Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez is headed to the All-Star game leading the American League in home runs and RBIs thanks largely to a lineup of iPads he uses to record every swing.
Martinez was laughed at by veteran teammates when he first tried using the iPad in 2014 as a struggling Detroit Tiger. Now, Martinez is widely admired for his preparation, work ethic and iPads he brings to the ballpark.
For batting practice, Martinez sets up two iPads on tripods in the cage and uses video to record each swing. With his cuts in, Martinez retreats to the clubhouse to study the mechanics of every swing, according to an Associated Press report published over the weekend by the Boston Globe.
During game at-bats, he uses a third iPad, pointed at him by the Red Sox video coordinator, to capture swings at the plate.
Martinez credits the iPads as effusively as hitters thank their team’s hitting coach or Jesus Christ.
“It makes me who I am,” Martinez told AP reporter Ken Powtak.“I always tell everybody that I’m not a natural hitter. I’m a trained hitter.
“I had to teach myself the proper swing and the mechanics that I have to do. I have to stay on top of it because my body will find a way to let 10 million swings I’ve taken when I was a kid slowly come back in. So, I have to grind away to get out of the bad habits.”
Baseball is largely the same game as it was in the 1890s, but technology is modernizing the experience for players, coaches, scouts, umps, and fans. In addition to the video and data players can record, fans can stream games, call up stats on the MLB app and gain admission with an electronic ticket, all with an iPhone or Android handset.
Other pro sports leagues, like the National Hockey League, use Apple tech. More and more coaches can be seen on the bench using an iPad to chart shots and game trends, while some teams are installing them around the arena for stadium service information and various interactive activities for fans.
MLB.com listed his status as “castoff” prior to his use of the iPads and now lists him as the “best hitter in baseball,” according to the AP report.
Source: Associated Press via Boston Globe