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Video of catch of the season -- on the first day of spring training!

By Mike Harrington

It's freezing outside and it's freezing inside the First Niagara Center as I get set for tonight's Sabres-Bruins game. I'm also five days away from heading to Florida to cover the Sabres' trip there -- but while they're in Dallas on Monday I'll be at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa watching the Yankees and Nationals.

So anything to get some baseball out of my system on a freezing cold day, I present this to you:

The Catch of the Year competition is over. On the first day of play in the Cactus League.

Oakland right fielder Josh Reddick did it with this incredible Spiderman act on the right field wall against Mike Morse of the Giants today in Scottsdale. You cannot be serious about this one. An Instagram user (JLaff21) got a copy of the video iff MLB Network because the game was not televised.

The A's have now released a view that includes the crowd reaction and the San Francisco Chronicle has posted it.

Check them out below: 

Bisons to unveil new message boards, sound system on Opening Day at Coca-Cola Field

Cropped herd board
Depiction of new Coca-Cola Field message board, featuring game score, batter information, out of town scores and time clock. (Bisons.com)



By Mike Harrington

The Buffalo Bisons announced roughly $500,000 in improvements to Coca-Cola Field today, with a new sound system to replace the dated version that has been in house since the ballpark's 1988 opening and the installation of new LED message boards on the facing of the club level down both baselines.

Both features will be ready for Opening Day, April 3 against the Rochester Red Wings.

The 120-speaker Distributed Sound System was approved and funded by the city's Capital Program to replace the centralized sound system that had been in place. It has a price tag of over $300,000 and will send music and public address sound throughout the park much more evenly than in the past. Speakers used to be only located in the center field scoreboard and weather, especially wind, impacted the sound quality. The new system has just three speakers in the scoreboard and the other 117 around the park.

The Bisons are footing the roughly $225,000 bill for the LED boards, which will be 50 feet long and 2 1/2 feet high. They will also take care of a major pet peeve I've always had: The score not being on display between innings because it comes off the center field board. The boards will feature real-time game statistics and out of town scores. 

"Providing the absolute best ballpark experience has always been our number one goal and these two additions are great compliments to the action on the field," Jonathan A. Dandes, President of Rich Baseball Operations, said in a statement issued by the team. "The sound system will allow us to reach every fan in the ballpark with crisp and clear music and public address announcements, while the new message boards will be loaded with timely statistical and player information to enhance the baseball experience."

The Jeter announcement: Quick thoughts on his retirement

Jeter
Derek Jeter will call it a career after this season. (Getty Images)



By Mike Harrington

So I was in a meeting this afternoon when the news came out about Derek Jeter's Facebook post heard 'round the baseball world. This is going to be it for the Yankees captain. The 2014 season will be his final season in pinstripes. Here's what's going through my mind right now:

The Decision: It seems like it's time. Jeter will make $12.5 million this year in the final year of his deal and it seems like the Yankees would be loathe to pay him big money again, as he will turn 41 by the 2015 season. Who knows how he'll be this year in the wake of last season's injuries. Early reports from his Florida workouts have been encouraging. But this is still mid-February.

The memories: I've been pretty fortunate to be in the house for a lot of great Jeter moments. Way back in April, 1996 at then-Jacobs Field in Cleveland, I covered his first Opening Day and his first big-league home run. From a crazy night during the 2001 World Series, I can report old Yankee Stadium shook when his "Mr. November" home run won Game Three against Arizona.

Bud Speaks: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has just issued a statement on Jeter's announcement that reads: "In the 21-plus years in which I have served as Commissioner, Major League Baseball has had no finer ambassador than Derek Jeter. Since his championship rookie season of 1996, Derek has represented all the best of the National Pastime on and off the field. He is one of the most accomplished and memorable players of his -- or any -- era. 

“Derek is the kind of person that generations have emulated proudly, and he remains an exemplary face of our sport. Major League Baseball looks forward to celebrating his remarkable career throughout the 2014 season.”

The Farewell Tour: I was wondering if the reserved Jeter did not want a public retirement so he wouldn't have a Rivera-style farewell tour. Here's hoping he liked what he saw last season because that's what's going to happen at every stop. And Selig's statement certainly means some sort of ceremony at the All-Star Game in Minneapolis and likely the World Series as well. Just as was done for Mariano last year.

The Core Four & A-Rod: Jeter is the last one standing after last year's retirements of Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. Strangely enough, this decision ensures he will never play with Alex Rodriguez again either. A-Rod, of course, is suspended for this season and Jeter would be retired when he comes back in 2015.

The videos: What will we see replayed the most this season? The Jeter Flip in 2001 against Oakland? The "Mr. November" home run? The dive into the stands behind third base to catch that foul ball against the Red Sox?

The schedule: The Yankees open the season April 1 in Houston. After that, they come to Toronto for three games to open the Blue Jays' home schedule April 4-5-6. Jeter's final home opener in the Bronx will be April 7 against the Orioles. His last home game will also be against the Orioles, on Sept. 25. And his last regular season game will come, in all places, at Fenway Park on Sept. 28.

Up-close looks for WNY fans: In addition to the April series listed above, the Yankees are also in Toronto June 23-24-25, and Aug. 29-30-31. This is a very rare season where they don't play in Rogers Centre in September. They have a four-game set in Cleveland July 7-8-9-10.

Destination Cooperstown: Jeter will become eligible for the Hall of Fame class of 2020. With Mariano Rivera lined up for 2019, those are going to be back-to-back wild weekends in Cooperstown.

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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