Weekend roundup: Astros, apps and iPads — oh my. And a visit from Miss America.

A well-trafficked video room is pretty standard in big leagues clubhouses in this modern era, but the ever-evolving technological boom has also enabled ballplayers to study up for games on their own time, in their own surroundings.

By now, everyone carries with him something portable, whether it’s a laptop, iPhone, iPod or, the most recent fad, the iPad. As we know, these are multi-purposes devices that (arguably) make life easier. For ballplayers, they also provide an essential service to help prepare for games.

In the video room, video coordinator Jim Summers has every at-bat, every pitch and every game a player or coach might need available at his fingertips. But he also has an app called TVTI Video Player, which allows him to export all of this data and deliver directly to players. In turn, players can watch at their leisure, while sitting at their lockers, or during team flights, or in their hotel rooms before and after games.

Watching prior at-bats is part of Hunter Pence’s daily pregame routine, and with TVTI Video Player, he can do so on his own schedule without having to always coordinate with Summers.

“Now he can pull out his iPad, sit at his locker and watch any at-bat he wants,” Summers said.

Interestingly, in addition to wanting to break down opposing hitters and study their own deliveries, pitchers often want to watch video of other pitchers around the league who have similar styles. For instance, Nelson Figueroa recently requested footage of Jon Garland facing the Reds, whom Figueroa will face on Tuesday.

To expedite, Summers simply calls up the game and exports it to Figueroa’s iPad. The best part is, players do not need to be online to watch the videos.


On a much different note…

Sure, Miss America’s visit to Citizens Bank Park on Sunday garnered a nice round of appreciative applause from the crowd after the 17-year-old sang “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch.

But the appearance had a much more profound impact on radio announcer Dave Raymond.

Dolan named this "There she is...Miss America and two stooges."

Raymond was positively giddy upon learning that Miss America, Teresa Scanlan, was present at the Astros-Phillies finale, and for good reason. Although he had never met her, the two have a connection — not only are they both from Gering, Nebraska (pop. 7,500), but Scanlan grew up down the street from Raymond’s family, and, as a youngster, watered his parents’ plants when they were out of town.

Raymond had already graduated from college by the time Scanlan was born, so their paths never crossed — until Sunday, that is, when Scanlan, at the request of Raymond, was whisked to the radio booth following her on-field performance. She spend an inning on air with Raymond and his broadcast partner Brett Dolan and was delighted to discover the connection to Raymond’s family.

She even tweeted about it, and posted this picture:

Photo courtesy of, well, Miss America.

There’s yet one more twist — Raymond’s parents, vacationing in Napa, were listening to the broadcast of the game — and the interview with Scanlan — through the MLB At-Bat 11 app on their iPhone. Raymond’s mother sent a flurry of excited text messages to her son, which he relayed to Miss America.

Noting his parents were on vacation, he asked Scanlan the only logical question.

“So who’s watering the plants?”


And finally, we end with a pictorial view of a clear, cool day at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday…

Carlos Lee had four hits and four RBIs during the Astros' opening series in Philly.

Hunter Pence, shown here signing autographs, was 5-for-12 for the series.

Batting practice images: Humberto Quintero

Brett Wallace, Chris Johnson

The view of Citizens Bank Park from the press box.

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