MLB Game Delayed After Drone Lands in Outfield at Chicago's Wrigley Field
The Chicago Cubs were facing off against the Cleveland Indians when the drone appeared The drone was reportedly first spotted as Cubs' catcher Willson Contreras was up to bat with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning. The game was tied 2-2. It was flying over the stands when the umpire decided to rush the players back into the dugouts.
Go ahead, be honest.
You didn’t really miss us in the media this year – the reporters and camera crews, banned from the clubhouse during the pandemic, who always manage to turn 32 flavorful quotes into a big scoop of vanilla.
Instead, fans had to lean on the players to offer their own behind-the-scenes content and tell their own stories.
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From NFL plays to college sports scores, all the top sports news you need to know every day.
And with players directly connecting with the fans like never before, they sure provided the entertainment – without the need for a paywall.
There was Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson homering off Cincinnati Reds ace Trevor Bauer a week ago, and no pen or paper was needed to hear Anderson yell into the microphone attached to his jersey:
“Make sure you tell him to put that on his YouTube channel too. Vlog about that.’’
Bauer responded after the game on a Zoom call, without being prompted: “Tell TA he’s soft for not bat-flipping it.’’
How about some humor?
Well, you got to hear Oakland Athletics designated hitter Mark Canha discuss his conversation with manager Bob Melvin while sitting on the bench and talking to the broadcast booth.
“Bob Melvin keeps asking me,’’ Canha said, “ 'Hey, you want me to put you out there on defense. You sick of DH’ing?’"
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The weirdest regular season in modern baseball history is officially behind us. Get ready for the most unusual postseason you've ever seen. For the first time ever, Major League Baseball's playoff pool will comprise 16 teams, eight from each league, with the march to the World Series unfolding primarily at neutral sites. After the best-of-three wild-card round, another new wrinkle for 2020, the surviving teams will move into bubble environments to play out the division series, league championships, and World Series, which will take place at Globe Life Field in Arlington.There will be no home-field advantage after the first round.
Canha: “No, it’s the best job in all of sports. You don’t have to do anything.’’
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Want some good-natured banter?
San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis was asked during a game who has the best hair on the team among himself and starting pitchers Mike Clevinger and Chris Paddack.
“Good question,’’ Tatis said, taking off his cap and letting his platinum dyed dreadlock hair flow. “I’ve got to say me. …When you look good, you play good.’’
You wanted real, authentic emotion?
Nothing like watching New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso’s series on YouTube, where he was mic’d up for four episodes.
You could hear him talk about his training regimen of drinking chocolate milk while doing squats, knowing he shouldn’t be congratulating Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman for a base hit against his team – but did so anyway because he’s a good guy – and screaming into the mic: “Let’s (expletive) go" when he hit a game-winning home run against the New York Yankees.
“I feel like it’s an opportunity not just for me,’’ Alonso told USA TODAY Sports, “but so many other players and for other teams around the league to just gain exposure and kind of show all of our personalities. I feel like it’s a great way to grow the sport and the game.’’
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The New York Yankees shelled Cleveland Indians ace Shane Bieber in his playoff debut. New York roughed up Bieber - the favorite to win the AL Cy Young Award - for seven runs over 4 2/3 innings in Game 1 of their wild-card series at Progressive Field on Tuesday. It was Bieber's shortest start of the 2020 season. Bieber, who led the majors in wins, ERA, strikeouts, FIP, and WHIP during the regular season, did not allow more than three earned runs in any of his 12 starts this summer. He gave up only 14 earned runs all year.The seven runs also tied his career high, according to Sarah Langs of MLB.com.
Well, Major League Baseball agrees, and for the first time, is permitting players to wear customized cleats in the postseason.
They are encouraging players to wear two-way mics, or answer questions from the broadcast booth during playoff games. There's fan engagement on theMLB App to cheer as if they were watching in person. There’s even a new video vault for people to produce their own highlight reels.
In short, the 2020 season has been a blank canvas for experimentation.
“One of our big theories this year without fans being in the ballpark,’’ said Chris Marinak, MLB’s chief operations and strategy officer, “was it was more important to create opportunities to connect with the players. When you can’t have fans, you have to find another way to drive engagement with the players, to showcase their personalities.’’
Check out Miami Marlins rookie infielder Jazz Chisholm, who wears customized baseball cleats each game, honoring Kobe Bryant one day and Prince another. There’s former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Alford who showed a display of justice for Ahmaud Arbery on his shoes earlier this year, and Tatis honoring Roberto Clemente.
You want a rabbit hole of fun?
The MLB Film Room, which launched Sept. 8, allows viewers to watch more than 3.5 million videos dating back to 1929, including every single pitch since 2017. The film room has contributed to a 253% increase in MLB.com’s video portal from a year ago.
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“In general, we’re looking to continue and build upon all of the things we have experimented with,’’ Marinak says. “The things we have done by far have been really successful. You’ll see more things like the Alonso YouTube short with more players. The concept has been really successful.
“The postseason dynamic will be a little different, but the players have loved it. It shows them who they are as people and gives them a chance to express themselves.’’
Certainly, the folks at the TV networks would love the two-way mics and exchanges with the broadcast booth to continue during the postseason – worth about $900 million – but they’re also realistic. These are the biggest games of the season. Will any player actually take the chance of being distracted?
This is the first time players appearing in regular-season games participated in two-way conversations with a network broadcast booth. It had only been done in All-Star Games and spring-training before this season. Seventeen players from 12 different teams have participated since the weekend of Aug. 29 on FOX and ESPN.
Maybe, considering the popularity of the regular-season interactions, someone will be willing to be that first postseason broadcast guinea pig?
“I think it would be great,’’ Alonso said. “I do think the two-way mic can be tough, though, because it’s bulkier than just having the one-way mic that I did with the YouTube series. I wore a specific T-shirt that had it inside, and it made it very, very easy, and less bulky.
“There would be times I’d be wearing it, but going about my business and competing in games, I’d forget myself. I didn’t even realize it, which was awesome.’’
Sure, there will be the occasional blips. One player had an expletive slip onto a broadcast. Alonso would inform players he was mic’d up but got so used to it, he would sometimes forget, creating a few awkward moments. There’s a seven-second delay, so not all of the colorful banter will wind up on the airwaves.
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Yet with pre- and post-game media access limited to Zoom calls and cardboard cutouts replacing fans in the stands, MLB and the players union certainly provided a whole lot of life in what could have been dreary broadcasts.
“We’re all hopeful that we’re back at full capacity next year,’’ Marinak says, “but this gave us a chance to experiment with new ways of engaging our fans. We will wind up continuing a lot of it, even when they do come back to ballpark.’’
Who knows, even when normalcy does return, will the game will ever look or sound the same?
“This is an avenue creating an exposure, and it’s a wide-open avenue,’’ Alonso says. “If we keep traveling along this road, we are going to keep growing the game, and bringing it to more people in a fun, different way.
“It would be cool in the future that instead of having broadcasters talk, just have the players be the broadcasters during the game, too. We can have guys close to another, and just talk, and shoot the breeze throughout the game and just kind of talk. That would be hilarious, and provide great context, too.’’
And who knows, one day, maybe a Mike Trout will be recognized in public just like LeBron James.
“I don’t think this is going to magically solve the whole thing,’’ Alonso says, “because there are so many marketing and promotions that still need to be tapped into. But I think this is a fantastic start.
"The more we can move this forward, the more exposure we can bring to the game of baseball, I think nothing but good things can happen from it.’’
Sept. 21: Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius leaps over the Washington Nationals' Asdrubal Cabrera after a force out at second base in the first inning at Nationals Park. The Nationals won the game, 5-1.
Sept. 19: New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu hits a comebacker to Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Dylan Covey during the sixth inning at Fenway Park.
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Sept. 18: The Cleveland Indians' Jose Ramirez is tagged out by Detroit Tigers catcher Austin Romine as he tries to steal home plate during the fourth inning at Comerica Park. The Indians won the game, 1-0.
Sept. 17: The Minnesota Twins' Josh Donaldson kicks dirt on home plate after hitting a home run against the Chicago White Sox as umpire Dan Bellino looks on at Guaranteed Rate Field. Donaldson was ejected from the game. The White Sox won the game, 4-3.
Sept. 16: The Milwaukee Brewers' Jacob Nottingham (26) celebrates with teammate Orlando Arcia (3) after hitting a 2-run homer in the sixth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park. The Brewers won the game, 6-0.
Sept. 15: The Chicago White Sox's Yasmani Grandal slides safely into second base as Minnesota Twins second baseman Travis Blankenhorn reaches for the throw during the third inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. The White Sox won the game, 6-2.
Sept. 7: Miami Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro tags out the Atlanta Braves' Adeiny Hechavarria at home plate during the seventh inning at Truist Park. The Marlins won the game, 5-4.
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Sept. 6: Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. jumps over Boston Red Sox baserunner Xander Bogaerts grab a pickoff throw from the catcher during the first inning at Fenway Park. The Blue Jays won the game, 10-8.
Sept. 2: Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Jonathan Villar unsuccessfully attempts to throw out the Miami Marlins' Starling Marte at first in the seventh inning at Marlins Park. The Blue Jays won the game, 2-1.
Aug. 30: The Kansas City Royals' Whit Merrifield steals second base as Chicago White Sox second baseman Nick Madrigal collects the throw during the sixth inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. The White Sox won the game, 5-2.
Aug. 22: The Los Angeles Angels' Luis Rengifo (4) is thrown out stealing second base against the Oakland Athletics as second baseman Tony Kemp tahs him out during the eighth inning at Oakland Coliseum. The Angels won the game, 4-3.
Aug. 18: Oakland Athletics second baseman Tony Kemp throws to first to complete the double play after forcing out sliding Arizona Diamondbacks base runner Starling Marte in the second inning at Chase Field. The Diamondbacks won the game, 10-1.
Aug. 16: Boston Red Sox pinch hitter Jose Peraza knocks the ball from the glove of New York Yankees relief pitcher Zack Britton as Britton tries to tag him on a ground ball during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. Peraza was safe at first on the play. The Yankees went on to win the game, 4-2.
Aug. 7: The Kansas City Royals' Whit Merrifield (15) is tagged out by Minnesota Twins pitcher Devin Smeltzer in a rundown between first and second base in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won the game, 3-2.
Aug. 6: Chicago White Sox left fielder Eloy Jimenez (74) falls into the netting along the left-field line while attempting to catch a ball hit off the bat of Christian Yelich, who got an inside-the-park home run on the play. The Brewers won the game, 8-3, at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Aug. 5: Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa tags out the Arizona Diamondbacks' Starling Marte on an attempted steal of second base during the sixth inning at Chase Field. The Diamondbacks won the game, 14-7.
Aug. 4: Los Angeles Angels left fielder Brian Goodwin watches a hit fall to the turf in front of him against the Seattle Mariners during the eighth inning at T-Mobile Park. The Angels won the game, 5-3.
Aug. 3: The Milwaukee Brewers' Ben Gamel (16) is tagged out by Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu after being picked off of first base during the sixth inning at Miller Park. The White Sox won the game, 6-4.
Aug. 2: A cardboard cutout of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is seen in the stands before the game between the and Chicago White Sox and the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mahomes is part owner of the Royals.
Aug. 1: Kansas City Royals center fielder Bubba Starling has the ball pop out of his glove and go over the wall for a three-run home run by Chicago White Sox batter Eloy Jimenez during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium.
July 30: Kansas City Royals right fielder Franchy Cordero makes a jumping catch at the wall on a ball hit by the Detroit Tigers' JaCoby Jones during the fifth inning at Comerica Park. The Royals won the game, 5-3.
July 29: Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Jacob Stallings tags the Milwaukee Brewers' Eric Sogard out at home plate as umpire C.B. Bruckner looks on during the third inning at PNC Park. The Brewers won the game, 3-0.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Opinion: MLB's strange 2020 season gives players freedom to be themselves
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'Can't fault the pitching': Reds waste ace Trevor Bauer's amazing start .
Trevor Bauer pitched a game for the ages Wednesday. Unfortunately for the Reds and Bauer, even a starting pitcher as durable and effective as him doesn’t go 13 innings in modern baseball. The 13th inning was when the Reds lost it – to the Atlanta Braves, 1-0 – in the first game of the National League wild-card series. Bauer went 7 ⅔ shutout innings. He allowed two hits, walked none and struck out 12. The 12 strikeouts were a Reds’ postseason record and the most by anyone in the postseason without allowing a walk.Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.