ST. LOUIS — Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol is a busy guy. Not only is head leading his team to an NL Central title in his first year at the helm, he's helping craft a cutting edge app to help teach the next generation of athletes.
The app, called Versus, connects young athletes with some of the biggest names in baseball and softball and personally answers their questions about becoming great. It has been a passion project for the Marmol family for a while now.
"It was years ago, probably nine years in the works now," Marmol said. "What we really wanted to do was provide access to the next generation of aspiring athletes to be able to learn from some of the greatest minds out there."
And this app isn't like anything else out there. With legendary athletes such as Albert Pujols, Adam Wainwright and Ozzie Smith sitting down to answer hundreds of wide-ranging questions, there's almost nothing an athlete can't ask that doesn't have an answer to accompany it.
"These athletes (are) teaching not just how to acquire skill, but the mentality component and the emotional IQ component of how to deal with adversity and failure and all the things you come across when you're trying to have success at the highest level for a long time," Marmol said.
What makes Versus different from other sports coaching apps out these is the concept of "conversational" artificial intelligence, Marmol said.
"The app actually allows you to click on it and have a conversation with the athlete as if they were there," he said.
While baseball is, of course, the primary passion for the Marmols, entrepreneurship isn't far behind.
"My wife and I, for a long time, have always loved business," he said. "It's our hobby. We dive deep into it. We've built a lot of relationships in the business world outside of baseball that actually have allowed me to take into now in leading people and having influence over them. So it's something we're super passionate about."
This side venture has a special mission to it, as well. For every subscription to Versus, there will be a portion given back to causes that need help.
"The charitable component started with a trip we took to Guatemala, and it changed out lives for how we would spend our finances and how we'd kind of do life," Marmol said. "We got back to the states and wanted to figure out a way to build something sustainable that could give back."
Marmol said 10% of every dollar made will go back to underserved organizations, particularly youth.
"What we're doing right now is people have come along and sponsored subscriptions to give access to our app to kids that otherwise couldn't afford it, and what we're doing on the other side is matching those subscriptions and giving it out to different organizations," he said. "So it's been pretty cool … being able to provide that next generation that wouldn't have the ability to purchase it access to some of the greatest minds out there."
You can learn more about Versus by visiting its website.