Thursday, August 26, 2010

Relive your kid's no-hitter again, again (and again)

I wrote this for today's New York Times. It's a look at how technology is changing youth sports. The biggest change: We can now follow our kids' sports lives on laptops and Smartphones.

The article looks at two emerging companies melding high tech and youth sports. Youth Sports Live sets up and maintains Web cams at neighborhood baseball and softball fields. Games can be viewed on demand at the company's Web site. (The monthly fee is $14.95). Want to relive the thrill of your kid's first home run again and again (and again). Youth Sports Live will sell you a DVD for $19.95.

The other company is Fungo Media. Ted Sullivan, its founder is a former minor-league baseball player and Harvard MBA who's pitching an iPhone app that functions as a virtual scorecard for kids' baseball and softball. It's called GameChanger. Pay $10 for the season and GameChanger sends pitch-by-pitch updates to your handheld gadget.

I wasn't able to work in all the details. One thing I left out was a description of all the stats that GameChanger collects and can serve up - like the number of first-pitch strikes your 11-year-old is tossing, how often the leadoff tyke swings at the first pitch, on and on. For a Little League game.

This is cool. But does it heap more pressure on kid athletes and give them new reasons to head for the exits? That's what the piece is really about.

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