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.