Baseball is not like the other major games played in the United States. It is not exciting like football, where every second a goal could be scored, changing the direction of the game. It is not like basketball, either, where fans watch with held breaths for every shot at the basket.
Baseball is largely a statistics-driven game, where a lot of the enjoyment comes from a deep understanding of context and techniques. It is also an early adopter of technology. The story of the Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane’s use of statistics to change the game has now gone famous. It has opened up a new front of baseball, where a lot of novel technologies could be implemented in the professional level to increase the enjoyment of the game and boost performance. Here, we talk about some technologies used in baseball today:
1. Speed guns
Baseball has been making effective use of speed guns for a long time. These rely on Doppler technology to send a signal toward a moving object. Based on how the signal that is reflected back changes, the speed of the ball can be detected. These speed guns are used to analyze the speed of pitches, and they can help players improve their performance. Handheld and affordable, useful radar guns for baseball have really changed the game. Amateurs and professionals alike can make use of this technology to improve their performance. Data from speed guns can be used in apps to make holistic performance-related decisions.
2. Motion tracking
This has gone mainstream in Major League baseball, and it is spreading to all areas of the game. Systems such as PitchFX make use of motion sensors in the pitch to analyze every detail of how a player performs. These motion sensors track speed, movement, release point, spin, and pitch location. This data is then analyzed and utilized by managers to figure out which players need improvement and on which field. The data is also used to make purchases and teams. A cheaper and more accessible version of this advanced technology is TrackMan, which is limited, but still gives a lot of important data such as spin rate.
3. Virtual reality
Relatively new and not deployed in the field, virtual reality is nevertheless a crucial technology that is used more and more frequently in baseball. Using VR and a software called Project OPS, players can simulate playing on the real field. This is an advanced piece of artificial intelligence. Players can improve their performance by playing as many times as they want, at any time they want, and against any opponent they choose. They can practice with a range of different types of balls and practice their batting in the virtual stadium. This helps them prepare and target weaknesses in their opponents.
Baseball has always been quick to adopt technological advancements. Whereas it took football all these years to implement video-assisted refereeing, baseball has been ahead in almost every technical way. It is an ever-changing game, and it is exciting to imagine how it might continue to evolve in the future.