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.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.