T-Mobile unveils plan at CES to ruin baseball

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I was wandering, totally lost at CES on the second day. I think I was in the Venetian at this point, as I’d started there and only walked about 12 miles, when I stumbled into the most overwhelmingly pink room I’d ever seen.

The entrance was a hallway lined with mirrors, leading to a giant T in white at the end. When you turned into the main area, you were greeted with the T-Mobile gaming consoles and the Ducati used in what have been described by some as the most annoying cell phone commercials ever.

I asked the person who was in charge of the pink room if that was the bike from the commercial. He informed me that “Yes, [woman’s name]’s butt was right in that seat.” I said I didn’t know her name, and nice to know, and then I moved on as that really wasn’t what I was interested in the bike for. I like bikes and hate that commercial.

I was then shown T-Mobile’s plan to ruin baseball, and it’s quite an interesting use and abuse of technology. T-Mobile announced that it has partnered with Major League Baseball a couple of days ago.

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In the above picture, on the right there’s a little box for the “bullpen/dugout phones.” The idea here is that players take the phones onto the field, and these phones have features activated by stepping over imaginary lines.

On the one side of the line, swiping the phone allows a call to the bullpen, on the other it allows a call to the dugout. Or pretty much any way that it’s needed, it can be configured. No longer will the coaches, managers, etc. have to walk talk to the pitcher, catcher, outfielder, manager, etc. They can now just call them, or the on-field players can call the coach just by swiping.

Outfielder messed up an ankle? Pop open T-Mobile’s in-field communication system and call in a request for a replacement. That sort of thing.

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Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to having the ability to communicate with the players, but it seems carrying around a very breakable smartphone onto a field, or even warmup area, is simply inviting the phones to be destroyed and players to have to think about not sliding or being hit.

Add to that, now the players when talking on these things will look like they’re ignoring the game.

It’s probably a partnership that was inevitable, but dumbing down a smartphone into a position-based walkie-talkie and then sending athletes out with glass and metal in their pockets just seems to be asking for trouble. It seems like a long-range Bluetooth earpiece or something like that would fit the bill significantly better. We have the tools; we have the technology; why not do it right?

Make sure to stop by our CES 2013 forum for hands-on impressions, giveaways, and much more!

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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