Apple stuck a deal with MLB to allow use of iPads that have been pre-loaded with custom software in dugouts beginning this year. MLB has been testing out this system all spring. The deal helps MLB reduce their carbon footprint and will greatly reduce team’s usage of paper as the phone-book sized binders that are printed for teams daily will be replaced with a digital tablet. The tablets will have custom software installed called “MLB Dugout” and will give managers access to stats, videos and view pitcher-hitter matchups.
“The visual, if you think about presenting the game, [is] about field managers walking into the dugout with big, thick folders of information. We now are going to have an iPad Pro, we think it makes the game more consonant with the way people live their lives, and it’s important for us,” Manfred said in the CBS interview.
The NFL has a similar deal with Microsoft valued at 400 million signed in 2013. It will be interesting to see how adoption fares among managers, especially among the elder ones. I’m sure it’s also only a matter of time before a device stops working at a crucial moment.
I’m also wondering just how long it will be before a manager gets caught playing Candy Crush or whatever new tablet game the kids are playing these days. No word if the tablets will allow internet access so players can live-tweet between pitches, but I presume the tablets will only be allowed to connect to a local network and all data must be uploaded pre-game and I doubt they will be allowed to stream any live video.