Last week, ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com unveiled Anatomy of a Pitch, a unique multimedia collaboration using slow-motion animation and graphics to illustrate several pitch types.
Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers Bronson Arroyo, Trevor Cahill, Josh Collmenter, Randall Delgado, Brandon McCarthy, J.J. Putz, Joe Thatcher and Brad Ziegler (who is featured in the video excerpt above) narrate the project, each explaining their mechanics and demonstrating one of several pitches including fastballs, sliders, sinkers, splits, curveballs and changeups.
Front Row spoke to various members of ESPN Digital and Print Media’s team about the the comprehensive package and how it represents the latest example of ESPN’s multimedia approach to storytelling.
How was the idea for Anatomy of a Pitch generated?
Carlos Mejia, associate editor, ESPN The Magazine: The Magazine’s MLB editors came up with a brilliant idea: Cover the pitching techniques of one team — the Diamondbacks — a roster of eight very unique pitching styles. “Technique” has been a staple at The Mag for about two years now. It’s where we highlight a particular method or form an athlete is known for, step-by-step with detailed analysis from the athlete about their technique. To capture these pitches from all angles with absolute accuracy, we used a high-speed camera and shot every pitcher from a batter’s perspective and a left-to-right angle.
Why did your team select the Diamondbacks to break down each respective pitch?
Paul Kix, senior editor, ESPN The Magazine: We wanted to feature a team whose pitchers had a wide range of throwing motions. Arizona had everything one could imagine: from a submarine guy to a reliever who threw straight over the top.
What went into creating Anatomy of a Pitch from the print pages in ESPN the Magazine to a digitally-interactive package on ESPN.com?
Michael Knisley, senior deputy editor, ESPN.com: To me, the collaboration that went into this package is a superb example of how well the one-team approach can work for our storytelling. The Mag’s access to the Arizona staff was the key to making the project work from start to finish. They also provided the critical assets: concept, video, photos. The genius behind making it into a multimedia presentation on ESPN.com is content designer Heather Donahue, who not only directed its look and functionality, but also coordinated the deeper-dive content that The Mag, digital video group, Stats and Info and the ESPN.com MLB group brought to the package to take it beyond print.
The design of the page is akin to the way one would navigate through a smartphone or tablet. Was that deliberate?
Vice President and Creative Director, ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, John Korpics: It was designed intentionally as a responsive experience that would work across all devices, so the organization and navigation is definitely mobile friendly. For example, we defaulted to the three-line “hamburger” icon because we do it for all of our other mobile Web and native experiences. All in all, we were very happy with the final product and we’re hoping to do more of these now that we’ve got the first one under our belt. Stay tuned.