It was way back at Interop in Las Vegas this year where one of our PR guys, Ben Stricker, asked if I would be interested in the tour of Petco Park coming up as part of CiscoLive in San Diego. I said ‘yeah!’ for a number of hopefully obvious reasons and then volunteered to have our team shoot footage of the event. We planned and worked back and forth as the event got closer and I had been working on a storyline that focused on the amazing things that MLB Advanced Media was doing with their streaming media empire.
I was a big fan of their iPhone app, their web presence was incredible and as far as pro sports go -- they had set a pace that was the envy of other leagues. Fast Company had a well written overview of their accomplishments I highly recommend. The primary storyline had boiled down to an interview I would do at the ballpark with both Joe Choti from the Advanced Media group and the VP of IT for the Padres, Steve Reese. As it turned out, Joe could not do the interview but Steve Reese was willing and ready. In fact, Steve and I had already hit it off.
I had showed up early to try and get a feel for the ballpark and start expanding our b-roll shotlist and Steve was happy to chat. I had done some research on him and learned that we both had the same alma mater: University of Houston. Steve had also been doing IT for my childhood football team, the Houston Oilers and was with the team when they were moved to Tennessee to become the Titans. Big love for the man was a sure thing I would think. Well, Steve turned out to be a fantastic guy. He was extremely forthcoming about their wireless challenges and the projects they had undertaken at the park. He also shared how much he had learned from not only the football stadiums, but also the new home of the Houston Astro’s -- Minute Maid Park. (I say new home because I grew up with the 8th wonder of the world…the Houston Astrodome…which is now looking much smaller in the shadow of Reliant Stadium (go Texan’s!) The biggest different between Minute Maid and Petco is the retractable roof. The signal path and reflections can of course change dramatically with the status of that roof.
Well, bummer I could not get the Joe Choti interview since that was going to serve as my anchor for the history of Baseball and technology from a much broader level, but I could not be happier with what we did get here and the new friend I made with Steve Reese.