Summer is here, and baseball season is in full swing. Ah….the melodic sounds of the pipe organ, the succulent aroma of somewhat questionable meat in the hot dogs, the sweet smell of freshly mowed and brightly patterened grass, the sharp crack of the bat, and the soothing feel of the iPod clickwheel! Wait—what was that last one again? It seems that not only has the iPod become a favorite pastime for college students, but is firmly entrenching itself in America's National Pastime as well. According to well-known technology site ESPN, the Colorado Rockies have unwittingly started a new trend, bringing iPod videos into locker rooms and dugouts to study the pitches, swings, and hits of their opponents and improve their game.
"It wasn't like we invented the wheel," said Rockies assistant video coordinator Brian Jones, who came up with the idea after the video iPod was released last November. "We're using Apple's technology as best we can. We figured if you can watch music videos by rock 'n' roll and by country, why can't you watch at-bats by San Francisco and pitches by Jason Schmidt?"
Using video to analyze game play is nothing new to baseball, but where in the past it took miles of videotape and a handy television set, the iPod has put up to five seasons of at-bats into the palm of a player's hand. While it's still too early in the season to crunch the stats and see if the iPod play-by-plays are really working, teams like the Florida Marlins and Seattle Mariners are getting turned onto the idea as well. Others, like New York Mets manager Willie Randolph, have the crazy notion that things like extra batting practice would give better results than extra iPod time.
Either way, it looks like the iPod might be in the game to stay. While the Rockies are requiring the players to buy their own iPods for their—what, video practice?—the team bought several iPods for the general manager and the team scouts. The iPods came in handy for comparing prospective draft picks around the country and managers in the team's farm system have been able to use them to help up-and-coming players hone their skills.
It's probably just a matter of time until the Bill James Video Handbook 2007 comes out on iTunes and all the armchair players get in on the game.