Cubs Weekly - How Weather Applied Metrics changes the game at Wrigley Field

Cubs Weekly host Cole Wright and Tony Andracki caught up with John Farley and Brett Jackson (yes, the former Cubs outfielder) from Weather Applied Metrics stop by the podcast for a chat about their technology utilized during the Marquee Sports Network broadcasts at Wrigley Field. Farley and Jackson explain how the flags at Wrigley often betray what the wind is actually doing at a field level or how the wind can swirl and wreak havoc on the game. They also explain how Wrigley compares to oth

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Hey, you know what time it is that's right this time for the Cubs weekly podcast presented by wintrust proud partner of the Chicago Cubs and the only place to get your debit card you get yours today at wintrust. Com / Cubs Cubs games. If you tuned in the Cubs live before every single baseball game on Marquee Sports Network that you know that we like to do a little thing towards the end of the show is called what are applied and blue arrows or green arrows are red arrows that are going to do every witch way as it pertains to the friendly confines of Wrigley Field and we let you know how the jet stream is work is where the winds blow in with the ball fly out will be held up. We'll just pretty much seen invisible wall as a head towards the IV but it's weather Plyometrics and the guys John's Harley and former Cub Brett Jackson really help provide the information as you're going to hear right now because Tony and jackey and I caught up with the models.

Graphics in and looks into the future. What is weather applied metrics and how does it pertain to the game baseball today how the weather affects the flight of balls so historically a lot of times you see people say and then it was Brett's ID on all of this but the idea was the idea was is that this bread is an outfielder. It's time to observe that you know on one day you hit the ball and it would do one thing on the other day and didn't didn't seem much different than on the next date would do something vastly different as meteorologists. We always do that. There was a much more complicated flow inside of the stadiums and simply what the sides represented so we set out to

But tell you explicitly how the wind temperature pressure Etc how that affects every balls flight not only currently but in the future and so on.

So bright eyes since John is giving you so much credit there to can you take us behind your involvement in this you are going from the Plainfield to weather applied metrics Wrigley & wriggley's obviously known for the elements known for win. Chicago is the windy city. Although I think we all know it's not because of the actual wind some story about politicians talking too much blood goes back to Wrigley and there's quite an effect when hasn't bought Wrigley certainly got away with a couple home runs. I probably should have been home. I know shouldn't have been home run we used to do this drill with Dave McKay who is the Outfield coach at first base coach of the time and we take a pitching machine on the Outfield fire the ball up Crank It Up 215 whatever miles an hour to shoot up in the air size. We could I need watch is professional outfielders would dance and stumble and tripped trying to

Trying to make a catch and ultimately fail probably 95% of the time. It was a drill to obviously increase our abilities outfielders. But what we were doing is is basing our assumption on the flight of these balls with the flags in my point to point. I'm trying to make is the flags weren't accurately representing what was actually going on in the stadium on my involvement with with weather Biometrics actually stems from my father. And he's one of the the principal ideator is for this company and I've got particularly interested in the idea when we brought on these meteorologist Bill Martin was one of the founders of the company. He's seized meteorologist for channel 2 KTVU in the Bay area. So I got to know him. We started looking at the actual predictions of how much further a ball is flying. I got specifically interested in in learning how much

I just this technology could show how deep the statistics of a specific player to change due to weather and overtime and and looking at the accuracy of numbers in certain stadiums for certain players and that's my primary interest in this technology. Of course. I'm also very interested in the application as a team using its prepare for a game and of course for viewership and how it how it helps the fan understand what's actually going on on the field. Sobriety said you got away with a few home runs that probably weren't home runs and he said that if the players have the ability to apply this this technology to Everyday game that it may be beneficial if you think that if you had this information back when you were playing that you may be with no play just a little longer.

First of all the total of my home runs was just a few so I can't say I can't speak to honestly about that. You know, I don't know how much how much it would affect the on play. I think it might shift my Approach a little bit to know in advance what's going on in each field it certainly might shift the way of pitcher thinks about approaching his game on the mound. And I think that's that's of Interest. I think I'm more specifically interested in Howard teams and players can look at where they might be able to leverage their talent and hitting style pitching style in specific stadiums around around the league.

And as we talked about with the the flags you guys both mentioned that they can kind of betray what that wind is actually doing on the field level or even different layers if you go up so John at 8. Can you talk a little bit about a wife? I did we see the flag on the iconic Wrigley scoreboard, you know, they're they're going out one way or the fall pose. They look like they're all blowing out but that might not be accurately how the wind is going inside Wrigley Field, right? Yeah. That's correct thinking imagine. Imagine like a tall wall and the wind is blowing over wall. Well, the wind doesn't just blow up the wall and keep going what happens frequently is that the way it comes over the wall, it actually comes down on the other side. And if you if you create like this big in whether we colorsync rotors, but imagine, you know, imagine a big circle coming down so it will not only does it because over the wall. It was a little bit beyond the wall, then it starts coming down but that is just coming back towards you so frequently what appears to be a Tailwind.

Would actually turn out to be a headwind and a downdraft on a ball that hit so we quantify that for every potential wind speed and direction for every for every stadium. So we model we model the entire potential for the stadium. And once this whole thing once we're in real time in the ball, we measure these winds at our weather sensors, then we plug does Windex at Winfield into over the trajectory of the ball the way the wall can kind of change the factor. How about the video boards at Wrigley harder they come into play because we know just a few years ago those weren't there and it part of the equation. So how much has that potentially change the equation on the field to either John or Bracken speak to that a huge impact and there was a game just the other night. I forget which one it was, but effectively the wind when it was blowing directly through the video board the video board did what I was just describing in

Created actually was helping the balls come out, even though it's the wind was coming in from Center. However, when it was just off by like, you know, 10 or 15 degrees, then it was a dead on headwind against the bald the same ball that was hit so it's dramatically different for for really what would you would say? I mean, you know, the wind is instead of from One Direction. It's only off by just a little bit and makes a huge difference. The other one is the same thing when the wind is come off. What is that again? Same story at certain specific wind directions what looks like the ball the wind blowing in is actually helping carry the balls out.

What about this? How do you think that I can change in overall team approach? If you're David Ross when you get this information and you see that the wind is blowing in from each and every single Direction and it's blown in at a different speed from every direction to be seen that on cubs live before the pregame show. Does that change the way you're going to take every different plate appearance? I mean, are you going to say OK Google wants out at-bats, but home runs there going to be a few and far between today. So let's go with the different approach. Let's just try to put the ball and play maybe play a little small ball because we know that it's going to be a little tougher to get it out of the yard. I certainly think it's an intelligence strategy to make an adjustment if you know, generally where are natural approaches to to drive the ball in the air, you know, we might think about trying to keep you don't get shifting our approach to keep the ball down and you know for basic

That said, you know, it's a tricky thing as a player cuz your your you do want to stick with your approach and you do want to stick with your game and and I can speak from experience when the wind's blowing out and it's in your head that all you got to do is pop up the boys right Field & Stream me a homer or it can it can have the effect of messing up your swing for more than just a game. And so I think it's a fine balance as manager and as players to recognize how to make that adjustment, you know, maybe the criticality of the game is is important to consider and

Go from there certainly looking back on games. That's interesting also to know as a player. You know, that that a home run was was you know would have been an hour and or or on the other hand knowing knowing that you're out could have been a home run would have been a homerun. Otherwise May shift the way you reflect on your performance and inmate shift the way the front office reflect on your performance as well as if you know what's going on. You can you can position the outfielders do to be a better positions to to to catch balls, you know, if you'll fall how my dad translate in real time to buy cuz John correct me if I'm wrong here, but it's used to every 2 seconds you're getting like an update about the wind right and how it affects it to how might that affect the team in real time. And and are we at the point where?

Michael mentioned Ross can use this kind of technology and try to supposition Outfitters. Like we said in the midst of a game we we we provide that you think about me and if you know, it's sometimes it can be variable and in a lot in a short time you to go to a golf course and it's blowing in this not so what you want to do. We have some some algorithms that we we plugged in to do some averaging so that we find it. We find it to be the most useful at least based on our calculations. So we do a little bit of averaging weekday. Okay, you know, yes this just answer your question. It can be used in real time. And definitely we wanted cards that you know, we think it's the course where the developers so, you know, we love our baby. But this this thing is we we just think it's the coolest thing ever and we were when we all started this thing the group of people they were a bunch of

Okay. So right as the one who's really made it, I mean might my athletic career ended when I was a freshman in high school. So I'm just wanna be guy but I'm cut I'm kind of a nerd in the terms of the sciency stuff. So we got a bunch of us that have really been focused on. Wow. This would be so cool. If we could if we could kind of change the way people view the game and and maybe have an impact on it. We just yell and I'm seeing a huge baseball fan in the group that we're all assembled. Are we all are so we just think that it's it's the coolest thing and we find a lot of could be used applications. Just want to I want to add on John say I mentioned that I'm really interested in how this is going to affect players in the game of baseball. I'm actually chiefly concerned with my golf swing and specifically which club to pick up when I'm you know, a hundred fifty out spoke to John want to ask you this because you said that you how excited you guys are about this, but when it comes to the game of baseball, you know, there's usually dies in a cut from one of two.

Old school or new school and they have different different opinions and you know different approaches to the game in general how have some of the old school managers or front offices holiday view some of the technology because when you talk about implementing that any games, I mean, you know David Ross, is he still young he still close to the game, but then you go and I don't know what what Dusty Baker's propensity to use technology actually is but say Dusty Baker and he's one of the older managers in Major League Baseball it is he going to be like well, I don't know about this already have enough things that I'm worried about right now. I'm not trying to worry about the weather this at the other that it's just not what I'm about and have you seen any pushback from some of these other organizations with the Columbia fireflies the Mets single-a in Columbia, South Carolina and fascinating because very young manager so cool.

Because I am already working on enough things with him. So I'm not going to do that. Right? So that was his decision. We worked on it with another major league team and there were the heck does the the manager said he didn't want it. So he overruled for his coaches who wanted it in The Dugout because they thought it would be so beneficial. But yes, that was the old school guys. They know this is going to be a distraction is not going to be so but at the same time we've worked with some people, who are they got more than they are metrics folks they're eating this stuff off because they can see it. And and also we presented it to some other state rometrics folks who are like, this is awesome. Because now I know you know, definitively I can lose my outfielder, you know the right because I know now I'm giving him a better Advantage statistically speaking of catching a ball. So yeah.

Some people really love it. Some people are like, yeah, I can't I can't yet is valdis in my decision-making in large part. I mean, you probably don't want a guy trying to pop up a bowl and might mess up his swing was Brett saying but but I think there's something you could do. You know it do you send the runner from third because the guy but he's not going to be deflected by 10 ft. But we know it you know, so there a lot of applications that you could use that say, yeah, you know, so and we touched a little bit on this but how does Wrigley compared to other fields and other ball parks around Major League Baseball bread at you know, obviously from play in there. And as you mentioned the windy city, but really seems like it's kind of its own animal that you're one day at the great hitters park the next day. It's like a pitcher's Park and you can't even hit a ball out. So you guys know

compare how big league compared to any of these other MLB ballparks answer that more specifically according to the data, but I will I will I will say initially every Park is different and every part has different swirl a different things going on there parks that are in the middle of cities and their buildings are tearing around the stadium, which is Shifting the win and then they're their stadiums like Wrigley that I might have some of the the greatest fluctuations and there's certainly a reason we are excited to be

Showcasing this technology initially West Marquise Network in the tub that is because release so has so much fluctuation. Don't you want to add anything on that? I mean obviously is the weather person to be a regular is the you know, I mean, it's it's a fantasy of it. It's it's the perfect place to be because all kinds of stuff going on there. It's complicated and it's kind of like 10 ways another good one. That's that's that's cool. The West Coast stadiums are cool in that in the summertime. That's when they have the strongest winds, but they have the weaker winds in like April and September October. So you're every every park has its own unique thing a question you get your elevation in at Coors. And so yeah, I mean for us,

Start here and have the whole thing for me was marcius is awesome. How does Wrigley Field compared to a ballpark say like AT&T? I mean earlier we talked before we got the podcast started about house. The Dolan guy who was really was going to hit him into the into McCovey Cove was Barry Bonds because of the winds that were blowing in it. Is that another idea ballpark just like Wrigley Field.

It is in the sense that do the one thing is really good about say Oakland or San Francisco is that that you have a large sample size of strong winds over several months, you know, basically June to August is going to be blowing hard from some form of the West. And so you think you can do a lot the in the wind place a huge factor in those games and end in some cases unbeknownst to them. So yeah, it's Wiggly is more variable. That's the difference but let me give you one interesting thing about as well for me. It's interesting San Francisco. They want to move these games from 7 to 6 in the reason why we want to do that is because we want to have more kids be able to enjoy these games and be able to get home on school nights great idea. So they say is this going to make any real difference in say home run and it's just as well, you know, the temperature degree difference between that that time is only about one degree.

It's going to make about a two-foot so effectively it's negligible.

What's a physicist wasn't thinking about was that what you were doing was you were moving to fight by moving a game from 7 to 6. You're moving an hour more into the teeth of the Sea Breeze the Peaks at like 4:30 in the afternoon. So was planning huge impact on the game, but I guess it just depends on who you're asking you but you know and it does it is it doesn't mean it pictures though because the wind will be blowing at the pictures back. So. Madison Bumgarner back in the day on the mountain and that's that's pretty much a good position absolute weight workers. Remember when they set up that Park in San Francisco the whole idea what that was part of it was they want to make more pleasant experience than what it was a Candlestick because of all the wind so they faced it out into the bay, but they were thinking that they were going to have a tail.

Win for the hitter, but again the flags and tell the story. It turned out to be a headwind in the downdraft in so many cases when the sea breeze blows Sonos kind of a perfect segue into what I was actually going to ask to is how much because there is so much day baseball at Wrigley in a normal season. How much does day versus Night play a factor in how much do the temperatures play a factor as well at Wrigley from July to a cold April day and how much it how does that affect everything with the wind? So so we are at the way it works. That's what we've done whole climatology many weeks. We look at every month it at in Chicago and all the stuff. What I can say is we are collecting data as we go and we continue to learn the one we will learn more but just generally speaking warm air is less dense. So the boss carry much farther on a warm day the balls or just going to carry simply because you know if it's in the air

The other thing that happens is on warmer days, the ball comes off the bat faster. So the idea that pisses that the best the goat the biggest example that you can give in this sort of thing is not lie. Does it get warm but also dry sent out so think about this a baseball is it absorbs the moisture in the air around it? So the longer the ball is in the it is in its environment. It will absorb it. So what we found at the minor league park here in Columbia, South Carolina, was that the ball to left out all the time and it's wicked humid here. So when is it happening is the balls become fairly spongy.

So they don't come up with that. It's hard in the major league in the Major League. These balls are you know that they go through walls fairly quickly and it depends on where they're stored and so on humidity has a huge back from the wettest ball. If you will to the driest ball is a different 250 feet in Cary and that has everything to do with how hard it comes off the bat because the ball once it gets dry or dry and dryers like a cue ball, where is if not, it's more like a sponge think about what happened like a Coors Field, for example, they started putting balls in humidors and it reduce the number of home runs by 7 per game.

And so yeah, there's a huge elevation Factory but but the dryness of the year and the temperature there all these factors and we've been we've been working on this phone this whole Kraken is not for 5 years. So we feel like we have a pretty good handle on what's going on in most circumstances on how does the flight of airplanes and Rockets were his entire life to the mix and you know, we got all we got a whole lot of other piece being added to this this recipe. Yeah, so we're not working out there if you were looking for somewhere to go play ball. I think a Southern state with high humidity would be a good decision up John. You said you've been working on this for preferred least five years breakfast take us into future five years 10 years from now will weather Plyometrics be applied to every single team in major league baseball.

Yeah, and I don't think it just stops of baseball. I think there are a lot of sports at that had the that we have a huge opportunity to expand into yeah, I foresee this being a part of the game. I foresee this and we are seeing this being a part of the viewer experience recognizing what's going on on the golf course or a baseball field or Cricket Fields were also interested in how this is affecting gambling and how and how that plays independent picture five years from now. I can see this being a part of every team's approach to the game. So that way we talked about in in the clubhouse before a walk the dog out for the first batch of this talk about during the game. I think there's a lot of opportunity to recognize the environment climate where and how it's affecting our gameplay. And I think my my handicap is going to go down to as a as a side effects. Like what's your handicap right now too high?

Single digits double digits. What's a child? I have a child due in January. Okay, will you have no excuse until January when we ever a child then that's when your handicap is supposed to go into double-digits. This is a really poor excuse to but my dad growing up just a quick story. I left handed batter in my entire life. My dad is so afraid that I would mess up my baseball swing who played golf left-handed force me to play Rite Aid on that side of the golf ball buddies my excuse I'm sticking with it as a left-handed golfer. I be a scratch golfer. Well, how about this since you don't have that swing to mess up anymore. Have you tried to get to Lucky sticks and play for the left hand side and that would makes a whole lot of sense wouldn't call I pick it up and it's like a pure turn over. I can't make contact and make sure it's actually to do close to the truth with my baseball career. They continue on that path.

I have the same trouble making sure contact with the golf course and it is I did write this is what I'll tell you is that I get invited to these golf tournaments and I stop telling you my real handicap cuz I was always paired with the very nice but 65 year old women. So I stopped I stopped being honest about my about my handicap. I'm like, yeah, just put me with a group that she likes 65 year old lady. They go cheetah green and it's you put more times did not but if you guys ever need anyone who can get it off the Tee Box but four putts on the regular. I'm your guy. Wherever I'm standin so exactly what what's the par-5 I couldn't reach into

We're really proud to be the one of the frontrunners here at Marquee Sports Network that are able to use this technology and be able to be able to bring it to the fans and let them know what's going on in the air during the game. Make them just a little bit smarter when it comes to the game John Farley and Brett Jackson guys think so much appreciate the time. Look forward to talking to you very soon by the podcast of the Cubs come back home and face off with the Cardinals you be able to see all those weather Plyometrics on cubs live where they give you the skinny we're going to get a comp ceiling on essentially until it's really cool technology to be able to see how that Jetstream play the parking each and every single ball game at Wrigley Field a look at the flags of winds blowing and it's blown out everywhere is blowing out just to write which means it's not really doing a whole lot and left but just then going through an explaining how it affects Fly ball is line drives. It can affect something to REI.

Center but not to Centerfield. It could be blowing out to right field but in from Left Field it it's like it's fascinating to see the the the wind whip around it and all these Graphics that we have aired in the middle games in pre and post shows that have been really really coolest. I appreciate the time that they took to explain that all to us. Yeah. I want to see a day when the wind is blowing in David Ross and the rest of the Rendezvous League Baseball, especially in this day and age. I mean, they're just such an aversion to lay one down the weather. It was a drag or push or even if I don't see it as much with the weather Clyde metric. Maybe we'll see that you'll be a renaissance.

Go to the Wendy's actually pushing you to Second a little bit more. So Nico hoerner has another foot that because the wind is at his back a little bit like I'm joking, but that would be pretty cool to see something like that play out. But yeah when it comes a small ball the thing that I miss the most is in the bunting it's the stolen bases. So I love stolen base for my favorite plays in baseball and it would be really cool to see that more but I agree with you to just how weather and wind blazing impact. I can see it having an impact on baseball moving forward. You already know that in the most unbreakable record in the history of Major League Baseball is Rickey Henderson 1406 stolen bases 2008 guys aren't even stealing 30 season anymore. So like I I just I can't fathom that I basically have a stolen base in almost every game played on average. Anyways, it's just it's mine.

Rickey Henderson with three seasons of 100 + stolen bases and I think at every baseball conversation if you really wanted to and go back to Rickey Henderson born in Chicago but a producer or break up LiveMixtapes. He actually brought up the fact that I don't need to get these rail Henderson and the kid that grew up watching Kirby Bucket knowing that he's a Chicago native. Just seeing his actual numbers and put him in the context. I mean if you haven't told me you might want to go back and revise those. All right. Yeah. Let me check it out. But yeah, yeah Rickey Henderson was incredible and be like in Independence and stuff. So Ricky's career was one of a kind and something like we will never see again greatest leadoff hitter in time for sure.

Anderson talk and then Kirby Puckett jumps in the conversation and in the end, it's just good baseball talking every single time and that's going to do it for this edition of the Cubs weekly podcast presented by wintrust. Don't forget download it. You can also subscribe to the pot over on Spotify or apple podcast and you can do it today. So for Tony and jackey, I'm cold right? We'll see you next time right here on the Tuskegee by guess.
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