One of my favorite sports movies of all time is Moneyball. If you haven’t seen it, the film is based on the true story of how Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane helped revolutionize the modern game of Baseball in the early 2000’s by applying statistical analysis to the problem of putting together a winning team on a shoestring budget.
That kind of data analysis, generally referred to as sabermetrics, has had wide-reaching effects on not just baseball, but a wide variety of industries. You might know former sabermetrician Nate Silver who has used his FiveThirtyEight blog to predict election results with startling accuracy.
But data isn’t just for professional election watchers and baseball insiders, and the success of Moneyball is a strong sign that even casual fans are interested in how data changes their favorite games. That’s why I’m excited to see the next generation tracking systems in Major League Baseball which will give you, the viewer, tons of data to soak in while you watch the game. Check the video below to see it in action.
For too long, the data available to a fan watching the game live has been limited to things like batting averages and pitch speed. While those numbers are still relevant, new technology unveiled this week by Major League Baseball Advanced Media combines cameras and radar to reveal things like what angle a ball was hit at, how far it traveled in the park, and how quickly the outfielder running to catch it was moving.
According to Sports Illustrated writer Jay Jaffe, in 2014 this tech will be coming to three ballparks: “Citi Field in New York, Miller Park in Milwaukee and Target Field in Minnesota.” By opening day in 2015, Jaffe writes, the MLB hopes to have the tech in all 30 of its ballparks.
But it isn’t just the viewer who will enjoy this new tech—baseball managers and fans will have access to some of this data this year as well, which could mean some big shifts in how you run your fantasy team this year.
Now, if only they could figure out how to do something similar for the Basketball viewing experience, and I’d really be hooked!