The manager of the New York Yankees is expanding his career horizons.
Joe Girardi, 50, of the renowned baseball team launched an app this week called Portalball, a sci-fi baseball game for Android and iOS devices. Girardi collaborated with Appetizer Mobile, a mobile application development agency, to design the app over the past two years.
“I just thought [app creation] was a different side of me that was being pulled out…and I just wanted to see what it was like to be a part of," Girardi said in a press conference this morning in Times Square.
Appetizer Mobile founder Jordan Edelson, who designed the app, described it as a 360-degree augmented reality baseball game that pairs the user with friends and other players around the world according to skill and strategy. The app uses the phone’s camera to integrate the device's surroundings into the gameplay and features such outlandish enhancements as fire bats and atom baseballs.
An alien invasion of Earth serves as the premise of Portalball, in which players must hit, pitch, and catch to combat their extraterrestrial aggressors. Girardi explained that he wanted to incorporate a sci-fi element to attract a larger base of potential consumers.
“We thought it was a way to include other people besides baseball fans,” he said. “Not everyone loves baseball as much as I do.”
App development is a departure for the four-time World Series champion, who is admittedly less than tech savvy. Girardi said that the idea to create a family-friendly, multiplayer baseball game was presented to him two years ago after Edelson, who has worked on similarly high-profile projects with Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian, contacted his agent.
“I just know how important apps have become to our society,” said Girardi, who has three children. “I also thought it was a great way to connect as I am finding out--having teenagers--with your kids.”
The game is available for free but will also offer numerous in-app purchases and upgrades, from which an as-yet-undetermined portion of the proceeds will be donated to Girardi’s charity, Catch 25. Girardi founded Catch 25 over five years ago to provide a number of relief services including cancer treatments and scholarships to people who have fallen on hard times.
“Watching my mother go through cancer and feeling that hope was the big thing that kept her going, I think it’s important that we give people hope,” Girardi said.
As to whether he considers Portalball the first step on a new career path, Girardi said that he has already shared another idea with Edelson, whom he described as the “mastermind” of the project.
“To be part of this world has been enjoyable,” he said. “And if you think it’s a good idea, it’s something you should put it out there because people may love it.”