Last offseason there was a big announcement by MLB and T-Mobile about replacing the bullpen phones with a high-tech wireless system. You’ll notice, however, — as Ira Boudway of BusinessWeek did — that teams are still using the landlines. The comment from T-Mobile on the matter:
T-Mobile and MLB have been testing the In-Game Communications System in MLB non-game situations in several ballparks throughout the year and that testing is ongoing. As the In-Game Communication system is part of the field-of-play, T-Mobile and Major League Baseball agree that it is very important that before the technology is installed in ballparks for in-game use, the system needs to be game-ready. When the In-Game Communications System is game-ready, we will launch it in a couple of stadiums, to start. And then, we will roll it out to other ballparks from there.
I realize a lot of people were skeptical of the change to begin with as it appeared driven by a sponsorship relationship rather than an actual technological need. I also realize that people may, as they often to, choose to poke fun at MLB or T-Mobile for the system not being up and operating as promised. The default in most instances, actually, is to poke fun at MLB.
But really, I think this is a good moment to actually praise Major League Baseball for making sure that the game isn’t interrupted with technical issues. I’m guessing there was some pressure on them from some person with a ledger to make it happen regardless for purposes of making some T-Mobile money in ads and placement and things. That they didn’t because they’re still trying to make the system work and not screw up the on-field product is commendable.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.