I own an iPad, and it’s certainly affected my life. But I’m not that interesting. What is interesting is how the iPad is changing the way teams study, train and practice. A few days ago, all 90 Tampa Bay Buccaneers were given iPads, and are using them to watch film, see highlights, study teams, and maybe even play some Madden:
“It’s crazy how much technology has changed the game,” second-year safety Cody Grimm said. “Back in the day, I think probably the whole team had to sit down with a projector and a reel, and watch the film together. They’d have the whole offense in the same meeting room. Now we all have our own iPad. Stuff that we used to come in here to see, we can sit on our couch at home and have access to it 24-7. It’s awesome.
“It’s convenient. It’s fast. I was snacking out on the couch and watching some film, and realized I was, like, two quarters through (a) game already.”
Today, the inimitable Jayson Stark went long on ESPN.com about how the iPad is changing the face of baseball. Here’s the planet we live on now, says Stark:
It’s a planet in which Rays manager Joe Maddon flips open his iPad in a Starbucks, sips his morning cup of tea and pores over the spray charts that dictate the funky shifts his team is about to unleash on David Ortiz that night.
It’s a planet in which it’s now easier to find a video of every changeup Ricky Romero has ever thrown with two strikes and a runner on first than it is to find a light bulb at Home Depot.
Of course, what really matters here isn’t the iPad, or any particular device. What matters is that we’ve now got immediate, portable access to a staggering amount of information. Troy Tulowitzki can literally watch every pitch Tim Hudson has ever thrown to him, or any other player in Major League Baseball. He can see trends, spot tells, and figure out how to beat Hudson. Of course, Hudson can do the same, and see what Tulowitzki likes to hit, how he handles a fastball-fastball-slider combination, and anything else he can think of.
Information is now easily accessible, easily sortable and searchable, and easier than ever to put together to draw important conclusions. Knowledge is power, as much in sports as anywhere, and it’s completely changing baseball.
Stark’s article is long, and deep, but an absolute must-read.