As of the games played today, Major League Baseball will begin allowing an iPad in the dugout during games. The tablets can only be used for such tasks as checking charts, statistics, and scouting reports.
Initially, at least, the decision won’t have any major impact on how games are played. Teams previously had access to the same information, just in paper form, making today’s rollout largely about speed and convenience.
The devices are not allowed to be connected to a W-Fi network, and the teams can only use the information that was transferred to the tablet before the first pitch is thrown.
The St. Louis Cardinals were allowed to test iPads in the dugout before today’s rollout to the rest of the teams. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has embraced the technology:
“If they want to see what somebody’s tendencies are in a two-strike count against left-handed pitching, they can come over and open up that file and see it pretty quickly,” Matheny said. “We’re very open to new technology. We’re just trying to figure out how this can help us because we have so much stuff that we have made our routine. We’re toying with it. I think that over time it will be what information can help us with in-game decisions.”
MLB has told teams that they will be allowed to use iPads in this way during the postseason, as well.
Tablets are bring used in professional sports in increasing numbers, with the National Football league making a 2013 deal with Microsoft to make the Surface the official tablet of the NFL. The National Basketball League also makes use of tablets, although it doesn’t have an exclusive deal.