MLB Advanced Media introduces new way to analyze every play

From Mark Newman at on March 1, 2014:

Baseball is a game of inches, and those inches will be measured in a brand new way.

Major League Baseball Advanced Media on Saturday introduced a revolutionary plan for in-ballpark infrastructure designed to provide the first complete and reliable measurement of every play on the field and answer previously unanswerable analytics questions.

The announcement was made by MLBAM CEO Bob Bowman at the eighth annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at the Hynes Convention Center near Fenway Park. MLBAM gave an overview of how it continues to implement various fan experience technologies, including iBeacon and widespread connectivity, to ensure MLB ballparks are crucibles of technology.

“This is going to be pretty exciting,” Bowman said. “We think it’s going to change the way we argue about the game, but we don’t think it’s going to settle any debates. We hope it starts more.”

The goal is to revolutionize the way people evaluate baseball, by presenting for the first time the tools that connect all actions that happen on a field to determine how they work together. This new datastream will enable the industry to understand the whole play on the field — batting, pitching, fielding and baserunning — and enable new metrics for evaluation by clubs, scouts, players and fans.

For instance, on a brilliant, game-saving diving catch by an outfielder, this new system will let us understand what created that outcome. Was it the quickness of his first step, his acceleration? Was it his initial positioning? What if the pitcher had thrown a different pitch? Everything will be connected for the first time, providing a tool for answers to questions like this and more.

There will be something for everyone, far beyond what has been available in the past. Miller Park in Milwaukee, Target Field in Minnesota and Citi Field in New York will be operational for this tracking in 2014. The plan is to start rolling out the rest this season so that all 30 ballparks are operational by 2015 Opening Day.

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Originally published: March 3, 2014. Last Updated: March 3, 2014.