Jon Denney heads a deep class of prep-school catchers in a draft for which the collegiate crop is thin.
The catching crop is deep at the prep ranks and light among the collegians this spring. Below is a look at some of the top names to know for the June draft, beginning with the cream of the catching crop.
Cream of the Crop
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Does the newest edition of The Show deliver on its promise of an interactive baseball broadcast?
MLB 12: The Show aspires to be an interactive baseball broadcast—it says so on the box. Ergo, the developers designed the game to be a made-for-television event made for Playstation.
The baseball-broadcasting staples are present. Close-ups focusing on the pitcher or hitter’s face depend on the result of the previous pitch. Should Roy Halladay struggle to throw strikes then the simulation is a poor one, but your unreal Halladay will fidget with the baseball or wipe his brow in between offerings. Walk the leadoff hitter in a tight spot and Charlie Manuel will appear troubled. Have Shane Victorino gun down a runner and you might see him flex afterward; similarly, expect Placido Polanco to glare at his glove after committing an error. Emotional response from the actors is a key piece of a baseball broadcast. The Show understands and employs this as well as any game has before.
I have seen the future, and its name is FIELDf/x. OK, so we kind of knew that. But today, FIELDf/x started to seem a lot more real, and even more exciting than I’d imagined. You may have noticed that BP had a man on the scene at Sportvision’s PITCHf/x summit whose liveblog was actually live. So why am I doing this, when Colin already did? Well, for one thing, Colin arrived fashionably late, and I was all over those first 14 minutes that he missed. For another, his computer died before a lot of the fun started. And for still another (this is a third reason, now), I thought it might be fun to do a Simmons-style quasi-liveblog (written live, published later) that would free me from worries about frequent updates, and allow me to write at length. Most likely that length turned out to be a good deal longer than anyone has any interest in reading, but if you’re determined to catch up on the day’s intriguing events without sitting through eight hours of archived video, you’re welcome to peruse what lies below. If you’d like to follow along, here’s an agenda, and here’s where you should be able to find downloadable presentations in the near future.
Here we are in sunny California, home of the cutest girls in the world, if the Beach Boys are to be believed (I gather there’s also a more recent chart-topper that expresses a similar view). Okay, so by “we,” I mean the attendees at the 3rd (annual?) Sportvision PITCHf/x summit, held at the Westin San Francisco in—you guessed it—San Francisco. I, on the other hand, am watching from the other end of the continent, via a webcast that dubiously claims to be “hi-res,” despite being blurry enough to make deciphering text an adventure (I guess “hi-res” is relative, in the sense that there are even lower resolutions at which it could’ve been streamed). And sure, maybe the Beach Boys weren’t thinking of this particular gathering when they extolled the virtues of California’s beach bunnies. But never mind that—it’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon here in New York, and how better to spend it than to watch a video of some fellow nerds talk about baseball in a dark room some 3,000 miles away? Well, to describe the experience at the same time, of course. Let’s get this quasi-liveblog started.
Enter instant replay, bad blood between the Mets and Phillies (and Brewers and Cards), plus news and notes from around the game.
Instant replay is here, although it's yet to be used after the first three days of being available to help umpires on home-run calls. While video may have killed the radio star, it is not expected to kill off the men in blue. Commissioner Bud Selig has made it clear that replay will not extend beyond boundary calls on homers, but even in its limited form, replay is stirring debate around the major leagues. Everyone has an opinion; people either love it or hate it, with seemingly no one standing on middle ground.
Derek views the series' conclusion from all the remaining angles.
Now that I'm telling you how lucky and blessed I am, I guess it's as good a time as any to tell you that I didn't cover the Caribbean Series in person in Carolina on Wednesday, but rather from San Juan. The reasons are too boring to share, but on the theory that if given lemons, make lemonade, I took the opportunity to take in some of the televised options for watching the Caribbean Series.
First, briefly, there was the afternoon game, which I wasn't able to catch in its entirety. I tuned into this one using MLB.tv, which had been the topic of a lot of reader e-mail after I asked how the English language broadcasters were doing on Unfiltered. The consensus seemed to be that the father/son team of Victor and Cookie Rojas were all right, and the other team of Felix DeJesus and Eddy Perez were...um, not. Perhaps the most emphatic email I got about the DeJesus/Perez pairing came from reader S.T.:
I was at Safeco Field on Tuesday, watching a fast-moving game that was on pace to wrap up 3-2 Mariners in about two and a half hours, and ended up with one of the longest, craziest games I've ever attended.
I scored this game. I've been working on an article about scoring and finding a good card to match your style, and thought I'd finally settled on one. This game, of course, became the torture-test for a scorecard: