Coming Soon! More baseball stats!

Screenshot 2014-03-02 13.48.20Major League Baseball Advanced Media announced yesterday that starting in 2015 every major league ballpark will have a system in place to measure placement and speed of all objects on the ballfield. Now, if only they would do something about the lines to buy food. (Kidding. Actually they seem to have.)

It is unclear whether the new system will replace Pitch F/x. It is being tested this year in Minnesota, Milwaukee and at Citi Field in New York.

The story has a video clip showing Jason Heyward making a diving catch on a fly ball into the gap, then on the replay shows how hard and high the batter hit the ball and tracks Heyward has he runs, showing his distance run, speed and acceleration.

The promise of a system like this is that, once aggregated, the data will help us learn all sorts of new things about defensive abilities, defensive strategies, the value of speed and in all likelihood stuff we can’t even imagine now.

Besides it’s relationship to Pitch F/x, which has produced a lot of innovative research because it was available, and Hit and Field F/x, which were not, is the availability of the data to the baseball research community.

No doubt MLBAM will look for the system to pay for itself through team and media licenses, but the widespread distribution of data will help improve the system initially and spur innovative uses after that.

Exciting stuff.


Revolutions Per Minute: A Bowling Story

Mike Salfino is the Wall Street Journal’s extremely sharp sports analyst, with a focus on the numbers side of things. Usually he looks at baseball and football, casting a gimlet eye on weak analysis and demonstrating an enthusiastic love for the metric that reveals hidden value. Not only for fantasy players, but also fans of the game.


He has a story today that brings his usual acuity to a somewhat surprising subject: Bowling.

It seems that a young bowler by the name of Jason Belmonte is turning the world of keglers over and over and over really fast by delivering the bowling ball with forward speed and a ton of spin. Mike explains it all here.

The one question I have. The ball is traveling 20 miles an hour down a lane that is 60 feet long. The travel time is measured in seconds, but the metric is scaled to a minute? It seems to me the number would be more manageable and meaningful if they scaled it to the second.

60 revolutions per second. Sounds good to me.

And here you get what the Wall Street Journal can’t offer: video.

Keeping up with Fangraphs (and Brad Boxberger)

I think Jeff Sullivan adds too much verbal frou frou to his excellent gif depiction of Boxberger’s substantially poor year as a defensive player (Small sample size stipulated, actually exploited.) I think.

But as usual he has an excellent thought and knows how to gif it. fail

I love that I can watch any baseball game I want as long as it doesn’t involve the Yankees or Mets on my computer and Roku box and iPod Touch. I pay MLB $120 to watch on my computer and Roku box, and another $15 to watch on the Touch, but it’s worth it. Really.

Except, like tonight, when I tried to check into the Anaheim-Seattle game in the 9th inning. I’m logged in at MLB (they know my name), and my bills are paid (though I’m not including a copy of my receipt here, but trust me), and when I try to check into the game (which ironically enough is the “free” game of the day) I get this:

What’s the problem? I don’t know. I do know that they know I’m logged in to the site, and I’m logged in from my home network, and I’m trying to watch the game that is the “free” game, and I’m paid up, so I also know they’re just failing totally.

If you’re a fan and you understand the blackout rules and you’re okay with them, this is still a great service. But this bogus verification step makes me mad. I’m the customer. When your verification systems fails, give me the game, and sort our your problems on your own time. (Oh, it’s over now. Too late.)

I’m still mad.

Do you know Bill Veeck?

In this piece at Baseball Prospectus, not written by a BP writer and thus available for all of us, Tim Marchman talks about one of baseball’s greatest, Bill Veeck.

The trigger for Marchman’s highly enjoyable story is a website called, a repository for a Chicago guy’s video archive which includes lots of Veeck’s vlogging efforts back in the 50s. Yes, vlogging.

Lots of baseball history is nostalgia, the tinted memories of a better or less challenging time, but Bill Veeck isn’t a nostalgic figure, he’s an exemplar. A working guy who worked his way into the baseball game and never seemed to forget that the game was meant to be remunerative and meaningful for the players and fun for the fans. Plus, he was vlogging back int he 50s. Amazing!

Thank you, Carter, for the heads up on this one!

First Pitch Arizona 2010

I’m back from the best baseball event of the year. That’s where we watch the coming young ballplayers of the Arizona Fall League, with great weather, lots of friends, and endless talk about baseball (and rock and roll for some reason). This year’s big conversations were about Bryce Harper (he just looks like a ballplayer, but he’s awfully young, too, so we’re going to have to be patient) and Brandon Belt (coming off a breakthrough minor league season, he made great contact when he made contact, but I saw some troubles with the curve) and Michael Taylor (big dude) and Jeremy Jefferies (cracked 100 multiple times on the scoreboard gun, and was scoring higher on those of the scouts).’s Mike SIano was there and made a video, inwhich some of us talk about what the event means to us.

Mad Mel and Denis Leary

The very very fine baseball website,, posted this clip today, honoring Mel Gibson and his most recent utterances. Gibson is sad, but this will make you laugh.

Nando DiFino’s Trade Offer

Nando finds himself with four closers in Tout Wars Mixed, and needs a starter. So what does he do? He makes a video…

“Holding out for a Starter” from Nando on Vimeo.