The Monday Lineup: 8 ESPN moments from the weekend PLUS HR Derby format changes

New for the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby, ESPN will have the ability to display multiple home run icons on the screen at the same time to provide a visual recap of all home runs hit in previous at-bat(s) by a single competitor or hit by all competitors in a round.
New for the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby, ESPN will have the ability to display multiple home run icons on the screen at the same time to provide a visual recap of all home runs hit in previous at-bat(s) by a single competitor or hit by all competitors in a round. (ESPN)

MINNEAPOLIS – There are a lot of things to look forward to in the Gillette Home Run Derby (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET) tonight – monster home runs, for starters, from sluggers like Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Bautista, Troy Tulowitzki, Yasiel Puig and more. In addition to the mammoth shots soaring across Target Field, viewers will enjoy a brand new format to the contest, several unique new production enhancements and a creative new open with recording artist Aloe Blacc.

Front Row caught up with Derby producer Scott Matthews to review the changes and new additions.

New technology will display a slugger’s “wheelhouse” after at-bats by superimposing images of every home run swing at the point of contact during the Gillette Home Run Derby
New technology will display a slugger’s “wheelhouse” after at-bats by superimposing images of every home run swing at the point of contact during the Gillette Home Run Derby. (ESPN)

How does the new Derby format affect your production?
Since these are significant changes, it’s important from a production standpoint to educate and remind viewers of the new format and what’s at stake during the event. Essentially, we have two different league competitions until the championship matchup. We’ll discuss the format prior to first pitch and have drop-in graphic reminders in addition to verbal reminders during every segment. Our scoreboard will aggressively display the standings by league in the first round and update viewers on how many homers a hitter needs to advance or earn a bye. We also have a bracket designed by our Creative Services team that we’ll frequently reference.

What are some of the new elements and enhancements planned for this year’s Derby telecast?
Our virtual home run icons have been a game-changer for our coverage since they debuted in 2011. This year, our Emerging Technologies team will take that another step further by giving us the ability to display multiple icons to recap a hitter’s previous round, what a hitter has done in the event to that point, or even what all hitters have done in the competition.

It’s a strong visual to help tell the story of the competition and a significant enhancement of our signature coverage element. Emerging Technologies has also developed another tool – we’ll have a replay effect that will superimpose images of a hitter’s swing at the point of contact from each of a hitter’s home runs together. It will provide viewers with a look at the hitter’s “wheelhouse” and help us to document the strategy between pitcher and hitter.

What should we expect in the telecast open?
Everybody is a kid again on Home Run Derby Night – the participants, All-Stars and viewers – and the tease Aimee Stokes (ESPN, post producer) has produced captures that feeling. Chris Berman’s memories from almost three decades of calling the Derby provide much of the narrative. Chris isn’t reading a script – he’s reminiscing about Derby moments that he’ll never forget. [ESPN Music Director] Kevin Wilson worked with recording artist Aloe Blacc to provide a great cover of “Come Fly With Me” that brings it all together, setting the stage for a special summer evening for baseball fans.

How will Minneapolis be featured during the Derby telecast?
The city and ballpark as well as the host franchise are always important to our coverage. During the transition from Baseball Tonight (7 p.m., ESPN) to the Derby we’ll recognize the Minnesota Twins’ home run history with an element that will be played in the stadium as well as on air. Target Field is downtown and the city skyline provides a terrific backdrop for Derby night. With 25 cameras, including roving handhelds, viewers should get a strong sense of what it’s like to be in the ballpark.

By Kristen Hudak

Some of what you might have missed from around ESPN this weekend:

1. Praise for ESPN’s coverage of FIFA World Cup

2. LeBron James’ journey

3. Anticipating The ESPYS

4. Lefty preps for The Open Championship this week on ESPN

5. 31 days until debut of SEC Network

6.

7.

8.

Bill Hofheimer and David Scott contributed to this post

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