Coppola: Engineering 202 – Technology Watching the Postseason

This postseason now allows us to watch games with the best teams and players from the 2016 season. The networks broadcasting these games bring in the heavy artillery of extra technology. There are so many more camera angles and analytical descriptions of what we just saw. Amazing technology. We are told after every pitch, what kind of pitch was thrown. Slider, cutter fast ball etc.

The angle of the movement on the ball, it’s exit velocity at it’s release point and speed when it gets to the plate, the spin rotation. Amazing! They show us a box in front of the plate on every pitch. (Wonder if that is a distraction for the batter, catcher and umpire? Just kidding). But wait, is anyone watching the game?

I mean there isn’t enough time to take a breath before we are on to the next pitch or hit that is now being analyzed. Our brains are being pushed to the limit with a cornucopia of useless information. Is the average fan like me getting it?

The last game at Cleveland the broadcasters were talking about the spin rate on a pitcher’s fastball and how it was something like 2235 RPMs which was higher than the average of 2175 RPMs and so that keeps his fastball on average two inches higher in the upper hitting zone. Whereas the less rotation allows gravity to pull it down two inches into a hitters most effective hit zone on high pitches…..He said all of that before the next pitch!

I had to stop crunching on my potato chips so I could focus on all the stuff he was saying!

Again too much information for the average fan. Who are they trying to appeal to? Perhaps the engineering students at MIT? This is stuff used by the Harvard graduate 26 year olds who run the front offices of Major league ball clubs. What’s next? Will we be hearing what the average length of a ballpark hot dog at the concession stand is compared to one the vender hawks in the seats?

Wish I had been more attentive in High School science and math classes because I sometimes have no Idea what the heck they are talking about. I have begun to watch games with no sound. But all is not lost. For as long as a batter can hit a long towering home run or a pitcher can throw a nasty breaking ball for a strike, we will forever have “Our Game”

As R2 D2 once said: PLAY BALL !!!

Editor’s Note: William Coppola just completed his 40th year in the game of baseball. He has been a coach, instructor and last week completed his third season as an associate advanced scout with the Atlanta Braves organization.

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