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View Full Version : Why no laptops in the dugout?



D-Man
10-05-2006, 10:17 PM
This is the question I was thinking last night when Willie Randolph chose to keep Guillermo Mota in to hit with the bases loaded and two outs in the 6th. The run expectancy for that situation must be more than a run (1.54 runs for a single, 2-3 runs for an XB hit).

http://www.tangotiger.net/lwtsrobo.html

A laptop would have provided a quick sanity check--i.e., is this a wise decision? The data shows that this is not a good move. Essentially Randolph was giving away an offensive run in a relatively late and close situation, hoping to save a run by allowing his preferred bullpen arm to pitch the next inning. (Ironically, Mota fell apart in the next inning.)

Why is it that every other profession in America puts laptops or computers in the hands of managers/decision-makers? Even pro football coordinators have laptops in the booth. I'm trying to avoid the simple, cynical answer (e.g., baseball coaches are backwards, etc.).

Is it a social thing--no coach wants to be the first one to show up with a laptop in the dugout?

Or are laptops actually there, and bench coaches keep them out of sight in the dugout or clubhouse?

Is it that the bench coach and manager have sufficient data in their hands via other means (e.g., computer printouts)?

Is it a cultural thing--baseball managers are expected to make decisions based on gut feelings?

George Foster
10-05-2006, 10:20 PM
With all the new technology I'd day they are not allowed. You could have a web camera on the other dugout, you could have instant messages from the club house attendants that work for your team etc. Just a guess.

vaticanplum
10-05-2006, 10:22 PM
Laptops are not very scrappy.

Matt700wlw
10-05-2006, 10:26 PM
Players would be on Redszone too much...

westofyou
10-05-2006, 10:35 PM
From a Thomas Boswell piece


“We were known early for being computerized,” said Alderson, “but we dumped it a tactical [dugout] level while keeping it at the strategic [front office] level.”

“We found that [statistical] stuff began to override all the other material tools-intuition, human relationships, recent trends, and hot streaks. We began to have doubts about the computer in a foxhole setting. I was a Marine lieutenant in Vietnam and there is a heat-of-the battle mentality, you don’t want the players thinking that the manager has more faith in a machine then in them.”

Sandy Alderson 1988



Is it that the bench coach and manager have sufficient data in their hands via other means (e.g., computer printouts)?



“Weaver isolated all the important stats 15 years ago.”

Frank Cashen 1986

KronoRed
10-05-2006, 10:37 PM
Laptops are not very scrappy.

They hustle and play the game the right way.

As for spying going on, not having laptops wouldn't stop that..a phone call could do the exact same, a txt msg on a concealed cell phone would be even better.

BCubb2003
10-05-2006, 11:29 PM
Because they're an excellent shape and weight for throwing at the umpire's head.

Yachtzee
10-06-2006, 12:19 AM
Not to be crude, but we all know that if baseball players had webcams and laptops in the dugout, they'd use it for "beaver hunting" and surfing for porn. Just go back and read "Ball Four" and imagine what guys like Mickey Mantle could do with today's technology.

TOBTTReds
10-06-2006, 12:48 AM
No offense to any players here, but have you ever seen baseball players or coaches try to use a computer. Half of them hardly know how to work an email account.

Any player over the age of 25, let alone coaches that are 40+, hardly ever used computers. When you dedicate your life to being on the field, this scrappy piece of plastic with the alphabet on it can be an intimidating device.

I've used a lot of my computer for scouting and projects with a college team I worked for this summer, and every time I did something, all the players and coaches especially, were shocked with what I could do with a computer. My response: "it's only Microsoft Word."

That's just my experience. Too confusing for them and it would take too long to make decisions.

redsrule2500
10-06-2006, 03:19 AM
If you think about it, computers could be the ultimate strategy tool. What to do in any situation, and webcam record signs ....etc.

Amazing.

cincinnati chili
10-06-2006, 05:29 AM
Is it a social thing--no coach wants to be the first one to show up with a laptop in the dugout?

Or are laptops actually there, and bench coaches keep them out of sight in the dugout or clubhouse?


As of 2002, when I interned for an MLB organization, "electronic equipment" was forbidden in the dugout, by major league rule.

I imagine that hasn't changed, or we'd have heard about it.

Personally, I think the game would be better if it were allowed. But I also favor the automation of ball/strike calls, and a lot of other uses of technology.

Kc61
10-06-2006, 06:17 AM
Interesting issue.

I'm not sure the laptop would have made a difference to Randolph. He had already used two relievers, still had three innings to go, and probably wanted to get two relief innings from Mota to preserve his bullpen. He may well have taken the risk under those circumstances.

But I think the use of computers by coaches during the game will become an issue in sports, particularly in baseball where the pace of the game allows time to actually make use of that tool.

MrCinatit
10-06-2006, 07:03 AM
Wouldn't this be sort of like the coach's box in the NFL? Forgive my ignorance, but I honestly don't know the answer to that - doesn't the NFL coach's box have computers, televisions and the such?
If they can do it in football, why not in baseball. After all, we are in the 21st century - why not update the game?

Roy Tucker
10-06-2006, 07:15 AM
I'll volunteer to be the Reds' IT coach.

Perhaps they could instant poll RZ as to what to do at strategic times. Have an open IM session with Jerry Narron?

Just hope you don't core dump or blue screen at inopportune times.

RFS62
10-06-2006, 07:19 AM
They already have tons of data in the dugout, it's just not in a computer form.

Ever see LaRussa and Duncan with all their three ring binders of scouting and statistical material they have in the dugout?

Raw data, advance scouting reports, statistical analysis..... it's all right there at their fingertips the old fashioned way, on paper.

I have a lot of doubts that they'll ever be able to do "what if" analysis or calculate the odds of a particular move in real time on the field. They still have to do their own interpretation of the data they have and use it accordingly.

One of the catch phrases of the Earl Weaver dugout was "book him". It referred to using splits or stats to make decisions, and the Earl was one of the first to heavily rely on splits and matchups.

RedFanAlways1966
10-06-2006, 08:00 AM
If you think about it, computers could be the ultimate strategy tool. What to do in any situation, and webcam record signs ....etc.

I need the history buffs on this one (tried Googling but to no avail)... wasn't there an issue with walkie talkies being used in the 1975 or 1976 World Series? Depending on the year either the Red Sox or Yanks had someone out in CF by the scoreboard. TV cameras caught this person using a walkie talkie and I think the other walkie talkie was in their dugout. MLB got involved and banned their usage. It caused a pretty big stink at the time IIRC.

:confused:

GAC
10-06-2006, 08:02 AM
Players would be on Redszone too much...

No.... people from the gamethread would be emailing the heck out of them over the lineups and batting order! :lol:

919191
10-06-2006, 08:08 AM
I wonder if Dunn would email Marty during home games....

Blimpie
10-06-2006, 08:11 AM
Laptops in the dugout? What's next--machines that can determine actual balls and stri...oops. Never mind.

redsmetz
10-06-2006, 08:25 AM
intuition, human relationships, recent trends, and hot streaks

That darn Sandy Alderson, reminding us that it's human beings playing the game. Living, breathing ones at that. Hunches or educated decisions, it's ultimately human beings who make the decisions. Computers are great tools, but they're that alone. Like my concern about the vanishing strike zone (or the ever expanding strike zone), I think we don't want to lose the touch, the instinct - knowing those intangibles mentioned by Alderson above.

Strikes Out Looking
10-06-2006, 08:28 AM
Computers in the dugout wouldn't help the Reds any. A computer wouldn't be able to stop them from swinging at the first pitch after the opposing pitcher walked the two batters in front of them on 8 pitches. A computer wouldn't give them the ability to hit a pitcher throwing slop and making his first appearance against them. A computer wouldn't allow the Reds pitcher to not throw the ball down the middle of the plate with the game on the line.

A taser gun, however, may work!

RFS62
10-06-2006, 08:41 AM
Have an open IM session with Jerry Narron?




Narron: Hey, what’s that there light thingy blinkin’ down on the bottom of the screen?

Dent: That’s the direct AOL line to RedsZone, skipper.

Narron: Oh great. Tell that Edskin feller that I KNOW this game is important.

Dent: Roger that, sir.

Dent: Hey, it’s not Edskin. It’s somebody called the “gang of 10”.

Narron: Geesh, here we go again. What now, more of that fancy cipherin’ they do over there?

Dent: Looks like it, sir. Apparently they didn’t like the odds of hitting Castro for Dunn last inning.

Narron: Sweet sassy molassy, man!!! You gotta’ go with your gut in situations like this. Juan was due!!!!!

Dent: No argument here, skip. That move was money. How could you have known he’d ground into a triple play?

Narron: Exactly!!! I mean, you talk about odds, what are the odds of that? He’s been workin’ on sac flys all week in practice.

Dent: Oh, hell. Now it’s that dude Raisor. I hate it when his wife lets him on the computer. Here we go again…. A double is better than a single, a triple is better than a double…. Yadda yadda….. Man, he can go on and on …..

Narron: Yep, he’s a regular Energizer Bunny. Hey, ask him if he knows how to get the powerball results on this danged machine.

Dent: Too late, he signed off. Something about watching the Gilmore Girls and having to polish his wives toenails.

Narron: He’s a good little feller. Say, can you get Papa John’s on that contraption? I’m workin’ up a powerful big appetite with all this techno-ology.

Dent: Done deal, skip.

paintmered
10-06-2006, 08:46 AM
Simple:

Foul balls > laptops.

GAC
10-06-2006, 08:55 AM
Narron: Hey, what’s that there light thingy blinkin’ down on the bottom of the screen?

Dent: That’s the direct AOL line to RedsZone, skipper.

Narron: Oh great. Tell that Edskin feller that I KNOW this game is important.

Dent: Roger that, sir.

Dent: Hey, it’s not Edskin. It’s somebody called the “gang of 10”.

Narron: Geesh, here we go again. What now, more of that fancy cipherin’ they do over there?

Dent: Looks like it, sir. Apparently they didn’t like the odds of hitting Castro for Dunn last inning.

Narron: Sweet sassy molassy, man!!! You gotta’ go with your gut in situations like this. Juan was due!!!!!

Dent: No argument here, skip. That move was money. How could you have known he’d ground into a triple play?

Narron: Exactly!!! I mean, you talk about odds, what are the odds of that? He’s been workin’ on sac flys all week in practice.

Dent: Oh, hell. Now it’s that dude Raisor. I hate it when his wife lets him on the computer. Here we go again…. A double is better than a single, a triple is better than a double…. Yadda yadda….. Man, he can go on and on …..

Narron: Yep, he’s a regular Energizer Bunny. Hey, ask him if he knows how to get the powerball results on this danged machine.

Dent: Too late, he signed off. Something about watching the Gilmore Girls and having to polish his wives toenails.

Narron: He’s a good little feller. Say, can you get Papa John’s on that contraption? I’m workin’ up a powerful big appetite with all this techno-ology.

Dent: Done deal, skip.

That is classic! Who wrote it for you? ;)

And I'd like to add....

Dent: It's this Adam from Milwaukee guy again skip.

Narron: Gawd!

Dent: I can't make it all out, but in between the incoherent mumblings about Marty he's saying Dunn can't play 1B because it's too far to walk.

Narron: Run the Spyware

REDREAD
10-06-2006, 09:15 AM
I think it would also detract a bit from the game for the casual fan if we saw a manager furiously typing away at his laptop to make his decisions. It looks much better to see the manager worried in the dugout with a thoughtful look on his face.

Not only that, but I'm sure the current ML manager do not want to give their bosses the impression that their jobs could be automated and that anyone could walk into the dugout with the right software and do their job.

BCubb2003
10-06-2006, 09:43 AM
"Get Coffey in here. He's got a brother who knows about these things..."

GAC
10-06-2006, 09:53 AM
I think it would also detract a bit from the game for the casual fan if we saw a manager furiously typing away at his laptop to make his decisions. It looks much better to see the manager worried in the dugout with a thoughtful look on his face.

Especially when he has to keep taking it away from Dunn and Jr who are downloading video games!

But I don't think it would be the manager per say working the laptop, but another coach or aide feeding him the info.

But it could also get kind of expensive seeing a laptop come flying out of the dugout evey time the datas proven wrong in a gametime situation. Unless they get the Dell extended warranty. :lol:

And could you fire/hold a manger responsible when a majority of his GT situations/decisions are being determined by a computer?

"Hey! I was just going on what the computer odds were telling. Blame Baseball Prospectus!" ;)

BuckeyeRedleg
10-06-2006, 09:56 AM
I think they would be very useful and their time will come, however, I wonder if it could lead to problems down the road.

What's to stop someone sitting in CF with binoculars from IM'ing the catcher's signs to the staff.

What if in the future, ear-pieces are planted in players, so that the manager can talk to them during an at bat and also tell them what pitch is coming?

Dangerous road we could be possibly going down.

Coffeybro
10-06-2006, 10:04 AM
"Get Coffey in here. He's got a brother who knows about these things..."

:laugh: Todd only calls me about computer stuff when he can't handle it himself. He's decent with the computer as it is (example: can reformat and install OS's himself). From what I've seen the player's level of computer knowledge is the same as the general public. There are some that understand them, some that can do the basics, and some that don't have a clue.

Yachtzee
10-06-2006, 10:16 AM
I'll volunteer to be the Reds' IT coach.

Perhaps they could instant poll RZ as to what to do at strategic times. Have an open IM session with Jerry Narron?


Bill Veeck would be all over that. He'd probably put the chat transcript up on the scoreboard between innings, too.

Jr's Boy
10-06-2006, 11:43 AM
They just need to have a chart of every hitter and pitcher of a team they face.The great Earl weaver was one of the first to do this,he knew everything about the opponent,there idiosyncracies etc.I don't think alot of managers take the time to analyze the opposition.I'm sure Narron could use alot more info do to some of the crazy moves he made this year.

GAC
10-06-2006, 12:14 PM
:laugh: Todd only calls me about computer stuff when he can't handle it himself. He's decent with the computer as it is (example: can reformat and install OS's himself). From what I've seen the player's level of computer knowledge is the same as the general public. There are some that understand them, some that can do the basics, and some that don't have a clue.

if you asked Dunn what OPS is he'd probably tell you it's what women go through once a month. :lol:

Chip R
10-06-2006, 12:16 PM
Laptops are not very scrappy.

Desktops are much more scrappier.

RBA
10-06-2006, 12:27 PM
I would go with a PDA. John Allen may only authorize TRS80 with a 300 baud internal modem connected to Compuserve for budget reasons.

Unassisted
10-06-2006, 01:24 PM
I can imagine how that ban on electronic devices in the dugout would be abused if it was dropped. Picture players on their wireless phones or playing the latest handheld games while sitting on the bench.

I think it would be kind of cool to see the manager talking to the bullpen via wireless phone as he strides to the mound to pull his struggling pitcher. :D

westofyou
10-06-2006, 01:44 PM
Picture players on their wireless phones

Picture it?

EE and Lopez were reported to have used phones in the dugout, I know EE was talked about in a game thread and I know of a person who got a call from Lopez in the springtime.

M2
10-06-2006, 01:46 PM
The A's would surely have laptops in the dugout this season except for a little complication called Milton Bradley. Do you have any idea of the expense they'd incur after he got done smashing up and spilling things all over such fragile devices?

Roy Tucker
10-06-2006, 02:14 PM
I'm sure they could get one of those ruggized mil-spec computers that US armed forces take into combat. However, chewing tobacco-proof might be teh deal-buster.

All kidding aside, I wouldn't be surprised to see a laptop used in a MLB dugout within 5 years. It will happen albeit very slowly phased in.

It will take a talented computer jock/statistician to drive the thing in order to drum up the numbers needed in the time frames that MLB real game decisions get made in. And no time for keyboard lockups or blue screens of death. So it will have to be Linux :)