Watt: New technologies forcing baseball to balance Big Data with Big Brother

From Rian Watt at VICE Sports on May 27, 2016:

Last year, the Seattle Mariners gave their players the opportunity to participate in a new kind of training program. It was unlike anything the players had ever taken part in before. No one lifted any weights, or spent any extra time at the gym. Instead, those who chose to participate were issued something called a Readiband and given instructions to wear it around the clock.

If you’re not familiar with the device—and not many outside of the field of athletic performance management are—a Readiband doesn’t look like much. It’s a small thing, black and rubbery and roughly the size and shape of a watch. Its manufacturer, a Vancouver-based company with the oddly evocative name Fatigue Science, claims that it is “the only scientifically validated tool for measuring the impact of sleep on human performance.” Here’s a simpler way of putting it: Readiband watches you while you sleep.

Welcome to the next frontier in baseball’s analytic revolution. Many of this revolution’s tenets will be familiar to anyone who works for a living—the ever-growing digitization and quantification of things never-before measured and tracked, for instance, or the ever-expanding workplace, the blurring distinction between the professional and the personal, and the cult of self-improvement for self-improvement’s sake. These broader trends are colliding with baseball tradition on backfields and in training facilities around the major leagues, and those collisions have raised questions about privacy, security, and what employees owe their employers.

Read the full article here: https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/new-technologies-are-forcing-baseball-to-balance-big-data-with-big-brother

Originally published: May 27, 2016. Last Updated: May 27, 2016.