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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.

Diamondbacks sign Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million deal

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 14:  Jeff Mathis #6 of the Miami Marlins hits a grand slam during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 14, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that the club signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million contract.

Mathis, 33, isn’t much with the stick as he owns a career .197/.254/.308 triple-slash line over parts of 12 seasons in the majors. The veteran, though, is well-regarded for his ability to play defense, call games, handle a pitching staff, and get along with his teammates in the clubhouse. As Craig mentioned last year, Mathis is often talked about as a future manager.

The D-Backs non-tendered Welington Castillo on Friday, so Chris Herrmann and Mathis are the team’s two catchers as presently constructed.

Jimmy Rollins wants to play in 2017

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 10:  Jimmy Rollins #7 of the Chicago White Sox at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 10, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins wants to continue playing in 2017.

Rollins, 38, signed a minor league deal with the White Sox for the 2016 season but hit a disappointing .221/.295/.329 over 166 plate appearances. The club released Rollins in the middle of June and he did not sign with a new team. He did join TBS as part of their playoff coverage.

Rollins is almost certainly looking at another minor league contract and will have to earn his way onto a major league roster by performing well in spring training.