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Tag Archives: John Smoltz

MLB Now: B-Net Heroes

My latest appearance on MLB Now was my most enjoyable yet. I got to spend more than two hours having extended and often playful conversations about a variety of baseball topics with Brian Kenny, Sean Casey, and John Smoltz. Unfortunately, most of the country didn’t get to see it. Let me explain.

When the MLB Network airs a mid-week regular season day game, they can’t air a competing broadcast of that game in the home markets of the two teams involved (indeed, they typically just pick up the broadcast of the home team), so they have to air a similarly timed “B game” in those markets. Of course, the two games don’t sync up perfectly, one is bound to end before the other, so coming out of those games, the Network is temporarily split into what they call the A-Net and B-Net, the former broadcasting to most of the country and the latter broadcasting only to the markets of the two teams playing in the A game. The show scheduled to follow the games, which is typically MLB Now, begins after whichever game ends first, but doesn’t go fully national until the end of the other game.

On Wednesday, the A game was the Nationals’ 11-inning win over the Yankees, while the B game was the Blue Jays 7-2 win over the Marlins. The Nats game started at 1pm and lasted three hours and 36 minutes, leaving us less than a half hour for the portion of the show that was seen by most of the country starting around 4:40pm Eastern. The Jays game, however, started at 12:30 and lasted just two hours and eight minutes, meaning we actually went on the air in New York and Washington and the surrounding markets around 2:40. As a result, we did two hours of show that only 26 percent of the MLB Network’s viewing audience saw and two hours and twenty minutes total of what is, on non-game days, only a one-hour show.

On top of that, once the Nationals game reached the bottom of the ninth inning with a tie score, we had to stay on the air (meaning not in commercial) as long as the home team (the Yankees) was at bat, because if the game ended, they needed to come straight out to us. The led to some particularly lengthy discussions which took place after we had already been on the air for an hour and a half. Unsurprisingly, things got loose and a little goofy.

Fortunately, those two hours on the B-Net weren’t resigned to the dustbin. MLB.com has posted three clips from that portion of the show. Our interview with Blue Jays beat reporter Arash Madani, whom our producers collared without warning to help us fill out that extra time, was pretty straight forward, and relatively early in that two-hour stretch, but here’s a six-minute conversation about the shift (watch for my Julio Franco impression as we throw to commercial):

And here, perhaps best capturing the spirit of the show, is a nine-minute conversation about no-hitters stemming from Chris Heston’s no-no the night before in which Smoltz looks back in anger at two near misses from his own career:

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2015 in TV and video

 

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All-Time DROP Leaders

For my latest post in SI.com’s The Strike Zone blog I created a new statistic designed to identify the best late-round picks in the history of Major League Baseball’s annual amateur player draft. That statistic, DROP (Draft Round Opportunity Points) simply multiplies a player’s career wins above repacement (Baseball-Reference version) by the round in which they were drafted. It’s a blunt tool, but an effective one. You can read more about it and the all-time top 10 in DROP in my Strike Zone post. Meanwhile, here is a more extensive leader list that didn’t fit over there:

Player Team Pos Year Rd Pick# bWAR DROP
Mike Piazza LAD 1B 1988 62 1,380 59.4 3,683
Keith Hernandez STL 1B 1971 42 785 60.0 2,520
Mark Buehrle CWS P 1998 38 1,139 56.8 2,158
Kenny Rogers TEX P 1982 39 816 51.4 2,005
John Smoltz DET P 1985 22 574 69.5 1,529
Ryne Sandberg PHI 2B 1978 20 511 67.5 1,350
Andy Pettitte NYY P 1990 22 594 60.8 1,338
Orlando Hudson TOR SS 1997 43 1,280 30.9 1,329
Albert Pujols STL 3B 1999 13 402 94.5 1,229
Kenny Lofton HOU OF 1988 17 428 68.2 1,159
Roy Oswalt HOU P 1996 23 684 50.2 1,155
Al Cowens KCR SS 1969 75 1,028 15.2 1,140
Brett Butler ATL OF 1979 23 573 49.4 1,136
Jeff Conine KCR 3B 1987 58 1,226 19.4 1,125
Bret Saberhagen KCR P 1982 19 580 59.2 1,125
Mark Grace CHC 1B 1985 24 622 46.1 1,106
Jeff Kent TOR SS 1989 20 523 55.2 1,104
Buddy Bell CLE 2B 1969 16 375 66.1 1,058
Jorge Posada NYY SS 1990 24 646 42.7 1,025
Ken Griffey Sr. CIN OF 1969 29 682 34.4 998
Nolan Ryan CIN P 1965 12 295 81.8 982
 
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Posted by on June 6, 2014 in Lists

 

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