Alex Speier of the Boston Globe notes the announcement of a new position in the Red Sox’ front office. It belongs to one Dr. Richard Ginsburg, a sports psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is the head of the Sox’ new Department of Behavioral health:
The staff plans to place an emphasis on the emerging field of “mindfulness,” in which individuals consciously identify and take stock of the circumstances surrounding them to avoid getting overwhelmed or distracted. So, rather than getting distracted by a hostile crowd while batting in the ninth inning of a tie game, a player is trained through mindfulness to recognize that crowd prior to the at-bat and implement behaviors such as controlled breathing to manage his response to it.
The department will also oversee “Neuro-scouting,” which Speier explains in the article and which would be an excellent title for a movie about baseball set in a mildly dystopian future, perhaps starring Tom Cruise.
Seriously, though: any edge you can get, you take. Any tool you can give players to help them succeed, you give them. So good for the Red Sox for doing something new.
Now let us sit back and wait for the columnists and talk radio guys to make fun of this because, as we’ve seen so many times over the years, sports is the one area in life where innovation is typically seen as a bad or mock-worthy thing.