Feeds

Hacking Baseball

Sport still boring but making money via analytics is cool

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Baseball is perhaps the most boring thing in the world to watch. The leisurely rate of play, the lack of constant action, and the pauses players take for impromptu meetings, spitting, and crotch-grabbing are torture for my ADD-riddled brain.

Reading about baseball is every bit as bad, and reading about baseball-stats geeks who painstakingly ‘score’ every move on the field makes me want to beat myself with a bat. On the other hand, I’m a big fan of money, and innovative ways to make more of it.

I found a very interesting article in my ever-growing pile of Businessweek magazines about how automation and deep analytics are playing an increasingly large role in the game.

The Baseball: Running the New Numbers story outlines, in highly readable form, how Major League Baseball, individual teams, and savvy techies are building out systems that log pretty much everything that happens on a baseball field.

Hacker baseball cap

I am a baseball hacker

The goal is to rate players on what they bring to the table. A guy who can move quickly in the right direction and make a difficult play is much more valuable than a slackjaw who happens to be standing in the right place at the right time. Traditional stats don’t pick up the difference between those guys, but the new systems will.

Firms and teams use humans to review each and every play and capture more of this differential data, but it’s much more subjective, and there are limits to how much detail they provide.

Feats of clay?

This is where new technology enters the picture. Get enough cameras looking at the field and you can log the speed and angle of every hit ball, and the position of the fielder in relation to it. That way you can judge whether a fielder is a gifted athlete or just lucky.

A typical game will generate around 2.5 million results or records, totaling 2TB – which seems a bit large until you factor in all the standing around, spitting, scratching, etc. The amount of data that teams will be interested in is probably closer to 750GB or so per game.

Businessweek also raises some interesting points about the use of this data. Right now, a lot of it is provided freely to teams and the general public. The league is mostly in favor of this, because it gets fans more involved with the sport.

But some teams aren’t so wild about this openness - they see this data as the raw material they use to build their competitive advantage. Still others figure that the data will get out there anyway, so why not make it available to all?

There are many more details that I’m glossing over – it’s baseball, for God’s sake, so I can’t be expected to pore over every word – so it’s definitely worth your time to read the article if you’re interested in how these systems work. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
The DRUGSTORES DON'T WORK, CVS makes IT WORSE ... for Apple Pay
Goog Wallet apparently also spurned in NFC lockdown
IBM, backing away from hardware? NEVER!
Don't be so sure, so-surers
Hey - who wants 4.8 TERABYTES almost AS FAST AS MEMORY?
China's Memblaze says they've got it in PCIe. Yow
Microsoft brings the CLOUD that GOES ON FOREVER
Sky's the limit with unrestricted space in the cloud
This time it's SO REAL: Overcoming the open-source orgasm myth with TODO
If the web giants need it to work, hey, maybe it'll work
'ANYTHING BUT STABLE' Netflix suffers BIG Europe-wide outage
Friday night LIVE? Nope. The only thing streaming are tears down my face
Google roolz! Nest buys Revolv, KILLS new sales of home hub
Take my temperature, I'm feeling a little bit dizzy
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?