04/27/09 9:23 AM ET
Watch like pros with Gameday Premium
New features include in-line audio, enhanced pitch data
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
Now it is time to welcome the newest player to the lineup of must-have subscription products from Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Sign ups are under way for MLB.com Gameday Premium, which is $19.95 for the season. It is included with any MLB.TV subscription, and those who subscribe to MLB.com Gameday Audio can get this for a $5 upgrade.
If you want to see exactly why Kansas City's Zack Greinke (4-0) has thrown 29 innings without an earned run this season, and why he is seeking his fourth shutout of the season Wednesday against Toronto, then use Gameday Premium to dissect his pitch-by-pitch sequences from previous starts. Study his Hot/Cold Zones, Real-Time Scouting, Enhanced Pitch Type Identification, Full 3-D Pitch by Pitch Visualization and In-Game Video Highlights.
If you want to see what it's like to have In-line Gameday Audio while you are following the familiar Gameday app, then subscribe now because that is one of the cornerstone features of the new product. Starting this week, club radio broadcast feeds synch with the live data entered by MLB.com stat stringers inside the press box at each ballpark, providing fans one loaded app that you can use for absolutely every game between now and the final out of the 2009 World Series.
"After watching an in-game video of Edgar Renteria's home run in the Giants-D-backs game [on Friday], I'm sold on MLB.com Gameday Premium," said Mervyn Alamgir of San Jose, Calif. "By the way, I don't like the Giants or D-backs."
"Baseball is the best way to decompress while writing a paper. Thank goodness for MLB.com Gameday," said Penn State sophomore Abbey Farkas, while following the Pirates over the weekend.
"I live in a rural area that does not get cable," Phillies fan Connie Deady of Dallas, Pa., wrote in an e-mail to MLB.com. "I only get my beloved Phillies games on Gameday Premium ... I listen to radio on computer and follow on Gameday as I often bring home work in the evenings. The Gameday Premium app is cool with all the info about pitchers and hitters. It is superior to anything else out there."
The free trial of MLB.com Gameday Premium ended with Boston's sweep of the Yankees on Sunday night, and there is a new area on MLB.com that documents all the exclusive features of the new product along with links to the buzz on Facebook and Twitter over MLB.com Gameday Premium's impact among users. It is the same great Gameday app that fans have relied upon in past seasons, plus all of this:
Pitcher tendencies: his "out pitch" plus year-to-date and in-game averages and trends for velocity, pitch selection, movement and release points.
Use the pitcher tendencies dashboard to get an overview of the pitcher's performance throughout the game and compared to his previous outings. Using Pitch-f/x data, MLB.com determines the velocity, pitch type, movement and release point for every pitch and tracks the changes in these values over time, so you can tell if a pitcher is losing bite on his slider, throwing harder to get through one more inning, relying more on off-speed pitches as the game goes on, or dropping his arm angle as he fatigues.
Velocity and movement are calculated on a per-pitch basis for each inning in the current game as well as season-to-date and last five games, so you can see how this outing stacks up against the pitcher's historical performance. Release points are also broken down by pitch type, enabling you to notice if the pitcher is changing his arm angle or perhaps "tipping" different pitches.
Batter tendencies: pitches they "love to face" and "hate to face."
Batter vs. pitcher stats for the current and last five seasons.
Batter and pitcher "Hot/Cold Zone" data, broken down into 13 different zones, all of which are filterable by more than 15 different situational splits.
Use the hot/cold zones to find the pitch locations in which the current pitcher and batter performs his best, and where he struggles. The strike zone is divided into nine regions and balls are grouped into four regions, with each zone color-coded to indicate whether the batter or pitcher is hot or cold in that zone. Red and pink zones show where the batter outperforms his season OPS (or where the pitcher betters his season OPS allowed), and the light and dark blue zones show where the batter underperforms his season OPS (or where the pitcher is worse than his season OPS allowed).
In addition, the hot/cold zone displays can be filtered by splits according to pitch types faced or thrown, ball/strike count, number of outs, baserunners, and vs. left/right. Choosing a particular split not only updates the statistics, it also gives you a detailed look at the hot/cold zones for that particular situation. For example, you can see that a particular hitter loves to hit changeups low and inside, but struggles against the fastball in the same zone -- or you can see if a pitcher tends to work down in the zone with runners in scoring position.
Last season's In-Game Video Highlights is now part of the Gameday Premium package. Complete your game-viewing experience with video highlights of selected key plays delivered within minutes.
In-line streaming of Gameday Audio feeds (home and away flagships and Spanish where available), requiring no pop-up application. Listen to the live radio broadcast of the game in-line while following pitch-by-pitch, choosing from either the home or away team's flagship radio station broadcast. Subscribing to Gameday Premium also allows you to access Gameday Audio through the standard media player.
Enhanced pitch type identification, revamped from last year for greater accuracy and also now distinguishing between 2-seam and 4-seam fastballs. This feature utilizes software known as an artificial neural network, which compares a series of training pitches, generously provided by Mike Fast and Major League baseball clubs, to each pitch as it is thrown. The results are then tailored to each pitcher's specific pitch repertoire and normal velocities for the most likely match. Each pitch-type is grouped and color-coded in Gameday.
Enhanced pitch type identification also is available in Gameday "Classic" mode, as is full 3D pitch-by-pitch visualization and Gameday Mini.
These rich new data features complement the existing pitch-by-pitch data, including the Pitch-f/x technology that provides pitch speed, trajectory and location data for every game in every Major League park, along with Game Previews, in-game highlights and other game-specific video from right inside the app.
The release of MLB.com Gameday Premium as a pay product only further underscores the power of MLB.TV, which has smashed sign up records at MLB.com this month. Developers rolled out a version of MLB.TV Premium that was far advanced from any predecessor, based on Flash and featuring an exhaustive list of important benefits such as HD picture quality and DVR functionality. Now MLB.com Gameday Premium comes with that MLB.TV subscription, making it even more valuable and versatile.
And for all of those fans who have been faithfully listening to MLB.com Gameday Audio over the years to hear live games broadcast by that favorite radio crew, it makes sense to get MLB.com Gameday Premium as a $5 extra.
"It's really only a $5 upgrade from the already awesome Gameday Audio," said Cory Schwartz, director of statistics for MLB Advanced Media.
"For that you get in-game video highlights, plus access to the type of data that the clubs would have in the dugout to help make decisions during games. If you're a fan and want to know what the managers are using to make decisions, here are the same tools."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.