AM radio vs. digital audio; robotic umpires; and Amazon cuts the road – GeekWire

Making an attempt out totally different play-by-play audio choices within the stands at T-Cellular Park. (GeekWire Picture / John Prepare dinner)

Sitting within the stands down the primary bottom line Thursday at T-Cellular Park in Seattle, I used to be feeling like an actual fan, in my white Mariners jersey with GEEKWIRE on the again, Louisville Slugger baseball glove, Mariners spring coaching hat circa 2007, white Felix Hernandez socks, and noise-canceling headphones connected by way of wire to my transportable AM-FM radio, perched between the seats in entrance of me for optimum reception.

That’s when the man just a few seats to my left turned my manner and made a humbling remark … he puzzled if I used to be cosplaying as Steve Bartman.

You might keep in mind Bartman because the unlucky Cubs fan within the hat and headphones on the 2003 Nationwide League Championship Sequence, who deflected a ball that may in any other case have been caught by Cubs outfielder Moisés Alou. If you happen to’ve seen the video or an image or watched the documentary, you’ll have a way for what I appeared like within the stands on the Mariners recreation this week.

However this was not cosplay. This was a tech check.

On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we pit old style terrestrial radio towards smartphone audio streams for play-by-play within the stands. Then, we debate execs and cons of baseball analytics and robotic umpires. And eventually, we expertise the highs and lows of Amazon’s retail expertise at its hometown stadium.

Hear above, and proceed studying for extra.

Radio vs. smartphone: I like baseball, however I’m an actual fan of multi-sensory experiences, particularly seeing one thing reside and concurrently having any individual speaking in your ears, pointing issues out that you just may in any other case miss.

At a modern-day baseball recreation, there’s a lot occurring within the stands, on the scoreboard, and among the many folks round you, it’s straightforward to lose monitor of what’s occurring on the sector.

Longtime baseball followers know the answer: deliver a transistor radio to the sport, possibly with some headphones, and observe together with the assistance of the play-by-play announcer and shade commentator up within the sales space.

These days, there are a number of apps that provide the flexibility to stream the audio of a recreation in your smartphone. In a super world, the expertise of listening to the sport by way of your telephone within the stands could be completely in sync.

However in actuality, anybody streaming the audio from the MLB app, TuneIn, or the 710 Seattle Sports activities radio app wouldn’t hear a house run name or every other play-by-play of their ears till a minimum of 30 seconds after it occurs on the sector, given a big delay within the audio stream.

This has aggravated me for some time. My perfect state of affairs could be to go to the sport with a member of the family or buddy who additionally wished to have the play-by-play going. Sitting subsequent to one another, we may every have an Airpod in a single ear, listening to the reside stream from our telephones and chatting in between pitches, virtually like we have been sitting on the sofa collectively, besides the sport could be reside in actual life in entrance of us.

However the delay makes the phrase “reside stream” a misnomer, and renders this state of affairs laughable. Testing it out through the recreation on Thursday, the stream from my telephone was sometimes about two pitches behind the reside motion, a minimum of.

I had an identical expertise the final time I attempted this on the ballpark, just a few years in the past, so this time I used to be ready. I introduced an AM FM transportable digital transistor radio, bought from Amazon the day earlier than for $21.99.

Tuning into the sport, actually. (GeekWire Picture / Todd Bishop)

Certain sufficient, good old style terrestrial radio saved the day. There was a slight delay, however just a few seconds, between the motion on the sector and the printed.

It was definitely workable, and an fascinating instance of outdated expertise beating new.

I’ve just a few theories concerning the causes for the distinction — together with community latency, further promoting within the reside stream, or possibly an MLB coverage or media rights subject — however I wasn’t capable of get a solution in time for this episode. I’ll see if I can discover out, and be happy let me know your concepts and theories at

Within the meantime, I’ll be perfecting my Steve Bartman cosplay within the stands. Anyone who appreciates listening to the play-by-play whereas watching a recreation is OK by me.

Tech on the ballpark: Within the second section, my colleague John Prepare dinner and I talk about and debate methods to make the sport sooner, the potential for augmented actuality within the stands, the advantages and downsides of changing umpires with robots, and John’s stunning misgivings about T-Cellular Park’s retractable roof.

Amazon One and “Simply Stroll Out” on the recreation: In fact, one of many worst components of going to any skilled sports activities recreation is ready in line for a beverage or a snack and lacking a pivotal play on the sector.

However this is without doubt one of the places the place Amazon provides its Simply Stroll Out Know-how, at a grab-and-go meals and beverage retailer known as the “Stroll-Off Market,” which opened at T-Cellular Park earlier this 12 months close to Part 126 behind house plate.

Utilizing my palm to enter the Amazon-powered “Stroll-Off Market.” (GeekWire Picture / Taylor Soper)

You may enter both by swiping a bank card or scanning your palm if you happen to’ve already registered with the Amazon One system. The overhead cameras and sensors monitor you thru the shop to see what you’re taking, and mechanically cost your card.

Since I had already registered my palm and bank card with Amazon One on the Amazon Go retailer on the firm’s headquarters again in 2020, I used to be capable of enter the shop at T-Cellular Park simply by hovering my palm over the sensor, and the gate swung open. I headed straight for the big fridges within the again … however was stopped by a employee who requested to see my ID.

I perceive that there are liquor legal guidelines governing this, but when I’m going to offer Amazon my biometrics, it could be nice if the system may know that I’m properly over the age of 21, and one way or the other permit me to cross into the beer part without having to supply my ID. Think about that buyer suggestions for the parents over within the Day One Tower.

At any charge, after pondering the big number of beer, I made my choice and grabbed a Mariner Canine from the recent case. Earlier than exiting, I opened my beer can per one other employee’s directions — they don’t need followers to have the ability to use an unopened beer can as a projectile from the stand. Even with that, and getting carded, the entire expertise took about two-and-minutes. It simply may have been lower than a minute if I’d spent much less time choosing the beer.

My colleagues Kurt Schlosser and Taylor Soper put collectively a full video and story when the “Stroll-Off Market” opened.

However I do have an vital postscript so as to add about that scorching canine, which Taylor and I mentioned after we have been again within the stands on Thursday afternoon. The new canine was lukewarm, and the bun was stale. As Taylor noticed, I had run into one of many downsides of grab-and-go meals service.

OK podcast followers, that’s the ballgame. Thanks for listening (and studying).

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