April 2007

Gameday FAQ – April 13, 2007

Thanks to everyone for their feedback — good and bad — on the new Gameday design and features.

Below is a list of some of the main questions and comments posted on the blog since Opening Day. Yes, we have been listening, and we will do our best to address as many of the concerns expressed here as we can. We hope that everyone who took the time to post comments will also read through the FAQ to learn more about the changes we’ve made, what we’re working on now and what our plans are in the future.

Although some of the comments suggest otherwise, we didn’t make these changes without considering you, the fans… in fact, feedback on this blog (feedback, feedback and more feedback) during the 2006 postseason was extremely favorable towards the debut of the Pitch-f/x data, so our goal was to incorporate this new data into the main Gameday interface and provide the best of both worlds in one place: the most detailed and exclusive data possible along with all of the other Gameday features that everyone has come to enjoy.

All of the changes we made to Gameday this year were thoroughly and carefully planned by a group of passionate baseball fans who are committed to making this application the fastest, most detailed and most informative way to follow any live sport online. That has been our commitment since we first launched Gameday in 2001 and hasn’t changed.

Thanks again for your feedback on Gameday ’07, keep the comments coming!

– The MLB.com Gameday team

Q: Why did you get rid of the "classic" version of Gameday?

A: Actually, it’s still there: the out-of-town scoreboard and current game information are still in the top header; the field view options and complete game play-by-play are still in the left column; the pitcher vs. batter matchup is detailed in the center column; the box score is still in the right column. The changes we made to Gameday this year were almost entirely to accommodate the detailed pitch speed, trajectory and location data — the "Pitch-f/x data" — that is exclusive to MLB.com. The pitcher vs. batter matchup is at the heart of the game of baseball and we felt that making changes to add more detail on this matchup would ultimately result in a more informative and entertaining product.

Q: Can I still use the "classic" version of Gameday?

A: Games from 2006 and earlier are still available in the version of Gameday that was current when they were played. However, all games in 2007 and beyond will be provided solely in the 2007 version of Gameday.

Q: Why is Gameday using up so much of my CPU?

A: This is a major concern for us and we are taking steps to make Gameday less resource-intensive on your computers. The first step is the addition of an "Options" button in the upper right hand corner of the window, which allows you to enable or disable the 3D pitch illustrations and other animated features in the interface. Selecting the "2D" and/or "Less" options will significantly reduce the processing power required by Gameday. In addition, the 2D view is now the default for all games where we do not have the Pitch-f/x data available, so we won’t be using excessive processing power for features that don’t exist. Going forward we’ll continue to examine and fine-tune the entire application to make it as lean as possible.

Q: Why is the Gameday window so big?

A: Gameday is the same size as last year in terms of height, almost to the pixel. While it is indeed wider, this change was made to accommodate the exclusive new pitch data we’ve added this year. Still, the new Gameday window size still fits completely on the screen of any 1024×768 monitor, as do all pages on MLB.com.

Q: Why is the Pitch-f/x data only shown for some games but not others?

A: The Pitch-f/x technology is currently up and running in eight ballparks — Atlanta, Chicago (White Sox), Los Angeles (Angels and Dodgers), San Diego, Seattle, Texas and Toronto — so this new data is currently only available for games played in those ballparks. However, the system will be operational in all 30 ballparks by the end of the season, so expect to see the Pitch-f/x data for more and more games as the season progresses.

Q: What is the PFX value?

A: The "Pitch-f/x" value is currently defined as the measurement of the distance between the location of the actual pitch thrown over the plate, and the calculated location of a ball thrown by the pitcher in the same way, with no spin; this is the value we provided in Enhanced Gameday last season as "Break". The new Break value, which we feel is more appropriate for the common understanding of the term, is defined as the measurement of the greatest distance between the trajectory of the pitch at any point between the release point and the front of home plate, and the straight line path from the release point and the front of home plate. By this definition, a Barry Zito curveball will have a much greater Break value than a Brad Penny fastball.

(By the way, the "camera control" in the 3D batter area allows you to view each pitch from any of six different viewpoints, so you can see the trajectory and location of each pitch from multiple angles.)

Q. Where are the results of the previous at-bats?

A: Although we haven’t restored the mouseover to the current batter’s headshot, we’ve added labeling to the display of the previous at-bats under the picture. In addition, you can find the results of previous at-bats for any batter by selecting any at-bat from the Game Summary table in the lower left corner, under the field graphic. This will refresh the headshots to display the pitcher and batter for the selected at-bat, and the results of all at-bats for the selected batter will be displayed underneath the picture.

Q: Why is the boxscore so small? Why is ad so big?

A: The box score is the same size as ever, includes the same depth of data and is updated just as quickly as ever before. However, the ad size provided here is what is preferred by the sponsors, whose support for Gameday allows us to make this feature available for free. Although more of the box score is obscured this year by the ad, you can quickly and easily switch to the batting table for the visiting or home team, or the pitching table, by clicking on one of the three local links directly under the linescore.

Q: Where are chat rooms?

A: We are completely rebuilding the chat rooms to provide a better and more useful user experience. We know the chat rooms are a popular feature and will make them available again as soon as possible!

Q: Where is the key that defines the different pitch types?

A: We’ll be restoring this key — green for balls, red for strikes and blue for hit into play — in the very near future.

Q: What other enhancements and improvements are coming?

A: We’re committed to constantly improving and enhancing Gameday, and here are a few things in the works for the coming weeks:

* Batter’s boxes and foul lines will be added to the 3D pitcher/batter area to provide a more realistic depiction of the field and better context;

* A redesigned Game Summary in the lower left corner will make that game information easier to navigate and more useful;

* In-game video highlights are available now and will be provided even more frequently as the season progresses;

* The "alerts" ticker will be restored soon, and will ultimately include a feature you can use to get alerts that will help you follow your fantasy or favorite players in other games;

* Eventually, real-time pitch types — fastball, curveball, slider, etc. — will be available for games where the Pitch-f/x system is operational.

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