MondoLinks: Weekend Recap

Yes this is a picture of Joe Blanton standing in a shower. - Jamie Squire

MondoLinks: A recap of baseball happenings over this past weekend...and...this week's One Big Idea:

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[3/8/2014 Change of Art Answers: 1-Cap logo missing halo...2-Ears lowered...3-Right pant leg lengthened...4-Jersey collar has three rings...5-Missing twin in straw hat in upper right corner in bleachers...6-First name misspelled...7-Wrist band on left arm...8-Old man in bleachers in lower left now has a cap...9-Topps logo now says "Meritage"...10-Pant stripe on lower left leg removed...11-Changed head on fan in bleachers, just to the right of "ANGELS"]

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If you have been following my series on Great Moments In the History of Baseball Statistics, you will know that I have written over and over again on the notion that it was the numbers of baseball, information, that drove the popularity of the sport. Information has always had value, and Major League Baseball continues to look for ways to monopolize that information and maximize the value to be derived therein. Originally, MLB fought hard against the likes of Elias, et al, to even have access to things like box score information. Even more recently, in 2006, MLB wanted to fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to lock up baseball statistics.

You all know how cool it is to witness PITCHF/x, and most of you know to go to BrooksBaseball.net to get the nearly immediate dope on pitching results for completed games. And many of you are aware that the same technology is being rolled out for defense, FIELDF/x, which should finally result in the ability to get good advanced defensive metrics.

But here is what you need to know: we, the public, might not ever see the information to be gleaned out of FIELDF/x. The only benefit being identified by those who are vested in the creation of the data, for giving it out to the public, is that there exists throughout the Internet "free labor" sources that compile interesting tidbits from such information and yield new insights. In other words, giving information to us fans is only worth it if teams get some explicit return. There is zero dialog that includes a recognition and respect for the legacy that public information has played in the foundation of public support in the first place.

Much of this is not fresh news. But the reason I bring this up now is because of a new development announced by MLB itself. Major League Baseball Advanced Media announced at the most recent MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference that they are rolling out their own competing technology versus FIELDF/x. This means the MLBAM will be the owner of their own data, and able to push out Brooks altogether, essentially privatizing, and monopolizing, defensive data. All we, the fans, might get are the pretty cartoons. Squirrel! And, hold on to your butts, but even the current PITCHF/x data is only certain for this (2014) season. Starting in 2015 even that might be the exclusive property of MLBAM.

Which brings us to this: how could we fans possibly impress the executives of professional baseball that their institution has thrived, does thrive, and will only continue to thrive if the information generated from the events on the field are allowed to freely flow to the laptops and spreadsheets of fanatics young and old, everywhere, year round?

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