On the day after ABC aired an episode of Modern Family, a major prime time sitcom, that was set on a Macbook screen and shot entirely on an iPhone, we learned that the Phillies entered the 21st century by buying a computer.
Perhaps most significant, the Phillies are investing more than a million dollars in the building of a proprietary computer information system they hope will play a similar role to the Red Sox’ well-known Carmine system, serving as a database for scouting reports, medical histories, statistical models, and more.
The Cubs began building their own computer system in 2012, shortly after luring Theo Epstein, the man who built Boston’s formidable analytics prowess, away from the Red Sox and naming him president. One of Epstein’s early moves was to sign Cuban prospect Jorge Soler to a 9-year, $30 million contract. Compared with the $63 million the Red Sox committed to the signing of Yoan Moncada, maybe you can put a price tag on prescience.
“We haven’t gotten to the point where we want to get to yet,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said, “but we are making that transition and adding to our arsenal, as far as information is concerned. It’s not the first time we’re dealing with it. We’ve utilized analytics in the past, but we’re putting a little bit more emphasis on it and we’re trying to be creative with it.”
“Thus far, Ruben hasn’t yet been able to clear the 9×9 cell level of Minesweeper,” added a high-level front office exec with knowledge of Amaro’s computing habits. “But, we’re working on it.”
Joke’s aside, this is a good thing, I guess? Better late than never, right? Problem is: As long as Ruben Amaro and Pat Gillick are in charge (Gillick was quoted as saying “We won five years in a row, and we don’t consider ourselves an analytic organization”), this is never going to become a thing. Just the mindset of we won without them before is flawed, because it fails to consider the fact that, within the last five years, virtually every team has started using analytics, thus putting the Phillies at an extreme disadvantage. Without front office changes, their buying a big, fancy computer is like a phone booth maker adding a cell phone charging station inside its latest model and calling it a day. This should solve our problems! Just need a minor adjustment here. Right back on track!