Information Age Changing How Baseball is Played

From SABR member Jayson Stark at on August 30:

nce upon a time, it was all so simple. Pitchers pitched. Hitters hit. If the stars lined up, somebody with a glove caught what they hit. And that’s how baseball games were decided.

Boy, how 1963 was that, huh?

If you think that’s how baseball games are decided nowadays, it’s very possible you’re still listening to music on a “record player.” And running all over town trying to buy “film” for your camera. And looking up numbers in a “phone book.”

Friends, we just don’t live on that planet anymore. And neither does the beautiful sport of baseball — no matter how unchanged it may look from afar on your old black-and-white TV “set.”

Here, instead, is the planet we live on now:

It’s a planet in which Rays manager Joe Maddon flips open his iPad in a Starbucks, sips his morning cup of tea and pores over the spray charts that dictate the funky shifts his team is about to unleash on David Ortiz that night.

It’s a planet in which Troy Tulowitzki can pedal away on his exercise bike while watching every pitch Tim Hudson has fired at him over the last five years.

It’s a planet in which it’s now easier to find a video of every changeup Ricky Romero has ever thrown with two strikes and a runner on first than it is to find a light bulb at Home Depot.

In other words, it’s a planet that has been swallowed whole by technology, by data, by the sheer, massive, unstoppable onslaught of information.

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Originally published: August 30, 2011. Last Updated: August 30, 2011.