The use of “assistive devices” is nothing new to Major League Baseball. For decades, pitchers have snuck things like sandpaper or razor blades onto the field to alter the way baseballs reacted to different kinds of pitches. Major League officials have cracked down on these shenanigans over the years, and for the most part, they’re a thing of the past. But the drive to cheat the system will never die. And it’s in this spirit that Major League Baseball banned players and coaches from using smartphones in dugouts during games. But smart technology is moving beyond phones and into wearables, creating a new potential for team members to access data that might give them an unfair advantage during games.
This led to a reported questioning of Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost, who’s been wearing an Apple Watch in the dugout during games. MLB officials wanted to make sure Yost wasn’t using the electronic device to somehow gather information on opposing teams during games. But in the end, it was determined that Yost wasn’t actively pairing his Apple Watch with an iPhone, meaning the watch was pretty much just… a watch. Aside from being able to tell time, Yost could also get basic weather information thru the unpaired device. That’s it.
Overall, this incident was really just a friendly reminder to Yost (and all other MLB players and coaches) that they can use wearables like the Apple Watch during games. They just can’t let those devices communicate with the rest of the connected world. Professional baseball sure has come a long way from the spit ball and the corked bat!
Mark Cuban is among many who are bidding to buy the Chicago Cubs. Whether you like this guy or not it would be fantastic for Major League Baseball, not to mention the Cubs. MLB has had all kinds of troubles over the past decade or so from steroids to player strikes to an incompetent commissioner in Bud Selig. While these things have hurt “America’s Pastime”, it is the refusal to do new things & let the status quo go unchecked that bothers me most. Mark Cuban is one of the brightest people on the planet so I’d be more apt to make him commissioner than just an owner of a single team. As owner of the Cubs he could affect change by changing how his team does things so others will follow suit. I think Mark would have better ideas than turning a blind eye to steroid use just to get attendance numbers back up. He might actually institute some new technology and ideas.
The first thing he could do is make baseball players more accessible to fans. Nascar blew up because the average fan could talk to the drivers and team members in the pit area. His personal blog often covers his NBA team so instantly the average fan will get thoughts on their favorite team from the top guy. The next thing he would do would likely get the Cubs on HDNET as well as their local WGN channel. That would expand the viewership which is already huge for the Cubs. Another improvement he could make is push for better technology for the strike zone which is subjective to which human umpire is on the job. Also he could try to improve the game by speeding it up with a pitch clock that keeps the action going instead of wasting time between pitches. No one has time for four hour baseball games anymore. The biggest thing Cuban could do for baseball is just be different than all the ancient owners that are currently there. These guys likely don’t care about high def, the internet, and have never heard of a blog. Even if you disagree with Cuban’s position on online videos and other issues relating to the web, at least he understands what is going on. He is not stuck in the 80’s or 90’s. As an owner he would have a voice in overall baseball policies. When Cuban bought the Dallas Mavericks that team was a joke but he turned them into a perpetual winner with great attendance. Think about what he could do with a team that already has a great fan base.
Likely the powers that be in Major League Baseball won’t allow Cuban to get into their elitist club because they like things the way they are currently. People don’t like change especially when it threatens their powerful positions. It is similar to how old media is holding on for dear life resisting change that is already here. The current leaders in baseball would rather keep things “the way we have always done it” than make a change for the better.