Play Ball Kid / Delivering a New WIN(ing) Reality to Hitter Development

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Episode notes

In the spring of 2009, Chris O’Dowd the Oakland Athletics drafted him in the 40th round of Major League Baseball’s amateur draft. A switch-hitting catcher out of Regis Jesuit High School in Denver, Colorado, he’d become a coveted prospect after years of training alongside his father, Dan, one of the chief architects of the legendary Cleveland Indians teams of the 1990s.  O’Dowd had grown up with an unprecedented glimpse into the inner working of Major League Baseball (MLB). As the son of Cleveland’s assistant general manager—and later, the Colorado Rockies’ general manager—he was even observing player assessment meetings by the time he was eight years old. That insider knowledge was vital to his later success playing in the minor leagues (including for Atlanta Braves affiliate, the Mississippi Braves), and on the Chicago White Sox, when he was eventually called up in 2017.  But as the injuries piled up in his pro career, O’Dowd found it increasingly difficult to stay prepared for in-game action, especially as a hitter. There wasn’t a comparative substitute for seeing live pitching, which is vital to success at the plate. Over time, he realized this lack of preparation created an insurmountable problem, a predicament his father had just the answer for. In 2016, O’Dowd (who was still playing at the time) and his dad founded WIN Reality, a company that melds the pair’s baseball expertise with revolutionary virtual reality (VR) technology. Using information drawn from in-game film sessions detailing pitchers’ throwing motions, and the flight paths of their balls—data that every major league team now tracks—they created an immersive program that simulates what it’s like to hit in big league games. Before long, they’d built a system that accurately captured the individual characteristics of every MLB pitcher—from Justin Verlander’s slider to Corey Kluber’s sinker—to hone in on their core company mission: helping hitters recognize pitches and build strong mental habits at the plate. In this episode Chris and Sammy discuss: What it was like coming from a baseball family. Many people may have seen Chris' dad, Dan O'Dowd, on the MLB network or heard his name as a GM of an MLB organization, he played professionally as a catcher and now his brother is quite a college prospect. Chris' obsession with helping hitters see the baseball better. A lot of people seem to be against all this technology infiltrating the game today, how would he explain to them the need for WinReality? Some of the success stories of people and teams that have trained with WinReality. There are several different modes to train in WinReality, they discuss each mode and why we need each one, How important do you think it is going to be this off-season with the uncertainty that Covid brings. What it takes to start with using WinReality on their own, What is coming next for WinReality users? Can you share a baseball lesson that your dad taught you that still applies to baseball and business today? You can follow Chris and the WinReality team on Instagram and Twitter. There will be some big announcements coming from them before the end of the year. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/playballkid/message