In last night’s no-hitter, Hank Adams was the only guy who didn’t miss one of Roy Halladay‘s curving, dive-bombing, and all-around elusive pitches. Okay, technically, it was Adams’ technology that had a bead on the Phillies’ ace.
Adams is CEO of Sportvision, one of our 2010 Most Innovative Companies and the outfit responsible for PitchF/x, the did-the-ball-really-just-do-that digital graphics that change the way fans watch baseball. Much to the Cincinnati Reds’ chagrin, the software tracked the speed and trajectory of every pitch from the instant it left Halladay’s hand to the split-second later when it buzzed across home plate and past a flailing batter.
Like Halladay, Sportvision brought its A game to the playoffs. In addition to the conventional view from the outfield, the company has added two additional perspectives, one from overhead and another from the side, which illustrate the ball’s precise movement through the strike zone. Thanks to Sportvision, which supplies graphics to MLB’s online and iPad coverage as well as the TV networks, pitching has never looked so good.
Fans aren’t the only ones who benefit. Umpires, Adams told me earlier this season, use PitchF/x results to review their home-plate performance after a game and to scout new pitchers. The league even ranks umpires based on PitchF/x analysis. Those scores help determine who calls playoff games.
Between now and Halladay’s next start, it’s safe to say the hitters will be doing some serious PitchF/x homework. That won’t guarantee their getting a hit, of course, but at least they’ll know what they’re missing when they strike out.