The Need for Silent Stopwatches and Pitch Count Rules in Baseball – Reflections on America’s Favorite Pasttime
You spend your life gripping a baseball and at the end you realize it was really the other way around. – Jim Bouton
So often we think we have learned a thing or three after 30 years in business, and yes, it is likely true that we have. However, as the Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan wrote, “…he not busy being born is busy dying”…which in my translation means never stop learning.
After an exciting 3 days in January with 6000 baseball coaches at the American Baseball Coaches Association National Conference in Anaheim, I am proud to say I learned these things (so I can keep busy being born):
- Coaches have to be the most positive, resilient and motivating group of people you’ll ever find. The lead the efforts of teams and groups of people toward a common good result—winning. If they get down and show it, the team’s chances are finished…kaput.
- They do what they truly love for the satisfaction of helping others and by default, helping themselves. These were not the Major Leaguers that I met; instead they were coaches of high school, junior college, and college aged teams. None of them are Rockefellers in the wallet, but they get enormous personal wealth out of helping younger people with the games of Baseball and Life.
- All ages from 20 to 90 were present…it’s hard for a good coach to quit. As Jim Bouton said in the last line of Ball Four, “You spend your life gripping a baseball and at the end you realize it was really the other way around.”
- 1st and 3rd base coaches need a Silent Stopwatch, so the beep tone does not ruin the player’s concentration.
My favorite comment was by an older coach, who had been through the mill a few times. He went on about the new materials in gloves and bats, and new video software and training programs. I asked him what stopwatch he used and he said…” I don’t have one. I ran over to Walmart and bought one for $6 and it broke the second week I had it. I need something good.” Well, Coach, you came to the right place, let’s get busy being born.
- The SC-505W Single Event Timer allows coaches to take consecutive single event times without resetting the stopwatch. Put it into lap mode, start and stop as many times as you need. The event time for Catchers Pop, Home to First, Wind Up and Delivery…all right there. Takes up to 199 readings and memorizes the last 12. $25 retail
- The SC-889 Speed and Sport Timer reports “Speed of the Pitch” and memorizes up to 180 pitch speeds. Unlike radar, you do not have to use the Robic SC-889 from behind home plate…use it from the dugout, bull pen, or anywhere. $47 retail.
- The Robic M467 Dual Pitch Counter keeps track of 2 separate pitch counts. All high schools in America now have Pitch Count Rules and restrictions. The M467 is the easiest way to keep track of both pitchers, yours and mine, to stay within the guidelines. $18 retail.
- The Oslo by Robic Silver 60 operates silently for 1st and 3rd base coaches. Base coaches want to time pitchers, catchers, runners and hitters without any sound. Use the Oslo Silver 60 to get all the times needed without beeping…it also has a backlight for night time use and temperature display. $28 retail
30 years of Leadership…wow what a great time!
We are celebrating 30 years as a Leadership company in 2016…Happy Anniversary!! Ronald Reagan was President, Mookie Wilson’s grounder went through Bill Buckner’s legs and people were standing in line for DeLoreans in 1986.
Our original plan was to be a bridge line of designer watches for the department store trade. We created beautiful and elegant ladies’ and gent’s wrist watches priced between $50-$80. We presented the line to every department store chain in America. This is when each city had their own store: Hudson’s in Detroit, Filenes in Boston, Famous-Barr in St. Louis and so on.
Every buyer said we had the most beautiful and elegant watches, but “who ever heard of you guys”?
One of the items was the SC-504 Speed Chronometer, a handheld timer capable of computing and displaying the speed of a race car in MPH with 7 lap memory…a total breakthrough at the time. The SC-504 was such a dynamic and leadership timer, we took it to Daytona in 1987 and sold over 2000 for $45 each in three (3) days! Now everyone had heard of “us guys”…
This incredible response led us to the Sporting Goods Show in Chicago where we would become suppliers with the best dealers and merchants in the world. Many of those relationships continue to this day.
During each of the 30 years, technology and marketplace conditions have affected all aspects of our business and day to day life.
The consistent factor in maintaining and building on success each year is to be the leader…bringing products, programs, pride and enthusiasm to the table each day.
What kind of Bench do you have? Let’s talk about the Retail Price Point Ladder…
As the NBA Finals approach, every year the “experts” talk about the strength of the bench. It always seems like there are one or two players who were completely anonymous prior to the series, who shine through with a clutch performance no one sees coming. Keep a good bench since you never know when you will need it.
In the land of shrinking resources for keeping inventory, today’s dealers and merchants are always being stretched to have enough of those items that are the “staples” – the “got to haves”. Everyone would love to have more open to buy so they can keep a supply of items they believe would actually benefit their customer’s needs.
The Primer for Stopwatches and Timers Merchandising 101: Retail and Team Supply
Set up a $10-$20-$30 and $50 retail price point ladder while satisfying all Benefit segments
Benefit: Low Cost: Yes, of course you need a $9.99 retail price point. Use the Oslo M427 for that…remember to offer it in Black and the 6 other colors, you will sell almost twice as many.
Benefit: Easy to Use Rely on the Oslo by Robic 1000W Twin Stopwatch with Countdown timer at $17.99 retail. It offers a Lap Timer and precise Countdown Timer in a variety of colors…k aching, more sales.
Benefit: Convenience: Most people want a product to provide multiple timing functions. Robic’ s SC-606W provides a Dual Split stopwatch with up to 50 memory recall and a Multi-Function Countdown timer for $32
Benefit: The Best there is: How many times can a person purchase the same piece of equipment the leading teams in the world use? With the Robic SC-877 180 Dual Memory Training Timer, you can answer that question and make a sale at the same time. This one does everything you would ever need for $49 retail.
Extra Credit: It is not just a Handheld world out there. Use the Robic M603 Three Memory Game Timer and you will be amazed at how many people will say… this is exactly what I need. Retail is $18.
This line-up will give you a deep bench on which to call for any consumer timing need. As always, you can count on Robic to deliver anything you ask for, on time and as specified…. Supplying the trade with the finest products is what we do.
With a few extra items, you can easily double or triple your sales in this category versus carrying one inexpensive model.
Remember, they do call it an “assortment” and “product range” for a reason.
Your faithful correspondent spent a few days at the Consumer Electronics Show this past January. Talk about gadgets that whirl and whiz; all sorts of new, breakthrough products, platforms and technologies were on display.
Some very active categories included personal hoverboards, artificial and augmented reality creation, 4K 120 fps Super Ultimate HD monitors, high-performance drones for private and personal use, Smart Homes with all settings and sensors fed through an app on your phone.
Among the busiest sections of the show was the Smart Watch area. Yes, all those readings, findings and statistics about your “State of Being” (honestly, someone displayed that on their booth). heart rate, sleep rate, comfort levels, steps, distance, applied pressure and torque, performance quadrille…every sort of analytical measurement imaginable.
I happened to have one rep tell me how his goggles can provide analytics on the inside of the eyepiece while a super HD video camera can show a trainer thousands of miles away exactly what you are seeing. I asked how he thought that would sell for a Sprouting Goods dealer. “Oh, well it is for world class athletes and those seeking to become world class, you can obtain data drilled down to the umpteenth nanosecond….”.and on and on.
In other words, we are catering to the top 1/10th of 1% of athletes in the world. What about the rest of us?
One can become overwhelmed with all of this technology and feel a little left behind when all you see are things you have never seen before.
It takes some reflection and appreciation that most people use our Robic stopwatches and timers to engage, encourage and guide the efforts of those they are coaching. Too much data is too much time analyzing and not enough time leading, coaching and training. Keep it simple; look after the heart and soul as well as the body.
Millions of people have chosen Robic stopwatches and timers to track the performance and progress of those they care for. That is quite a testimony and a legacy. We take it to heart and make each product knowing it is used for an important purpose.
Society does not progress if innovative does not exist. I applaud those willing to find a better way. But remember, for every I-phone, there are a thousand BetaMax machines in the graveyard.
And let’s also remember – they still dig holes with shovels, good reliable tools which do a great job in completing the task at hand.
My Stopwatch does not turn off!!
Where is the On/Off switch on my Robic device?
Most of us are used to our devices and gadgets having On/Off switch. And it is more common for our devices to have a Sleep Mode option to conserve battery life. So at Robic Timers and Stopwatches, it is not unusual for us to receive inquiries such as:
• My Stopwatch does not turn off!!
• Where is the On/Off switch on my Robic device?
In this day and age, these questions are certainly understandable.
Here’s the scoop –
Robic stopwatches and timers operate using an extremely low drain rate on batteries.
The reason that we do not include an On/Off option on our handheld timers and stopwatches is that the power consumption is so minute that the benefit of extending battery life by turning off the battery would be less than 0.05%.
This is the same as an extra day of life after 3 years of use.
The additional cost in engineering and constructing an On/Off switch would increase costs without offering anything of value. The main consumption of the power in a stopwatch is use of the Daily Alarm beep tone, hourly chime, pacer or the LED backlight. These functions can be enjoyed as often as you need, but kindly note they will reduce power reserves thereby shortening battery life.
All Oslo Robic products use fresh batteries at the time of manufacture which should provide optimal length of service. The batteries can be replaced and can be found at stores everywhere. Please be assured you are not getting short changed on battery life if there is no On/Off switch.
Keep your questions coming!
The Folks at Robic
It has been a brutal summer across North America, and much of the world. Record high temperatures and unrelenting heat indices have made outdoor activities dangerous, especially for those who are more susceptible to extreme temperatures. According to the National Weather Service (NOAA) there were 155 heat related fatalities in the U.S. in 2012 alone.
Often unaware of their own limits and the need to hydrate, children and young adults are at great risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke during outdoor activities like those found at summer camp and sports training sessions. It is also important to remember that the high temperatures also bring unsteady weather conditions, which can lead to unexpected and violent lighting strikes.
One way to keep those in your charge safer during heat waves is high-quality heat stress monitors and lightning detectors. At Robic, our SC-636W stopwatch, new HT-30 meter, and StrikeAlert family of products can help with early detection of dangerous conditions.
- SC 636W
This amazing heat stress and comfort index stopwatch removes the guessing and replaces it with accurate and responsive Heat Index readings.
This innovative heat stress WBGT meter is an amazing tool for monitoring heat stress to protect people of all ages during outdoor athletics.
- Strike Alert HD
The next generation of our popular StrikeAlert personal lighting detector, StrikeAlert HD offers a graphical display that shows you lighting strike distances up to 40 miles away. It also offers 360 Lightning Detection, which allows you to see in all directions!
While no device is a replacement for prompt and professional medical attention, Robic’s SC-636W, HT-30, and Strike Alert HD can help you monitor possibly dangerous summertime weather conditions so you can attempt to avoid trouble before it arrives. To learn more please check out the new 2014 Robic Catalog or contact one of our experts today!