Camden Yards makes an appearance in the new season of “House of Cards”

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While catching up on the second season of Netflix original series “House of Cards” this past weekend, I saw a brief scene that takes place at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore. I’m not giving away any major plot points for those who haven’t seen it, but Kevin Spacey’s character, Frank Underwood, is on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before a game against the Red Sox. Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun has a good rundown today on how the scene came together:

“For us it seemed like an exciting opportunity to showcase a show that is set in Washington and filmed in Baltimore and wants to utilize Camden Yards for an appearance by a politician, or at least a fictitious politician,” Orioles vice president of communications and marketing Greg Bader said. “We thought it was a really fun opportunity for us to showcase the ballpark.”

But before the scene could be shot, it had to be approved by the Orioles, the stadium authority and Major League Baseball. There were several site meetings and scout shoots into July involving individuals from the show’s production staff and club personnel from ballpark operations and public relations.

Some of the footage is B-roll of pregame scenes from other games, but the actual scene with Spacey was filmed last July 29 during an off-day for the Orioles. After the team reached out to the players to see if any of them were willing to participate, both Jim Johnson (now with the Athletics) and Nate McLouth (now with the Nationals) volunteered.

Spacey threw out the first pitch before an actual game at Camden Yards last July 14 and it was apparently pretty impressive. As I mentioned on Twitter over the weekend, his throwing mechanics were a bit problematic in the episode, so I’d like to believe that he’s really just that skilled as an actor.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.