Friday, March 28, 2014

New scouting app on Yankee player ipads-NY Times

3/27/14, "Yankees Create App for Scouting Reports," NY Times, David Waldstein

"A quick survey of the most popular applications that Yankees players have on their tablets might reveal several versions of Angry Birds and perhaps a stock market tracker. But the one app they will all be expected to have this year cannot be bought on iTunes.

It is a new internal app that will make all the club’s scouting material, including videos and written reports, readily available through the players’ iPads. 

Manager Joe Girardi said the app was developed by Brett Weber, the baseball operations coaching assistant for the Yankees. 

“It’s a better way to communicate important information with the players,” Girardi said. “And it can be tailored to what each guy wants.”

It also enables players to access the information wherever they are. If they want to see what a left-handed reliever throws, or check the video on a right-handed slugger, they can watch at home, at their locker, on a plane or in their hotel rooms, without having to get any special equipment. 

“It’s a good idea,” said Derek Jeter, the team captain. “I don’t know if I’ll be looking at it in my hotel room, but it does mean you can look stuff up whenever you want and you don’t necessarily have to wait for a video screen to be free in the clubhouse.”

Jeter is not one to dwell on complicated scouting reports. He likes to know what the pitchers throw, and how hard they throw it, and the rest is up to him. 

But the new app could prove more useful to others.

Weber and the Yankees started developing the system last year, and a few players, like Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira, received an advance version. Weber then spent time over the winter and this spring training refining it and preparing it for teamwide distribution.

During the season, he and other members of the Yankees’ technical staff will gather and update information daily, and it will then be pushed to the players’ tablets. Players can also get individualized information on their past performances against specific opponents. 

“It’s just like an app,” Gardner said. “I used it last year, and whatever I asked for, it would just appear.” If a player loses his tablet, the Yankees can just wipe away the information. At the very least, the new app could change the way players prepare for games. 

Over the past 15 years, the visiting clubhouse included a table where players sat and watched scouting videos. If all the computers were taken by teammates, they might have to wait their turn.

Many teams, including the Yankees, also handed out scouting reports on paper. 

Girardi noted that N.F.L. teams now use tablets instead of playbooks, and he said the Yankees always try to be in the vanguard of technology.

“The next thing you know, they will just implant chips in their heads,” he said with a smile.

The Yankees are not the only baseball team that uses computers and iPads for scouting. 

Alfonso Soriano said that he had been using his computer and tablet for the past five or six years, primarily for video, going back to his days with the Texas Rangers and the Chicago Cubs. He would have the scouting videos of pitchers downloaded on his device and would watch it at home. He said most of the hitters on the Cubs did the same thing.

“Then you don’t have to go to the video room,” he said. “If I’m home and I don’t have anything to do, maybe I’ll watch before I go to bed and then I’ll have an idea for the next day.”

One more benefit of the new system: The Yankees hope they will no longer have to print out daily scouting reports.

“We’re going to save paper,” Girardi said. “We’re going green.”"


Comment: Mr. Girardi may be unaware that ipads and other computer devices used instead of paper aren't making the environment "greener" at all. Highly polluting rare earths minerals mined in China are required for the manufacture of many electronic devices. The US stopped mining rare earths because they said it was too polluting. The planet is still getting polluted every time an American buys an ipad:

1/10/10, "Explosives tear down yet more rock in the vast Baiyun Obo mine." UK Daily Mail. Highly polluting rare earths minerals needed to make laptop computers, wind turbines, electric car batteries, green light bulbs, and other 'green' items. China makes the case that the US and others unwilling to pollute their own air should pay more for China rare earth exports:

10/24/13, "China Tries to Clean Up Toxic Legacy of Its Rare Earth Riches," NY Times, Keith Bradsher

"China has made ample supplies [of rare earths minerals] available to manufacturers within China that produce crucial components for a host of products like laptop computers, compact fluorescent bulbs, wind turbines and electric cars. Some Western and Japanese companies have moved factories to China to make sure that they have access to rare earths. ...

In Guangdong province in southeastern China, regulators are struggling to repair rice fields and streams destroyed by powerful acids and other runoff from open-pit rare earth mines that are often run by violent organized crime syndicates....

In a white paper issued in June last year, China’s cabinet described at length the environmental harm caused by the rare earth industry, an admission that although embarrassing for Beijing may have buttressed its case at the W.T.O. that the rare earth industry is a dirty business for which export restrictions are justified. “Excessive rare earth mining has resulted in landslides, clogged rivers, environmental pollution emergencies and even major accidents and disasters, causing great damage to people’s safety and health and the ecological environment,” the white paper said.

Chinese officials have repeatedly denied that their newfound concerns for the environmental consequences of rare earth mining and refining are driven by a desire to help avoid defeat at the W.T.O., although the cleanup could help on that. 
Whole villages between the city of Baotou and the Yellow River in Inner Mongolia have been evacuated and resettled to apartment towers elsewhere after reports of high cancer rates and other health problems associated with the numerous rare earth refineries there. 

The most hazardous refineries are those that crack the tight chemical bonds that tie rare earths found in mineral ores to a variety of hazardous materials, notably radioactive thorium....A hazardous stew of toxic chemicals and low-level radioactive waste is left behind....

On orders from Beijing, state-controlled enterprises have dismantled Baotou refineries and rebuilt them at an enormous mining complex at Bayan Obo in the Gobi Desert, which mines about half the world’s rare earths. Chinese state-controlled media have reported that tens of thousands of goats and other livestock there have died and many baby goats have been born severely deformed, possibly because of radioactive contamination from the rare earth industry....


In 2012 Obama said China should give the US a better deal on rare earths minerals so Americans could have "a fair shot in the global economy" which shocked China since Obama portrays himself as pro-environment:

3/15/12, "Rare earth case reveals US hypocrisy," Peoples Daily Online, by Chen Weihua (China Daily)

"US President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday that the United States, joined by Japan and the European Union, has filed complaints with the World Trade Organization over China's rare earth export quotas.

He said this as an effort to give "American workers and American businesses a fair shot in the global economy".

His words, however, imply that he does not really care about the environmental degradation caused by China's disorderly and excessive mining of rare earth materials, as long as US workers and businesses can profit from China's cheap supply.

Countries such as the US, Canada and Australia, which used to produce rare earth minerals, stopped such manufacturing a decade ago due to the environmental concerns and the higher cost compared with Chinese exports.... 
According to the US Geological Survey, there are about 13 million metric tons of rare earth deposits in the US. Instead of buying from China, Obama should propose tapping the US' own deposits. Such a move would not only enable the US to share the responsibility for the supply of rare earth materials, it would also create jobs for Americans."...

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