Patrick Mooney has a doozy for you over at The Athletic this morning, and it’s your must-read of the day: Cubs Look to the Future with Pitching Robot Machines.
In short, the Cubs have an extremely futuristic pitching machine that not only replicates the velocity, spin, *and* arm slot of any pitcher you input, but it also projects an image of the opposing pitcher right onto the robot, itself, to really round out the experience. It’s pretty freakin’ awesome.
Here’s a video that Mooney shared on the technology.
According to Mooney, the Cubs are the only NL Central team with access to this tech (they were even using a prototype last year) and so far only seven teams have placed orders. (Brett: I’m surprised the Cubs copped to it at this point – I remember there were rumors that only a couple teams were using this tech last year, and those teams did not want to be identified at the time.)
“It’s f—ing unbelievable,” one Cubs official said.
He has the entire low-down for you at The Athletic, including a note on at least one other team that’s using it, the restrictions placed on its use during games by MLB, and where else the Cubs are using this machine (because it’s not only in Chicago).
I think my favorite part of Mooney’s entire story, however, is the fact that the machine was used as part of the pitch to sign Seiya Suzuki last offseason. Which, yeah, that is TOTALLY the Cubs M.O. (if you recall, there were rumors of virtual reality being part of their pitches to other free agent targets in the past … Jed Hoyer was always very cagey about that at CubsCon).
The bottom line here is that I’m glad to see the Cubs trying to get/stay on the cutting edge of game preparation, but I’m even happier to see that they’re leveraging their involvement off the field, as well. They’re going to have to woo some free agent hitters this offseason, I suspect. Maybe this will help.