Monday, July 27, 2009
A late dispatch from the Sportsvision SummitPosted by Colin Wyers
CBS News had a reporter team at the Pitch F/X Summit in San Francisco, and here's their report.
It's all stuff from the game afterward, not any of the presentations (the PowerPoint slides of which are available, though).
As a sort of counterpoint, Bruce Bochy mentioned "paralysis by analysis." Where I take issue with that is, we already have analysis. Teams are constantly trying to get the best and most recent look at their opponents - that's why they employ advance scouts, for instance. What this technology allows us to do is to deploy that sort of observational data - because all the F/X systems do is observe and record what actually occurs on the field of play - on a much broader scale. It's difficult for a single human scout to observe the positioning of all seven non-battery fielders, how they move on first contact - as well as track the baserunners, and track what pitch the pitcher is throwing, and track what the batter does with that pitch. But cameras can track all that at once.
Does that eliminate the need for baseball scouts? No! They're the people who best know what that sort of data means, after all. I think the way forward is probably in providing this observational data in a way that scouts can use it, because then the analysis of that data will be coming to people like Bochy in a comfortable way they can trust.
Colin Wyers knows exactly how much of a nerd he is. He is very interested in hearing about any other concerns you may have; you can reach him by e-mail, and he will try his best to respond in a timely fashion. He also blogs at Statistically Speaking.