March 29, 2008

Opening Day

I'm sitting in the office on saturday night as we're wrapping up testing and re-testing of everything media related and product related for our launch tomorrow/monday and couldn't help but reminisce a bit. This marks my eighth opening day at mlb.com, and its been a sometimes bizarre, but always challenging and inspiring road getting here.

Bob and i gave a talk last year at Microsoft's MIX conference to introduce our partnership on all things Silverlight, and in his introduction, we put together a few quick slides highlighting how MLB.TV has changed over the years. You can watch the video here. The slides are at ~2:50 in. It reminded me of how much we accomplished during the season last year, and over the course of the off-season thats now wrapped up. Between real time highlights, nexdef live streaming, the latest mosaic, video search, and the updated silverlight player, not to mention social media based tools as well, I'm still not sure how it all got done in the limited amount of time we have while baseball isnt going on. From my perspective, the first pitch thrown out to open a new season never gets old, and its an honor to be a part of the team that continues to strive to innovate in how we present the game to our fans.

Posted by justin at 11:29 PM | Comments (3)

October 04, 2006

Enhanced Gameday

With the opening of the 2006 Postseason, the team here was quite pleased to debut some enhancements to our gameday product that we've been working on for quite some time. We've put camera systems into some of the ballparks to essentially take high speed photography of each pitch and convert it into telemetry data in real time. This allows us to show baseball fans and gameday users very accurate pitch trajectory and speed in sync with the text based play by play feed that they usually watch when not watching MLB.TV. It's been an exciting project for us, as its involved working with every level of the various organizations in and around the league. Enhanced Gameday has its own blog, which you can check out here: http://gameday.mlblogs.com

The product itself is accessible just as you would access normal gameday. You'll be given a choice when you start up the app as to which version you'd like to watch.

Posted by justin at 01:01 PM

April 22, 2005

Springtime, mlblogs, and dtrace for java

I'm reminded this week quite pleasantly by the south facing windows over my bed that spring (and soon summer, at this rate) is finally here in New York. One of my favorite things about my apartment is the large window over my bed that lets the sun wake me up as it comes up every morning and allows me to leave my alarm off for most of daylight savings time. With spring, and sometimes a bit before it in New York, comes baseball. It's been reflected upon by many and put far more eloquently than i do by most, but after a long off-season it's always exciting to see some action on the field again.

The funny (as in sleep depriving) part of this is that from a technology perspective the off season is our opportunity to work on new project and bolster our infrastructure for the next year. It's probably more appropriate for us to refer to it as the on-season. This past on-season, we had quite a bit going on - and as of just now I can tell you about one project I've been particularly excited about. www.mlblogs.com is now up and running - substantiating Om Malik's sleuthing reported just yesterday. Hal Stern was the first to mention to me in the midst of our work to get this up and running that it would be neat if baseball fans could blog @ mlb.com (and I've heard it a number of times from other colleagues since) - and while all i could say at the time was that I wholeheartedly agree - here we are. I can only imagine the content we'll be seeing soon courtesy of the Red Sox Nation and the rest of the always vocal and always opinionated baseball fans that can now call mlblogs.com their blogging home. (also vocal and opinionated - our unix systems team will be blogging here: root for the home team.

After a busy couple of weeks that feels as though they've passed in about 12 hours, I've finally found a bit of time to reflect on another opening day for the team at MLB.com. It's our first opening day in our new datacenter - soon to be one of two running actively in parallel - and was an excellent test for our also-new Sun hardware and redeployed MLB.com application. While we've been up and running and doing our best to kick the cobwebs out since early february, it's always refreshing to see everything perform as expected (not that we doubted that it would stand up to the test). Most inspiring was the dynamic of our team that shines through brightest under extreme pressure - and is one of the many reasons I feel honored every day that I have the opportunity to work with everyone at MLBAM.

One last brief mention and i'm off to work again. I received an email from Jared Jenson, a colleague via Sun, regarding an interesting project he's been working on that we first discussed at Sun's developer EAC back in march - dtrace for Java. I've been excited (who wouldn't be?) about the possibilities of dtrace for our application as a substitute for a majority of the cobbled together toolkit we all "carry" around - this extension furthers the cause for those of us that rarely get out of the virtual machine and is another great reason to upgrade to Solaris 10. We've gotten pretty good at scaling our app through internal review and modification versus brute force with hardware - and managed until just this year to realize all of our traffic growth on the same systems we started with in 2001. Dtrace presents the unique opportunity for us to gather the information we need and quantify where we need to make additional progress, and even more importantly - determine when it is in fact time to invest in additional hardware. While we could sort of do this in the past - dtrace makes it a heck of a lot easier, and makes far more data available! Stay tuned for the not quite as exciting news (to the non-geeks amongst us at least) as mlblogs.com following this season that we're upgrading to Solaris 10 in production for these reasons and more.

Posted by justin at 06:10 PM