Maddon to keep open mind on iPad use

Cubs' manager prefers a card for in-game information

Maddon to keep open mind on iPad use

MESA, Ariz. -- Joe Maddon loves his iPad and uses it regularly. Nevertheless, the Cubs manager has been relying on a card in his back pocket for the last 20-something years and may not take advantage of the new technology -- approved for use in dugouts by Major League Baseball on Wednesday -- just yet.

MLB announced that all clubs will have an iPad Pro in the dugout this season. Teams will have secure access to preload all pertinent analytical reports and video onto iPad Pro from a private network infrastructure installed in the visiting and home clubhouses at all 30 MLB ballparks. The devices will not be connected to the Internet or stream live video.

"This might sound nuts to you, but it might slow down the process," Maddon said Wednesday. "Those things are wonderful to access the information but when you need it very quickly, I think you almost have to wait for artificial intelligence to take over. It has to move at the speed of your thought."

Which is why Maddon carries all the information he needs on what he called a "dugout friendly" card in his back pocket. He has the baseball information office "geeks" compile the pertinent info pre-game, and then he selects what he wants.

"I should know in advance of the moment based on the information I gather prior to the game, and then all the information I want on that card in my back pocket, because it's so fast," Maddon said. "If I have to start typing on stuff and pushing buttons -- if you know a relief pitcher is coming in and there's a moment in time that permits you to look up something, it might be OK. I think that's where the piece of paper has it all over the computer in that moment.

"I have an iPad Pro, I'm not denigrating Apple or anything else right now," he said. "When you're trying to get something done quickly in a dugout, I want to believe that all that stuff should be in place prior to. I've been doing this for awhile, and even when I had the computers back then, I had everything in notebooks or pasted on the wall what I thought would be pertinent, so what's quicker than looking up on the wall?"

Maddon said he's curious to see how the iPad Pro in the dugout will work.

"I've been doing this for a while -- I'd say since the mid '90s -- so it's 20 years of this," he said. "I have to see it to know it's actually going to benefit me in the dugout. I'm pretty comfortable with my system right now."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.