Archive for January, 2015

Imgur Introduces New Hosted Video-to-GIF Tool

Imgur continues to adapt to the demands of their market, after beginning to switch away from traditional GIF file types for the more efficient GIFVs, they are allowing URL based videos to be used in the creation of the GIF or GIFV. If a file size exceeds 10MB then it will automatically be converted to a GIFV. As a reminder, Imgur accounts are free — though you don’t need one to create the GIF/V — and GIFV files are both cleaner and smaller than the old GIF files.

Creating an embeddable GIF/V is as easy as copy-pasting the URL of the desired video and following the steps. Let’s give it a try.

From YouTube, we’ll take a look at South Korea’s run to the finals of the Asian Cup. Choosing where to cut the video on both ends is as simple as clicking on the slider bar at the desired times.

gifv1

Note that Imgur allows the option to embed text directly over the GIFV but be aware that at the time of launch, the text box is unable to be moved.

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Once you have the time of the GIFV down and the text correct, then it is a matter of time letting Imgur untangle everything. When you’re all set, there are options to share directly to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr and Reddit as well as a slew of embed and link options.

gifv3The finished product:

Get started right away and bring on the GIFVs!

(Source video courtesy of the official AFC Asian Cup site)

Zepp Updates App to Provide Personalized Training Tips

The newest update to Zepp’s baseball and golf app includes a new feature to personalize users’ training based on swing analysis.

The feature, called Zepp Insights, will produce reports that recommend drills to help users focus on personalized weakness in their swings. The reports will be delivered weekly, provided the user takes at least 30 swings during that week. Using millions of swings collected from its users, Zepp will identify which of the five calculated swing parameters — bat speed at impact, maximum hand speed, time to impact, vertical angle at impact, and attack angle — is most in need of improvement. The report will then recommend training drills and tips from their existing video library.

The new update will also include swing goals across all metrics based on the user’s skill level. In previous versions of the app, only bat speed goals were set automatically, with additional goals relying on user input to tag the hit type and direction.

In addition to the drills and overviews featuring Cubs hitting coach John Mallee, Zepp also provides swing data and video of a number of MLB hitters, including Mike Trout, David Ortiz, and Giancarlo Stanton. The pros offer advice on more “real-world” scenarios, such as staying back on a curveball and hitting the ball the other way.

CEO Jason Fass said the new update provided personalized, actionable data to its users, better helping them improve their swings.

“Our goal is to provide analysis that not only collects numbers from the sensor, but offers ways to improve those numbers through content in our app,” Fass said. “We need to engage and elevate athletes by personalizing tips gleaned from their captured data.”


120 Sports Now Supports AppleTV

In another step in the right direction for cord cutters, 120 Sports, the company that launched live streaming sports news, analysis and previews has expanded from mobile versions to include AppleTV. Supported by Sports Illustrated and working with MLB, NHL, PGA, NBA, NASCAR as well as a slew of college conferences, 120 Sports is a free service for sports fans without cable packages.

120apple

While the AppleTV compatibility is new, both iOS and Android versions have been available for over six months. The company boasts 10+ hours of live sports coverage every day, starting at 8 am eastern. On the app versions you can search for popular previous broadcasts via the Catch-Up hub or go to the Trending section to see what is on the rise, though to follow a specific player or team you’ll have to be using the app, not the AppleTV version.

With an indexed and searchable on-demand system, 120 Sports offers a ton to consumers. The ability to follow specific teams, leagues or even national teams is a great feature as well.

120follow

A slight knock on the app is that if a team, Queens Park Rangers for example, may not be popular enough, it isn’t even searchable. Clubs such as Arsenal, Man City and United and others are all searchable and able to be followed, but it appears as though only the big teams can be found.

It doesn’t need a login for the website version, however it does utilize your Google Play or App Store email for the mobile versions. Despite lacking live sports events, the highlights from 120 Sports alone make it well worth the download. Seeing the expansion to the television sets instead of mobile only is great progress as well.


4th Down Bot is a Super Bowl Must-Have

It’s Sunday. The sun has set. Katy Perry and all that is horrible about corporate America’s involvement with the Super Bowl have gone with it. You’re stuck on the couch, beyond bloated from stuffing your trap with pigs in a blanket, chips and guacamole and seven Bud Light Platinums. The Seattle Seahawks hold a 17-14 lead with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. Tom Brady and his New England Patriots failed to convert on third down and goal at Seattle’s four yard line. Take the sure three points against Seattle’s defense, right? No, no. Go for it on fourth down, because if the Pats don’t make it, Seattle has horrible field position.

What do you do? Flip a coin? It’s hard to think through the fog of booze and carbs. “What do you do?” asks Dennis Hopper’s Howard Payne from 1994’s blockbuster Speed. “What do you do?”

Refer to 4th Down Bot. He’s got all the fourth down answers.

Produced by The New York Times in 2013 and upgraded for this NFL season, 4th Down Bot utilizes a model created by Brian Burke of Advanced Football Analytics and ten years of data to live-critique coaches’ decisions via the Bot’s web site and on TwitterThe Times published its methodology here. It bases decisions on expected points, which measures the average number of points each situation is worth. The creators admit the model is similar to that developed by David Romer, a University of California, Berkeley economics professor who authored a paper in 2002 exploring  fourth down options. The Times notes more seasons of data differentiate the two models.

“The game is ball possession, and coaches are losing sight of that,” David Leonhardt, editor at The Times, told Bill Littlefield of Only A Game.

The model assumes both the offense and defense are league average, with its goal of scoring as many points as possible. But once the fourth quarter hits, winning becomes the priority. The Bot measures how often teams won following a punt, field goal kick or fourth down attempt using data from NFL games played previously played.

Here is an example from The Times:

A field goal is worth 3 points, if it’s successful. But there is a catch: after scoring, you must kick off to your opponent, which, on average, will begin its drive on the 22-yard line. Judging from the chart above, a first-and-10 from your 22 is worth about 0.4 points. To NYT 4th Down Bot, a field goal is worth 3 points minus the cost of kicking off: 3 – 0.4 = 2.6 points. (Similarly, a touchdown and extra point is worth 7 – 0.4 = 6.6 points.)

What if the kicker misses? It’s a long field goal, about 55 yards, and the success rate of 55-yard field goals is only about 40 percent.

If the kick is no good, the opponent takes over on its 45-yard line. From our chart above, a first-and-10 from there is worth about 1.8 points. In this case, however, it is a first down for your opponent, so the point value from your perspective is –1.8 points.

NYT 4th Down Bot uses the expected points from success, the expected points from failure and the likelihood of each outcome to compute the net value of a decision.

Per the scenario above, 4th Down Bot would have kicked the field goal and settled for a 17-17 tie with 22 minutes of championship football left.

To be certain, the Bot is a fun tool for couch coaches everywhere rather than a serious, analytical decision-maker. It has its holes (it still doesn’t know what teams are playing, their strengths, or injuries involved). But when you want to look smart in front of friends and family this Sunday following a huge fourth down play, just whip out the Bot. He’s got your back.

“What do you do?” Payne asks again.

Take the three points.

Image via M P R


Bans Handed Down From Valve For Match Fixing

In the wake of the allegations and subsequent investigation formed from The Daily Dot’s Richard Lewis in regards to match fixing, Valve — creators and developers of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive — has acted quickly by banning all parties involved announced in a blog post. Most of the former team iBUYPOWER as well as others involved have received bans from Valve. The ban list which includes professional players and community figures is as follows:

Duc “cud” Pham
Derek “dboorn” Boorn
Casey Foster
Sam “Dazed” Marine
Braxton “swag” Pierce
Keven “AZK” Larivière
Joshua “Steel” Nissan

Of particular note is Braxton Pierce, recently named HLTV’s 18th best CS:GO player of 2014. While there is no sole governing body in esports, let alone CS:GO, Valve did not act alone in their ban of the players from Valve-sponsored events. Competitive leagues ESEA, FACEIT and CEVO have all banned the guilty players for a minimum of one year.

Valve notes they were able to confirm the guilt after tracking the items (or skins) by looking at the historical activity of the accused accounts. Though the players apparently did not wager any money, there was thousands of dollars worth of bets in the form of skins the iBUYPOWER team wagered on the opposing underdog team NetCodeGuides.com. By throwing the match for what equated to a monetary gain, the CS:GO community cried out for justice, and it was served.

While thousands of dollars worth of in-game items may seem like a lot of money, it pales in comparison to formal bets on the games. Recently the 2015 Aspen X Games hosted a Major League Gaming CS:GO portion and popular betting site CSGO Lounge tweeted out a rather staggering figure for bets they handled on day one:

csgo

If Valve continues to step in and clean up the professional ranks of CS:GO — they and ESEA banned several professional players such as Hovik “KQLY” Tovmassian in November and ESEA more recently banned Andre “flex” Francisty  live on stream — then it betters esports as a whole. With money from sponsorships, advertising revenue and the integrity of the game on the line, Valve acted quickly. It isn’t the first time a governing body has handed down bans for wagering on games, from sAviOr and StarCraft to the much more famous Pete Rose and MLB, gambling on games where you directly affect the outcome hurts the image of the sport.


Startup deCervo Uses Brain Training to Boost Hitters’ Performance

There are four inches of fresh snow on the Brown University campus, but in a little office in the Pizzitola Center, junior Tim McKeithan is training to recognize sliders and curveballs.

McKeithan is tracking simulated trajectories on a computer screen while wearing an electroencephalograph (EEG) headset. It’s part of a new system developed by deCervo, a New York-based startup, to measure hitters’ decision-making process.

deCervo is led by Jordan Muraskin and Jason Sherwin, who met during their doctorate studies at Columbia University. Although the company is still in its infancy, the pair have been working on the underlying technology for several years, and have been featured in a number of prestigious publications. And teams are starting to take notice — Brown is the fourth NCAA Division I program to work with deCervo, joining Illinois, Bradley, and Ivy League rival Columbia. Sherwin also said the group was “in talks” with some Major League Baseball teams, and hopes to work with professional hitters during spring training.

The program relies on the Advanced Brain Monitoring B-Alert X10, a wireless EEG headset. The nine electrodes are attached to flexible plastic strips, and are evenly distributed around the subject’s scalp. The signals from the electrodes are sampled at 256 Hz and transmitted wirelessly via Bluetooth for storage on a personal computer.

Once the subject is wearing the headset and the signal quality has been checked, the training can begin using deCervo’s custom-designed software. Before each pitch, a pitch type — fastball, curveball, or slider — is displayed on a blank screen for a second or two. The label disappears, and a green “ball” moves according to one of the three trajectories. If the pitch trajectory matches the type displayed at the beginning, the subject presses a key, representing the decision to swing. The program stores the accuracy and response time for each trial, as well as the EEG signals recorded from the headset.

After McKeithan finishes his training and removes the headset, Muraskin processes the data and explains the results. His software allows them to break down the EEG signal into various components, with markers at the trial start, the moment the pitch first appears, and the time of key press. Muraskin also plots McKeithan’s accuracy as a function of reaction time.

“There’s usually a jump around 300 or 350 milliseconds where the player really starts recognizing the pitch,” Muraskin explained. But, to his surprise, McKeithan has improved, and is starting to recognize the pitches around 270 ms.

“That’s really good,” Muraskin said.

deCervo (whose name is from the French for “of the brain”) are not the only company training baseball players’ brains. Aaron Seitz from UC Riverside gave a talk at last August’s Saberseminar on the improvements the Highlanders’ baseball team saw after training with Ultimeyes, his vision training game. And Boston-based Neuroscouting also offers brain training solutions for elite baseball players. And although Sherwin did not claim to be an expert in Neuroscouting’s techniques, he had heard enough to draw a comparison between the two companies.

“In our research we’ve worked with musicians, with soldiers, with athletes,” Sherwin said. “We see that there are certain brain circuits that are tuned towards whatever context or expertise that person has. And we think that our tech is more efficiently tapping in to what those circuits are doing, and how well they’re doing.”

Support for this belief comes from the differences in performance deCervo sees between baseball players and non-baseball players, as well as the difference between players of different skill levels. Sherwin (who has no baseball playing background beyond high school) contrasted his performance while developing the program with that of McKeithan, who correctly determined whether or not to swing 86 percent of the time.

“It’s a very high number that we see consistently with our players,” Sherwin said. “Jordan and I made this experiment and we still haven’t been able to hit 86 percent accuracy, and what’s even more amazing is that their response time is significantly lower than ours.”

Sherwin also explained that better players produced both higher accuracies and lower response times, suggesting that the program could not only separate good from bad players but also identify the strengths and weaknesses of individual players. So Sherwin and Muraskin began developing profiles, based on each subject’s results, to suggest areas for potential improvement.

“Nobody wants to air their dirty laundry on the field,” Sherwin said. “You don’t want to look like a schmuck missing the slider low and away in the game, you’d rather practice that. Better to do it in the privacy of your own home, on an app or something.”

For now, though, deCervo isn’t suggesting specific practice plans for players, but instead are working with coaches to confirm their findings and discuss how coaches will work to fix each player’s agreed-upon weaknesses.

“The first step is having some kind of common ground,” Sherwin said, “Us showing that we’re measuring what we think is relevant for hitting a baseball, and them also recognizing that this is relevant for hitting a baseball.”

And so far, the coaches they’ve worked with have been receptive to the feedback deCervo is providing. Sherwin said he and Muraskin were excited by their early feedback, especially from Brown head coach Grant Achilles.

“Coach Achilles here, his line is emblazoned in my memory, he said, ‘You guys are showing on a statistical and empirical level what we’re seeing with our players.'”

Grant Achilles took over the head coaching job on an interim basis midway through last season, and is about to start his first full season in the top job. Achilles and his staff use a number of advanced metrics to measure his team’s performance, but doesn’t see himself as a sabermetric pioneer.

“Am I somebody that Bill James will be quoting in his book? Probably not,” Achilles said. “But it’s certainly something that’s growing in baseball, and if you don’t pay attention to it, you’re going to be left behind.”

Before coming to Brown, Achilles was an assistant coach at Wake Forest and Georgetown, big-time athletic programs with big-time athletic department budgets. But the comparatively smaller budget of Brown has forced Achilles to think more creatively about ways to improve his players. Achilles first heard about deCervo through an alumnus, who contacted the new coach after reading about the technology in a research journal. Achilles struck up a relationship with the company’s founders, and the Bears began a training program in December. Although it’s too early to see results in game situations, Achilles is already excited by what he’s seen.

“The actual data they’ve kicked back has given traction to stuff that we’ve seen as coaches but you really can’t explain,” Achilles said. “This data gives us a clearer understanding of why guys are either struggling with pitches or doing well in other situations, so it’s truly backed up the results we’ve seen on-field and in practice.”

The immediate future for deCervo, aside from branching into MLB, is developing a single piece of software that teams could use themselves (after some training) to train players and track their improvements over the course of a season. Sherwin and Muraskin also plan to develop a simpler mobile version of the software for players to use without the EEG headset.

“What’s interesting about the app is that given that we’ve done this [data collection] with a bunch of players and a bunch of non-players, we have a database now of what the neural predecessors look like on average in terms of the behavioral metrics,” Sherwin said. “So if we measure the behavioral metrics, we have an approximate measure of what the neural response looks like beforehand, give them an idea of what their most likely neural response is.”

deCervo is also starting to look outside baseball, working with an NHL team to measure how well goalies recognize puck trajectories and offensive formations. The company has also started to work with the Columbia football team, measuring how fast defensive linemen get off the line when the ball is snapped.

“All this stuff we’re doing right now, we’re starting pretty simplistic and building up,” Muraskin said. “There are things [teams] are doing that fit in well with what we’re doing but we would bring a more rigorous, scientific approach.”

Correction: A quote has been changed in the tenth paragraph from “towards whatever concept or expertise that person has” to “whatever context.”


Two Tech Partnerships Unveiled During NHL All-Star Weekend

The NHL has long been perceived as somewhat behind the times with their unique brand of legalized fisticuffs, but their latest partnerships with GoPro and Sportsvision could make the NHL the leader of the big four pro sports in player tracking technology.

First, the NHL announced they will broadcast live GoPro footage of its players during telecasts. Previously, GoPro has been relegated to partnerships with extreme sports. This is is their first foray with a major pro sports league. According to Techcrunch, GoPro will receive additional branding opportunities as part of their deal with the NHL as an “Official Partner.” The live broadcasts were a part of the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend and you can see a clip of some previously shot footage below.

In another announcement, the NHL revealed they would be using player tracking technology in both the Skills Competition and the All-Star Game. The technology was created by Sportvision, which also provides real-time tracking technology for NASCAR and the NFL. To track the players and the puck in real time, Sportsvision has created a puck that contains a microchip and has infrared light tubes around the outside. As Sportsvision CEO Hank Adams explained to Yahoo Sports, “We have infrared cameras up in the catwalks, 10 of them. They see the flash of the puck, which is a unique frequency, and different than the flash of a player tag. And each player tag has a different frequency. We slip it into a pocket of the jersey, and it shines through brightly.”

The puck was the toughest nut to crack, something that took Sportsvision years to perfect. According to the Washington Post, Sportsvision partnered with the NHL’s puck manufacturer to recreate a puck that would play the same way as current game pucks. Adams says, “When you throw the puck on the ice, and the standard puck, they won’t be able to tell the difference,” Adams said. “It’s not livelier, deader, no extra rebound, heavier, it is basically the same puck from their standpoint.”

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman praised the possibilities of the technology, saying, “This is, if I can coin a phrase, in the embryonic stages of a work in progress, but ultimately we are hoping to deliver the kind of data that will create insights and tell stories that avid and casual hockey fans will enjoy. In short, we are attempting to embark upon a journey that hopefully will enable us to create and then maintain a digital record of everything in our game and compile a complete digital history.”

For NHL fans, the technology will provide real-time times stats during broadcasts, including player speed, shot speed, and player ice time, among other information. Below is some footage of the tracking technology in use during the NHL Skills Competition.

The technology will also be used for viewers using a second screen, where fans can follow the game in real time similar to MLB’s At Bat app. Users will able to track in the puck, player position, and ice time in real-time. Below is the second screen software the NHL showed off during All-Star Weekend.

The are plenty more uses for this technology, including the ability to develop advanced analytics like the MLB and NBA, as well as new ways for fans to watch their favorite teams. For the naysayers who remember the glowing puck experiment by Fox Sports in the 1990s all too well, I can assure you this is not a repeat. On the contrary, these new partnerships could provide the NHL an advantage that it doesn’t have over more popular pro sports leagues for years to come.

(Image via gryphon1911)


Asian Cup Viewership Numbers: Growing But Stunted

Soccer is inarguably the world’s sport, however acceptance to the top flight of sports in certain nations is yet to come. Despite not advancing out of a tough group with powerhouses Spain and Netherlands, as well as surprise second-place finisher Chile, Australia did have a relatively strong showing in the most recent World Cup — particularly in the narrow 2-3 loss to Spain. Even going back to the 2010 World Cup where the Socceroos were edged by goal differential after finishing group play tied at second place with Ghana, the support from television broadcasters hasn’t translated well for Australian soccer.

Australia is currently hosting the 2015 Asian Cup, where 16 teams from around the Pacific and Indian Oceans have been hitting the pitch, and Australia is just one victory away from making the finals. The path for Australia — and for viewers — hasn’t been the easiest one however. Each match Australia has played has been televised on ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company) or Fox Sports in Australia with casts on CCTV-5 for China, with other broadcast partners showing games around the world. These numbers do not reflect various streaming services either — strictly television.

After finishing second in their group behind South Korea, Australia dispatched China 2-0, as over 95 million people spread across the globe tuned in at some point during the match. From China, an average of 27 million people watched the quarter final matchup, shattering the previous record of 23 million. China is not alone in their upward numbers, as both Japan and South Korea have seen rises in viewership. With the success of the television numbers — numbers that should be taken with a large grain of salt as any viewer using an unofficial stream is not counted — it is curious to find that ABC is airing only the Australia games live. Fox Sports has handled all other games, though some were shown on a tape delay.

Here in North America exclusive Asian Cup coverage has been given to ONE World Sports, a channel that is unfortunately limited in availability. After ESPN lost out on the World Cup broadcast rights it would have made sense for them to get back into the soccer game with a tournament of this size. Given NBC’s recent expansion into European soccer, grabbing the Asian market would have also made sense for them.

For now, as a big fan of the South Korean team, I’m forced to find alternative online options rather than watching on TV, even though my TV package includes dozens of sports channels. If time zone differences are the argument against showing the Asian Cup — and given my sleep schedule over the past weeks, that is a strong argument to make — then how is Canada streaming the games via ONE World Sports, while the United States is left in the dark? While the popularity of soccer continues to gain ground here in the United States, if the old saying of “misery loves company” is true then Australia is our brother in the struggle to find the proper medium to deliver sports content.


The Stadium of the Future

CNET recently ran a story in which it dubbed the Golden State Warriors’ next arena “the stadium of the future.” With the arena scheduled to open in 2018, team executives are experimenting with new technology. “We can’t light this [new arena] up already being out of date,” said vice president of digital and marketing Kenny Lauer. And, being in the Bay Area, it’s tech’s home team. This should be the stadium of the future when some of Silicon Valley’s finest are at every game.

It seems the most successful experiment so far has been with iBeacons, an Apple product that uses a Bluetooth low-energy signal to notify iOS users as they approach or pass an iBeacon. The Warriors use the tech to alert fans about seat upgrades, discounts at the team store and concession deals. It can also be used to map out an arena and help you find the nearest bathroom to your that beer line you’re going to wait in. But the Warriors don’t offer this solution, yet.

Image via Jonathan Nalder

Image via Jonathan Nalder

The Warriors will soon roll out sound amplification, which broadcasts sound from microphones placed on the court through the arena’s speakers. Now the dribbling ball on the hardwood, squeaky sneakers and Steph Curry’s sweet swishes won’t just be for the front row fans. During the five-game trial, the Warriors will broadcast to an entire side of the venue.

And then there’s LiFi, which the Warriors are exploring. It’s like WiFi, but uses light rather than radio frequencies to transmit data via LED bulbs. It has a much wider bandwidth and has reached data rates of over 10 gigabits per second. The range is shorter because light waves cannot penetrate walls, but it’s cheaper to maintain than its counterpart. How would the Warriors use it? They’re still trying to figure that out.

They are building two groups, one to focus on the tech and another that will determine how to integrate that tech in to the fan experience.

“Thinking about the challenges we have with Wi-Fi and the available frequency space in the visual light spectrum, the opportunities are unreal,” Lauer told CNET. “These are the kinds of things that are fascinating.”

And while all of this does sound intriguing, I don’t think it completely resolves issues fans have that keep them away from live sporting events. The biggest, most obvious challenge teams face selling tickets is the cost. Let’s assume this won’t be fixed, and focus on some other issues I want to see in my stadium of the future.

Designers of future stadiums aim to mix technology and sustainability. But sustainability is boring. I don’t really care how you make it 70 degrees in the arena, just make it 70 degrees. So let’s let the municipalities worry about that. Here’s what I want to see.

Bathroom Roombas

You know how one guy sober guy doesn’t always get every drop into the toilet even in his own home? Imagine 20,000 men, half of them drunk, rushing to pee between plays in a jam-packed bathroom that isn’t one they have to clean. Then, imagine how many will vomit in same said bathroom. It’s pretty freaking filthy. I want Roombas constantly sweeping through legs and around feet, spotting moisture and soaking it up. I don’t want to worry about soaking my Converse in the leftovers of the beer Kevin in Riverside pounded three hours earlier in the parking lot.

Robots

While the mix of high school drop outs and senior citizens bumping in to each other in a crowded concession stand is entertaining for two minutes, it becomes frustrating and time consuming. I want to order, pay and pick up my food so I can get back to the game. And frankly, the current system isn’t working, except when it’s a Wednesday night game in September in Miami with the Padres in town.

I want Johnny Five of Short Circuit taking my order quickly, efficiently and accurately. Send emo Jade and grandma Helen to parking lot duty.

Speaking of parking lots…

Maybe I’m just getting old and grumpy, but I hate fighting traffic to get to a game, hunt for parking and then battle 15,000 other vehicles to leave the stadium via three exits. I want sensors that indicate open parking spots I can view on an app that will direct me to open spots. When it’s time to leave, I want to use the same app to avoid the most severe congestion so that I don’t have to spend 45 minutes listening to the callers on the post-game AM radio show theorize why Albert Pujols didn’t bunt with the tying run  on second and no outs in the bottom of the tenth. I just want to get home and get to sleep. I’ve got stuff to do the next day.

Mute buttons

I don’t want to listen to that Top 40 music blaring during play of a NBA game. MUTE. Hey, Oakland A’s fan. You’re being a total jerk and I don’t want to risk you throwing your turkey leg at my head when I turn around after telling you to shut up, or getting stabbed walking out of the stadium, or my heart exploding because you’re stressing me out. MUTE. What, 3-year-old daughter I brought to the game because my tickets didn’t sell online? You want cotton candy and you have to pee and you want to start the wave? MUTE.

This is just a start. What do you want to see in your stadium of the future?

Image via Volker Kotidtz 


OOTP Gets an MLB License

Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) announced they now have an official MLB license for the upcoming OOTP 16. I just want to say: I was on the ground floor of this thing. Well, maybe not the ground floor. But I got in before it got all fancy.

I heard about OOTP where most people hear about it — in a job interview, naturally. A guy from some department came hustling over — him being a fan of sabermetrics, him being vaguely aware of my writing — and he eagerly told me about OOTP and its superiority to Baseball Mogul (which I still love). I thank that man for introducing me to OOTP. Thanks, man.

So what does this MLB license mean to the average game player? Well first, it means a game that annually ranks as the best in all of everything is getting better. But more specifically, it means we don’t have to sift through a bunch of competing add-ons or wait for the big special All in One add-on in order to play a game that looks and feels like an MLB entity.

Those are real, honest-to-goodness MLB logos!

Those are real, honest-to-goodness MLB logos!

For those who haven’t played before, the old way was this:

  • Download the game.
  • If you downloaded the game on day one: Sift through the add-ons for realistic faces and accurate team logos.
  • If you downloaded it maybe a week after the game’s release: Download the All in One mod.
  • Install those mods.

Now, we should be able to:

    • Download the game.

There may still be some mods that throw in international team logos and whatnot, but I expect the average user will be able to download and enjoy a full experience. Oh, also — see the top image — it appears they are making more steps for the in-game 3D stuff.

I am hyped. Everyone else, get hyped too.

Game Reviews:

98 A+ Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) 2015 (PC)
98 A+ Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) 2014 (PC)
97 A+ Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) 2013 (PC)
96 A+ Baseball Mogul ’13 (PC)
96 A+ MLB ’12 The Show (PS3)
79 C+ MLB 2K12 (PS3, XBOX 360, Wii, PC, etc.)
74 C MLB Ballpark Empire (Facebook)

Retro Review:

82 B- MVP Baseball 2003 (PC)