It’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of October baseball, particularly if you’re a fan of the San Francisco Giants. (Spoiler alert: I am.)
The team has come back more often than Facebook stock and today lead the Detroit Tigers 1-0 in the 2012 World Series.
They have a highly-paid pitcher (Barry Zito), who for years was given up for lost, but is now the team’s unlikely postseason ace. And on Tuesday night, they had a lovable and ample hitter (Pablo “Panda” Sandoval) join the ranks of Babe Ruth and Mr. October (Reggie Jackson) by hitting three home runs in one World Series game.
But lest you get all caught up in the poetry of the timeless game and the beauty of the crack of the bat, or the ball taking flight against the muted October sky, get a load of this:
It’s all about Big Data. Turns out there is something of a skunk works in the lower reaches of the Giants’ beautiful bay-side home, AT&T Park. It’s there, the Wall Street Journal reports, that a technician watches the game the way no fan would:
“He watched as special motion-analysis software was layered over game footage, charting precise data on how efficiently each player moves as they hustle to catch the ball.”
And San Francisco being a suburb of Silicon Valley, it’s no wonder that AT&T is one of five ballparks that has installed the performance-tracking Sportsvision technology, called FIELDf/x.
No, it’s not all that romantic, but it’s a way for Major League Baseball to help its employees improve and thereby put a better product on the field. Forget RBI. This is all about ROI.
And anybody want to bet that The Panda is ordering up the metrics on his latest big-fly tear?