a cynic at heart.

LASIK surgery and seeing the ball

Jeff Sullivan from Lookout Landing did an admittedly unscientific but still somewhat interesting study on Lasik eye surgery on ballplayers and how it affected their hitting. 

His post has some significant stats.  Again, not scientific but his results??

Based on our very limited sample, it seems that LASIK eye surgery can indeed help hitters perform at a higher level. Which we’d expect, given that a good hitter has to be able to, you know, see.

Hmm… very eye opening.

Fox Sports, DirecTV practice with 3D in anticipation of All-Star Game

On Wednesday, Fox Sports and DirecTV in cooperation with Major League Baseball did a dress rehearsal of sorts of shooting a baseball game in 3D.  It took place in Angels Stadium and they used college players to help in their effort to create a baseball game atmosphere. 

The reason for the practice run?  Fox Sports plans to use this 3D technology at this year’s All-Star Game. 

Let’s get this out of the way.  Only DirecTV subscribers will be able to view the Game in 3D.  Should every work as planned though, it will be a coup for DirecTV since many might subscribe just to see the 3D experience.

With all the disclaimers, it still is quite a feat,

As part of July’s coverage, Fox will deploy two sets of announcers, one for the conventional 2D broadcast that most viewers will see and one for DirecTV’s 3D coverage. I asked Goren if the announcers doing 3D will require special training in the new technology. "It’s an interesting question," he says. During game action the announcers focus is on the field of play. But during replays, "do the announcers put on 3D glasses to look at the 3D monitors? Right now we don’t have an answer for that."

During the Consumer Electronics Show back in January, the big buzzword was “3D”.  Every provider, manufacturer, and supplier that could conceivably get away with it, would incorporate “3D” into their selling points.  It’s clear the 3D is the up and coming technology. 

Yet, I’m still trying to get a handle on it.  Not intellectually so much but is viewing a baseball in 3D something that really appeals to me.  Now these words will most likely come back to bite me in the future.  In a couple years, everything we view will be in three dimensions (“dude, you still watch that flat thing?”).  But right now, the baseball traditionalist wants to watch a game like I always have (especially without Tim McCarver). 

But as someone who is in the technology field, I admit I am curious.  Will it be gimmicky like Fox Sports’ Diamond Cam or provide a genuinely pleasurable viewing experience?  I guess we’ll see.  

Ballplayers and websites

I ran across this article on Dugout Central entitled The Art of Catching by none other than former catcher Brent Mayne.  The byline at the bottom included a link to brentmayne.com. Go figure.  Yeah, he plugging a book but the site is rife with come cool stuff including his take on Mark McGwire’s latest admission on steroids.  He also has a podcast with some interviews (I’m planning on listening to the one with Rich Amaral). 

I’m a little leery when it comes to MLB ballplayers and blogs or websites.  Somehow, I get the idea they are either ghost-written or under heavy monitoring.  Mayne’s however seems on the level.  First, he’s retired and probably can say what he wants.  Second, his writing style and content appears “unofficial” looking (i.e. he writes like he might speak).  Third, he’s selling a book and makes no bones about it.  But instead of putting a quick template website up and forgetting about it (I’ve seen this countless times even by writers), he’s actually updating it.  Kudos.

Speaking of ballplayers and websites, Willie Mays is having some issues with a website.  A domain name, in particular.  According to domainnamewire.com, Mays is filing to get williemays.com under his control.  Currently, the domain name is owned by a company called Global Access which resides in the Isle of Man.  The website is purely a money making venture for GA as it includes links to ticket outlets (this probably goes without saying but I encourage anyone who goes there to NOT buy tickets from those links).

Mays has asked the World Intellectual Property Organization to arbitrate the matter on his behalf.

Searching for Baseball

At the end of each year, Google (as well as other search engines) does an analysis on what was searched on for that year.  Rising trends, falling trends, trends in all aspects of our society.  Google calls this trend analysis project “Zeitgeist” and they just released their results for 2009.

Looking at the fastest rising trends in the United States overall, we’re not going to find anything baseball related, sorry.  Actually, nothing sports related.  Twitter, Michael Jackson, and Facebook headed up the top ten of general keywords.  Among fastest FALLING was “olympics” but that makes sense as 2008 was naturally a big year for it and it was going to trend downward. 

What IS more relevant to our interests as baseball fans is search trends within the realm of sports.  Fortunately, Google does parse that out for us.  Here are some of the highest searched keywords within United States in sports.

Among baseball teams, there are no surprises.  There’s a reason for that East Coast bias:

  1. yankees
  2. red sox
  3. phillies
  4. cubs
  5. mets
  6. dodgers
  7. braves
  8. tigers
  9. cubs
  10. twins

Taking a look at all sports stadiums, three baseball parks make the list:

  1. yankee stadium
  2. cowboys stadium
  3. giants stadium
  4. gillette stadium
  5. lucas oil stadium
  6. reliant stadium
  7. dodger stadium
  8. raymond james stadium
  9. busch stadium
  10. shea stadium

The Yankees’ ballpark gets the #1 nod for a couple reasons, I’m sure.  One, their move to a new stadium.  Two, they won the World Series.  And three, well, they’re the Yankees.

Interestingly, no baseball managers made the top 10 list of sports coaches.  Nor did any baseball rivalries.  Both of them were dominated by college, NBA and football.  

1.  red river rivalry (texas vs. oklahoma)

2. michigan ohio state rivalry

3. unc duke rivalry

4. colts patriots rivalry

5. vikings packers rivalry

6. bears packers rivalry

7. georgia florida rivalry

8. giants dodgers rivalry

9. lakers celtics rivalry

10. steelers browns rivalry

  1. coach k (mike krzyzewski – duke university basketball)
  2. mike tomlin (pittsburgh steelers)
  3. josh mcdaniels (denver broncos)
  4. john calipari (university of kentucky basketball)
  5. erik spoelstra (miami heat)
  6. sean miller (university of arizona basketball)
  7. bill belichick (new england patriots)
  8. roy williams (university of north carolina basketball)
  9. phil jackson (los angeles lakers)
  10. tom cable (oakland raiders)

 

Interesting that the Packers get searched on two different rivalries.

There’s more info at the Google Zeitgeist 2009 web site.

Dell will design your laptop MLB-style and charge you just like MLB does

dellcubs

With the playoffs here, Dell is pandering to the baseball fan now.  For a mere $85, they’ll design your new laptop with your favorite team’s logo.   

Pretty cool, huh?

That or you could buy a big team sticker for few bucks and slap it on there.  But hey, why be practical?

MLBAM Live Streaming becoming more mainstream

Those fans who watch Major League Baseball via video streaming are increasing every day and the numbers for the playoff games are even higher. 

By now, Major League Baseball Advanced Media has the stats available for the Division Series.  On average, 350,000 live streams were served per game.  Even more interesting, 36,000 of those streamed were sent to mobile devices such as the iPhone. 

These video streams were all subscription or pay-for feeds.  MLBAM notes that these per game averages are higher than the 2009 All-Star Game video stream… which was free. 

One other point… the Postseason.TV package is blackout-free (yay!) but to avoid competition with other major networks, the video stream doesn’t give you in their words, “a complete game experience”. 

more robot baseball

If Cubs pitchers keep getting hurt, here’s a solution… baseball robots. 

These robots are the creation of a Japanese (of course) professor Masatoshi Ishikawa who is from the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology at the University of Tokyo.

The pitching robot throws at 25 mph and hits the strike zone close to 90% of the time.  Ishikawa hopes to increase the pitch speed to 90mph.  He also wants to introduce the curve ball to the robot.  Hey now, be careful of those arm injuries!

MLB games come to Boxee

Good news for baseball fans who use Boxee. MLB games will be coming to Boxee, the streaming video service.

mlbboxee

From the Boxee blog:

We are excited to announce a partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB.com) to offer MLB.TV Premium to boxee users.

MLB.TV Premium on boxee means you can now watch thousands of baseball games, live and on-demand in HD (where available). on top of that, MLB.TV Premium offers DVR functionality to pause and rewind a live game. MLB.com represents a big step for boxee as we hope this is the first of many different live sports offerings we can bring to you. We hope other sports follow MLB.com’s lead of giving fans a choice of how they enjoy watching their favorite teams….

I’ve never used Boxee but if anyone does, I’d love to hear how well this works once it gets up and running.