Tag Archives: major league baseball

Facing an Army Of Steamrollers

My beloved New York Times ran an article today about Germany’s national soccer museum in Dortmund that focused on how the museum holds up a mirror to Germany itself:

Any soccer fan — in fact, almost any German — will tell you that the moment the country first felt able to return with dignity to the international arena after the evil of Nazism came with what is known here as “the miracle of Bern,” the 3-2 victory in Switzerland over favored Hungary to win the World Cup in 1954…

…But the museum does not shy from Germany’s past. The national team of 1941 is seen giving the Nazi salute before a game in Sweden. An infamous 1944 propaganda film runs, showing Jewish inmates at the Nazis’ Theresienstadt camp near Prague playing soccer and ostensibly enjoying a relaxed life. (In reality, most were about to be shipped to Auschwitz.)

The German Football Association’s ban on women’s soccer from 1955 to 1970 is also related in detail — as are the considerable achievements of Germany’s female soccer team since.

I’d like to argue that while the Cooperstown Hall of Fame may not hold up a mirror to America, baseball certainly does and that, perhaps, explains why Major League Baseball’s brand has lost some of its shine.

This image was decidedly not approved by Major League Baseball or its affiliates

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Concussion evidence? There’s an app for that.

Fast on the heels of Major League Baseball’s Statcast, the National Football League has announced that it will start sharing data from its games as well.  Next Gen Stats will use sensors embedded in players’ shoulder pads to track them on the field.  Following key plays, Next Gen will break down the data into slick illustrations that fans can watch on certain Microsoft devices (a gimme to MSFT owing to their long-time NFL sponsorship, presumably).


Like TRON, only with PEDs

While undeniably cool and very appropriate for the Madden fans out there, this venture may end up biting the NFL in the ass.

While the NFL has been dealing with recent scandals involving one of their top players and a drumbeat of domestic violence cases, it has also had an issue with player concussions.

I have to imagine that some data-focused fan will start collecting velocity and acceleration/deceleration data from this app and start calculating the forces involved throughout the game.  In turn, these calculations will only underscore the risks of concussion on pretty much every play in the game.

And those risks do not make for a pretty highlight reel.

Talkin’ Baseball. And Cohorts.

Longtime New York Times advertising columnist Stuart Elliott recently wrote an article outlining his ideas for restoring baseball’s popularity.

I’ve written at length on the subject, but Stu’s piece has me thinking: are we too late?

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Metaball: Can Baseball Data Help Market Baseball?

Michael Lewis’s 2004 book Moneyball documented a revolution in how baseball teams evaluate players.  More than a decade after the book, all Major League teams use statistics like WAR, Fielding Independent Pitching and Range Factor per Game.  Now, Major League Baseball wants fans to get in on the act with Statcast,  Using both radar and special cameras, Statcast gives incredibly detailed information on nearly every movement on the field.


Not pictured: Explanation of how a Major League infielder flubs a cutoff throw

I’ve written extensively on how sports and data combine to make sports themselves more marketable.  So I thought I’d discuss what impact Statcast might have on baseball’s challenged popularity in the US.

In, short, I think that the data won’t hurt, but they might not help.

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