Tuesday, April 24, 2012

GameChanger: Thumbs Down

There are many advantages to the heralded on-line scorekeeping website http://www.gamechanger.io/  Games can be scored on-line in real time, allowing faraway grandparents a way to follow games as they happen - IF they’re technologically savvy AND willing to fork out eight bucks a month. Season statistics automatically update. All based, of course, on the opinions of the all-powerful official scorekeeper (not me).   

There are numerous inputs after every pitch: ball, strike, hit, error, line drive, fly ball, hit hard, what kind of pitch. While GameChanger prompts some inputs automatically, it could be possible to forget some after a complicated play. Last night a batter reached first on the first-baseman’s FIELDING error, then advanced to second on his THROWING error. Two real-world errors, but GameChanger (or the scorekeeper) only counted one. Before future games coaches will review GameChanger, and make player decisions based on what they see.

Two statistics are “Hard Hit Balls” and “Quality At-Bats.” HHB appears to be at the discretion of the human scorekeeper. While Will hit four hard line drives, he was credited for only two. Perhaps it is impossible to define a sacrifice fly as a Hard Hit Ball. I could be wrong, since I was video-taping his at bats. QAB is determined more by the number of pitches the batter sees than what the batter does. If a batter grounds out after working the count full, that’s a QAB. But if he hits a first-pitch double, that’s not a QAB. Huh?

Another GameChanger feature is the automatically generated postgame recap. Based on what certain players did in the game, GameChanger creates a story. Unfortunately, the story is often far from perfect...and this game wasn’t the first time. 

GameChanger can be a valuable tool, if used properly…and with a grain of salt.

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