FOX to use flyover cams in the playoffs

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This sounds like fun:

Fox will formally announce Wednesday that its Major League Baseball
playoff coverage will include what it bills as a TV first: Cameras
zipping over the field of play . . . The idea is to use one camera per game that will move along cables
and be controlled by operators who are supposed to keep those cameras
away from fair and foul territory until pitches cross home plate.

Then the cameras, like the cable-cams that now routinely hover over
NFL games, can roam over the field at altitudes ranging from about 12 to
80 feet above ground.

If they’re not overused, these kinds of shots can be fun. I can see this leading to some pretty awesome replays of plays at the bag, outfielders getting bouncers on the run and throwing them in, baserunners in motion, etc. And really, any toy that distracts the FOX producers from their usual habit of going to super-duper-awful closeups of player’s and fans’ faces in between pitches will be nice.

Of course, there are some ways FOX could screw this up. For example, if they use it for too many live shots it could be disorienting. And if the unthinkable happens and a ball in play hits one of the cameras you’ll probably need to avoid this blog for a week, because that will be THE ONLY thing we’ll be talking about. One wonders why they didn’t try this out with some meaningless regular season games first to work out the bugs.

Overall though, I’m cautiously optimistic that this will be kinda nifty. 

Cubs sign Brett Anderson to a $3.5 million deal

Brett Anderson
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.

Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.

When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Duane Burleson/Getty Images
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.