Ron Antinoja has started a company he hope will revolutionize baseball statistics. A former AI software writer, he hopes his methods will go way beyond the capabilities of current baseball statistics.
For example, the user can identify the most likely pitch-inside fastball, low-and-away change-up-that Boston's Pedro Martinez is probably going to throw at any point in the count; then, depending on the result of that pitch, what he typically throws next. Cracking this code has been one of baseball's holy grails. "I'd like to get my hands on that," said Alex Rodriguez, the Texas Rangers' All-Star shortstop when he learned of Antinoja's data service. "You always want to know everything about your opposition." Adds New York Mets general manager Jim Duquette, whose club this season bought Tendu's full $30,000 annual service: "This gives you a chance to validate what an advance scout is telling you, and learn trends they can't pick up."
Very cool idea, but it sounds like baseball teams are skeptical.
Antinoja wants to branch out to other sports, but first he must get the kinks out of the baseball system. Each of the season's 2,400 games takes up to 12 hours to log. Cost: about $300,000 a season. Cash-flow issues this summer caused Tendu to fall behind at times-a huge no-no in a sport that demands its minutiae up-to-date. To catch up, Antinoja has a $2.5 million loan in the works, but he won't survive with just one paying client for long. He must get companies that invariably rave about his software to actually ante up for it. The next six months could well determine his fate.