Major League Baseball seems to be adjusting with the times as the rules committee approved two wearable devices for use during regular season games. The news will not affect online MLB sports betting odds, but it does make MLB a pioneer in terms of new technology while their counterparts like the NBA recently banned players from wearing such devices during games.
According to the Associated Press, the two devices that were approved are the Motus Baseball Sleeve, which measures stress on elbows, and the Zephyr Bioharness, which is used to monitor heart and breathing rates.
The rules committee also approved the use of a pair of bat sensors during workouts.
The technology that was approved by the committee gives teams a better method of detecting habits that could lead to injuries, giving players a chance to correct the habits before they are injured.
Despite the potential of the new technology to prevent injury, the players’ union is concerned the technology could be used to invade a player’s privacy. The union claims they don’t know how teams would use the information, and believe that both sides have to discuss the matter at their next bargaining meeting.
Some players and team representatives spoke about the decision to allow the use of the wearables during the season, but most had to speak on the condition of anonymity because neither MLB nor the players union authorized any announcements.
The committee, which includes New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, Atlanta’s John Schuerholz, Minnesota’s Terry Ryan, St. Louis’ John Mozeliak, Cleveland’s Chris Antonetti, and representatives from other teams, provisionally approved the sleeve last year. This is the first time the sleeve received the committee’s full consent.
Although players will be allowed to wear the sleeves during games, the data cannot be retrieved from the sleeve until after the game. This is due to the fact that iPads provided by MLB are the only electronic devices allowed in the dugout and the iPads teams have do not have Bluetooth technology, which prevents teams from downloading the data during games.
Not being able to download the data from the sleeve in the dugout also prevents situations where the information contained in the sleeve can be hacked by members of the opposing teams.
The data collected by clubs can only be used internally, and cannot be shared with people outside of the organization. The player whose data is collected is allowed to view the data, but the information cannot be provided to broadcasters or used for commercial reasons.
After hearing the news, Steven Small, the director of Zephyr performance systems, told reporters that he believes his company’s product will be very useful to teams because the heart rate monitor can help teams by letting them know when a player’s stress level is too high, which will help the manager make a decision to rest the player for a game or two.
As expected, some veteran players weren’t too excited about the possibility of using a wearable device during games. New York Yankees veteran Brett Gardner told reporters that, “The next thing you know, the pitcher’s going to have a phone in his pocket taking selfies.”
While some players might share Gardner’s opinion, a majority of players will quickly adapt to the new technology because it can help make them better players and extend their careers.