Grand Slam Solution


With newspaper clippings and photographs dating back to 1967, the cabinets at Kauffman Stadium were bursting. At the end of last season, Aaron Babcock, public relations director for the Royals, decided it was finally time to take action. “Over the years, we’ve acquired quite a sum of information. We were concerned about losing the information, and [we were] most concerned about preserving the club’s history,” he said.

Tallgrass Technologies, Lenexa, Kan., had recently done a similar project for the Kansas City Chiefs, the local National Football League franchise, and was ready to take on the baseball club’s challenge.

“We had a couple of presentations [from other VARs], but Tallgrass really tied everything together. Based on their work with previous clients, we really felt comfortable,” Babcock said. “They said that anything we could dream up they could come up with a solution for. Our photography was probably my biggest concern. We have at least 10,000 slides, and those are really starting to break down even though they’ve been put in sleeves and kept in file cabinets.”

Tallgrass recognized the problem.

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“They were experiencing what a lot of professional sports teams are experiencing today, and that is basically how to manage, store, search and retrieve numerous amounts of team information that they have collected over the years,” said John Downs, an account executive at Tallgrass.

“The biggest [reason for urgency for] the Royals is that the stadium is old. If they have information stored in rooms above water pipes that could bust, it could ruin 37 years of information that the team had accumulated.,” Downs said. “Losing the legacy of the Royals to water damage was not something that [team owner David Glass] wanted to be responsible for.”

Tallgrass proposed a scanning and archiving solution that combined document imaging and indexing software with a server and a storage device.

The Tallgrass solution included Stellent Imaging and Business Process Management software, Microsoft SQL for document indexing, a Dell 2850 Power Edge Server and a Plasmon 720GB Ultra Density Optical Storage Library.

Rather than spend additional money on scanning products, Tallgrass recommended that the Royals outsource the scanning.

A simple server would not be able to store all of the files that the Royals needed, Downs said, so he recommended the Plasmon storage device. The ability to archive and index the information has been a huge boon to the Royals’ PR and media relations department. Now, rather than searching by hand, the staff can type in a player’s name, and photographs and stories that include that player are listed. “We’re just now starting to get a feel for what it can really do for us,” Babcock said.

The team has scanned several thousand photographs so far and is working on indexing them by year, while also storing new information for the 2006 season.

Downs said Tallgrass is discussing selling the system to several NFL franchises and augmented the system to include photograph copyright information for one Texas NFL team.

Tallgrass will have positive feedback from the Royals to use in pitching its solution to teams.

“Their support system has been phenomenal. If I’m in the middle of something, I could get on the phone with early glitches and it would be resolved right away,” Babcock said.

“We’re very happy with where we’re at with the system. We can continue to make changes as we go along. As we get into it and start to use it more, if we want to fine-tune how it works, it’s very flexible software,” he added. “I think it will be something that really catches on within Major League Baseball because obviously [archiving] is a common problem with a lot of teams.”