The days of the home run battles between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were undeniably electric and engaging for the game of baseball. However, over the past 20 years, baseball’s stronghold as America’s pastime seems to be fading.
Fans want a dynamic, exciting experience, and Major League Baseball must address consistent drop off in attendance that has continued in the new season.
WETsoftware CEO Michael Ward believes augmented reality is a solution to baseball’s problem, using holographic training tools allowing batters to face pitchers before game day.
“With the advances in technology, batters are able to train for the specific pitcher they will face, life size and 60′ 6″ away in their field of view facing 3D baseballs travelling at real speeds,” Ward said. “This should have an immediate impact on offense and energy.”
Is MLB on the going the opposite direction?
From Forbes, in an article on Why MLB Attendance Dropped Below 70 Million For The First Time In 15 Years by Maury Brown, the reasons are very clearly supported with data.
Aside from the way some teams calculate ticket sales, 13 teams saw increases in attendance and 17 teams saw decreases for an overall decrease of 4%, dipping below 70 million attendees.
“…for the first time in the league’s history, there were more strikeouts (41,207) than hits (41,019). This marked the 11th straight season that strikeouts increased from the season prior, and the league batting average was .248, the lowest since 1972. And while batters were trying to swing for the fences, there were 5,585 home runs, down 9% from the 6,105 dingers in 2017.”
The concept behind holographic training is based on muscle memory. An athlete will increase muscle memory and probability of ball contact by lowering recognition, decision-making and reaction times during the batting process.
“Repetitions are necessary and hard to get,” Ward said. “We attempt to replicate the batting process based on pitcher data. The point is – player’s studying a pitcher’s 95 mph fastball then an 80 mph change up, 300 times the day you face him, at breakfast, while stretching, in short, during the pre-game routine, the hitter should do much better.”
WETsoftware also assists umpires, so they can call a more accurate game by positioning the User behind the catcher. With some questionable publicity here and here, this tech would be a welcome change. The features that have been created eliminate the need of the Umpire Robot Project.
“With strikeouts at an all-time high, and attendance down, MLB is looking for answers,” Ward said. “We believe we have practical solutions to create more offense and energy in the game.”