Nike contact lenses? They’re coming to stores near you in a matter of time. And odds are that they will improve your chances of hitting a major league fastball as much as the old Nike pumps improved your ability to dunk. What’s interesting is that, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Nike is making Brian Roberts, who remains largely obscure despite enjoying a career year, a centerpiece of its campaign.
The best thing that happened to the MaxSight project was Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts. In the 384 games Roberts played in his major-league career heading into this season, the 27-year-old hit 16 home runs. In his 110-game 2005 season, he’s smacked 17 homers. Before this year, he had a .264 batting average. This year, he’s batting .321 and started in his first All-Star Game.
Although Roberts doesn’t wear the lenses at night, he partly credits his improvement to MaxSight.
While Roberts may see a bump in his bank account, the campaign diminishes his efforts to improve himself as a baseball player. I don’t know anything about his offseason routing, but if one can draw any conclusions from the numbers, it’s that the contact lenses have impeded his progress. At this point, I don’t think there is a statistically significant sample to validate such an assertion, but Nike’s decision to build a campaign around Roberts has more to do with perceived marketability than it does data that the MaxSight lenses improved his performance. But hey, what is marketing other the creating a perception?
Here are the triple crown stats (for you traditionalists) as well as OBP, SLG, and OPS for the sabermetrically/sabremetrically inclined.
Brian Roberts Day/Night Splits 2002-2004 Day: 411 AB 4 HR 43 RBI .280 AVG .340 OBP .414 SLG .754 OPS Night: 818 AB 6 HR 62 RBI .260 AVG .336 OBP .340 SLG .676 OPS Brian Roberts Day/Night Splits 2005 (through August 15, 2005) Day: 148 AB 6 HR 19 RBI .311 AVG .383 OBP .500 SLG .883 OPS Night: 292 AB 11 HR 41 RBI .329 AVG .396 OBP .555 SLG .951 OPS OPS % improvement Day: 17.1% Night: 40.7%