buy celebrex buy celexa buy cipro buy claritin buy cozaar buy famvir buy haldol buy lasix buy motrin buy nexium buy paxil buy levitra buy premarin buy purim buy singulair buy starlix buy toradol buy valtrex buy xeloda buy zyban zithromax 1 dollar 64 cents

Technology and Baseball

Posted on May 18, 2006

I saw an article a couple weeks back that really made me happy. It turns out that my beloved Boston Red Sox are the techiest (is that even a word) baseball team in all of Major League Baseball. Turns out the Red Sox rely on two servers, one that is mobile for road trips and one that stays in the office. The road server holds digital video of every at bat for 2005 and select at bats from 1999 - 2004. Since teams aren’t allowed to bring technology into the dugout, the players just head into the clubhouse to view the video when they need to.

The Red Sox even credited their road server with some of the 2004 playoff success saying it was a crucial tool that brought about the greatest comeback in sports history and the eventual 2004 World Series title. This is what Red Sox IT Director Steve Conley had to say about it:

“In the sixth inning of that game, Dave Roberts pulled up every at-bat he could find of [Yankees reliever] Mariano Rivera pitching with a runner on first base,” Conley says. “He played that on a loop. He was trying to gain an edge. Then he went in as a pinch runner in the ninth inning, stole second base and scored, and we turned things around. Having that video was another tool in the shed.”

The Red Sox have an IT budget of around $1.5mm which is about the cost of an average utility infielder. While it is hard to determine the ROI on their technology spending since it does not have any direct financial implications, the ownership and players really believe that it works. I have to say I agree with them.

Baseball is a very unique sport. Statistics can be used very effectively (see Moneyball and Bill James) to gain an edge and there is time to review prior at bats in the club house and study the other team via (digital) video. This is true because there are so many measureable/recordable instances that happen in a game. Teams (and players) that are embracing and studying this special aspect of the game are doing incrementally better than they would just by spending the money they have. In essence, they are creating higher alpha through technology and mathematics. It’s a beautiful thing!

Disclaimer: I am a huge baseball nut and a proud member of Red Sox Nation so this article is admittedly a bit biased. Go Sox!

Subscribe


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Search this Site

Lijit Search


Leave a Comment

If you would like to make a comment, please fill out the form below.

Name (required)

Email (required)

Website

Comments

4 Comments so far
  1. Ted May 22, 2006 12:11 am

    Cool article. Shows what the Henry team and their philosophy can bring to the table. Fitting for a quant hedge-fund guy though, right?

    Now, anything in all that hardware & software that can find them a decent fifth starter? Or better middle relievers? Or, as bostondirtdogs.com called them: “The Z Team” (Alvarez, Tavarez, Seanez, Gets an F)

    Like the blog, by the way!

  2. eric May 23, 2006 12:53 pm

    Very fitting from a former hedge fund man for sure.

    I’m afraid the tech can’t help with a 5th starter or with our middle relief. If Foulke would get back to form we could move Papelbon into the starting roatation but after last night I am fairly certain Foulke is done (I was at Fenway and it was even messier in person).

    I think the Sox will let Foulke go at the end of the season since his contract is up. Someone will probably pay him a couple million for a couple years of mediocre performance though. You can’t dislike the guy though. He was a big part of the curse beaking team and will forever be immortalized in Sox history! :-)

    I am very interested to see how we play against the White Sox coming up. They are playing incredibly well. I couldn’t believe the squeeze play they pulled off to win their game last night (was listening on XM on the way home from Fenway). They are going to be tough to beat again.

  3. baseball February 27, 2008 11:56 pm

    It is nice to know that even one of the oldest sport in the nation is using the latest technology of today in further improving their performance. Way to go Red Sox!!!

    – stephen

  4. Stop Grinding Teeth April 10, 2008 12:09 pm

    Red Sox? Never heard of them :)