Posted on: February 23, 2012 12:17 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 12:22 pm

MLB Network to go live with in-game player audio

By Matt Snyder

At times in the past, I've accused Major League Baseball of being archaic in several facets of the game, so it's only fair I give credit where it's due. This is one of those times. Major League Baseball has announced that they're going to broadcast a spring training game -- between the Indians and Diamondbacks on March 7 at 3:00 p.m. ET on MLB Network -- with live audio from players and coaches.

Up to six players on each team in addition to the coaching staff and each base will have microphones, for an unprecedented level of in-game audio available on broadcast. There will be a slight delay, for obvious (cough, cough) reasons.

“One of the missions of MLB Network is to promote the game of baseball and act as a platform to advance the presentation of the game,” said MLB Network President and CEO Tony Petitti in a statement. “The goal of this production is to bring fans closer to the game and experience it as a player would on the field. Not only are we trying to capture the player reactions and interactions, we want to present the natural sounds of the game, including the crack of the bat, the pop of a glove and the slide into a base like viewers have never heard before.”

It's not a big deal in and of itself that this is being done during a spring training game, which is basically meaningless. But let's look big picture. Obviously the league is working toward this being perfected, at which point they'll start doing it with regular season games. It's pretty cool to envision watching postseason games with this level of access on TV.

Though it didn't air last season, MLB Network did some testing with the technology, and here's a highlight package from the footage, via MLB.com video:

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Posted on: February 10, 2012 7:13 pm

Sorry Royals fans, the Wonder Dog has been hired

Rex HudlerBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Friday had good news and bad news for Royals fans outside the Kansas City area (and trust me, they exist).

The bad news? Fox Sports Kansas City officially announced (via MLB.com) they've hired Rex Hudler and Steve Physioc as the team's TV broadcast team.

The good news? MLB.TV announced that for the first time the home and away broadcasts will be available for all games.

The problem with that is MLB.TV is subject to blackout rules in the local area and the team also plays the White Sox 18 times, so for those Royals fans in Kansas City and for the 18 games with Hawk Harrelson, there's always the mute button.

The Royals ousted one of the franchises' all-time greats, Frank White, after the season because he was too critical -- and any doubt about that was erased when they hired a cheerleader like Hudler. You'd think the Royals fans that were left had paid a high enough price watching the Royals for the last 20 years or so, but no, you've got to add a duo of screamers to replace a legend with insight and integrity. It's also sad that it comes at a time when the Royals should be entertaining to watch, featuring a core of young, talented players.

Hudler and Physioc spent 11 seasons together calling Angels games. The two will actually only work 50 games together in 2012, with Ryan Lefebvre doing play-by-play for 90 games. Both Physioc and Lefebvre will do radio games, joining Denny Matthews, Bob Davis and Steve Stewart. Hudler will serve as the color analyst for 120 games, while former Royal Jeff Montgomery will do color in the remaining 20 games broadcast by Fox Sports Kansas City.

As for the MLB.TV news, the home and away feeds will be available on MLB.TV Premium for $124.99 -- up about five bucks from last season. It also includes a free copy of At Bat 12, which cost $15 last season. The regular MLB.TV subscription is $109.99. The premium edition also includes support for the Xbox 360 for the first time.

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Posted on: February 9, 2012 5:31 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2012 11:42 am

Shane Victorino to appear on CBS show

By C. Trent Rosecrans
and Matt Snyder

We've seen Shane Victorino's range in the outfield, now it's time to see his range as an actor.

Victorino will guest star on CBS show Hawaii Five-0 on Monday, Feb. 20 at 10 p.m./9 Central. Victorino, nicknamed "The Flyin' Hawaiian," will be playing Shaun, an employee on a corporate retreat out in the jungle of Oahu. He tries to coax a fellow employee into their team-building exercises (see picture below). Said employee doesn't listen and instead heads off into the jungle herself, winds up lost and stumbles upon an ancient Hawaiian tribal warrior who has been stabbed to his death in the neck.

From there, drama is certain to ensue.

The episode is titled "Kupale," which means "defender" in Hawaiian. Victorino is, of course, a Gold Glove outfielder, so we get a nice little double entendre there.

The Phillies are all over the TV these days, with the Phillie Phanatic on a recent episode of 30 Rock, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Howard on Entourage. Victorino was also on Jon & Kate Plus 8 in 2008.

Photo credit: CBS Entertainment

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Posted on: October 18, 2011 11:34 am

Low hopes for World Series ratings

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Game 6 of the NLCS was tuned in by fewer people than the season premiere of the Walking Dead on AMC. It could have been the fact that the game was on TBS or that it was decided pretty quickly as Shaun Marcum gave up four first-inning runs, but either way it's not a good omen for the World Series ratings.

Another bad sign for the World Series ratings is that it's the Rangers and Cardinals playing -- neither of which really back in the viewers like the Yankees or Red Sox. Here's a look at the ratings for the last 10 World Series from our buddy David Fung.


Check out more of David's work at fungraphs.tumbler.com or on Twitter (@cobradave).

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 7, 2011 1:55 pm

ALDS Game 5 earns big ratings for TBS

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Thursday night's Game 5 of the American League division series was the highest-rated LDS game since moving to cable and the highest-rated overall since 2005. The Tigers' 3-2 victory over the Yankees was viewed by 9,720,000 viewers and a 6.2 rating, according to a release from TBS.

Detroit averaged a rating of 27.6 and New York an 18.3 rating, as TBS with the highest-rated cable network on Thursday and third overall. 

The network is televising both NLDS games tonight, starting with Arizona at Milwaukee at 5 p.m. ET and St. Louis at Philadelphia at 8:30 p.m. ET. The NLCS will stay on TBS, while the ALDS between the Tigers and Rangers will be telecast on Fox.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 29, 2011 5:46 pm

Gonzalez adds ESPN to list of Boston scapegoats

Adrian GonzalezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

There's no shortage of scapegoats for Boston's historic collapse -- you can choose Terry Francona, Theo Epstein, Carl Crawford, Marco Scutaro, Jonathan Papelbon, Daniel Bard or any of the team's starters -- but Adrian Gonzalez would like to add ESPN to the list.

"We play too many night games on getaway days and get into places at 4 in the morning," Gonzalez told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. "This has been my toughest season physically because of that. We play a lot of night games on Sunday for television and that those things take a lot out of you."

Abraham said he noted to Gonzalez that's part of playing for a high-profile team.

"Why does it have to be?" Gonzalez responded. "They can put the Padres on ESPN, too. The schedule really hurt us. Nobody is really reporting that."

Of course, the Yankees are on national TV quite a bit too, so that hurts that argument.

And, well, Adrian, you're a smart guy -- you know why the Red Sox are on more than anyone? For the same reason they can pay you $154 million over the next seven years, because they're popular.

In August, the team's three-game series drew record ratings for MLB Network, Fox and ESPN. If you want to be less popular, you may want to play for a different team and accept a smaller paycheck (may I suggest the Padres? San Diego is beautiful this time of year -- and every time of the year, really.)

Gonzalez isn't alone among Red Sox hoping for less national games featuring his team. At the All-Star Game, I asked Boston's Kevin Youkilis about just how much you see the Yankees and Red Sox (at about the 2:30 mark).

Oh, Gonzalez had someone else to blame, too -- "God didn't have it in the cards for us," he told Abraham. But hey, at least nobody still hanging on to the idea of a curse, so maybe this is an improvement. 

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Posted on: August 9, 2011 5:20 pm

Yankees-Red Sox games draw in viewers

Dustin PedroiaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

You want to know why every time the Red Sox and Yankees play it's on national TV? Because people watch.

We in flyover country may be sick of the Yankees and Sox, but more people watch New York and Boston than any other matchup. According to a press release from MLB, a lot of people watched the Red Sox take two out of three from the Yankees in their weekend showdown.

The evidence:

• Friday's MLB Network game was the network's highest-rated game of the season, averaging 563,000 viewers, the second-highest mark in network history behind Stephen Strasburg's debut last season. The game helped MLB Network achieve its highest primetime audience ever -- even though the game was blacked out in Boston and New York home television markets.

• Saturday's Fox broadcast was its most-watched non-prime regular-season MLB telecast in more than three years with 4.10 million average viewers. That's with some of the country getting the Phillies and Giants. The last regular-season non-prime telecast to record higher numbers was a on July 5, 2008, when Fox showed the Yankees-Red Sox and Cubs-Cardinals. Fox also announced viewership is up 5 percent over last season.

• Sunday's ESPN telecast was its most-watched game in more than four years with 4.72 million average viewers, it's largest since June 3, 2007, for a -- you guessed it -- Red Sox and Yankees game. ESPN said its viewership is up 9 percent from last season.

So while many of us would like to see different teams on the national telecasts and are sick of hearing about the Yankees and Red Sox (not to mention the four-hour 9-inning games), the networks are going to keep showing them because people watch and they're in the business of getting viewers, not showing the best games or improving the MLB brand.

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Posted on: October 30, 2010 6:56 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:15 pm

Fox-Cablevision reach agreement

Baseball fans in New York will be able to watch tonight's Game 3 of the World Series as Cablevision and Fox have struck a deal, the New York Times ' Brian Stelter reports (via Twitter ).

The Fox signal will be restored before the first pitch at 6:58.

The dispute between the two sides lasted more than two weeks and left 3 million cable subscribers without access to the network.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Category: MLB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com