Statcast comes to televised games tonight

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We’ve talked about Statcast before. It’s the 3D tracking technology from MLB Advanced Media which has been available to some degree on MLB.com replays and the like. It shows how fast guys run, how hard the ball is hit off the bat, defensive player routes and the like. It was showcases online during last year’s playoffs in replays like this one.

As of tonight, it’s coming to television:

Baseball fans will have an opportunity to view a live game like never before when Statcast makes its television debut during today’s MLB Network Showcase game between the Cardinals and Nationals at 7 p.m. ET. If you’ve ever wondered how fast the ball comes off of Bryce Harper’s bat, or just how much ground Jason Heyward can cover in the outfield, your chance to get definitive answers is finally here.

The link at MLB.com has a primer at what it is, how it will be used and what sort of information viewers will be able to get from it. It’s worth your time, as it’s a thing that, I presume, will be increasingly integrated into broadcasts much the way PitchF/X strike zones and things have been. I also presume that, before even seeing it, many will decry it as the over-statting of baseball and make all of the usual jokes about mother’s basements, computer simulations and the like.

There may be some growing pains and there will certainly be a learning curve involved for both the broadcasters and viewers, who will need some time to figure out which of the newly available metrics are worth a damn, what numbers = good and what numbers = bad and so on. But good on MLB for trying to innovate.

MLB and MLBPA announce first set of COVID-19 test results

MLB COVID-19 test results
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
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On Friday evening, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced the first set of results for COVID-19 testing as part of the mandatory intake screening process under MLB’s COVID-19 Health Monitoring & Testing Plan. Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics are not part of this data because their testing has not yet been completed.

There were 38 positive tests, accounting for 1.2% of the 3,185 samples collected and tested. 31 of the 38 individuals who tested positive are players. 19 different teams had one or more individuals test positive.

Sports Illustrated’s Emma Baccellieri notes that the positive test rate in the U.S. nationally is 8.3 percent. The NBA’s positive test rate was 7.1 percent. MLB’s positive test rate is well below average. This doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong with MLB’s testing or that it’s an atypical round of testing. Rather, MLB’s testing population may more closely represent the U.S. population as a whole. Currently, because testing is still somewhat limited, those who have taken tests have tended to be those exhibiting symptoms or those who have been around others who have tested positive. If every single person in the U.S. took a test, the positive test rate would likely come in at a much lower number.

Several players who tested positive have given their consent for their identities to be made known. Those are: Delino DeShields (link), Brett Martin (link), Edward Colina, Nick Gordon, and Willians Astudillo (link). Additionally, Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodríguez has not shown up to Red Sox camp yet because he has been around someone who tested positive, per The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey.