I’ve mentioned it a few times before, but one of my favorite 1990s baseball things is watching Braves games on TBS and hearing a constant flow of Greg Maddux F-bombs through that networks’ seemingly over-sensitive field mics. That doesn’t seem to happen very much these days. Maybe because players are more refined than Greg Maddux — hard not to be! — or maybe because of mic placement or what have you.
But those days may be back soon!
MLB Network today announced its 2012 Spring Training game schedule, featuring a groundbreaking presentation of live in-game audio. For the first time in an MLB game telecast, live audio content will air on a brief delay throughout the Spring Training game telecast of the Cleveland Indians at Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday, March 7 at 3:00 p.m. ET. In cooperation with the Major League Baseball Players Association, up to as many as six players on each team will wear live microphones during the game. Coaching staff will also wear live microphones throughout the game and live microphones will be positioned at each base, down the first- and third-base lines and along the outfield wall, producing in-game audio content on a scale that has not previously been done.
That “brief delay” is a bit of a drag if, like me, you just want to hear gratuitous profanity. But those of you who want to hear what ballplayers say to one another and stuff, this should be cool.
But never fear: I will be in Arizona on March 7th, and I’ll try to be at that Indians-Diamondbacks game. I’ll position myself near the field so I can hear the profanity and make a point to tweet it to all of you. That way you can get the entire experience.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.