That is right! Your humble blogger is this close to winning the Tigers’ 87th MLB competition of the year. Bases Coded is an MLB Advanced Media and New Relic sponsored hack-a-thon taking place in Chicago. It starts at noon on Thursday, October 27 and runs 24 straight hours to noon on Friday. Teams are tasked with utilizing Statcast data to produce an app or web-based application that consumers would want to use. The winners get World Series tickets and recognized on the field before Game 4.
However, I am more of a creative type than a coder. So while I am helping with the design and analytic ideas, during the hack-a-thon I will mostly be feeding my friend Paul red bull and reading him Twitter as he does the bulk of the work [Ed.: Sounds like our Slack channel].
And because of our small team and my relative lack of experience, I doubt we have much of a chance. But, I must say, the lack of planning around the event might mean we have a chance. One can only hope that is the case, I wouldn’t hate going to Game 4.
I will update this page throughout the 24 hours on our progress, anything exciting I can pry out of the MLB Advanced Media team, and, if I can, prop open a back door for all of us to steal their data (JUST KIDDING ROB, JUST KIDDING!). At the very least, check back for some sleep-deprived ramblings about Al Avila.
Update 1 (6:05 pm): I have made my triumphant arrival 6 hours late (don’t get a job kids) with a monitor that I borrowed from my generous employers. The competition is taking place in a conference room in the Chicago downtown Marriott. Pretty bare boned set up, 4 tables, 11 Nerds, and one giant projector with the fire place loop video playing. Time to get to work.
Update 2 (7:06 pm): So our idea is loosely based on @TigerUmp, and is set up to judge the expected batting average and find instances of anomalies that a high average actually resulted in an out. We are trying to leverage video or spray charts as well but haven’t gotten that far. Also, apparently I missed the portion where they interviewed people that will go on MLB Network. I’m beyond devastated.
Update 3 (7:49 pm): Dinner B-, desert A+.
Update 4 (9:25 pm): Competition Update: probably not going to win, but the other ideas seem pretty awesome. One team is creating what appears to be a real time NERD score (similar to what fangraphs does.) They are serious engineers so I would guess they are going to take it on the technical pieces. Meanwhile, I’m doing Red Bull on ice and photoshop.
Update 5 (11:03 pm): There is a full bar. Which is an interesting strategy but I’m just hoping Paul hits the Ballmer peak sometime in the next hour. Meanwhile, I assume my presentation will only get better with beer.
Update 6 (12:11 am): We did it. We became the first group of people in YouTube history to actually complete all 8 hours of the “Burning Fireplace with Crackling Fire Sounds” video. Hell of an accomplishment.
Update 7 (1:18 am): Abundantly clear that we will not be staying up for 24 hours. I’m not even sure my body would allow it. Also we are making decent progress. I’ve photoshoppeded multiple images of Jim Leyland and Paul is seeing results:
Best to catch a couple Z’s and get back at it early.
Update 8 (2:15 am): 4 hours of sleep, ready go.
Update 9 (8:20 am): Make that 5 and a half hours of sleep followed by a work call that woke me up after I slept through 3 alarms. On my way back downtown now. Additional updates while I was asleep:
Update 10 (9:29 am): They’ve resorted to putting 2 hours of funny cat videos up on the big screen so I’m in my creative element right now.
Update 11 (10:20 am): I just saw the hyperlink to this page and I have terrible news for Rob.
Update 12 (10:54 am): I now know how uncomfortable it is to have one of those fuzzy mic things 3 feet from your face.
Update 13 (11:37 am): Tensions are running high on a couple teams across from us, meanwhile we are pretty close to done and I’ve made my greatest contribution yet:
Update 14 Saturday (3:49 pm): We won.
All the credit to my buddy Paul for leveraging the Statcast data so well and just being brilliant in general. Judges responded to our charisma (obviously) and how we managed the data. Follow the victorious bot “Robby” for updates during tonight’s game.