Play Ball!

...Oh Wait, Let Me Check the Stat-Cloud First!

It is like a SAT question: Cincinnati Reds Billy Hamilton has a 10.83 foot lead off first base, can hit a top speed of 21.51 mph and clocked a jump of 0.49 seconds. If the Milwaukee Brewers catcher took 0.667 seconds to to get the ball out of his glove to throw to second and the ball is travelling at 78.81 mph, is Hamilton safe or out?

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Internet of Sports, and can't believe I missed this one. But with the MLB playoffs in full gear, I didn't want this to slip through the IoT cracks. Sports analytics has been around for a while but never to this degree.

Just like the NFL, Major League Baseball is equipping stadiums with technologies that can track moving players, flying baseballs and accurate throws. More than the RBIs, hits and stolen bases that appear on the back of trading cards, new technology (and software) also gathers stats like pop-fly pursuit range or average ground ball response time. Professional sports teams have always tracked their players' performance and often such milestones are included in the player's contract. Bonus for so many games played, or home runs hit or some other goal. With all this new detailed data, teams can adjust how they train, prepare for games and even player value for personnel moves like trades.

For the 2014 season, only 3 stadiums (Mets, Brewers, Twins) had the new Field f/x (Sportvision Inc.) system but the league plans to have all 30 parks complete for the 2015 season. Field f/x can show data such as the angle of elevation of a batted ball, the highest point in its trajectory and the distance covered and top speed attained by a player attempting to field a ball. Of course all this can then be crunched for cool graphics during a replay. Cameras, sensors and software are all now part of the game.

So are data centers, clouds and high speed links.

All this data needs to be crunched somewhere and more often it is in a cloud environment. Add to that, the connection(s) to the fans and with the fans at the stadium. Levi's Stadium, for instance, has 1200 access points and an app that allows you to order food, watch instant replays and know which bathroom line is the shortest. Our sport stadiums are becoming data centers.

Announcer: Welcome to Exclusive Sponsor Data Center Field! Home of the Hypertext Transfer Protocols. Undefeated at home this year, the Prots look to extend their record and secure home field throughout the playoffs.

And if you were wondering, Hamilton was Safe.





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Published Oct 07, 2014
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