Minutes before the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics trot onto the field during an overcast May afternoon, A’s bullpen coach Scott Emerson strides along the third-base line toward his seat along the left field wall. Emerson—everyone calls him Emo—is a former minor-league pitcher, and he still looks ready to take the mound in the eighth. The only sign that he’s a coach, not an aging star riding out a contract, is the space gray iPad Proin his right hand.
Major League Baseballrecently signed a multi-year deal with Appleto provide the 12.9-inch tablets to every team. They’re preloaded with MLB Dugout, an app that collects a team’s stats, scouting reports, and other info in one easily accessible place. (Sorry folks, the app is for ball clubs only.) After decades of binders stuffed with paper, the league is going digital. It’s the latest step in an ongoing effort to modernize the game—even if the players and teams don’t quite know what to make of it.