[Redbird Reveille] Opening Day, ESPN Fail, MLB At Bat and Roku

by on April 6, 2010 · 6 comments

Ah, it feels good to write a “day-after-game” post again. Who enjoys having baseball back?

Cardinals 11, Reds 6

  • What injuries? Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina both homered, Pujols twice and Molina’s a grand slam, in yesterday’s game.  Seems they’re feeling alright, eh?
  • Skip struggles. Skip Schumaker booted a short-hop ground ball that he probably should’ve had, and seemed to be the only Cardinal not hitting yesterday.  Skip appears to me to press too hard from time to time, next few games should give a better idea.
  • “Wheels” Molina? Yadi scooted around from first to third on a single to short-medium left field and a throw home that wasn’t cleanly cut off.  Sure, it took a high throw and a botched cut-off, but Molina wheeled into third.  Not finished, Yadi later smoked a groundball down the third base line that was cut off by a diving Scott Rolen, but Molina beat the throw for an infield hit.  What’s next, 20 stolen bases?
  • Bullpen implosion.  Again. Ryan Franklin and Jason Motte both struggled mightily, conjuring up images of late last season and last Opening Day, respectively.  As we’ve mentioned here and on the UCB podcast many times, Franklin’s success is dependent on pinpoint control and hitting his spots.  He failed with both yesterday.  Motte still throw straight ball hard.  Straight ball leave park quickly.
  • McClellan anchors the pen. This was the right move.  This was the only move.  Kyle McClellan’s presence in the bullpen anchors that group.  Who would be in that spot if KMac had moved to the rotation?  Motte?  Mitchell Boggs?  I shudder to think of what yesterday could’ve turned into without McClellan’s calm appearance.
  • Pujols’ best Opening Day to date. Mang topped his 2006 Opening Day performance by matching the home run total, but banging out additional hits, winding up with four on the day.  This kid might turn out to be a decent ballplayer, eh?
  • Carpenter working hard to get outs. Not terribly worried about this, nor the home runs.  His last outing in which he surrendered multiple home runs?  Great American Ballpark last season.  Add to that the complaints (again) about improperly rubbed baseballs and it’s not terribly surprising to see Chris Carpenter sweating the way he was in his first “real” start of the season.  He’ll be rounded into form by the second week of May.
  • Freese delivers. I forget which beat writer made mention during spring that they saw David Freese as an RBI machine, maybe it was just reporting something that hitting coach Mark McGwire had said, but he delivered with an RBI single in yesterday’s game.
  • I still like Scott Rolen. Can’t help it.  Like the way he plays, like that he’s still got some game left, liked Derrick Goold’s piece about Rolen being the veteran presence and clubhouse glue for a young Reds team.  I even wore my home white Rolen 27 from 2006 during yesterday’s game.

ESPN cuts from Cards-Reds for Tiger Woods

…and then doesn’t return to the game?  I don’t know how this situation played out for you where you live (hopefully most of you got the game on FSMW), but here in greater Chicago-land, here’s how it played out:

The game started on ESPN as expected.  Then, without so much as a “we interrupt” or a “we’re going to cut to something else now”, ESPN came back from a commercial right into the Tiger Woods Masters press conference.

Garbage.  Put that garbage on ESPNNEWS and leave my baseball alone!

So I wait out the press conference by keeping up with the game my phone and computer, expecting them to rejoin the game in progress following Tiger’s repeated and robotic mea culpas.


ESPN and ESPN2 both picked up the news conference, and both launched into ESPNNEWS coverage immediately following.  Never went back to the game.

I did eventually find out later that the game was curiously available on the Worldwide Leader’s newly launched online channel, ESPN3.com.  Hrmm.  Is it really necessary for ESPN to resort to blacking out a game on television to get web hits on their new streaming site?

I’m not in any blackout area for the Cardinals, so I am actually really curious to get an answer for this one.  Anyone know?

MLB At Bat for iPhone

I could’ve just pulled up my MLB.tv subscription on the computer to watch the rest of the game, but with other things going on, I decided to load up the game on the iPhone, using MLB Advanced Media’s glorious MLB At Bat app.

The picture is in high definition (when available by the broadcaster) and on a wi-fi connection is clear as day.  Sound is as good as you can expect from a handheld device.  The action lags behind real-time, which is to be expected.

With the caveat that watching games on the At Bat app requires a subscription to MLB.tv, I highly recommend anyone with both said subscription and an iPhone to make the $14.99 purchase of the app.  You won’t regret it.

Roku wins with customer service

When ESPN cut away from the Cards game yesterday, what I really wanted to do was put my new Roku player through it’s paces using MLB.tv.

I purchased the Roku box almost specifically to hook up to MLB.tv, so imagine my chagrin when I loaded up the channel on the box only to receive a message that it would be available in “mid-April”.

A quick tweet about the issue brought a quick direct message response from Roku, and since I apparently wasn’t the only one asking questions, a follow up to their entire following:

MLB.TV for Roku is coming! We know folks are anxious & we apologize for the delay. brian@roku.com if you’d like to be considered for beta.

While it’s still not exactly what I expected, which is the product(s) to be ready on Opening Day, I appreciate their forthrightness and instant communication with customers.

Since I’ve also heard since my complaint that this may be an MLBAM issue and not Roku, I appreciate their response even more.

Next game:  Cardinals (Wainwright) at Reds (Cueto), 04/07/2010 6:10p

Follow PitchersHit8th on Twitter.

Writing about the Cardinals and other loosely associated topics since 2008, I've grown tired of the April run-out only to disappoint Cardinal fans everywhere by mid-May. I do not believe in surrendering free outs.
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SMS_Mike April 6, 2010

How big an egomaniac is Tiger Woods? Press conference during the World Golf Championships, interview during the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament, press conference on Opening Day. Doesn’t he seem to be trying to overshadow other big sports events with his timing?

And ESPN cutting away but not coming back to the Cards game – that’s par for the course with the National Media (including Fox). I’m surprised they deigned to show the Cardinal game at all.

PH8 April 6, 2010

Well, to be fair, this one was at least in conjunction with an event he is participating in. The real problem is that it’s a situation just like McGwire was. People won’t let it go. Here I wrote out my notes about Opening Day, and you’re fixated on Tiger. 😉 He’s a worldwide brand for a reason.

The most confusing thing for me about the ESPN deal is that they seem to have gone back to the game in other markets – but as I mentioned, I’m certainly not in a Cards or Reds market – so why not here?

SMS_Mike April 6, 2010

The Tiger nonsense has struck a nerve with me. Morning drive sports talk out here has focused on the NFL draft and Tiger Woods for the past three weeks, to the exclusion of everything else. I guess I’ve become a little hypersensitive to it, and wish he would just go away. It hasn’t helped the local sportstalkshow hosts that San Diego State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tourney, and everyone’s resigned to watching a bad Padres team in 2010.

Agree with the comment below – thank goodness for satellite radio!

PH8 April 7, 2010

Indeed. I’ve simply chosen to ignore Tiger and all the nonsense when I can.

Thanks to technology, it’s getting increasingly easy to do.

Matt April 6, 2010

I hear ya on the ESPN bit, only it was a bit worse for me. I sat down to watch the game and caught the tail-end of SportsCenter, only to immediately be switched to ESPNEWS. I didn’t get to see any of it. I live in west-central IN just east of Danville, IL, and apparently it was blacked out in our area. I couldn’t even watch it on ESPN3.com – that was blacked out in my area as well! I ended up taking my wife to Lafayette, IN just so I could listen to it on XM Radio!

PH8 April 6, 2010

Ugh, Matt. Just awful. Is your area in the Reds’ trade zone? Even if it is, I assume you don’t get the FS Ohio feed, which puts you in the dreaded DEAD ZONE of MLB.

Thank goodness for satellite radio!

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