Sunday, March 27, 2016

MLB and New Technology

The article I chose for this week discusses how the MLB continues to integrate new technology into the training of the players, the fan experience, and the players' apparel. One important point that the article discusses is how Snapchat involved itself in the MLB games last year and what it plans to do with this coming year. This is a result of a "multiyear partnership between MLB and Snapchat that started last year bloomed during spring training when a special "Snapchat Day"...Players were allowed to use their phones before and after the game to send behind the scenes pictures and videos". I find this interesting because I know that this is a huge opportunity for Snapchat as a business and that I would not be surprised to see other social media platforms getting involved with NHL, NBA, or MLS. Another cool topic that the article discusses is how the MLB is still a long way from allowing their players to use the "smart bat", which has sensors in it and "produces 1,000 data points to evaluate every aspect of the hitter's swing." As a former softball player, this is awesome to me. This could change the game completely. You no longer have to have someone watch you hit live, they can just read the data that the bat produced and work from there. And the final aspect of the article that I liked was that the MLB is using technology to protect its players. For example, there is a new fabric that pitchers can wear that can measure the stress on their shoulders/arms to prevent them from having Tommy John surgery. This is good news for teams that worry about the status of their pitchers and the stress that their shoulders endure after every practice and game.
I think there were some important things overlooked in this article. First off, I wish the article mentioned how the players and managers feel about phones being used before the game. I find it hard to imagine that the managers are okay with this because it is so distracting for the players and their warm up process. I also wonder if the players are chosen or if they volunteer for posting these Snapchats before the game. I definitely know some players that stay off of social media and would not be thrilled with this. Secondly, I wonder how successful some of this technology is. For example, I wonder if there has been any studies conducted to see if using the data from the Smart Bats has actually helped any players improve their swings. Finally, I wonder if there's an imbalance between the amount and the quality of technology that each MLB team has. I ask about this because I know that there's already an imbalance in the funds each team has and I believe that this technology should either be available to all teams to make it equal, or none at all.


  1. Baseball will always have an old fashion feel which is why any increase in technology usage is always interesting. In today’s technologically advanced era, they still use a landline phone to make calls to the bullpen! They were the last American sport to implement a replay aspect, but it has been widely successful so I expect technology usage to increase substantially in future years. Although the game itself does not involve much technology use, scouting and player evaluation involves possibly more than any other sports. Baseball has more statistical categories then any other sports. From ERA, WHIP, RBI, Saves, RISP to OPB every aspect of the game is analyzed using sabermetrics. This brings me to the concept of smart bats. If in the future Major League Baseball allows for the use of data collecting bats, scouting of potential players would be revolutionized. Instead of looking at high school players’ stats, which are somewhat unhelpful due to extreme variation in competition level, a smart bat could collect data on a potential players’ swing to determine future value. The increased social media use is fun for the fans, but future use of smart bats and other player rating technology would make for a better, more talent filled, game.

  2. The MLB has always been one of America’s favorite sports. With all the growing sports it is no surprise that the MLB would want to get involved with Snapchat. Snapchat is a leader in social media and with the behind scenes look on “Snapchat Day” this definitely boosts the MLB’s popularity. I also am very curious on how the baseball players felt about “Snapchat Day” because I agree that there would definitely be a lot of players who chose to opt out of this. I could definitely see other social media groups getting involved with other professional sports as well. On the other side of things, I think the smart bat is a great idea. I do not see the bat being used in actual professional games any time soon. However, I do think this bat would be extremely useful to baseball players during practice in order to help them adjust their swing to make it just right. The protective fabric that the players use is a crucial new invention and could prevent so many injuries. It may also be able to determine if a player is throwing the baseball in a way that is detrimental to the player’s shoulder. It would be great if this technology was more widely available to college and high school players. There are a lot of young people who never get the chance to reach the MLB due to injury. If these two technologies were introduced to them in their earlier in their careers there is the possibility that their injuries could have been prevented.


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