| ||Thursday, June 29|
Home Run Derby enhanced by "ESPN True Track" sportvision technology
ESPN, in conjunction with Sportvision, has developed "ESPN True Track" -- a system which will once and for all take the guess work out of measuring home run distances. Two cameras located in the upper deck near the foul poles will be equipped with sensors and will follow the path of the ball. Data collected by the camera sensors will be fed to a software program enabling the computer to calculate the position of the ball in three-dimensional space. With two cameras on opposite sides of the field tracking a fly ball, the exact location and distance is determined. In the event of a ball hitting a foul pole, scoreboard, deck facade or other obstacle, Sportvision's technology will accurately compute how far an unimpeded ball would have traveled, taking into account trajectory, drag and gravity.
"ESPN and Sportvision have finally developed a system to accurately compute home run distances," said Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer. "The utilization of 'ESPN True Track' will benefit our audience's viewing experience, which is always our top priority. And while I love baseball phrases like 'it went a country mile,' we'll now know just how far a country mile really is."
Bill Squadron, Sportvision CEO, added, "Home run distance has always been fascinating to fans, from Mickey Mantle's supposed 565-foot clout to bombs from McGwire, Griffey and Sosa. We are pleased to collaborate with ESPN in pioneering a means of precisely and scientifically measuring the length of home runs, and finally answering the question of 'How far would it have gone""
ESPN will again utilize MaskCam, which provides action from the catcher's perspective, during the Derby telecast. For the first time, robotic cameras in front of home plate will be employed for close ups of the participants. Ultra Slo Mo cameras, which replay action up to five times slower than conventional Super Slo Mo cameras, will also be used.
Chris Berman, Sunday Night Baseball analyst Joe Morgan and New York Mets' All-Star catcher Mike Piazza will call the action. The two-hour telecast will feature All-Stars from both the American and National Leagues vying for the title. Cincinnati's Ken Griffey, Jr. is the defending champion. This is ESPN's third consecutive year of live Derby coverage and eighth straight year overall.
ESPN AND ESPN2's 10 ½ hours of coverage of events surrounding the All-Star Game will begin on ESPN2 with Baseball 2Day live from Turner Field Sunday, July 9 at noon. Rich Eisen will host and will be joined by Buck Martinez, Harold Reynolds, Peter Gammons and Joe Morgan. The network's coverage will continue that day with the 2000 Future Stars Game live at 3 p.m. from Turner Field. Gary Thorne, Martinez and Gammons will work in the booth. Reynolds will report from the field. The second annual game will feature top minor league prospects as the U.S. team takes on the World team. A special one-hour Baseball Tonight at the Home Run Derby on Monday, July 10 at 7 p.m. will preview the Home Run Derby and review the first half of the season. Host Karl Ravech will be joined by analysts Reynolds and Sutcliffe. After the Derby winner is determined, ESPN will televise the third annual All-Star Celebrity Hitting Challenge at 10 p.m. (taped Sunday, July 9). The one-hour telecast will feature four teams consisting of one celebrity, one retired All-Star, one retired Atlanta Braves player and one member of the USA Softball National Team in a head-to-head competition. Teams will earn points based on the distance of each hit, receiving bonus points for each home run. Gary Thorne and Rick Sutcliffe will call the event, while Harold Reynolds will serve as a reporter. A one-hour SportsCenter at 11 p.m. will recap the day's events. On Tuesday at 1 a.m. (Monday at 10 p.m. PT), ESPN2 will present Baseball Tonight at the All-Star Gala. Ravech will host and be joined by Gammons and Tim Kurkjian. Also on Tuesday, ESPN will have reports from Turner Field on its 6 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. SportsCenter shows. Berman will host and be joined by analysts Gammons and Reynolds. A special Baseball Tonight at 12:30 a.m. will conclude ESPN/ESPN2 All-Star coverage.
ESPN.com will cover the Major League Baseball All-Star Game with a comprehensive package of previews, commentary and first-half analysis including:
* complete AL and NL rosters with stats and perspective;
* on-site coverage of the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game;
* features from ESPN.com's Peter Gammons, Jayson Stark and Rob Neyer.
ESPN Classic will celebrate the 2000 MLB All-Star Game Sunday, July 9 from 4-9 p.m., with memorable All-Star programming, including the 1970 All-Star Film (Cincinnati), the 1972 All-Star Film (Atlanta), the 1999 Century 21 Home Run Derby and the 1999 All-Star Game from Fenway Park in Boston.
All the latest baseball news leading to the All-Star Game in ESPN The Magazine's July 10 issue on sale Wednesday, June 28.
Launched in October 1993, recently crossed the 70 million U.S. household mark faster than any other cable network in history and more than one year ahead of the next fastest network. Nine out of 10 ESPN households also now receive ESPN. ESPN2 will televise more than 40 MLB games this year, on Wednesdays, Sundays and holidays, as well as Baseball 2Day every Sunday at noon.