Author Archive

Amazing seats at tonights yankees game

first post of the season

I’m overdue for a post on this blog… just wanted to get two things out there:

1) i’m very impressed by the bravery of my buddy Justin for running the MLB Mosaic blog… we’ve put a lot of work into that product, but it’s still cutting edge, and has some fairly high computer and internet-connection requirements (sissy computers or my mom’s rural Iowa "broadband" need not apply)… and the customer service "comments" he gets there aren’t always constructive. 

Kudos to his asbestos constitution, and I hope we can help him make the MLB Mosaic (and work well for everyone soon.  With permission, I hope to talk some about the tech involved, and some other alternative audio/video client possibilities to make users of various platforms happier as well. (*forshadow*)

2) I bought a Yankees ticket package this year (with my own money!) … as a league employee, we sometimes have ticket opportunities come our way, but I wanted some guaranteed seats to some games I knew would be sold out anyway, so I and some friends got an 11-game package.  I got two Boston games and the 4th of July games in there, so the ticket package ended up being a pretty good bargain, as seats behind home plate go…  I’m pretty happy with the camera phone trick I figured out last year, so I’ll give it an encore here to spice up the blog post:  I take several cameraphone pictures with my smartphone, then stitch them together using Autostitch (on pc) or Calico (on mac) to make a big panorama.  Fairly good results for a low-res phone-cam:


(click for the full size image)

talk to you soon!


We’re back for 2007…

Pitchers and Molinas (and other catchers, too) report for spring training this week, and those of us on the systems team have been waiting for ’em.

Hopefully we’ll have more than a once-a-month post on this blog this season.  We just moved our team’s desks into a snazzier corner of the offices, and everyone spent part of last week getting our workstations configured "just so"… keeping in that spirit, I’m going to try to post occasionally about how to get more use from the site on your weird unixy-style workstation, and/or mash-up our content in interesting ways (yeah, I got a few new books for Christmas…)


My Kind of Town, Chicago is.

I’m stuck in O’Hare, returning from a speaking engagement at “Network World IT Roadmap Chicago.” It was a pretty interesting conference, but the highlight of the trip for me was going to Wrigley with my friend AJ to see the Cubs play. The weather had been terrible right up until about 2 hours before gametime, and then it switched to perfect baseball weather.
WOW, that’s a beautiful ballpark. I’d not been there in 15 years, and don’t remember it being so nice. (I was out in the bleachers then, and the temperature dropped 30 degrees during the game. This trip was much nicer.)


Stuff I found out at the conference that that very few people know about

* (from your phone)
* (from your slow computer, like mine is in this airport)


Draft Day! step carefully…

So, yesterday, between my home and the office, in independant incidents, my wife’s watch broke, my iPod broke, and my cellphone decided to reboot every time I move it.
This was all on 6/5/06… not even the “day of all evil” yet. Fortunately, at least the “evil empire” won their game handily (go Yankees!)

Today, we’re doing DraftDay, so I’m chained to my desk, eating pizza and watching logfile scroll by and picks come in from the commish’s office, into the DB, and deployed to the webservers as xml files… every year it’s crazy (big amount of work for something we won’t use again for another 363 days), but it’s all going pretty well… knock wood!


Yes, we’re still here…

Dang… it’s been awhile, huh?
Ryan here, and yeah, I and the systems team here at MLB are still here… this blog tends to be the one upon which we (well, I) write about baseball and work stuff, and there’s been no baseball, and a lot of the work-stuff is SUPER MEGA SECRET-SQUIRREL HUSHYHUSH.

Not really, of course, but most of it’s not that interesting to the blogosphere, and what may be interesting isn’t cool to talk about until the plans are firm. I can say, however, that we are *not* just sitting around an actual hot stove trading Topps cards and arguing about the weighting coefficient of the on-base+slugging stat.

We’re building stuff, which is what we do here in Operations at MLB. In-season, we run stuff. And also build it. And log into it in the afternoons and watch baseball on it. Which is a nice little perk.

This offseason, I also found time to get married, go on a honeymoon, and buy a house, so that’s another good excuse for my having blogged a lot more elsewhere (“the houseblog”, if you will).

So why get back on the blog horse today? Well, mostly ’cause I just signed up to go to the O’Reilly Emerging Tech Conference, and put my name and contact info in their wiki. I can only afford to schedule one workday there, though, so I’ll be there Sunday night, Monday, and flying back to NYC tuesday morning. If you’re going, and want to talk baseball, unix, Sun servers, or whatever, find me early!

I really hope to run into Joeseph Adler and let him know that his book and the example programs in it are going to be obsolete in a few weeks… I wish he’d done us the courtesy of telling us what he was doing, so we could’ve said “hey, neat… but could you have people hit our Akamai caching network instead of the servers directly? …and hey, that file stucture you’re using’s gonna change, so save yourself some effort there”.

…but stuff like this: (from page 144)

“This script will pull down approximately 250 MB of data from the website if you run it as is. … I could have done something less hack-like, … but the title of this book isn’t Elegant Software Engineering for Baseball

…I guess it’s not Courteous Network Client Software for Baseball either. Neither shall it be Functional software for baseball for very long.

Don’t mistake my tone for anger or annoyance, though. I love this stuff, and might have blogged about it before if I considered the data terribly usable for anyone but our web-based GameDay client. I would *love* to publish (and champion) an official, well-spec’d baseball API and WebService, put out for the community by…kind of like Amazon, Google, and Flickr did, before their Hacks books came out. That would really be neat.

I’m just sayin’… you might want to wait for the 2nd edition.

Hope to see some of you in San Diego!


the other MLB draft:

Check this job posting out… (it’ll expire in a few weeks, so if you’re reading old blog posts, sorry…)

We’re looking. Know anybody good? I’ve got a honeymoon to Aruba planned soon, and I need a spotter. (well, actually, my spotters need a spotter.)

blog post tags:



Technorati Tags: softball



  Originally uploaded by ryancnelson.

We had our company picnic and softball game in Shea Stadium last Friday… my team won! (which resulted in a nice, crunchy, sunburned nose…)

In other news, and an explanation of why there’s been a scarcity of “root for the home team” blog entries recently; WE’RE INSANELY BUSY!

…I’ll post a little more about this soon, but in the meantime, I’ll just say that we need some help over here, and may be hiring soon… I suspect that some of the people reading this might fit the job description.  keywords: Unix, Solaris, Sun, Perl, shell, geek.

I don’t generally post my email address on the blog, but comments are open, ya know?


cameraphone catchup

oh! I forgot to post this pic from a week or two ago… I go to games *other* than Yankees games, too… Here’s one from Shea, site of this years company picnic and softball game! Mets won this one over the Phillies, something like 8-3.



Genuinely classy comment from Mr. Francona:

Derek Jeter, if he’s not an All-Star, there’s not an All-Star. That may not be the most popular thing for a Red Sox manager to say, but this guy is the way baseball is supposed to be, that’s how much respect I have for him.”


coming soon, (if they’ll let me write about it!) intentionally cryptic musings on tallying the All-Star votes…