In a rare glimpse inside the game, fans are about to hear much of what the players say there. MLB Network on Thursday announced its 2012 Spring Training game schedule, featuring a groundbreaking presentation of live in-game audio. For the first time in an MLB game telecast, live audio content will air on a brief delay, throughout the Indians vs. D-backs Cactus League game at 3 p.m. ET on March 7.
"I like it," Indians outfielder Shelley Duncan said of the announcement Thursday morning at the club's camp in Goodyear, Ariz. "I think they should do it more. They're trying to find ways to make games on TV more interesting. Test it out in Spring Training."
In cooperation with the Major League Baseball Players Association, as many as six players on each team could wear microphones during the game. Coaching staff members also will wear microphones throughout the game, and microphones will be positioned at each base, down the first- and third-base lines and along the outfield wall -- producing in-game audio content on a scale that has not been done.
The game also is expected to be simulcast on MLB.TV. Signups are under way for yearly or monthly MLB.TV subscriptions, and for the first time, anyone with MLB.TV Premium will get the award-winning MLB.com At Bat 12 app at no cost when it becomes available for download next week.
Matt Vasgersian will provide the game call, which will be available nationally on MLB Network, including in both the Indians' and D-backs' home TV territories.
The March 7 game will build on test productions of two enhanced-audio game telecasts MLB Network produced but did not air during last year's Spring Training. At that time, several players wore microphones during the Brewers-Indians and Athletics-Indians games. Fans can watch excerpts from those game telecasts on MLB.com to get a sense of the sounds.
MLB Network's spring schedule includes 150 games, featuring every club in at least six matchups. That telecast schedule begins March 3 with a game between the reigning East champions, Yankees vs. Phillies at Clearwater, Fla. The defending World Series champion Cardinals, the new-look Miami Marlins, the 2011 American League Wild Card winner Rays and the defending National League West champion D-backs will all be featured in live games during the first week of March.
All games, except the enhanced audio game on March 7, will be a carriage of local telecasts, including local announcers, and blacked out in each club's home market unless otherwise noted.
Leading up to the live games, MLB Network will air its three-day series "Top 100 Players Right Now!", beginning at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Greg Amsinger, Al Leiter and Harold Reynolds will count down the top MLB players, taking into account those in their prime who are coming back from injuries, younger players expected to break out, and veterans with proven track records. The countdown to the No. 1 player will continue in new episodes at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday and March 1. From Albert Pujols to Roy Halladay to Prince Fielder, the ranking includes five World Series MVP Award winnerss, nine Cy Young Award winners, four AL and six NL MVP Award winners, 12 Rookies of the Year Award winners, 29 Gold Glove Award winners, 33 pitchers, 61 2011 All-Stars and 60 players under the age of 30.
As announced last week, MLB Network's Spring Training series "30 Clubs in 30 Days" and its signature studio show "MLB Tonight" return on March 5.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. MLB.com reporter Jordan Bastian contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.