For those just returning to the real world after some well-deserved weekend warp into an alternate reality, be advised that Andrew Romine was traded off to the Detroit Tigers on Friday, taking all those salad days puns with him. We got back Jose Alvarez in return.
Did you feel it? Does the world feel different to you now? It should. The 2014 MLB Regular Season is now underway. What?? You missed Opening Day??? People, the Dodgers are already 2 games up on the entire NL West. Wake up, already!
Injuries continue to pile up around us here in the AL West. This weekend Jurickson Profar was tossed up on the body cart and is out until at least June.
Joel Sherman went off and polled some of the very people whose careers are actually spent driving the expertise behind building the real teams that really compete at the highest level. You know, where failure means getting fired, as opposed to media types who simply move on to other things and let time bury their failures of their ignorance. Well, when it came to the Best Player in Baseball, the real pros chose Mike Trout.
All of baseball got a glimpse of the LA Angels' sterling player development capabilities over the weekend as newly-minted National Leaguer Mark Trumbo ran what could potentially be considered as a "bad route" to a fly ball. Since nothing else was happening in Official Baseball, the focus on this blunder was pretty intense. Except, of course, that it happened in Australia and nobody was awake to witness it............And that kind of performance might inspire some minor editing in the Defense chapter of the just completed "300-page, 14-section...four-inch, leather-bound" publication of The Angel Way.
Baby steps: MLB celebrates the contributions of Baseball Prospectus (Advanced Stats Central? Gasp!) at a recent charity event.
[3/22/2014 Change of Art Answers: 1-Pants have extra belt loop...2-Label removed from bat...3-Nike Swoosh on batting glove shortened...4-Pinstripe under right armpit now gone...5-Left red pant leg is shorter...6-Halo logo in bottom left corner has been thickened...7-Spikes showing on right shoe...8-Ad text removed from dugout roof at far right.]
This past Thursday, the OC Register Business Section did a feature story concerning the latest developments and future trends in the MLB App for the in-stadium experience. You can check it out here. This article caught my eye for two reasons. First, I am a technologist, having made my career in technology starting back in 1979 in the business voice telephone industry. And I still have a curious, forward-looking technology orientation. I am intrigued by possibilities and I am often creating and contributing my own two cents to the dialog. Second, one particular component of the included graphic touched upon something that I have been known to advocate in these parts. To wit: the ability to electronically upgrade your seat selection on demand. The first time was way back in 2006. I brought it back up again in 2009. And I dove into it hard in 2012 (Wow. Have I really been doing Fridays for that long???)
Now, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that MLB Advanced Media is fastest to the development and testing of this paperless world of enhanced in-game services, just as it would also not surprise me to watch the NBA, then the NFL, then the NHL get there first nation-wide. Culturally, our sport still contains a significant membership loathe to embrace new things. And I cannot figure out how teams will handle the push-back from any large segment which discovers that their inability to embrace the whiz-bang has reduced them to second-class levels of service and opportunity. ("What? I need a 5G PDA and a Twitter account if I want to beat those people to the better seats over there? And what's a bitcoin??")
But let's have some fun. Instead of dwelling on the negative - such as the silly idea that any team will staff concession service sufficient to cover in-seat and on-demand delivery to an entire stadium - let's do some free thinking on the potentials. I'll go first. In addition to my in-stadium seat upgrade ideas...
On Friday I posted a link to the story of MLB hooking up with Match.com for singles dating and baseball. Why not take it further with MLB-Tinder? How about using you insta account and being able to post your own pics to the jumbotron between innings? How about in-game eCoupons that expire 60 minutes after the last out? How about "frequent flyer" points for length of attendance in minutes, plus purchases, that result in freebies and discounts? What about parking upgrades upon arrival, paying via e-swipes at the drive-through booth and opting for a parking upgrade if they are still available? Between innings scavenger hunts for kids? Subscribing to between innings super-short interviews with players or coaches? Advanced metrics access with some cool AI predictor logic for the upcoming pitch/play/at-bat? Or a fan game that queries for crowd-sourced strategic decisions and compares your choices against actual outcomes for points? Interactive maps for finding your way to preferred concessions, with current wait times listed, pre-ordering and pre-paying as you go so that you just have to hit a pickup window ("fast pass" option)? Let's WiFi up the parking lot and create pre-game forums for tailgaters to socialize across the entire campus.
There. That's just off the top of my head. Now I pass the idea cap over to you. Let's hear your ideas!