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C.j. Nitkowski Newsbeat

Monday, September 15, 2014

MLB announces postseason plans, with various notable points

Here is where you can find the games no one will watch.

-No World Series games will be going head to head with either Monday or Thursday Night Football. If the series isn’t a sweep, Game 5 will go head to head with the Packers and Saints on Sunday Night Football….

-Five networks will be airing Postseason games this year. The two Wild Card games will air on TBS (AL) and ESPN (NL), while the entire ALDS and ALCS air on TBS. The NLDS will air on Fox Sports 1, though two of those games will show up on MLB Network. As for the NLCS, both game one and game six (if necessary) will air on Fox. The other five possible games air on Fox Sports 1, and the entire World Series airs on Fox.

-Speaking of Fox Sports 1, they’re taking a page out of ESPN’s book for Game 1 of the NLCS. While the game airs on Fox, they’ll be airing a second-screen experience fueled by their new baseball portal, Just A Bit Outside. The broadcast will be branded “JABO presents: NLCS on FOXSPORTS1″, and will be hosted by Kevin Burkhardt. The alternate feed will focus on statistic and sabermetrics, and feature Rob Neyer, Gabe Kapler, and C.J. Nitkowski, among others.

-Fox Sports 1 is also going all-in with ancillary shows, and is providing more than 60 hours of pre, post, and mid-game coverage, including 90 minute episodes of America’s Pregame.

-Keith Olbermann will not return to anchor TBS’s studio coverage of the MLB Playoffs because of scheduling issues. The studio show will instead be anchored by MLB Network Radio host Casey Stern, and feature Gary Sheffield and the long-awaited return of Pedro Martinez as analysts.

 


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Nitkowski: The other side of a batter getting hit in the face

There is a second side to this story though, one that is often overlooked. After the game when Fiers spoke with the media he was visibly upset about the incident. To the point of near tears, Fiers expressed his sympathy and sorrow for the unintentional pitch that struck Stanton in the face. His concerns were with Stanton and his emotions could not have been any more sincere.

For Fiers there will be a recovery process as well, one not nearly as daunting as what Stanton will likely go through, but it is a process nonetheless.

In 1998 I experienced nearly the exact same situation. Pitching for the Houston Astros at the time, a two-seam fastball got away from me while facing Craig Counsell, then a member of the Florida Marlins. After fouling off a few pitches that were away, Brad Ausmus and I decided it was time to throw a pitch middle-in. Counsell was giving me a tough at-bat with the bases loaded and I knew if I executed this two-seam fastball in, I had a good chance to induce weak contact or maybe even a strikeout.

It was raining that night, but I have never used that as an excuse. The reality was I didn’t finish the pitch, I didn’t drive it to the glove, and when I released the ball it was headed straight for Craig Counsell’s face. When a ball like that comes out of your hand you’re just hoping he gets out of the way. He didn’t. The pitch struck Craig Counsell on the side of the face, breaking his jaw.

It’s an awful feeling as a pitcher. There is no intent, you are just trying to win an at-bat, a pitch gets away and suddenly you realize you have may have just put an opponent’s career in jeopardy.

You don’t sleep well in these situations. Laying in my hotel bed that night I replayed the pitch over and over again in my mind. Was the mistake mental? Physical? What would I have done differently? Was the pitch selection wrong? You just want to go back in time and make it go away.

The next day is not much better. I called Craig at the hospital. If memory serves, his wife or girlfriend at the time answered the phone. This doesn’t get any easier. You’re quickly reminded of the effect this has not only on him, but the ones around him who love and support him and have become so invested in his career.

I spoke with Craig and relayed my apology and my concern. I couldn’t think of much else to say. When you’re in that situation, I imagined he really didn’t want to hear me drivel on about how sorry I was. He was very gracious to me on that phone call. You feel a little better, at least for the moment.

Read the whole thing.

JE (Jason) Posted: September 13, 2014 at 12:20 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: beanballs, c.j. nitkowski, hit batsmen

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Neyer: Get ready for Just A Bit Outside ... FOXSports.com’s new baseball destination

The future in sports journalism here - flannel-based reporting!

Welcome to Just a Bit Outside, coming to FOXSports.com on Wednesday. I’ve been doing this “work” for a long time now, and over the last 70-some years I’ve developed some pretty strong opinions when it comes to covering baseball on the Ultranet. You know, I was there at the beginning, covering such luminaries as Gus “No Shoulders” Wagner and Dale “Murderer” Sisler for the website of the Baltimore Picayune-Democrat, and I’ve seen it all. Having strong opinions is both a blessing (confidence!) and a curse (intolerance!). But it’s difficult to edit a website if you don’t know what you like….

What will you see here? You’ll see some familiar names and faces. Mine, of course. More than you would like, maybe (can’t complain about the price, though). But also two of the game’s top reporters, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi. And two of our smartest former players, Gabe Kapler and C.J. Nitkowski. We’ll be featuring, nearly every day, the best work of our partners at FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus. And we’ll have some surprises, too. You’ll notice that our masthead includes Jeff Garlin, a brilliantly talented actor, comedian, and filmmaker ... who also happens to love baseball as much as anyone you’ll meet. Jeff’s going to be contributing regularly to this page, and I just can’t wait to see what he comes up with.

I’ve grown tired of the term long-form ... isn’t that just the hipster’s way of saying good, well-developed story? But I’ll tell you right now, Just a Bit Outside is going to feature some really terrific stories in the next few months. I mean, I know it’s best to under-promise and over-deliver ... but damn if I’m not really excited about some of the stuff you’re going to see.

 


 

 

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