MLB experimenting with new Ump Cam that's so real you'll need to wear a cup
There's no shortage of storylines surrounding the Seattle Mariners' preseason trip to Japan. There's the final final farewell of Ichiro Suzuki and the question of how the NPB actually stacks up to the MLB. There's the very first meaningful game of the MLB season being played 5,000 miles from home and the fact that it's happening a full nine days before the rest of the league takes to the mound. Yet despite all that, the only thing the baseball world is talking about following the Mariners 6-4 win over the Yomiuri Giants on Monday is Ump Cam (ALL HAIL UMP CAM)—an immersive new camera angle that puts viewers directly behind home plate with nothing between the ol' family jewels and a triple-digit heater from some guy named Thor but a glorified Solo cup.
For a sport in the throes of endless, exasperating debate, this seems like a low-lift way to spice things up without perverting any of baseball's core tenants, like many fear a pitch clock or a universal DH or starting runners on second base in extras might. In fact, it might even add something substantive to viewers, like a better understanding of what a batter really sees when thrown a four-seamer instead of a two or a sinker instead of a slider. Surprisingly, it seems like baseball nerds, despite their resistance to the very concept of fun, mostly agree...
Ump Cam wasn't the only game-changing baseball innovation to come out of the MLB's little Far East sojourn, however, where fans were also introduced to keg girls, who roam the stands pouring fresh, foamy beer from giant backpacks. Sorry peanut guy, but you just went extinct.