clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Giants have a golden toilet award (and other, far more important notes)

New, 169 comments

The Giants are digging deep into the science of sports, as you would expect

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Leaders Sport Performance Summit
This is a UCSF professor who probably isn’t involved, but it’s a great picture
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Giants are giving out a Golden Toilet Award.

It looks like the caption on the award reads “I PISS EXCELLENCE.” And now you’re caught up with everything that’s important in the baseball world. Thanks for reading! Good night, everyone.

Oh, wait, I guess there’s more. That picture is attached to an article from Daniel Brown about the Giants’ burgeoning and important sports-science program. It’s not just about golden toilets. Which makes you think about ... you know. Pee. And stuff. We’re all adults, here, so let’s act like it. There is a lot of fascinating and crucial information in this article.

It’s almost five hours before the first pitch at AT&T Park last September, so we’re free to barge unannounced into the Giants’ clubhouse restroom. The players have yet to trickle in.

Daniel, please, choose your words carefully, you’re not helping.

The best hydrated player after each series wins an award shaped like a golden urinal. Think of it as the M-V-Pee trophy.

DANIEL.

Anyway, yes, it’s funny that this is an article about baseball that also includes the term “urine specific gravity machine,” but it’s also important! I’m old enough to remember when the perception of the Giants and the front office was different. They were supposed to be fans of the cigar-chomping scouts, and it wasn’t even clear if there was a computer in the front office, or if they used any stats newer than RBI.

Turns out, they were just fine. And, away from the media and dorks like me, it turns out they were just as progressive as any other team, even if Brian Sabean didn’t get a movie written about him. Now they’re getting deep into sports science, and Geoff Head is apparently a name that’s just as worth knowing as Yeshayah Goldfarb.

Yesterday, at the Giants’ media open house, there was a display and demonstration from Halo Neuroscience, a company that’s formally partnered with the Giants now. This is from a press release sent out by the team:

We are extremely excited to integrate Halo’s neurostimulation technology into our core training regimen to improve and refine on-field player performance and athleticism,” said Dave Groeschner, Head Athletic Trainer for the San Francisco Giants. “After testing the product internally, we’ve determined that incorporating Halo Sport ‘Neuropriming’ into our training programs produces measurable and significant results.”

The Giants first started working with Halo Neuroscience one year ago during the team’s 2016 January Conditioning Camp in Phoenix, AZ. At this time, the team’s coaches split top minor league prospects into two groups—one Halo group and one control group—and then compared each group’s progress across nine standard performance measures.

Training and testing lasted two weeks, during which all athletes completed the same training: daily twenty-minute warm-ups followed by sixty minutes of intense training focused on improving skill, speed, and power. Athletes in one group wore Halo Sport headsets during the 20-minute warm-up, whereas athletes in the other did not.

At the conclusion of the two-week period, the Halo Group saw the greatest improvements in speed work—the area most heavily emphasized during Neuropriming sessions with Halo Sport. In the 20-yard dash, for example, almost all the athletes tested demonstrated significant improvement after two weeks, versus athletes in the control group who only demonstrated modest improvement.

The singularity is near, and your great-great-great-great-great-grandson is going to be Locutus of Borg, give or take, but until then, MAKE OUR BASEBALL MEN RUN FAST, SCIENCE. And keep them hydrated.

This is the next wave of the baseball arms race. Heck, it’s not even the next wave. It’s the current wave. It’s almost an old wave. The Pirates were on the cutting edge, and you can read an entire book about it from the outstanding Travis Sawchik. Everyone’s known for a century that baseball is all about mechanics, but it took a while for the technology to catch up and allow smart people to keep digging and digging through layers of mechanics to get to the cellular level.

It’s a fascinating field, and I can’t get enough information on it. Mostly, though, I wanted to do two things:

  1. Draw your attention to that interesting feature up there
  2. Make golden toilet jokes

The Giants are using science to win baseball games, and you should probably drink some water right now, too. Go on. Close the tab. Drink a bunch of water. You could probably use more water.