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PFX vs. BRK and Pitch Types

It’s been a while since we posted a glossary or Q&A explaining some of the features of Gameday, so here’s a link to the one we did last spring.

Also, here are answers to two commonly asked questions about Gameday:

Q: What are the PFX and BRK values?

A: “Break” is 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. “Pitch-f/x” is 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. Or, in more common terms, this is the amount of “movement” the pitcher applies to the pitch. A faster, straighter pitch like a fastball will have a higher Pitch-f/x value than a slower, breaking ball like a curveball, which will have a higher Break value.

Q: How do you determine pitch types?

A: We compare specific properties of each pitch — its speed at release and where it crosses the plate, velocity and acceleration in three dimensions, as well as angle and degree of break — to those of previously defined “control” pitches, then evaluates the similarity of each property to that of each control pitch to determine an overall likelihood of the pitch type. The most likely pitch type is then selected.

Additional logic is applied to weight the results towards specific pitch types for each pitcher; for instance, this will limit the likelihood of a pitch being labeled as a split-finger fastball if the pitcher is not known to throw this pitch. However, certain pitch types are not completely restricted, in the event the pitcher later introduces that pitch to his repertoire.

* * *

Thanks for everyone’s feedback, we really do read everything even if we don’t respond that often. We hope everyone enjoys the features we have added and changes we’ve made, many of which were in direct response to comments on this blog. Plus, we have some additional cool new stuff that we hope to release within the next few weeks.

Happy baseball!

 

In-season Update 1

There has been several complaints about Gameday being larger than available screen real-estate. We did some analysis on what browser resolution most people have and made modifications to the footprint to address the issue in ways that will accommodate as large of a user base as possible. Hopefully this alleviates some of the nuisance from scrolling. Unfortunately the only way to address the footprint resize and keep Gameday free is to have the Ad unit take up some of the boxscore space (like we did last year).

We’ve also modified the center column area so core game information is easier to view from one location. We hope making it look like TV display will be familiar to our fans.

New also is the Video Tab, which will have collection of in-game video highlights for easy access.

The Scoreboard Alert functionality (click on little [+] sign to subscribe for each game) will display alert-box style messaging at the bottom right corner of your screen to announce various game information when available. This is now working properly.

In-season update two will hopefully be Gameday Mini and 3D (with camera angle controls). Stay tuned.

PS. Thanks for the report on Chat service being down. It is fixed now.
 

Known Issues and Troubleshooting tips

Automatic flash installer detection does not work properly on
Firefox / Mac versions 2.0.0.7 through 2.0.0.12. Updating the browser
to 2.0.0.13 fixes the issue. Click here to update. We are investigating fixes on our end.

If you have attempted to uninstall flash plug-in in the past without running appropriate uninstaller, the plug-in may not operate properly. To fix this issue, run the uninstaller again to completely remove all components, and then click here to install flash again.

There has been sporadic incidents reported of Flash Player 9.0.115 dying mysteriously on its own. When this happens you will not see Flash elements instantiated across our site as well as any site on the internet with Flash content. To solve this problem, you have to click here to re-install Flash again. It is wise to also run the uninstaller per above to ensure the new build is clean. As far as we know this is an issue on Adobe’s end – the provider of the plug-in.

How to report install problems: click here

The page will detail specific Flash Player version you have in addition to a few other useful information. If you are having trouble seeing our content, please cut-and-paste the result from that tester page and let us know. Be sure to include the operating system and browser you are using.

Page layout are optimized for FireFox and Internet Explorers on PC / Safari and Firefox on Macs. There are a few issues here and there but should not be critical to enjoying Gameday content.

Our content operates best at broadband connection speed on computers that are, from general consumer specifications, not older than 3 years. However, we have tested on pretty old machines and they do load and chug along, albeit not optimally.

Welcome to 2008 Gameday

Welcome to the 2008 version of Gameday on MLB.com, the premier destination for following live baseball on the Internet. As we do every year, we’ve done our best over the winter to improve and enhance Gameday — and fix the parts that didn’t work as well as we would like — to make it the most enjoyable and informative experience possible. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s new…

First and foremost, we upgraded the Flash engine that runs Gameday to provide much faster and smoother performance than ever before. You will need to upgrade to Flash 9.0.115 if you haven?t already done so (click here), but it?s a very quick update and definitely worth it!

Once you have Gameday up and running, you?ll see that we?ve overhauled the design and layout to make it easier to read and easier to use. Gone are the tiny fonts and black background that made Gameday  too hard to read, which have been replaced by larger, darker fonts against a lighter background. In other words, Gameday looks now like something you can actually read! Later on this season we will also be introducing Gameday mini, a tiny version of Gameday for the multi-taskers to dock on the side of the computer screen while you work.

There?s more to read this year, too, since we?ve integrated Gameday with our in-depth game Previews and Wrapup coverage, to provide one-stop shopping for each game from beginning to end, and beyond. Watch for video previews for each game and, before too long, post-game highlights in the wrapups.

Video isn?t just for before and after the game, either? as you all know, MLB.com is all about live baseball, so this season we?ll be providing exclusive in-game video highlights right in the Gameday window. Each game will feature about a dozen high-quality video highlights of top plays, each posted within minutes after the action occurs on the field.

But Gameday isn?t just about video, it?s always been about providing the fastest and most detailed information about what?s happening on the field. Last year we ramped up the Pitch-f/x technology to provide pitch speed, trajectory and location data for about half of the games played around the league. This year we?ll be providing that data for all games played in each MLB ballpark, starting with this Sunday night?s game in Washington.

In addition to expanding this technology to include all games, this season MLB.com will be the first provider ever to offer real-time pitch identification (fastball, curveball, even knuckleballs!) for every pitch thrown in every game. We?ve worked closely with several MLB clubs to develop this feature and believe it will provide an entirely new way to enjoy the game and appreciate the incredible ability of Major League pitchers.

Finally, later this season we?ll introduce a fully functional 3D pitch environment with a new set of features that will present the pitch data like you?ve never seen before. You?ll have the ability to select the camera angle, zoom in and out, pan across the field, and isolate different pitches in a light-weight, easy to use interface.

All of these changes were carefully planned to incorporate as much user feedback and requests as possible. Thanks to everyone who has posted on this blog, with both positive and negative comments? we?ve read everything and taken many suggestions into account as we built what we think will be the best Gameday yet.

Bookmark: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday

Keep the feedback coming, and let?s play ball!

Thanks,
The MLB.com Gameday Team

Video Tour and Chat Update

Click here for a video tour demonstrating the process of capturing pitch-f/x dataat the ballpark and delivering the information to Gameday.

Update from the Chat team — it is anticipated that Chat will be released sometime before Postseason this year. The Gameday team has seen it working in our test environment. We hope our fans will like it as much as we do when it launches. Stay tune.

Gameday chat update

Many of you have asked to have Gameday chat restored, and we haven’t provided much detail about that, so here is a quick update.

We’ve completely retired the old chat engine for a number of reasons: it was unreliable, could only support a very limited number of concurrent users, was very limited in features and was not integrated with other products.

In its place, we will be rolling out a completely revamped chat service by the All-Star break. However, it will not be a Gameday-only chat; instead, it will be better integrated with MLB.TV, the Fantasy Open and other products, with the goal of creating a more complete and immersive user experience.

We know that chat has been a very popular feature of Gameday so we are working hard to restore it and appreciate everyone’s patience while we build out this new version.

Thanks,

The MLB.com Gameday team

Finally, a lighter, faster Gameday

Thanks again to everyone for their feedback since our last post. Although it’s been a while since the last update, we have been busy working to address the comments and concerns expressed about Gameday since the start of the season, and we’ve introduced several important changes in the last week.

Most importantly, last Thursday we rolled out a new version of the application that is significantly less resource-intensive for your computers, and that drastically increases the speed and performance of the 3D pitch view. In fact, by our measurements the application is even faster now in the 3D viewing mode than last year’s version was in 2D! If you’ve been hesitant to use the 3D mode due to the strain on your computer, please try it again and let us know if you don’t think it’s noticeably faster.

In addition, we’ve made several other additions, enhancements and changes to make Gameday more informative and easier to use:

         Added batter’s boxes and baselines in 3D view for better context and a more realistic depiction of the field; look for these features in the 2D view in coming weeks;

         Added pitch mouseovers in 3D view to provide more data about the pitch;

         Redesigned the Game Summary to make it easier to read and navigate;

         The Box Score "snaps" to the table of the batting team and highlights the row for the current batter (as does the Lineup tab);

         Added start times to the Scoreboard, plus an indicator when starting lineups are posted for each game;

         The Scoreboard for each game flashes whenever either team scores, so you can keep track of events around the league;

         Added more clicks to the Player Cards under the headshots for the current pitcher and batter, plus from the on deck and in-the-hole hitter names.

Finally, we’ve launched the Pitch-f/x program in Oakland so that detailed pitch data is now available for all A’s home games for the rest of the season. We are continuing to ramp up the hardware and software to operate this program in all ballparks across the league so watch for more as the season progresses.

Thanks again for your interest in Gameday and for your patience while we ironed out some of the rough edges from the start of the season. We remain committed to making Gameday the fastest, most detailed and most informative way to follow any live sport online, and we’ll keep working towards that goal.

Enjoy the games!

– The MLB.com Gameday team

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.

* * *

Mobile Gameday

Also new this year are mobile versions of Gameday. Yep, get live, pitch-by-pitch datacast of all MLB games on your phone.  One version even has integrated Gameday Audio? feeds, so you can listen live wherever you go with no blackout restrictions.  It?s currently available on selected phones, with more being added all the time. More info here

Gameday_screenshot

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