MLB Advanced Media

MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) is a limited partnership of the club owners of Major League Baseball (MLB) based in New York City and is the Internet and interactive branch of the league.

Robert Bowman, president and CEO of MLBAM, indicated in May 2012 that MLBAM generates around $620 million a year in revenue.[2] Forbes went as far as calling the company "the Biggest Media Company You've Never Heard Of".[3]

The company operates the official web site for the league and the thirty Major League Baseball club web sites via MLB.com, which draws four million hits per day. The site offers news, standings, statistics, and schedules, and subscribers have access to live audio and video broadcasts of most games. The company also employs reporters, with one assigned to each team for the season and others serving more general beats. MLB Advanced Media also owns and operates BaseballChannel.tv and MLB Radio.

MLBAM also runs and/or owns the official web sites of Minor League Baseball, YES Network (the television broadcaster of the New York Yankees), SportsNet New York (the television broadcaster of the New York Mets). It has also provided the backend infrastructure for WWE Network, WatchESPN, ESPN3, HBO Now, and PGA Tour Live.[4][5]

MLBAM as of January 2018 also is involved with video game development, production and publication, they currently own the IP of the R.B.I. Baseball franchise and had produced and published R.B.I. Baseball 14, 15, 16 and 17 and developed, produced and published R.B.I. Baseball 18,[6] as a result, the MLB is the only major sports league that is producing its own video game.

MLB Advanced Media, L.P.
Limited partnership
IndustryInternet media
FoundedJune 2000
HeadquartersNew York City, New York
Key people
Robert A. Bowman, CEO
ProductsMLB.com, MiLB.com, MLB.TV, Gameday Audio, R.B.I Baseball
Revenue$300 million (2006), $620 million (2012)[1]
OwnerMajor League Baseball member club owners
Subsidiaries
Websitemlb.mlb.com/careers/mlbam/

History

Major League Baseball Advanced Media was formed in 2000 by Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to consolidate online rights and ticket sales for Major League Baseball teams. MLBAM was to be capitalized with $120 million with $1 million per team contributed each year for four years. The company hired an outside consulting firm to build its websites which failed to work properly, which lead them to develop their own tech. In 2002, the attempt to run a streaming package around Japanese player Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners to little success. With these failures, MLB Advance Media used its ticket rights to get an advance from Ticketmaster in mid 2002.[7]

MLBAM used its $10 million advance from Ticketmaster to meet payroll and make another run at video. A Texas Rangers - New York Yankees game was produced and broadcast online on August 26, 2002. The company continued to tweak online broadcasting. A nine-game pennant race package was sold two week later followed by a $19.95 postseason package. Concurrently with 2003 spring training, MLB.tv was launched at $79.95 for a full season package, which garnered 100,000 subscribers. Those revenues halted the need for additional capital from the teams, taking only $77 million of the original planned $120 million.[7]

In 2005, MLBAM bought ticket sales company Tickets.com in a deal worth approximately $66 million.[8] MLBAM indicated at the time that the move was spurred by increased attendance at both the major and minor league levels of the sport and the need to make ticket purchases convenient for fans.[9] In 2007, MLBAM signed a five-year deal with StubHub.[10]

In April 2008, MLBAM signed with Yahoo for ad sales for three years. The company replaced Yahoo with Auditude in a multi-year deal in April 2011.[5]

On February 20, 2014, Sports Illustrated announced the formation of 120 Sports, a streaming sports video service, with financial backing from MLBAM, the NHL, and Silver Chalice.[11]

2K announced that it would not exercise its license to publish a 2015 MLB video game for the Xbox. Thus MLBAM developed a game from scratch in one and half years with only a dozen programmers. The game however was poorly received by the critics.[7]

In February 2015, it was reported that MLBAM was planning to spin off its streaming technology division as an independent company, with investments by MLB and other minority partners. MLB-specific properties (such as MLB.com) would remain under league control.[12] The formation of the spin-out, known as BAMTech, was approved by the company's board of directors on August 13, 2015.[7]

On August 4, 2015, the National Hockey League announced a six-year deal with MLBAM for it to take over its digital properties, including its websites, mobile apps, operations and distribution of its digital streaming service NHL GameCenter Live (renamed NHL.tv outside of Canada), and migrating NHL Network to the facilities of MLB Network. The deal is worth $600 million over the life of the contract, and also granted the NHL an equity stake of up to 10% in BAMTech.[7][13][14]

As of January 2018, MLBAM has a video game development team of 30+ employees who are working on R.B.I Baseball 18, the R.B.I Baseball franchise was revived by MLBAM in 2014.[6] With R.B.I Baseball 14, 15, 16, and 17, MLBAM had outsourced development to several external development studios and had a small group dedicated to overseeing production and managing publishing duties, that had all changed with R.B.I Baseball 18 when MLBAM decided to move development in-house.[6] R.B.I Baseball is a unique product due to the fact that this is "the only instance of a professional sports league producing its own console video game,"[6] MLBAM is now a video game developer, producer and publisher as a result.

MLB At Bat

The most successful venture to date for MLBAM is the At Bat app for the iPhone and iPad, which is downloadable from the iTunes store and also available as an Android app on Google Play.[1] In April 2012, MLBAM announced that the MLB.com At Bat 12 application surpassed the three million download mark, achieving the milestone only eight days into the 2012 MLB regular season and more than four months earlier than its record-setting 2011 campaign.[15]

MLBAM CEO Robert Bowman had this to say about MLBAM in an article entitled "What did you learn in 2012 that you will carry forth with you into 2013?":

The toughest thing to do in a poker hand and in this business is stand pat. This year we decided to make our At Bat app universal between the iPad and iPhone, which we knew going in would cost us 100,000 subscribers. We threw in At Bat for free with an MLB.tv subscription, which would also cost us revenue. And we added up a monthly At Bat subscription to get people to test the product out. We gave customers more options and a better deal, and we had a record year in paid content. We learned we're at an inflection point. Customers now understand and appreciate the nuance of content economics. You'll see more of that value pricing from us going forward.[16]

120 Sports

120Sports, LLC is an online streaming-video sports channel company owned by Time Inc. / Sports Illustrated, MLBAM, the NHL, the PGA TOUR, Campus Insiders and Silver Chalice. The channel produces 2 minute or 120 second segments thus the origin of the streaming service's name. The president of 120 Sports is Jason Coyle and is based at Harpo Studios, owned by Sterling Bay, in Chicago.[17]

The channel is supported by six one-minute commercial breaks on the fours within live programming. Other sponsorship programs consist of wraparound promos and brand integration. Silver Chalice and Sports Illustrated, owned by Time Inc., are both selling national advertising.[17]

On April 13, 2017, it was announced that Silver Chalice had partnered with Sinclair Broadcast Group to merge 120 Sports and Campus Insiders with Sinclair's syndication service and linear digital television channel American Sports Network into a new linear and digital sports network, which became known as Stadium.[18][19][20]

Intellectual property

MLBAM vs. CDM

MLBAM signed a five-year, $50 million interactive rights deal with the MLB Players Association in 2005 to acquire most of the players' online rights, including fantasy sports. The deal exacerbated tension between fantasy sports companies and professional leagues and players associations over the rights to player profiles and statistics. The players associations of the major sports leagues believed that fantasy games using player names were subject to licensing due to the right of publicity of the players involved. During the 1980s and 1990s many companies signed licensing deals with the player associations, but many companies did not. The issue came to a head when MLBAM denied a fantasy baseball licensing agreement to St. Louis-based CBC Distribution and Marketing Inc., the parent company of CDM Sports. CBC filed suit as a result. CBC argued that intellectual property laws and so-called "right of publicity" laws don't apply to the statistics used in fantasy sports.[21] The FSTA filed a friend of the court brief in support of CBC which argued that MLBAM's step to deny CBC a license was the first step to limit the number of companies in the market, that could result in MLBAM having a monopoly. CBC won the lawsuit as U.S. District Court Judge Mary Ann Medler ruled that statistics are part of the public domain and can be used at no cost by fantasy companies. "The names and playing records of major-league baseball players as used in CBC's fantasy games are not copyrightable," Medler wrote. "Therefore, federal copyright law does not pre-empt the players' claimed right of publicity."[21] The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision in October 2007.[22] "It would be a strange law that a person would not have a First Amendment right to use information that is available to everyone," a three-judge panel said in its ruling.[23]

On June 2, 2008, the United States Supreme Court denied MLB's petition for a writ of certiorari.[24]

MLBAM has lost nearly $2 million on the case and may now opt out of the agreement with the MLBPA and also faces the potential loss of millions of dollars of licensing fees from major media companies, such as Fox.[25] ESPN opted out of a seven-year, $140 million deal with MLBAM after three years in January 2008. The decision to opt out came less than three months after the CDM case was upheld on appeal as "ESPN thinks the court's decision means that it was paying a license fee for fantasy rights that others, such as CDM, were getting free."[26]

MLBAM patents and patent infringement issues

MLBAM has been issued some patents with others still "patent pending" before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. For example, MLBAM was awarded U.S. Patent No. 7,486,943 for geolocating and blocking fans from viewing local games online.[27] [28] [29] In addition, MLBAM was issued a patent for a system and method for allocating seats for a ticketed event.[30] Another example of an MLBAM patent is U.S. Patent No. 8,045,965 entitled "System and method for venue-to-venue messaging,"[31] which lists MLBAM CEO Robert A. Bowman[32] as a co-inventor (inventorship).

MLBAM has been the subject of patent infringement lawsuits. See, for example, DDB Techs., L.L.C. v. MLB Advanced Media, L.P.[33] This case began as a patent infringement suit between DDB Technologies (DDB) and MLBAM over several patents for generating a computer simulation of a live event for display on a viewer's computer as well as one patent for a method allowing a viewer to search for certain information about a live event.[34] The technology at issue was being used for simulation of baseball and other sporting activities.[35] The case was finally settled with MLBAM acquiring rights to the DDB patent portfolio.[36]

MLBAM has also been sued for patent infringement of the Front Row Technologies[37] patent portfolio[38] covering the delivery of sports and entertainment video to hand held devices such as smartphones (e.g., iPhone, Android), pad computing devices (e.g., iPad, Kindle, etc.), laptop computers and the like.[39] According to the patent infringement complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas,[40] MLBAM infringed U.S. Patent Number 8,090,321[41] entitled "Transmitting sports and entertainment data to wireless hand held devices over a telecommunications network."[42]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "MLB Advanced Media's Bob Bowman Is Playing Digital Hardball. And He's Winning". Fast Company.
  2. ^ "Major League Baseball's Advanced Media is a Hit - NYConvergence.com". NYConvergence.com.
  3. ^ "A closer look at NHL's partnership with MLBAM". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  4. ^ "PGA Tour-MLBAM initiative began around Augusta picnic table". Sports Business Journal. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  5. ^ a b Spangler, Todd (April 6, 2011). "MLBAM Inks Ad Deal With Auditude". Multichannel News. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d Sarkar, Samit (2018-01-22). "Exclusive: Why MLB decided to develop R.B.I. Baseball 18 itself". Polygon. Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  7. ^ a b c d e Ben Popper. "The Change Up: How baseball's tech team built the future of television". The Verge. Vox Media.
  8. ^ "Company News Major League Baseball Unit Purchasing Tickets.com". New York Times. February 16, 2005. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  9. ^ "MLB Acquires Tickets.com". internetnews.com.
  10. ^ Stone, Brad; Richtel, Matt (Aug 2, 2007). "Baseball Gets Into Resale of Tickets". NYTimes. The New York Times Company. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  11. ^ "Time Inc, sports leagues to launch online streaming sports network". Chicago Tribune. Chicago Tribune Media Group. Reuters. February 21, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  12. ^ "MLB considers spinning off its powerful streaming business". The Verge. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  13. ^ "Pro Baseball's Streaming Video Unit Gets Ready for a $3 Billion Spinoff by Adding Pro Hockey". Re/code. Vox Media. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  14. ^ "MLB's Tech Unit Wins NHL Streaming Business". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 August 2015.(subscription required)
  15. ^ Brown, Maury (August 13, 2015). "MLB Approves New Digital Media Company Spin-Off That Will Create Billions In New Revenues". Forbes. Forbes Media LLC.
  16. ^ "MLB Advanced Media CEO Bob Bowman On Users Adopting And Adapting". Fast Company.
  17. ^ a b Channick, Robert (June 25, 2014). "All-digital 120 Sports kicking off streaming network". Chicago Tribune. Chicago Tribune Media Group. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  18. ^ "Sinclair Partners to Revamp, Relaunch Sports Network". Broadcasting and Cable. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  19. ^ "American Sports Network, Campus Insiders, and 120 Sports Announce Mega-Merger Deal". Underdog Dynasty (SBNation). Vox Media. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  20. ^ "Is Twitter the new home for Southern Miss football?". Sun Herald. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  21. ^ a b "Fantasy leagues permitted to use MLB names, stats". ESPN. August 8, 2006. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  22. ^ "svmedialaw.com" (PDF). svmedialaw.com. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  23. ^ Van Voris, Bob; Jeff St. Onge (October 16, 2007). "Fantasy Sports Win Right to Player Names, Statistics". Bloomerberg. Retrieved 2007-07-28.
  24. ^ Order List - June 2, 2008
  25. ^ Fisher, Eric (October 22, 2007). "Fantasy challenge costly for MLBAM, union". Sports Business Journal. Street & Smith's Sports Group. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
  26. ^ Ourand, John; Eric Fisher (January 21, 2008). "ESPN seeks better MLBAM terms". Sports Business Journal. Street & Smith's Sports Group. Retrieved 2008-01-25.
  27. ^ Klayman, Ben (2009-05-15). "Major League Baseball awarded geolocation patent". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  28. ^ "MLBAM Issued Patent for Geolocation. Could MLB Extra Innings for Mobile Be Far Behind?". Bizofbaseball.com. 2009-05-14. Archived from the original on 2013-07-30. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  29. ^ "MLB.TV granted landmark U.S. patent | MLB.com: News". Mlb.mlb.com. 2012-06-19. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  30. ^ "Patent US8121872 - System and method for allocating seats for a ticketed event - Google Patents". Google.com. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  31. ^ http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=8,045,965&OS=8,045,965&RS=8,045,965
  32. ^ "Robert A Bowman". patentbuddy.com.
  33. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-07-30. Retrieved 2012-12-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  34. ^ "DDB TECHNOLOGIES v. MLB ADVANCED MEDIA". Findlaw.
  35. ^ http://www.ebglaw.com/files/19912_DDB%20Technologies%20Client%20Alert.pdf
  36. ^ "DDB Technologies and MLB Advanced Media Reach Patent Portfolio". Bloomberg.
  37. ^ http://www.frontrowtechnologies.com
  38. ^ http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=0&f=S&l=50&TERM1=Front+Row&FIELD1=ASNM&co1=AND&TERM2=Ortiz&FIELD2=INNM&d=PTXT
  39. ^ "Front Row Hits MLB With Hand-Held Video Patent Suit". law360.com.
  40. ^ "Front Row Technologies v. MLB Advanced Media et. al". Scribd.
  41. ^ http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=5&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=%22Front+Row%22.ASNM.&s2=Ortiz.INNM.&OS=AN/%22Front+Row%22+AND+IN/Ortiz&RS=AN/%22Front+Row%22+AND+IN/Ortiz
  42. ^ "Patent US8090321 - Transmitting sports and entertainment data to wireless hand held devices ... - Google Patents". google.com.

External links

2014 National League Wild Card Game

The 2014 National League Wild Card Game was a play-in game during Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2014 postseason played between the National League's (NL) two wild card teams, the San Francisco Giants and the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was held at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 1, 2014, starting at 8:07 p.m. EDT. After both teams finished the regular season with identical records of 88–74, the Pirates were awarded home field for the game, as they won the season series against the Giants, four games to two. Despite this advantage, the Giants won by a score of 8–0 and advanced to play the Washington Nationals in the NL Division Series. In addition to being the third NL Wild Card Game played, it is notable for the first postseason grand slam hit by a shortstop. The game was televised on ESPN, and was also broadcast on ESPN Radio.

2014 Philadelphia Phillies season

The Philadelphia Phillies' 2014 season was the 132nd in the history of the franchise. After a disappointing 2013, the Phillies entered the offseason with a strategy to reload rather than rebuild; they did not want to relinquish the opportunity to do well in 2014 in hopes of being competitive down the road. Commensurate with this strategy, among their key acquisitions were right fielder Marlon Byrd and starting pitcher A. J. Burnett. The Phillies began the season with new coaches (as Ryne Sandberg entered his first season as manager after taking over on an interim basis in August 2013) and new broadcasters; Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs, two members of the 2008 World Series squad, replaced Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews as analysts on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.

After offseason headlines indicated a tenuous relationship between Sandberg and shortstop Jimmy Rollins and controversy about draft picks who did not sign with the team, the season began auspiciously with an opening-day win; however, the Phillies then lost their next two games. April continued in that fashion; the team played .500 ball in their first 26 games, exceeding expectations. One commentator called them "pleasantly mediocre", despite a horrific performance from the bullpen. May was a frustrating month for the Phillies; failing to win games they were in a position to win, they posted an 11–16 record and a .230 team batting average (the worst in the National League). June was almost as bad; although the team had 12 wins and 17 losses, the bullpen improved to one of the best in the NL. In the 2014 Major League Baseball draft that month the Phillies selected Aaron Nola as their first-round pick, encouraging optimism from fans and the media. Although the Phillies began July at the bottom of the National League East Division, they amassed a five-game winning streak shortly before the All-Star break. This moved them to within nine games of .500, but they lost the last two games and had a 42–53 record at the break.

As the trade deadline approached, it was speculated that the Phillies would surrender older players to obtain younger ones. They made two deals, neither involving key components of the team. In August they had their best month of the season: a 14–13 record, thanks to strong pitching and adequate hitting. Although the Phillies began September with four pitchers combining for a no-hitter, their month deteriorated from there. The squad had an 11–15 record, finishing the season with 73 wins and 89 losses. Significant personnel changes on the field and in the front office were expected during the offseason.

2015 Major League Baseball season

The 2015 Major League Baseball season began on April 5 with a Sunday night game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, and ended on November 1 with the Kansas City Royals winning the World Series. This was Rob Manfred's first season serving as Commissioner of Baseball.

The Major League Baseball All-Star Game's 86th edition was held on Tuesday, July 14 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, home of the Cincinnati Reds. The American League won the game 6–3, to give the American League home-field advantage in the World Series. The series was won by the Kansas City Royals.

2016 Major League Baseball season

The 2016 Major League Baseball season began on April 3, 2016 with a Sunday afternoon matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates, the two teams with the best regular season records in 2015, at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The regular season ended on Sunday, October 2, 2016, and the postseason on Wednesday, November 2, 2016, with the Chicago Cubs coming back from a three games to one deficit to defeat the Cleveland Indians in the World Series and win their first championship since 1908.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim shorten their name to its original Los Angeles Angels.

The Major League Baseball All-Star Game's 87th edition was played on July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego, California, home of the San Diego Padres. The American League was awarded home-field advantage in the World Series by winning the game 4–2.

2016 World Series

The 2016 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2016 season. The 112th edition of the World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff between the National League (NL) champion Chicago Cubs and the American League (AL) champion Cleveland Indians, the first meeting of those franchises in postseason history. The series was played between October 25 and November 2 (although Game 7 ended slightly after 12:00 am local time on November 3). The Indians had home-field advantage because the AL had won the 2016 All-Star Game. This was the final World Series to have home-field advantage determined by the All-Star Game results; since 2017, home-field advantage has been awarded to the team with the better record.

The Cubs defeated the Indians 4 games to 3 to win their first World Series since 1908. Game 7, an 8–7 victory in 10 innings, marked the fifth time that a Game 7 had gone into extra innings and the first since 1997 (which, coincidentally, the Indians also lost). It was also the first Game 7 to have a rain delay, which occurred as the tenth inning was about to start. The Cubs became the sixth team to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven World Series, following the 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates, the 1958 New York Yankees, the 1968 Detroit Tigers, the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates, and the 1985 Kansas City Royals.

The Cubs, playing in their eleventh World Series and their first since 1945, won their third championship and first since 1908, ending the longest world championship drought in North American professional sports history. It was the Indians' sixth appearance in the World Series and their first since 1997, with their last Series win having come in 1948. The two teams entered their matchup as the two franchises with the longest World Series title droughts, a combined 174 years without a championship. Cleveland manager Terry Francona, who had previously won World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007, fell short in his bid to become the third manager to win his first three trips to the Fall Classic, after Casey Stengel and Joe Torre.

2017 Major League Baseball season

The 2017 Major League Baseball season began on April 2, 2017 with three games, including the 2016 World Series champions Chicago Cubs facing off against the St. Louis Cardinals, and ended on November 1. The postseason began on October 3. The World Series began October 24 and Game 7 was played on November 1, in which the Houston Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games, to capture their first World Series championship in franchise history.

The 88th Major League Baseball All-Star Game was held on July 11 at Marlins Park, the home of the Miami Marlins. For the first time since 2002 when the game ended in a tie, the All Star Game did not determine home field advantage for the World Series. Instead, home field advantage was awarded to the team with the better regular season record. The American League won 2–1 in 10 innings.

All-Star Final Vote

The All-Star Final Vote was an annual Internet and text message ballot by Major League Baseball (MLB) fans to elect the final player for each team that participates in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, after all other selections were made and announced. The first 33 players were selected by a combination of procedures. The sponsorship changed annually, but the contest remained similar from year to year. Each league presented a five-man ballot and gave the fans a few days to choose one final All-Star. This process was used from 2002 through 2018.

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks, often shortened as the D-backs, are an American professional baseball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. The club competes in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member of the National League (NL) West division. The team has played every home game in franchise history at Chase Field, formerly known as Bank One Ballpark. The Diamondbacks have won one World Series championship (defeating the New York Yankees in 2001) – becoming the fastest expansion team in the Major Leagues to win a championship, which it did in only the fourth season since the franchise's inception. They remain the only professional men's sports team from Arizona to have won a championship title.

Ashburn Alley

Ashburn Alley is the open concourse behind center field at Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies. It is named after Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn, Phillies center fielder from 1948 to 1959, and was also a long time broadcaster for the Phillies from 1963 until his death in September 1997. Ashburn Alley spans from the left field gate to "The Yard" kids area, and features a "street-fair" like atmosphere before and during a game.Ashburn Alley's name sake began while Ashburn was still playing. During the Phillies playing days at old Shibe Park, Ashburn was known for dropping bunts down the third baseline, which had slightly overgrown grass that helped the ball stay fair. A bronze statue of Ashburn lies in the center of the alley.

BAMTech

BAMTech LLC, operating as BAMTech Media and internally known as Disney Streaming Services, is a technology subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company located in Manhattan, New York City. It was established in 2015 as a spin-off of MLB Advanced Media—the digital media arm of Major League Baseball, focused on providing streaming video technology, particularly for over-the-top content (OTT) services. The company's major clients include ESPN (for its WatchESPN service), the NHL, the PGA Tour, Riot Games (for League of Legends e-sports), PlayStation Vue, WWE Network and TheBlaze.

It was majority owned by MLB Advanced Media (which is, in turn, a consortium of MLB's principal team owners), with minority stakes held by the National Hockey League and other investors. Disney acquired a minority stake in the company in August 2016 for $1 billion, and the following year, announced its intent to increase its stake to a 75% controlling stake for $1.58 billion. The deal was approved by regulators in September 2017. Following the acquisition of BAMTech by Disney, the company began to develop two subscription streaming services aligned with Disney properties: the sports-oriented service ESPN+, and the upcoming entertainment service Disney+.

Colorado Rockies

The Colorado Rockies are an American professional baseball team based in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) West division. The team's home venue is Coors Field, located in the Lower Downtown area of Denver. The team is owned by the Monfort brothers and managed by Bud Black.

The Rockies began play as an expansion team for the 1993 season, and played their home games for their first two seasons at Mile High Stadium. Since 1995, they have played at Coors Field, which has earned a reputation as a hitter's park. The Rockies have qualified for the postseason five times, each time as a Wild Card winner. In 2007, the team earned its only NL championship after winning 14 of their final 15 games in the regular season to secure a Wild Card position. In the 2007 World Series, they were swept by the American League (AL) champion Boston Red Sox in four games.

Core Four

The "Core Four" are former New York Yankees baseball players Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera. Each member of the Core Four was a key contributor to the Yankees' late-1990s dynasty that won four World Series championships in five years.

Jeter, Pettitte, Posada, and Rivera were drafted or signed as amateurs by the Yankees in the early 1990s. They played together in the minor leagues, and they each made their Yankee major league debuts in 1995. By 2007, they were the only remaining Yankees from the franchise's dynasty of the previous decade. All four players were on the Yankees' active roster in 2009 when the team won the 2009 World Series—its fifth championship in the previous 14 years.

Three members of the Core Four—Jeter, Rivera and Posada—played together for 17 consecutive years (1995–2011), longer than any other similar group in history of North American professional sports. Pettitte had a sojourn away from the team when he played for the Houston Astros for three seasons, but returned to the Yankees in 2007. He retired after the 2010 season, reducing the group to the so-called Key Three. Posada followed suit after 2011, ending his 17-year career with the Yankees. Pettitte came out of retirement prior to the 2012 season and played for two more years. Both Pettitte and Rivera retired after the 2013 season, and Jeter retired after the 2014 season.

Golden Spikes Award

The Golden Spikes Award is bestowed annually to the best amateur baseball player in the United States. The award, created by USA Baseball and sponsored by the Major League Baseball Players Association, was first presented in 1978. It is given to an amateur player who best exhibits and combines "exceptional on-field ability and exemplary sportsmanship." The award is considered the most prestigious in amateur baseball.Ten winners of the Golden Spikes Award are members of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame, including Bob Horner, the inaugural winner in 1978. In that same year, he was the first overall MLB draft pick and proceeded to win the Rookie of the Year Award. Seven Golden Spikes Award winners went on to become the first overall draft pick. Only Horner achieved the Rookie of the Year Award in the same year (although Jason Jennings and Buster Posey were voted the top rookies of the National League several years after winning the Golden Spikes Award). Jim Abbott, Jered Weaver and Tim Lincecum are the only award winners to pitch a no-hitter, while Horner is the only one to hit four home runs in one game. Furthermore, 17 players won the Dick Howser Trophy (considered to be the Heisman Trophy of college baseball) alongside the Golden Spikes Award. No player has won the award more than once.

Since 2014, the winner has been announced during a live broadcast of ESPN's SportsCenter. Immediately following the announcement, the award winner and the other finalists are honored at a banquet in Los Angeles. Although it can be given to any amateur player, the award has always been given to a college baseball player. In addition, only two winners were not attending NCAA Division I institutions when they won the award—junior college players Alex Fernández in 1990 and Bryce Harper in 2010. The most recent recipient of the award is Adley Rutschman of the Oregon State Beavers.

Jon Lieber

Jonathan Ray Lieber (born April 2, 1970) is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher. He stands 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and weighs 240 pounds (110 kg). He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1994–1998), Chicago Cubs (1999–2002 and 2008), New York Yankees (2004), and Philadelphia Phillies (2005–2007). He batted left-handed and threw right-handed, and utilized a fastball, a slider, and a changeup for his pitches. In a 14-season career, Lieber compiled a 131–124 record with 1,553 strikeouts and a 4.27 ERA in 2,198 innings pitched.

Lieber attended the University of South Alabama, helping them win the Sun Belt Conference Championship. He was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the second round of the 1992 Major League Baseball Draft, but he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates the following season before even throwing a pitch in the major leagues. He made his debut in 1994 and was named the Pirates' Opening Day starter in 1995, but it was not until 1997 that he became a full-time major league starter. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs following the 1998 season. In 2000, he led the National League (NL) with 251 innings pitched. He had his best season in 2001, winning 20 games while losing just six. Lieber underwent Tommy John surgery in 2002 and missed the entire 2003 season. In 2004, he pitched for the New York Yankees, reaching the playoffs for the only time in his career. He signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2005 and tied for fifth in the NL with 17 wins. Injuries cut into his playing time over the next three years; he finished his career as a reliever with the Cubs in 2008.

List of Houston Astros managers

The Houston Astros are a professional baseball franchise based in Houston, Texas. They are a member of the American League (AL) West in Major League Baseball (MLB). The team joined MLB in 1962 as an expansion team named the Houston Colt .45s and changed their name to the Houston Astros in 1965. The team won their first NL Championship in 2005. Having first played in Colt Stadium (1962–1964), and later in The Astrodome, now known as the Reliant Astrodome (1965–1999), the Astros have played their home games at Minute Maid Park, which was first named The Ballpark at Union Station, since 2000. The franchise is owned by Jim Crane, and Jeff Luhnow is their general manager.There have been 23 managers for the Astros franchise. The team's first manager was Harry Craft, who managed for three seasons. Bill Virdon is the franchise's all-time leader for the most regular-season games managed (1066), and the most regular-season game wins (544); Phil Garner holds the record for most playoff games managed with the Astros with 26 while A. J. Hinch holds the record for most all-time playoff wins (14). Salty Parker is the Astros' all-time leader for the highest regular-season winning percentage, as he has only managed one game, which he won. Of the managers who have managed a minimum of 162 games (one season), Larry Dierker has the highest regular-season winning percentage with .556. Garner is the franchise's all-time leader for the highest playoff winning percentage with .500. Leo Durocher is the only Astros manager to have been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Garner and Hinch are the only managers to have won an league pennant with the Astros, winning one in the National League in 2005 and one in the American League in 2017. Larry Dierker is the only Astros manager to have had his uniform number retired by the Astros, with his uniform number 49 retired by the Astros in 2002. Dierker is also the sixth manager in MLB history to win a division championship in his first season for the Astros in 1997. Lanier and Dierker are the only managers to have won a Manager of the Year Award with the Astros, winning it in 1986 and 1998 respectively. Grady Hatton, Lanier, Dierker, and Cooper have spent their entire managing careers with the Astros.

List of Tampa Bay Rays managers

The Tampa Bay Rays are a professional baseball franchise based in St. Petersburg, Florida. They are a member of the American League (AL) East in Major League Baseball (MLB). The team joined MLB in 1998 as an expansion team with the Arizona Diamondbacks. In November 2007, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg renamed his team from the "Tampa Bay Devil Rays" to the "Tampa Bay Rays", which he described as "A beacon that radiates throughout Tampa Bay and across the entire state of Florida." The Rays won their first AL championship in 2008. The Rays have played their home games at Tropicana Field since their inaugural season. Andrew Friedman is the Vice President of Baseball operations, in essence the general manager.There have been five managers for the Rays franchise. The team's first manager was Larry Rothschild, the only manager who have spent his entire MLB managing career with the Devil Rays and managed the team for four seasons. Through the end of the 2014 season, Joe Maddon is the franchise's all-time leader for the most regular-season games managed with 1,459, the most regular-season game wins with 754, and the highest regular-season winning percentage with .517. Maddon is the only manager to have been to the playoffs with the Rays. In 2008, he took them all the way to the World Series, losing to the Philadelphia Phillies in five games. Maddon is also the only manager to have won the Manager of the Year Award with the Rays, first winning it in 2008, and again in 2011. Maddon became the manager of the then-Devil Rays in 2006. On February 15, 2012 the Rays extended his contract through the 2015 season, however he opted out of his contract at the end of the 2014 season. Kevin Cash has been the team's manager since the 2015 season.

Miami Marlins

The Miami Marlins are an American professional baseball team based in Miami, Florida. They compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) East division. Their home park is Marlins Park. Though one of only two MLB franchises to have never won a division title (the other is the Colorado Rockies), the Marlins have won two World Series championships as a wild card team.

The team began play as an expansion team in the 1993 season as the Florida Marlins and played home games from their inaugural season to the 2012 season at what was originally called Joe Robbie Stadium, which they shared with the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL). Since the 2012 season, they have played at Marlins Park in downtown Miami, on the site of the former Orange Bowl. The new park, unlike their previous home (which was criticized in its baseball configuration for poor sight lines in some locations), was designed foremost as a baseball park. Per an agreement with the city and Miami-Dade County (which owns the park), the Marlins officially changed their name to the "Miami Marlins" on November 11, 2011. They also adopted a new logo, color scheme, and uniforms.The Marlins have the distinction of winning a World Series championship in both seasons they qualified for the postseason, doing so in 1997 and 2003—both times as the National League wild card team, making them the only franchise in the major four North American professional sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) to have never lost a playoff round. They defeated the American League (AL) champion Cleveland Indians in the 1997 World Series, with shortstop Édgar Rentería driving in second baseman Craig Counsell for the series-clinching run in the 11th inning of the seventh and deciding game. In the 2003 season, manager Jeff Torborg was fired after 38 games. The Marlins were in last place in the NL East with a 16–22 record at the time. Torborg's successor, 72-year-old Jack McKeon, led them to the NL wild card berth in the postseason; they defeated the New York Yankees four games to two in the 2003 World Series.

Philadelphia Phillies annual franchise awards

The Philadelphia Phillies annual franchise awards have been given since 2004 by the Philadelphia chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America to four members of the Philadelphia Phillies franchise for "season-ending achievements." The awards were created by Bucks County Courier Times Phillies beat writer Randy Miller, who also served as the chairman of the BBWAA's Philadelphia chapter. Winners receive a glass trophy shaped like home plate. In 2014, a fifth award was added: the Charlie Manuel Award for Service and Passion to Baseball.

Shagging (baseball)

In baseball, shagging is the act of catching fly balls in the outfield outside the context of an actual baseball game. This is most commonly done by pitchers during batting practice before a game, where they assist their hitting teammates by catching or picking up their batted baseballs and throwing them back to the pitching area in the infield. Batboys also help shagging, and it is reportedly considered a great honor among batboys to be asked to do this. This pre-game activity is widely disliked by pitchers, who argue that it does not benefit them at all, since it drains their energy and actually increases the risk of stiffness in the lower back and leg as a result of prolonged standing. In response to these claims, several teams have exempted pitchers from having to shag. In the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league, teams pay groups specifically assembled to shag fly balls in place of pitchers, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim recruit local firefighters in Arizona to do the job when the team plays in the Cactus League during spring training.

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