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ESPN to add more graphics, bells and whistles to its broadcasts

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ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts include a strike zone box on the screen at all times. It’s rather annoying. Last year during the American League Wild Card game ESPN upped its usual quotient of graphical garbage to include a 3D strike zone box, which it calls K-Zone 3D — on certain pitches. It’s a cutaway thing that looks like this:

 

If you don’t like cutaways you didn’t like K-Zone 3D. If you do, well, you’re in luck because a lot more cutaways are coming this year: ESPN is going to integrate that feature into all of its Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts. And it’s going to use them far more often. In the Wild Card game they went to it three times. ESPN says it wants to use it 12-15 times a game this year.

ESPN will also be adding more information to the score bug in the corner of the screen, including each team’s record and how many games out of first place it is. It’s also going to use a feature called “catch probability” for every fly ball. It’ll show the distance an outfielder has to run and how fast he’d have to run to make the catch. Which I suppose will mostly be used to show how fast speedy outfielders are, but could totally — and entertainingly — be used to see how far behind each ball less-than-stellar outfielders like, say, Wil Myers lag.

If you’re the sort of person who likes their baseball broadcasts uncluttered, without a lot of analysis-for-the-sake-of-analysis and broadcasters talking to hear themselves talk, well, I don’t have any news for you. Sorry.

(via Awful Announcing)

 

Phillies sign Trevor Plouffe to minor league deal

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Infielder Trevor Plouffe has signed a minor league deal with the Phillies, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports. Plouffe asked for and was granted his release from the Rangers earlier this month.

Plouffe, 31, had a double and a home run in 17 plate appearances with Triple-A Round Rock to start the 2018 season. He spent last year with the Athletics and Rays, putting up a meager .198/.272/.318 batting line in 100 games.

Plouffe has mostly played third base throughout his career, but can also handle the other three infield spots and both outfield corners, so he’ll serve as organizational depth at Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the Phillies.