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Sports Along the Wall

Wednesday, April 21, 2004
  Group Wrap
When we began the project, our goal was to create a place for discussion of current issues of technology and ethics dealing with sports. From steroids to instant replay, we have all learned from presenting our own views as well as reading the views of others. Hopefully, our discussion has not simply been dry and boring, but enlightening and entertaining to watch develop. Even though we have hit on some of the major current topics, there is no possible way we could have touched on every issue of technology and sports. Further, it will be fun to see in what direction sports, technology, and ethics continue, as our culture and scientific community continues to develop. So, to end with a cliché as we began: The Fat Lady has now sung! (Well she’s warming up, we are not done until we present).

-Sports Along the Wall 
  Wrap it Up, B
I have enjoyed the group blog much more than my own. We have 30+ posts which makes it a fun blog to manage. Editing some of the posts and formatting the blog was challenging but yet still fun. I was never able to get our picture to work constantly. The way blogger is set up makes it tough. I learned a lot about editing and learned how to use HTML to format. All of the links that are on the right column of the blog are sports websites and took a short while to format.
I think my favorite part of the blog, other than working together with friends, was the freedom to post on almost anything dealing with sports. My blogs included topics such as Sports websites, gambling, rehabilitation, NASCAR, steroids, and Instant Replay. I believe I made my position known on the controversial subjects and I feel like I educated people on the other blogs. I too have learned about other aspects during this project. To make our presentation better Tim and I interviewed our head nutritionist on steroids. We also got first hand view of the $100 thousand Motion Analysis Lab. I also learned a lot from other people’s blog posts.
As mentioned earlier the presentation has an interview in it. Also is a short clip of the Motion Analysis Lab and a program called Dartfish is also a part of our presentation. We all divided up the slides of the PowerPoint project and each did our favorite topic. The pictures we found are great and really enhance our slides. The presentation should be great. Our group is prepared and through teamwork we have achieved our goal.

-Blake Fertitta
 
  I Hate Goodbyes
How the time flies when you are having fun surrounding yourself with sports and the discussions that it involves. The discussions have ranged from steroids to instant replay, and have even involved Fantasy Leagues and technologies such as Dartfish. From the short time period that we have had to work on this project, I feel like I've gained a better understanding on how technology is implemented in almost every sport. I also feel like I've learned more about what Georgia Tech Athletics offers to its athletes. I hope this group has given its readers a different and unique perspective on sports and the technologies that continue to play a huge role in its development.

The next step for this group is our presentation. We plan to show different aspects of our topics. I plan to talk about the Motion Analysis Lab here at Georgia Tech and also talk about Dartfish. Along with the verbal presentation I plan to show some clips of both the Motion Analysis and Dartfish. Hopefully the class enjoys the presentation as much as I have enjoyed preparing it.

I guess that’s it...I’m out!

-Tim Gustafson
 
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
  The Fantasy comes to an end...
Game over man, game over! As this project comes to an end, I can look back at all the new technology I never new existed in sports. Sports are rapidly evolving with new technologies, as are the way fans enjoy them. The level of fan involvment in sports is amazing with the fantasy leagues. Using the internet to get up to t he minute stats keeps the games very competitive and interesting. The leagues are able to operate with more efficiency, making them appeal to more peope. The online games also bring people from all over the world together to play the Fantasy League games.


Our group really worked together to got this done. I got off to a late start, but everyone helped get me started and caught up. I hope our presentation goes well tomorrow.

-Bobby Brewer 
  That’s a Wrap
Well, the project has come to an end. I have truly enjoyed voicing my opinion and reading the opinion of others. From understanding different opinions on current topics in professional and collegiate sports to laughing at everyone’s personal experience with some of the rehab technology here at tech the project has been fun. What really brought the project together was preparing for the presentation. In looking beyond just what I wrote for my entries I began to see just how muddled some of the issues facing athletes today are. Tim’s entry discussing how willing some athletes are to succumb to steroids just for a few good years as well as Blake’s discussion of importance of instant replay, showed me that these issues are not as clear cut as I once thought. Thanks guys. I have enjoyed posting as well as reading.

-Taylor Narewski
 
  Wrap-Up
Well, Sports Technology is coming to an end! Over this period of time, I have learned a lot about these different technical devices that sports have upgraded to. Just seeing this devices work in action is so amazing. But juts learning more about steroids and its situation that have been brought up by the Major League Baseball committee. Knowing that people who you thought that were "Role Models" are nothing but fakes. But not every Major League Baseball Player and any athlete are on steroids. Also with the Camera Devices that I talked about earlier, so very useful in there line of work. The 3D Digital camera that is used in Major League Baseball is helping many teams who are having trouble pitching to certain player or even teams. It also helps the Baseball Analysis' to break down the different hitting an dpitching situations for the views at home. This topic in general was a very good choice for our group because there are a variety of things to talk about, something in sports and sports technology happens every day, and everyone love sports and technology always interest the human mind. Well, at least every topic we wrote about was kind of interesting. It was a pleasure working with my group members. Sorry it had to end, but I know we earned an "A!" Hint Hint!!

-Treamon Andrews 
  It’s So Cold
Like most athletes I have spent my fair share of time in the training room. From muscle soreness to a body part that needs a little extra “warming up” before practice, I have spent some time in the training room. Here at Georgia Tech we have very nice and up to date equipment for most any situation. However, I have not had an injury as serious as the ones sustained by Blake or reamon and thus, have not used some of the more high-tech machines in the training room such as the cybex or ultrasound. The machine I have used more than any other is the cold and hot whirlpools. These whirlpools can have their temperature altered by heaters and are equipped with jets. Despite the fact that the whirlpools are not particularly high tech they are effective. They help to relieve muscle soreness and stiffness, something that occurs frequently. Sometimes the simpler technologies can be the most useful.

-Taylor Narewski
 
  Rehab Baby!
Lets talk about REHAB! Now Rehab, I know a lot about because I went through earlier this year. I was in Rehab for my Hamstring. See I torn my hamstring my senior year in high school. I received therapy but I tried to rush back in maybe 2 to 3 weeks to try to run at the state track meet. I thought I was getting better but what I was really doing was just hurting myself even worst! I never let it heel. So coming hear running track and with the proper help, I found out that I never heel correctly. So I had to stop running completely for about 2 months and just get my hamstring stronger. I had to exercise on this machine called CYBEX! Now CYBEX is a machine that should be taking lightly. There was many times where I tired and even sore from this machine. I used this machine so much the track trainer changed the name to TREBEX! Now that explains how much I have used it. But anyway, getting stronger each day that I use this Cybex machine, I had to take this test at the end to see how much I have improved. So completing the test, the results showed that my hamstrings were stronger than ever! But the problem was that my Quads wasnt strong enough. My hamstring was over working causing it to get strained (is what I did earlier this year) or even torn ( is what I did my senior year in high school). The CYBEX is a machine that develops the muscle that was weak at one point, and is trying to become even stronger. It is also used for torn Knee ligaments.

-Treamon Andrews  
  Rehab (not just for quitters)
This is my first year competing in NCAA sports and my body is still adjusting. Before College I enjoyed a virtually injury free career but that has changed now that the intensity of work has increased. Right now I am going through my fourth case of tendonitis this semester. Tendonitis is an inflamed or irritated tendon and occurs through over usage AKA Long Distance Running. But to be honest I am not sure what’s more painful: the tendonitis or getting up every early morning for treatment? I spend about an hour every morning in the main training room on campus. I also spend 20 minutes before practice getting treatment and another 15 minutes to top if off after practice.
I begin every morning by taking a short trip across the street to get to the training room. Once there I am greeted with a usual joke from the track trainer, Dave. I make my way to the warm world pool. This thing is great, its like a Jacuzzi. I sometimes feel sorry for the people next to me in the ice cold pool or even doing exercises on the underwater treadmill in the exercise pool. After 10 minutes of ecstasy in the Hot Tub, I make my way over to the tables. I sit down and prop my foot up and allow it to get treatment. Sometimes I get an ultrasound and some other times I get a phono. Both machines send heat waves deep into the skin to help sooth the pain. Heat packs and hot whirlpools can only go so deep. That takes about five minutes. During those five minutes I look around and notice a machine called the Cybex. It is attached to a computer and Measures strength input/output in both legs. I have seen Treamon on it a few times. The more I look around the more machines I see that are used for rehab. I see other athletes doing stranger exercises that help rehabilitate them. I also do some of those exercises including manual resistance of the ankle and towel crunches. My favorite rehab assignment is the ball toss. In this exercise I must balance on my bad foot on a small trampoline and play catch with a soccer ball or volley ball. I must maintain balance and use both hands to catch the ball to throw it back. After that exercise I am supposed to go into the cold pool for 15 minutes but by then I am usually pressed for time so I call it quits.
I have enjoyed my experience going to treatment almost every day this semester. I never enjoyed getting up early or always being the last person to leave the locker room. The treatment itself has never really been painful or boring. All the trainers have been a lot of fun and the facilities are great. I just hope and pray in the future I only visit the training room voluntarily.

-Blake Fertitta
 
  Wait and Wait and Wait
Yet another new drafting technology is the Waiting Room draft. Fantasy team owners can look for a "waiting room" that has their preferred league preferences and join that league. Now, they wait until the room has filled up, and then the draft begins. This is a big difference from previous drafts, where you had to wait until a certain day to make your draft picks. This is instant draft satisfaction! When the room is full the page automatically reloads to the "Launch Draft" page. Using a java applet, the draft begins 10 minutes after going to the launch draft page. It then automatically determines the draft order. You have 90 seconds to pick your player, and the draft goes for 25 rounds. This instant draft is a great addition to Fantasy sports.

-Bobby Brewer 
  Dart WHAT?
Dartfish…ever heard of it? I’m sure most people out there are shaking their heads with no idea what Dartfish really is. Before I came to Georgia Tech and saw the program in use, I had no idea either. Dartfish is a funky name for a computer program that is used as a video coaching system for almost every sport. This program allows a coach to watch the video and pinpoint problems or defects in the athlete’s technique. This instant feedback allows for quicker solutions and better performance. Not only is this program used to improve a player’s performance it is also being used in the media to give a closer and different perspective on a sport. For instance in sports such as racing and skiing, Dartfish is used to give a representation of how a car or skier is performing compared to the leader. Instead of trying to compare a skiers time with another, you can actually see them as if they were racing each other. This allows the viewer to see the differences in turns and also speed on a straightaway. As a fan of all sports I like the idea of being able to watch either skiers or racers simultaneously instead of constantly glancing at the times and wondering how close it is really going to be.

Surprisingly the baseball team at Georgia Tech rarely uses Dartfish. Our strength trainer introduced the program to the team but I guess the coaches haven’t warmed up to the idea. They chose instead to buy another program that probably does half the job. Just don’t tell them I said anything (hehe). What I have seen of Dartfish really impressed me. One of the clips has a pitcher throwing his curveball. The program allows a frame by frame tracking of the pitch and shows the exact path of the ball. Others clips I have seen are of Barry Bonds and Eric Patterson swinging together on a split screen, two pitchers throwing at the same time, and a split screen of a pitcher throwing a ball and a strike. Dartfish allows you to do many things with each video such as trace the bats path or even measure strides and distances. It’s hard to imagine why all sports here at Georgia Tech do not use this program to provide a competitive edge.

Dartfish…weird name, good program. And now you can say you’ve heard of it.

-Tim Gustafson
 
Monday, April 19, 2004
  Finders Keepers
A new enhancement for fantasy games called keeper leagues has been long awaited by fans. FLB participants can choose to be in these keeper leagues, where the drafting rules are a little different. Instead of picking new players for your team every year, you can keep up to five players for three years. Essentially these players are protected from being drafted by other FLB participants. So if you know a year in advance that there is going to be a new super star arising in MLB, you can draft him at a relatively low spot and keep him on your team for next year, thus improving your chances of winning the next years FLB. This brings into play a whole new level of strategy and planning. Someone may be doing great this year, but will he have the same great year next year? This can also go the other way, in that someone has a bad year but he may bounce back for the next year. Keeper leagues add a whole new dimension to the fantasy games.

-Bobby Brewer 
  Ahhh Just Yesterday
Fantasy League Baseball (FLB) has come a long way in the past decade. I remember my father and his friends setting up a league at a local sports bar. The had everything written out on paper and had to keep track of stats and points themselves. Fantasy sports now use the internet to keep all stats and points in order. Now you can play versus anyone in the world, instead of having to meet up at a local bar. In FLB you are the team's manager, owner and president. FLB participants have a variety of tools available to them, including multiple draft methods, live box scores, unlimited waivers and trades, free agency, an all-empowering commissioner, chat rooms, league bulletin boards, sortable stats for all players, etc. All these are maintained and updated automatically. You just have to know which players to draft and trade. The better your players do in real life, the more points you accrue for your fantasy team, and the better your chances are for winning in your league.

-Bobby Brewer 
  Sports Websites
My first blog discussed March Madness and how the use of the internet enhanced the fans experience. Today I want to expand on the use of technology that enhances the fan's experience. When the Internet finally reached the mainstream it revolutionized the world including the world of sports. Today some of the most visited sites are those that deal with sports, Such as Espn.com or Cnnsi.com. I have posted links to most of the mainstream sites visited by sports fans. At these sites up to the second scores and stats can be viewed. Diagrams of the game can also be viewed. Every shot, hit, pitch, pass, run, and position can be plotted on a diagram. Play by play is posted and easily accessible. Some sites require a small fee but most offer the service free. One of the most popular free services by ESPN is ESPN Motion. This small video automatically shows current highlights of each sport. ESPN and many other sites offer the games live by video or radio for a fee. Therefore it is possible for anyone in the world with the internet and computer to watch a game live.
ESPN and CNNSI as do others offer fantasy games. Fantasy games can be just for fun or may have cash rewards. CNNSI offered $100,000 to anyone who got their bracket entirely correct for the NCAA tournament. Many pools are formed with fantasy games. A group can get together and form a private league or group online. The site will record and tally their scores and calculate a winner. Most sites themselves are for just good clean fun but a few websites do actually allow gambling on the site. Most mainstream sites limit their fantasy games to contests with prizes rather than gambling.

-Blake Fertitta
 
Sunday, April 18, 2004
  HAVE YOU HEARD OF IT? WELL, HAVE YOU?
Im talking about this 3D digital camera they have in sports today. They use this special camera in Major League Baseball. This camera has the ability to break or slow down, or even analyze every pitch inch by inch. Watching the Braves' game the other day, I observed the Braves' pitcher struck out one of the opposing team members and the pitch was very critical. The announcers of this game was so amazed that he broke down the pitch with this new 3d digital camera he has now. It broke the pitch down from the time it left the pitchers hand to the breaking point and all the way to the catchers gloves. Its just amazing what Major league Baseball has moved up to. I guess they have no choice if the want to compete with other sports and technology. Also I observed that Major League Basball has cameras for when players steal bases now. This shows different angles of the base that the player has stolen. Looking at technology, it has come along way in such short time. Just imagine what will happen in the next 10 or 15 years!

-Treamon Andrews 
  What's Your Fantasy?
Fan involvement in sports went to a whole new level with fantasy sports. Unlike betting on teams you think will win, fantasy sports allow you to make your own team and pit them against other teams made by other fans like you. Fanstasy sports have become very popular in the last decade. In fact, a participant in a fantasy baseball game won $10,000 for defeating three million other participants. There are fantasy leagues for almost all sports, from football to nascar to golf, each with thier own rules and ways of tracking points. I explain more how this system works in my next entry.

-Bobby Brewer 
  Floor It!
With this new technology, the NBA has place a new camera in all basketball arenas. It is not in the stands or above the courts. Its in the "FLOOR!" Its called the "Floor Cam." Now the purpose of this camera, I HAVE NO IDEA. If you ask me, its pointless. The different television stations show different replays that are under the basketball goal. But to me, all this camera shows is when different players go for a dunk or lay-up, they get all under there shorts. Now what male wants to see all of that? Of course its alright for the female, but for all the males who watch professional basketball I think we could do without. I feel that's its just a waste of money and pointless. Of course without the other cameras, you wouldn't be able to see most important things in the game but with the floor camera all you see is Shaq dunking and you see all under his shorts. Now I know nobody wants to see whats under Shaq's shorts. Thats just nasty!

-Treamon Andrews 
Saturday, April 17, 2004
  How to Paint in with Style
I've been a fan of paintball for almost a year now, playing when I get a chance. I was amazed at the level of technology some of these guns possess. I looked up some of the more advanced guns and found some truly amazing things. The Intimidator Storm has an onboard led screen that can display a shot counter, game timer, or even a psi gauge for your tank. It can also use compressed nitrogen instead of the usual compressed Co2. This gun can fire 25 balls per second and is custom milled. All this is contained in a gun that weighs less than 3 pounds. It is truly one of the best guns in the market and is very technologically advanced.

-Bobby Brewer 
Friday, April 16, 2004
  Rick Reilly is the Man
Alright that’s it I've waited long enough. It’s my turn to talk about steroids. I don’t really want to talk about the technology in steroids (that will be discussed in our presentation on Wednesday in full). I want to talk about the ethics. I finally got the copy of Sports Illustrated that was devoted to steroids in MLB. On the last page of every Sports Illustrated is The Life of Reilly. In the March 15th issue he writes an article entitled 2054: A Steroid Odyssey.

The year: 2054. The place: National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, N.Y. The scene: A Little League coach takes his team on a tour.
Wow, Coach! It says on this plaque that this Barry Bonds guy hit 73 home runs in one season!
Yep. 2001, Zenon.
Cool! Nobody's hit even 50 homers since, like, before President Schwarzenegger, right, Coach?
Yep. Not since Aught-2.
But what does the hypodermic needle next to his name mean? It means his records are suspicious, Blorzo, because he may have taken steroids. All the players in this section of the Hall have needles next to their name. That's why people call this part Dupers' Town.
Why did they take stereos, Coach?
Steroids, Zyzzgy. They were banned way before you were cloned. They made you mad strong. Guys would go on them after the season, come back 25 pounds heavier and knock the ball from here to the ozone shield. Guys started hitting home runs with check swings!
Cool!
Well, not really. Steroids gave you zits everywhere, raged you out, shriveled your testicles and messed with your liver and heart. Half the guys who took them were dead by the time they were 50.
Why didn't anybody stop them, Coach?
We should have, Pluton. I think we were just so amazed by all the homers. We'd never seen anything like it! It took 71 years for two guys to hit 60 or more homers, and then, suddenly, the milestone was broken six times in four years!
Uh, duh, Coach.
I know, Quarky. We were all fools.
But how did all these stereo takers get past the index-finger drug test in the on-deck circle?
See, nobody tested for steroids back then. Well, except the NFL and the NBA and the NCAA and the Olympics.
Why not baseball?
Fehr.
People were scared?
No, fear was how you pronounced the guy's name, Mr. Don Fehr. He was in charge of the players and he got whatever he wanted. And he didn't want testing.
He didn't know they were bad for you?
He knew. He used to help run the U.S. Olympic Committee. But he was more into making his guys money than saving his guys' lives.
Why didn't the commissioner of baseball do anything?
Please. Bud Selig? He was slower than frozen ketchup. Selig against Fehr was like a burp going up against a hurricane. Nothing like Commissioner Costas later.
So how did they get rid of the stereos, Coach?
Well, that's the great part, Glixxy! It all started on one incredible Opening Day, in 2004. A huge group of the older players were sick of seeing the reputation of their game go down the drain. So they decided to start getting tested on their own! Suddenly, hundreds of ballplayers were taking tests, proving to the world that they were clean! They taped the lab results to their lockers. And the guys that didn't get tested got booed every time they came to the plate. People kept hollering, "Gimme a pee!" and singing, "UR-ine TROU-ble!"
But it was a great year for pitchers. And tailors, of course -- they had to take all the uniforms in. Players that year lost the equivalent of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
So what did Mr. Bonds do when they caught him?
Oh, they never caught him. He always insisted he hadn't taken steroids, and if he had, he hadn't realized it.
How? Did they sneak the steroids into his transdermal of Zork in the morning?
Good question, X-77. He never said. He retired in May that season and never spoke to anybody again. Everybody was so sad, the party only lasted a week.
What about this guy, Coach? It says he hit 70 in one year!
Yeah, Mark McGwire. He admitted he took andro, which a baseball study proved acts like a steroid in your body. He quit three years later and became a pro golfer, only 100 pounds lighter than he was.
What about this Sammy Sosa guy? It says he went from never hitting more than 40 home runs to hitting more than 60 three out of four years.
He packed up and disappeared in the middle of the night when people started saying it wasn't just his bat that was corked, it was his body, too.
(There is a pause.)
Coach, all these Dupers kind of creep me out. Can we beam back to the regular Hall of Fame now?
Sure, Trog. Hey, kids, who wants to go see Pete Rose's display? Compared with these guys, he looks like an Eagle Scout!
Issue date: March 15, 2004

I knew I could not do the article any justice by paraphrasing it or even quoting it. I didn’t want to splice this masterpiece up at all. I think Reilly really sums up what I feel.

Personally I love MLB and I love the Atlanta Braves. My friends say I like baseball too much and that I wear my Braves’ hat way to much. I also love the Braves' History including the most famous Brave Henry Aaron. I just watched as Barry Bonds become number three on the all time home run list. I know if Bonds continues to play he will surpass 755 and maybe even 800. This sickens me. Before he gets close I want him to prove his innocence in the steroid scandal. This is probably impossible because the evidence is so strong. He needs to walk away from baseball before he ruins it. I recently learned that McGuire was also guilty. The public had been duped by the supplement he had in his locker that was legal in MLB. He had used the legal supplement has a scapegoat saying that’s what got him stronger. Scientist tested the supplement for years and concluded it did no more than cretin. McGuire already had retired and public no longer cared. He had deceived millions. Even without steroids McGuire and Bonds are both great players and deserve to be in the HOF. But to say they aren’t on steroids after putting up ridiculous numbers is absurd. It is disrespectful to the public. We must remember that Steroids are in Baseball. Players have tested positive but the lack of action against the players is worse in my mind than sticking a needle in your arm.

-Blake Fertitta
 
Monday, April 12, 2004
  Fantasy Land
Within the past 5-6 years, the internet community has seen fantasy team programs grow rapidly. For those who don’t know fantasy baseball and fantasy football are types of internet games. Individuals create their own baseball or football team, made up of current professional players. The individuals’ team receives points by how well their player does in real life. For example, if my fantasy baseball team had Alex Rodriguez playing third base, I would receive points based on Alex’s performance in his regular season game. Individuals compete in leagues against other teams. Honestly, I have never competed in fantasy baseball or football, yet I have friends that have. Following Blake’s line of thought from his internet bracket blog, the increased participation in fantasy sports online has created a great following of the game. While not everyone can afford tickets or even watch every game on television, most participants check their players’ progression constantly. Fantasy team participants check stats from home runs to slugging percentage in baseball or pass efficiency and total yards in football. This kind of devotion to checking stats has created more of a following for MLB and the NFL. Because fans can now compete in their own way they are more likely to follow the sport with more fervor than before.

- Taylor Narewski
 
A presentation and discussion of current issues dealing with sports technology and sports ethics.

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