Mic’d up in the MLB


Imagine being able to listen in on the best shortstop to play the game, Derek Jeter, from the New York Yankees contemplating a play. To be there in real-time while the action was coming in fast, he grabbed a ground ball and threw it to home plate, and got the runner out by mere milliseconds. To hear his reaction and listen to him at that moment. Well, that is what is now possible with the in-game mic revolution that is occurring in many sports but has been wholeheartedly embraced by the MLB.

The pace of the game

Major League Baseball does suffer from a pace issue. ESPN VP of production Phil Orlins stated, “MLB among the four major sports—and a lot of this has to do with the pace of the game—to be able to do something that no other major professional team sport is doing at all is a pretty strong statement about the progressive nature and risk-taking of the league itself, which I think is an important thing.”

MLB is capitalizing on the human factor, the celebrity factor, and the need for more information. The feeling of immersion. Fans today want action-packed games. That edge-of-your-seat excitement fires up adrenaline and allows the fans to feel as if they are part of the action. Baseball can suffer from some lulls in the action and the in-game mic technology allows the fans to listen in and experience the game along with the player.

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Fox Sports conducted the first live, in-game interviews with Bryce Harper and George Springer during the 2017 MLB All-Star Game, but ESPN advanced the genre beginning the following spring training. Broadcaster Jon Sciambi moderated back-and-forth banter between then-Cubs stars Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant as they ragged on each other for their hats and gloves, among other topics.

Technology is the future

The company Phonak which is best known for its hearing aid division produces an earbud with an embedded transmitter. This technology eliminated the need for the player to wear a wire. The seamless nature of the technology allows for the player to more easily interact and transmit in real-time.

However, the communications are monitored and can be immediately edited to filter out any colorful language. This technology adds value to the sports experience for the fans and helps the game and players engage in a new way with their fans. It’s like reality television meets sports.

These advancements can unlock a different perspective for young up-and-coming players. This technology allows for a point of view never seen before. Young athletes observing their favorite players live will no doubt have an impact on their own game. Thus improving the overall competitiveness of the sport. I’m excited to see what other technological advancements can be brought to the sport of baseball!


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