Earlier this month, Theo Epstein was doing a tour of some of the Cubs’ minor league facilities, and he stopped by Daytona (in no small part, I’d imagine, to see Javier Baez, Christian Villanueva, Roni Torreyes, and more). There, he did a short interview with the Daytona Beach News-Journal. It’s an interesting read, but I found one piece particularly compelling.
The Cubs, this year, have been installing a live feed video system at every ballpark in the system, so that, if they want, they can flick a switch and watch their minor league affiliates at any time – something previously not available remotely. If you wanted to watch live, you had to have someone there. And that someone couldn’t be in two places at once, so that someone was probably not a guy at the very top of the organization.
Now, that someone could be Epstein, himself. Any day, any team.
“It’s just something we started in Boston awhile ago,” Epstein told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. “It gives us a chance to watch the games as they occur.”
Epstein continued, describing some of the added benefits of having a spy cam system.
“I also think it’s a way to kind of keep the players accountable,” Epstein said. “That’s a nice byproduct of it. Sometimes when you’re a few stops away from the major leagues, you can feel like nobody’s watching. But when you have the ‘spy cam’ out there, there’s always a chance someone’s watching.”
In a way, it’s such a simple idea. If you want to be able to watch a few Peoria Chiefs games, why not just do the video thing? Sure, it’s not quite the same experience as being there in person, but instead of losing days to a trip, you can use just a few hours to take in vastly more information. The ancillary benefit of keeping yourself in the back of the mind of your prospects is nice, too.
Technological advances undoubtedly made the move easier than it would have been, say, ten years ago. But these are the kind of simple, subtle changes that, taken together in the aggregate, are going to make this organization much better than it has been.
It makes me feel like, yes, finally: someone is watching.