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2 posts from February 18, 2014

February 18, 2014

Marlins going high-tech with drone cameras, helmet-cams

    JUPITER -- The Marlins are joining the modern age this spring.

    With the help of video coordinator Cullen McRae, some players will begin wearing small cameras affixed to the tops of their caps and helmets in order to gain a brand new perspective that they'll be able to watch and study afterward. And McRae said he also intends to mount a camera on a remote-controlled drone, which will hover above the field and film the routes taken by outfielders on fly balls.

    20140218_105748 "Just trying to get an edge," McRae said, adding that the camera technology will only be used during drills and not in actual games.

     McRae said the idea came out about over the winter while manager Mike Redmond was on a skiing trip. Redmond noticed skiers wearing the cameras on their helmets and asked McRae if it could be done with the Marlins' players.

     "I think some teams have dabbled with them," McRae said.

     The Nationals, for example, are already using a drone. (In the photograph, Jeff Mathis examines his camera-mounted helmet before catching Jose Fernandez's bullpen on Tuesday).

     "It's mostly early on doing drills," McRae said. "It's not going to be anything that interferes with game stuff. I really don't know what to expect. It's just to get a different perspective. I'm just trying to be creative. I've been here 18 years and technology is always evolving. I'm just trying to keep up with technology, and luckily for me, the Marlins have always given me the resources to be able to keep up with the trends in technology."

     McRae said the camera are already in widespread use in the X-Game sports.

     "The surfers are using them," McRae said. "I saw (surfer) Kelly Slater in a video using it, and (snowboarder) Shaun White."

     McRae has ordered a drone and hopes to begin practicing with it by the end of the week.

Policy change: Marlins players can now wear beards

   JUPITER -- Major news this morning out of spring training camp: manager Mike Redmond said it's now okay if players have beards, thus ending a long-standing team policy that was instituted when Jeffrey Loria took over as owner.

    Just don't expect any ZZ Top beards, or the shaggy versions popularized last season by the Boston Red Sox when they made their World Series runs. Redmond said the beards must be kept neat and trim.

    "This year we're going to let them have beards, but they've got to keep them trimmed up -- and the hair, too," Redmond said. "We just don't want it to look sloppy."

    Redmond said the policy change was "an organization" decision.

    Part of the reason for the change was that some players -- most notably pitcher Ricky Nolasco last season before he was traded -- were getting around the rule on facial hair. Nolasco didn't shave on days he started.

    Several players are already going bearded. They include new catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and non-roster pitchers Chris Hatcher and Chaz Roe.

    "We've only got a handful of guys who can even grow a beard," Redmond said, laughing.


    Redmond said he suffered a groin injury during a bowling outing Monday night.

    "I'm a little beat up. I pulled my groin last night," Redmond said. "I strained my groin in the 10th frame."

    Redmond said he rolled a 144 in the first game before suffering the injury in the second when he followed with a 104.

    "I had to talk to the trainers to make sure I wasn't going to do anymore damage," he said. "And they cleared me for the third game and I bowled a 166, so I bounced back pretty good. Got up this morning and heated it up, got my hour run in and had my Egg White delight and here I am."