Archive for Technology Thing

Running the Databases: An Intelligence Exercise

So, word out of baseball land is that the Astros, like the Indians, Red Sox and Cardinals, have created a private online database that allows members of the baseball operations department to view player videos, prepare scouting reports, look up player histories and learn what really happened to Jimmy Hoffa.

Spoiler Alert: He couldn’t hit the curve.

But while the Indians, with DiamondView, have coined a database name that celebrates the generic, the Red Sox (with Carmine, named for the red in their uniforms), the Cardinals (with Red Bird Dog, named, I guess, for the color of their bird dog) and the Astros (with Ground Control, named for the black-ops government agents who play stickball with the aliens at Area 51) have all created database names that reflect the singular character of the team or its moniker.

Certain to follow, then, are these database names. Am I correct?

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Postseason TV: What an International Viewer Sees

The United States is inarguably a better country from which to follow major-league baseball than France. “For a lot of reasons,” is the answer. “Why, precisely?” is the question.

That said, it would appear as though, so far as consuming postseason baseball is concerned, there’s actually some advantage to living abroad. The reader perhaps already has some notion of why — namely because, while MLB.TV viewers in US and Canada are relegated merely to “companion coverage” of the divisional series and NLCS, international users have unfettered access to the live television feed for every game. The logic of this arrangement is not immediately obvious to the author, although one guesses “cash money” has something to do with it.

Below are five representative screenshots from an international viewer’s experience of MLB.TV’s postseason coverage. (Click any image to embiggen.)

1. Here’s the Media Center page, with notes (circled in red) regarding the options for US/Canada users versus international ones:


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All of Spring Training’s Center-Field Camera Shots Thus Far

Because he uses his time wisely and has all of his priorities entirely straight, the author has dedicated a not insubstantial portion of his life to acquainting himself (and the expensively educated NotGraphs readership) with the center-field camera shots of all 30 major-league teams.

Because he continues to use his time wisely, the author has dedicated a less substantial — but not inconsequential — portion of this very afternoon to acquainting himself (and now the expensively educated NotGraphs readership) with the camera angles currently being employed during spring-training broadcasts on MLB.TV.

The reader will note that there are only 10 images below. In fact, this appears to represent nearly all of the parks that will be broadcasting games for the moment. Other clubs scheduled to debut broadcasts in the near future are as follows: the Toronto Blue Jays (March 2nd), the Atlanta Braves (March 3rd), and the San Diego Padres (March 3rd).

As one might expect, the spring camera shots are less excellent than those utilized at the major-league level — with literally none of them employing the straight-on center-field angle that has become more popular at the game’s highest level, and allows spectators the best possible views of pitch movement. This isn’t a complaint, but rather an observation.

Among the best below are the Phillies’ center-field angle and — for the tightness of the shot, if not the angle itself — the Nationals’ camera.

Baltimore Orioles

Spring Orioles

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Five Notes on MiLB.TV, Which the Author Has Just Purchased

1. The author purchased this weekend MiLB.TV as part of his 2013 subscription to MLB.TV. The service, which costs ca. $40 by itself, costs half that (ca. $20) when bundled with an MLB.TV subscription.

2. Here is a graphic — clickable for purposes of embiggening — of all the clubs whose home games are made available with MiLB.TV.

MILB TV Cropped 2

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A Free Thing That’s Like RedZone, But for Baseball

Sometimes readers will ask me — on the present site, on Twitter, on the lawless streets of America — they’ll ask me, “Hey Carson, will you keep me abreast of products that might be of some use to me, as a consumer of base-and-ball?”

To which query I’ll respond: “You want me to keep you a breast of products like that?”

To which they’re like: “Yeah, abreast.”

At which point, I’m like: “A breast?”

And then they’re like: “Yes. Abreast. It’s a real English word, and has nothing to do with the female anatomy, like you’re clearly pretending it does.”

In any case, my answer to the original question is: “Yes, but probably only, like, a month after such a product has been released, because what am I, a machine?”

A thing that fits all of the above criteria was brought to the author’s attention over the weekend in the form of this tweet:

In fact, some cursory research reveals that the operator of the MLB Twitter account is not lying. MLB Full Count (link) is a video service (in collaboration, it seems, with Yahoo) that provides “look-ins” to games in progress — and, it would also seem, highlights of completed games. Also, it’s free.

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Spotted: MLB.TV on My PlayStation 3

The grainy image embedded here (the sort of image that one could, if one were so inclined, embiggen merely by clicking) is intended to indicate not only that (a) the author is a lifelong subscriber to The Good Life, but also that (b) MLB.TV now appears to be live on PlayStation 3 — which, by the Transitive Property of Home Electronics, suggests that it’s now available on other connected devices (Apple TV, Roku, Xbox 360), as well.

The audio options appear to be functional, too: I listened to part of Tuesday’s Red Sox game with the audio feed from Red Sox Television, and then switched over later to Red Sox Radio.

The Gibson Homer, as Told by Electric Game

Once upon I time, in these very pages, I posted an RBI Baseball recreation of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. This would be a very Internetty occasion to link back to that post, but I don’t feel like searching for it. Apropos of this, this way comes an electric rendering of the famous home run by Kirk Gibson, one of our most hilarious MVPs, in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

What follows is a thing that delights. What follows is a Thing That Contains Multitudes:

The highlight, you may have noticed, is not the home run itself, but rather what occurs at 8:16, when Gibson, in the words of Vin Scully, makes his leg “quiver like a horse trying to get rid of a troublesome fly.”

The simile, it inspires …

Air Conditioning Saves the World

Ancient papyrus texts and the earliest cave etchings make unmistakable references to HVAC systems and their power to save humanity. As we learned in succeeding years, the world was at once saved, propelled forward and curated by dutiful monks in their scriptoria and the wholesome, restorative power of air conditioning, which was invented by Patrick Henry, Jaco Pastorius and Nipsey Russell in 850 B.C. Shortly thereafter, the same trio invented baseball and then combined the two on the streets of Houston, Texas, U.S.A., Earth:

There are many reasons we can’t have nice things, but only one reason we can. That reason is air conditioning and its sexy possibilities.

(Freon kiss: Reddit)

Depressing Holiday Thought

I don’t mean to depress you.  I don’t want to bring you down.  I don’t want to ruin your holiday season.

But no matter what you do…  No matter what happens to you…  No matter what you receive under the tree or in your stocking…

You will never be as happy as Carson Cistulli was in 1989 to receive VCR Baseball.

This is not a failing on your part. It’s simply a fact. No one has ever been this truly, perfectly, unadulteratedly happy before. Read the rest of this entry »

A Gentleman’s Anguish: Bases Loaded 3

“This was a childhood favorite of mine. Now it just really fu*king pisses me off.

If you enjoy hopelessly outdated video simulations, liberal and spirited use of the F word, pretend baseball, and a gamer’s discontent, then the following is for you:

This was once a good thing, but it is now a bad thing. Every day is better than the next.