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'Baseball Hack Day' returns to Philadelphia

The average baseball fan has a litany of issues during the game. Yes, it seems like right now, a Phillies fan may have more than others, but there are universal problems that fans face every year, regardless of allegiance.

For instance, when will baseball address one of its most troubling headaches: Fans trying to clap who can't because they have a beer in one hand. This is a common and humiliating situation that often results in spilled beer, but Brendan Donahue and some other app designers gathered at 2012's first Baseball Hack Day in Boston to correct it.

"By the end of the day we had a basic app that ran on Android and would make a clap sound when you shook it with one hand so that you could clap without having to put down your beer," Donahue victoriously reports.

Baseball Hack Day - which is NOT a gathering of your least favorite columnists -  allows for innovators whose passions intersect at technology and baseball to assemble and spend a day pitching, developing, and showing off applications related to the sport they love. Formerly a Boston staple, the event has spread to Philadelphia and Montreal, taking place in Philly Saturday, March 28, starting at 9:30 am and going until 6:00 that evening at the City CoHo at 2401 Walnut Street.

This will be its second year in Philadelphia, and organizer Kyle Fiedler couldn't be more excited. It was Fiedler's relocation from Boston to Philadelphia that brought the event here in the first place.

"As a designer at a company that designs and builds web applications and an avid baseball fan it seemed like a perfect marriage," Fiedler says. "I had a really great time that first year and the app that I helped build is still up to this day."

That app, "What's That in Hot Dogs?" allows fans to measure a player's salary in terms of how many hot dogs, beers, hats, and other souvenirs or concessions he could purchase at his team's home stadium.

For a game with such an archaic reptuation, baseball has seen some radical changes in recent years, with instant replay and pitch clocks becoming topics of conversation for a sport that had long denied them. The increase of tech enthusiasts among fans has led to more and more events such as Baseball Hack Day.

"I think the archaic reputation comes from the actual game play but I think there has been a lot of new technology around the game," Fielder says. "A good example is fantasy sports. It all stemmed from a group of baseball fans. There are now tons of fantasy leagues and sports and I'd imagine most of those are now being supported by some sort of technology. So that technology is helping people enjoy all sports more."

Yes, those fighting the advancement of science in baseball will have an uphill battle as the years go by. With such interesting stat-measuring or beer spillage-preventing apps being generated every year, the game has only become an improved experience, thanks to Fiedler and other developers.

"If you don't think animated gifs are good for baseball," Fielder says, "then I'm not sure what to tell you."

Baseball Hack Day will take place Saturday, March 28 at City Coho at 2401 Walnut Street from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm. You can register to attend here.

Ryan Howard will make 5,333,333 hot dogs this season.