The Giants are more circumspect about their use on tech on the baseball side, where teams are fiercely secretive to gain a competitive edge. Assistant General Manager Bobby Evansoffers that the team contracts more than 10 firms — among them, Inside Edge and Sportvision — for the best available data, video and technology. The team was the first to use FieldF/X, a system within ballparks that captures defensive data.
Within the organization, there are three programmers who maintain the baseball information systems and two analytics experts.
“The baseball side is different,” Evans says. “You can use technology in a unique way to market a team in San Francisco, but you don’t want to openly share what you do on the field against 29 other teams. We don’t know how other teams are using technology, so it would be presumptuous for us to say what we do is unique.”
Before games, coaches, players and staff pore over video and charts to analyze the performance of pitchers and hitters. The team’s proximity to Silicon Valley has afforded it the ability to get an early look at services that assiduously use reams of data to study hitting mechanics, based on video; fielding range, through the use of charts; a breakdown of every pitch thrown during a game; and players’ effectiveness when hurt.
“We’re in many businesses — baseball, which is No. 1, content, technology, customer-service, community and entertainment,” Giants CEO Larry Baer says. “And we have to be good at all of them to succeed.”
Succeed, they have, with a blend of baseball smarts and tech that ranks the team among the most popular in baseball on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+. Plus, there are those two gleaming trophies from title teams in 2010 and 2012.
This clearly isn’t for show, even though the team is nestled near the heart of tech’s heartland. The Giants want to create a global brand, pump up revenue and continue to hoist championship flags.