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Ken Griffey, Jr. joins Hall of Famers to headline 2015 MLB Draft Club Representatives

Hall of Famers Dawson, Jackson, Lasorda, Perez and Schmidt to be Joined by Fellow All-Stars Johnny Damon, Lee Smith and Alan Trammell; Day One on Monday, June 8th to Feature Top 75 Selections Live From Studio 42 at MLB Network and Simulcast on MLB.com

 

Five Hall of Famers, four Most Valuable Players, one World Series-winning manager, 23 All-Stars and two former number one overall selections are among the baseball legends scheduled to represent the 30 Clubs at Major League Baseball’s 2015 Draft, it was announced today.

The Draft will begin live on MLB Network and MLB.com on Monday, June 8that 7:00 p.m. (ET). Prior to the start of the Draft, MLB Network will air a Draft preview show, also simulcast on MLB.com, at 6:00 p.m. (ET).

Ken Griffey Jr., the number one overall selection in the 1987 MLB Draft and the 1997 American League Most Valuable Player, will join Hall of Famers Andre Dawson (1987 NL MVP), Reggie Jackson (1973 AL MVP), Tommy Lasorda, Mike Schmidt (1980-81, 1986 NL MVP) and Tony Perez in headlining an outstanding group of baseball personnel that is scheduled to attend the 2015 Draft on Monday, June 8th at MLB Network’s Studio 42 in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Joining Griffey as former top overall selections at this year’s 50th Anniversary celebration of the Draft is Baltimore Orioles representative B.J. Surhoff, who was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers with the number one pick in the 1985 Draft.

Other former All-Stars who will represent the Clubs are (alphabetically): Rick Aguilera (MIN), Bob Boone (WSH), Johnny Damon (KC), Ryan Dempster (CHI), Gary DiSarcina (LAA), Steve Finley (SD), Ryan Franklin (STL), Ralph Garr (ATL), Luis Gonzalez (ARI), J.J. Putz (ARI), Ben Sheets (MIL), Lee Smith (SF), Mario Soto (CIN), Robby Thompson (CLE), Alan Trammell (DET), Tim Wakefield (BOS) and Jack Wilson (PIT). (A complete list of the Club representatives who are scheduled to attend the 2015 MLB Draft accompanies this press release.)

Amateur players who will attend MLB’s 2015 Draft will be forthcoming.

The selection order of the Draft is determined by the reverse order of finish at the close of the previous championship season. The Arizona Diamondbacks will have the first overall selection of the 2015 Draft, marking the second time in Club history that they hold the top selection. The D-backs also held the first overall pick in 2005, when they selected All-Star outfielder Justin Upton. Ten Clubs – the Houston Astros (2nd and 5th), the Colorado Rockies (3rd and 27th), the Atlanta Braves (14th and 28th), the New York Yankees (16th and 30th), the San Francisco Giants (18th and 31st), the Pittsburgh Pirates (19thand 32nd), the Kansas City Royals (21st and 33rd), the Detroit Tigers (22ndand 34th), the Los Angeles Dodgers (24 th and 35th) and the Baltimore Orioles (25th and 36th) – have two selections in the first round. The Braves have a Major League-high five selections within the first 75 picks during the opening day of the Draft.

The Draft will have 40 rounds, and a Club may pass on its selection in any round and not forfeit its right to participate in other rounds. The 2015 Draft will span three days as it has since 2009. For day one on June 8th, MLB Network and MLB.com will provide live pick-by-pick coverage during the first round, Competitive Balance Round A, the second round and Competitive Balance Round B. For the first time, a flexible time interval will be used during round one. The intervals between selections during round one will last between three-and-a-half to four-and-a-half minutes. There will be one-minute intervals between selections during Competitive Balance Round A, the second round and Competitive Balance Round B. The Draft will resume at 1:00 p.m. (ET) on Tuesday, June 9th, when selections will be made for rounds 3-10, with one minute intervals between selections. Day three of the Draft on Wednesday, June 10th will begin at 12:00 p.m. (ET), featuring picks in rounds 11-40, with no time delay between selections.

Beginning with the Draft preview show at 6:00 p.m. ET, MLB Network’s live coverage will feature news, analysis, interviews with Club front office personnel and representatives, footage from Club draft rooms, and features and interviews with prospects and newly drafted players. MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger, Peter Gammons, Dan O’Dowd, Harold Reynolds and MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo will anchor the live coverage with contributions from MLB Network’s Scott Braun, Darryl Hamilton, Al Leiter, Pedro Martinez, Dan Plesac, Bill Ripken, Sam Ryan, John Smoltz, Tom Verducci and Matt Yallof, as well as Jim Callis of MLB.com and John Manuel of Baseball America. As part of the 50th Anniversary celebration, MLB Network will air a feature on Rick Monday during the Draft preview show. Monday was the first overall selection in the inaugural MLB Draft in 1965, which ironically was also held on June 8th.

MLB.com will begin its exclusive live programming of the Draft’s final two days with a live draft show from its New York studios at 12:30 p.m. (ET) on June 9th, followed by a live pick-by-pick stream and draft and scouting expert commentary from Mayo and Callis. It also will provide Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of more than 1,500 draft-eligible players with statistics, scouting reports and video highlights. On Twitter, the official Draft Twitter account, @MLBDraft, will provide up-to-the-moment updates and commentary while @MLBDraftTracker will tweet all picks as they are made.

The MLB Network Radio channel on SiriusXM will also offer live MLB Draft coverage to listeners nationwide. SiriusXM’s Grant Paulsen and former MLB general managers Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden will host Monday, June 8thstarting at 6:00 pm ET and will provide live pick by pick analysis throughout the first round on Sirius channel 209, XM channel 89 and on the SiriusXM App.

The 2015 MLB Draft is supported by T-Mobile, the official wireless telecommunications sponsor of Major League Baseball, and The Topps Company, the exclusive trading card licensee of Major League Baseball.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY MLB MEDIA RELATIONS; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

 

 

 

Brewers RF Ryan Braun, Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen named NL Co-Players of the Week

Ryan Braun Milwaukee 2014 by Johnmaxmena2 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Andrew McCutchen on June 12, 2012 by Keith Allison on Flickr - Originally posted to Flickr as Andrew McCutchen Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers and Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates have been named National League Co-Players of the Week for the period ending May 24th. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.

Other noteworthy performances last week included McCutchen’s Pittsburgh teammate Josh Harrison (.455, 10 H, 4 RBI, .435 OBP); Chicago’s Chris Coghlan (.294, 3 HR, 4 RBI, .882 SLG); Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard (.385, 5 R, 10 H, 3 HR, 5 RBI, .846 SLG) and Cole Hamels (2-0, 1.17 ERA, 12 SO, 15.1 IP); Arizona’s A.J. Pollock (.400, 8 R, 12 H, 4 SB, .419 OBP); Washington’s Drew Storen (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 SV, 7 SO, 4.0 IP); and Michael Wacha (2-0, 1.29 ERA, 9 SO, 14.0 IP) of the St. Louis Cardinals.

In recognition of their National League Co-Player of the Week Awards, Ryan Braun and Andrew McCutchen will each be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.

Braun led the Majors with 11 RBI last week and tied for the NL lead with three home runs. The five-time NL All-Star posted the league’s second-highest slugging percentage (.952) and on-base percentage (.481), while tying for second in total bases (20). He hit .381 (8-for-21) on the week with five walks, four runs scored and a stolen base. On Friday, Braun collected three hits, including a home run and a pair of doubles, and drove in four en route to an 11-0 win over the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. He helped the Brew Crew slug their way to an 8-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on Tuesday with a double, home run and four RBI. This is his fourth career NL Player of the Week honor and first since April 18-24, 2011.

McCutchen paced qualifying Major Leaguers with a .542 on-base percentage while leading the Senior Circuit with a 1.000 slugging percentage. The four-time NL All-Star’s .450 batting average (9-for-20) was the league’s second-highest, while his three homers were tied for the most last week. In addition, his 20 total bases were tied with Braun for second-most among NL hitter. McCutchen added five RBI and five runs scored to his weekly totals. The 28-year-old slugger clubbed a home run and had two RBI on Sunday, helping the Bucs complete a three-game sweep of the New York Mets with a 9-1 victory at PNC Park. In Saturday’s matchup between the clubs, McCutchen’s first-inning homer gave the Pirates a two-run lead in an eventual 8-2 victory. The blast was his 62nd career home run at PNC Park, passing Jason Bay (61) for the ballpark’s all-time lead. This is McCutchen’s fifth career weekly honor, having won most recently July 7-13, 2014.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY MLB MEDIA RELATIONS; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

 

 

Red Sox 1B Mike Napoli named American League Player of the Week

Mike Napoli on July 26, 2013 by Keith Allison on Flickr (Original version)UCinternational (Crop) Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

 

Boston Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli has been named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending May 24th.

In recognition of his American League Player of the Week Award, Mike Napoli will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.

Other noteworthy performances last week included Prince Fielder (.440, 3 HR, 9 RBI, .880 SLG) and Shawn Tolleson (3 SV, 3.0 IP, 5 SO) of the Texas Rangers; Trevor Bauer (2-0, 1.20 ERA, 15.0 IP, 11 SO) and Corey Kluber (1-0, 1.06 ERA, 17.0 IP, 19 SO) of the Cleveland Indians; Edwin Encarnacion (3 HR, 8 RBI, .708 SLG, 17 TB) of the Toronto Blue Jays; and Miguel Cabrera (.500 OBP, 10 H, 17 TB) of the Detroit Tigers.

Napoli batted .429 (9-for-21) with six runs scored, five home runs and 10 RBI over six games to claim his third career AL weekly honor, last winning with the Red Sox on September 8, 2013. Mike paced all Major League hitters in home runs, slugging percentage (1.190) and total bases (25). Among AL batters, he finished first in RBI, tied for first in on-base percentage (.500), tied for second in runs scored and fifth in batting average.

On Sunday, the 33-year-old slugger went 2-for-3 with a double, home run and four RBI. His two-run homer in the second inning put the Red Sox ahead and gave him home runs in three straight games (four homers overall). The 2012 AL All-Star became the first Red Sox player to homer in at least three straight games since David Ortiz did so from July 21-23, 2014 at Toronto (also four homers in three games). No Red Sox player had homered in at least three consecutive home games since Ortiz accomplished the feat from June 10-20, 2012, and he is the first to do so in three consecutive days at home since Jason Bay from August 10-12, 2009 vs. Detroit. Concluding the week with a three-game homestand against his former squad, the Los Angeles Angels, the Hollywood, Florida native hit .555 (5-for-9) with five runs scored, four home runs and eight RBI, becoming the first Red Sox player to hit at least four round-trippers in a single series against the Angels. Since April 25th, the 10-year-veteran leads all Boston hitters with eight home runs and 19 RBI. Originally drafted in the 17th round of the 2000 MLB Draft by the Angels, Napoli raised his batting average by 41 points during his torrid week.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY MLB MEDIA RELATIONS; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

 

American League first All-Star voting update is out with Five KC Royals among the leaders

Online Voting up 100 Percent Compared to 2014; Kansas City Catcher Salvador Perez Paces AL Players, Followed by Teammate Lorenzo Cain and Detroit Tigers First Baseman Miguel Cabrera

The defending American League champion Kansas City Royals, who own the best record in the AL at 28-16 (.636), have five players among the AL leaders in the first voting figures for the 86th All-Star Game, to be played on Tuesday, July 14th at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, it was announced today. Thus far, online voting totals are up 100 percent in comparison to 2014. The first National League voting results will be announced tomorrow.

With five players among the voting leaders, the Royals could become just the second Major League team, and the first AL team, to have five players earn starting All-Star assignments since voting was returned to fans in 1970. In that time, only the 1976 “Big Red Machine” Cincinnati Reds (Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion, George Foster, Joe Morgan, Pete Rose) had five players earn starting bids in the Midsummer Classic. In AL history, there have been nine teams to have four players win starting assignments, including the 1975 Oakland Athletics, 1981 New York Yankees, 1982 California Angels, 1987 Yankees, 1999 Cleveland Indians, 2001 Seattle Mariners, 2005 Boston Red Sox, 2008 Red Sox and 2011 Yankees.

The 2015 All-Star Game will be played at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday, July 14th. The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Royals catcher Salvador Perez, an All-Star in each of the last two seasons, leads all AL players in balloting with 1,447,753 total votes. The Valencia, Venezuela native, who is seeking his first starting All-Star assignment, would join Darrell Porter (1979) as the only Royals catchers to earn a fan-elected start. Since fan voting was returned to fans in 1970, the only catchers to lead the AL in All-Star balloting were Carlton Fisk of the Chicago White Sox (1982), Ivan Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers (2000) and Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins (2010). In addition, the only Royals to pace the league in voting were Hall of Famer George Brett (1981 and 1984) and Bo Jackson (1989). Perez leads AL backstops with 47 hits on the season, and he has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games. Overall, the 25-year-old is hitting .303 on the season with five home runs, nine doubles, 24 RBI and 13 runs scored. Perez is followed behind the plate by Oakland Athletics catcher Stephen Vogt (795,848), who is trying for his first career All-Star selection.

Perez’s Kansas City teammate Lorenzo Cain leads AL outfielders and ranks second in the league overall with 1,376,217 votes. Cain, who is trying for his first career All-Star selection, would join Amos Otis (1973), Jackson (1989) and Jermaine Dye (2000) as the only Royals outfielders to land a fan-elected starting assignment. The 2014 AL Championship Series Most Valuable Player is batting .306 on the season with three home runs, eight doubles, a triple, 19 RBI, seven stolen bases and 31 runs scored. The 29-year-old, who ranks sixth in the AL in runs scored, is joined in the outfield by reigning AL Most Valuable Player Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Royals teammate Alex Gordon.

Trout, who has tallied 1,297,085 votes, is attempting to make his fourth consecutive Midsummer Classic appearance and third straight start. The 23-year-old would join Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson (1982-84) and Rod Carew (1979-84) as well as Vladimir Guerrero (2005-07) as the only Angels to earn at least three consecutive fan-elected starts. The 2012 AL Rookie of the Year is hitting .299 on the season with 11 home runs, nine doubles, 25 RBI, eight stolen bases and 34 runs scored, which ranks third in the AL. Gordon, who is looking for his third consecutive All-Star selection and first fan-elected start, has received 991,606 votes. Gordon is hitting .271 on the season with five home runs, 10 doubles, 23 RBI and 20 runs scored. In addition, the four-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner leads all Major League players with 64 assists since becoming a full-time outfielder in 2011. Cain and Gordon could become the first pair of teammates to earn starts in the AL outfield since Boston’s Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez in 2005. In the AL’s closest race, the outfield leaders are followed by four-time All-Star Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles (981,926), who has earned a starting assignment in each of the last two seasons.

Rounding out the quintet of Kansas City leaders are third baseman Mike Moustakas (1,261,769) and shortstop Alcides Escobar (1,191,268). Moustakas, who is bidding for his first All-Star selection, ranks seventh in the AL in batting average (.327), is tied for seventh in hits (53) and is tied for eighth in multi-hit games (16). The 26-year-old has added four home runs, 11 doubles, 15 RBI and 26 runs scored this season. Moustakas, the second overall selection in the 2007 MLB Draft, is trailed by 2014 AL All-Star Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays (876,586). Escobar, in search of his first All-Star selection, appeared in all 162 contests in 2014, and he ranks second in the Majors with 510 games at shortstop since the start of the 2012 season. The 28-year-old is hitting .278 on the season with a home run, eight doubles, a triple, 15 RBI, three stolen bases and 20 runs scored. His 15 RBI out of the leadoff spot is tied for seventh in the Majors. Moustakas and Escobar could become the seventh pair of teammates to earn starts on the left side of the AL infield, and the first since Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees in 2011. The La Sabana, Venezuela native is followed at shortstop by Jose Iglesias of the Detroit Tigers (826,382), who is also attempting to make his first All-Star team.

Nine-time All-Star Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers leads at first base, and ranks third overall in the AL with 1,347,351 votes as he attempts to make his third consecutive fan-elected start. With a fan-election this year, Cabrera would become the fourth Tigers player to earn three fan elections, joining Lou Whitaker (1984-86), Lance Parrish (1984-86) and Ivan Rodriguez (2004, 2006-07). In addition, he would join Whitaker and Parrish as the only Tigers to accomplish the feat in consecutive seasons. Cabrera, a native of Maracay, Venezuela, is batting .344 on the season with 11 home runs, nine doubles, a triple, 32 RBI, 26 runs scored and a league-best .446 on-base percentage. The two-time AL Most Valuable Player (2012-13) recorded his 1,400th career RBI on Thursday, becoming the fifth-youngest player in Major League history to reach the mark. Earlier this month, the 32-year-old collected his 400th career home run, becoming the first Venezuelan-born player to accomplish the feat. Cabrera is followed closely at first base by Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer (1,101,738), who is bidding for his first career All-Star selection.

Joining Cabrera on the right side of the infield is Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros. Altuve has collected 1,301,754 votes as he contends for his third career Midsummer Classic selection (2012, 2014). The Maracay, Venezuela native is aiming to become just the seventh player (10th time overall) in Astros history to earn a fan-elected start, and the first to do so since Houston moved to the AL for the 2013 season. He would join Craig Biggio (1995-98) and Jeff Kent (2004) as Houston second basemen to earn a fan election, while the other Astros fan-elected starters include first basemen Lee May (1972), Jeff Bagwell (1997) and Lance Berkman (2008), and outfielder Cesar Cedeno (1973). Altuve, 25, is batting .299 on the season with five home runs, nine doubles, 25 RBI, 23 runs scored and 14 stolen bases, which is tied for the most in the AL. He is followed at second base by 2010 NL All-Star Omar Infante of the Royals (715,345).

In his first year playing for the Mariners, three-time All-Star Nelson Cruz(2009, 2013-14) leads AL designated hitters with 1,225,255 total votes. Cruz, bidding for his second consecutive starting assignment, leads the Majors with 17 home runs, paces the AL with a .688 slugging percentage and ranks third in the league with a .341 batting average. The 34-year-old native of the Dominican Republic has also tallied six doubles, a triple, 35 RBI and 29 runs scored on the season. Cruz, who has hit safely in 33 of his last 40 games, would join Edgar Martinez (1997, 2001, 2003) as Seattle designated hitters to earn a fan election. Cruz is followed at the position by Kansas City’s Kendrys Morales (918,049), who is aiming for his first career All-Star selection.

The Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot, the largest program of its kind in professional sports, for the first time, is being conducted exclusively online. Last year’s program saw more than 300 million votes cast for elected starters. Fans around the world can cast their votes for starters 35 times exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 Club web sites – online or via their mobile devices – with the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot. During the voting period, the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot will be available in English and Spanish, and will offer audio CAPTCHA functionality for visually-impaired fans. Traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese versions of the online ballot are also available. Banco BHD sponsors online All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballots available to fans in the Dominican Republic via LasMayores.com, the official Spanish-language Web site of Major League Baseball.

Details regarding the unveiling of the 2015 American League and National League All-Star Teams will be available in the coming weeks. The AL All-Star Team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the NL All-Star Team will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 25 for the NL and 24 for the AL – will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers – NL skipper Bruce Bochy of the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants and AL manager Ned Yost of the Kansas City Royals.

Following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters, fans will begin voting to select the final player for each League’s 34-man roster via the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over the balloting period. Now in its 14th season with more than 480 million votes cast, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on MLB.com, Club sites and their mobile phones.

This year’s final phase of All-Star Game voting again will have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans can vote exclusively at MLB.com and the 30 Club sites – online or via their mobile devices – with the 2015 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year’s recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

First Basemen
# Player Club Votes
1. Miguel Cabrera Tigers 1,347,351
2. Eric Hosmer Royals 1,101,738
3. Mark Teixeira Yankees 342,788
4. Jose Abreu White Sox 222,288
5. Albert Pujols Angels 217,576
Second Basemen
# Player Club Votes
1. Jose Altuve Astros 1,301,754
2. Omar Infante Royals 715,345
3. Ian Kinsler Tigers 348,115
4. Devon Travis Blue Jays 320,572
5. Dustin Pedroia Red Sox 320,420
       
Third Basemen
# Player Club Votes
1. Mike Moustakas Royals 1,261,769
2. Josh Donaldson Blue Jays 876,586
3. Pablo Sandoval Red Sox 348,787
4. Manny Machado Orioles 266,746
5. Adrian Beltre Rangers 205,836
       
Shortstops
# Player Club Votes
1. Alcides Escobar Royals 1,191,268
2. Jose Iglesias Tigers 826,382
3. Marcus Semien Athletics 354,954
4. Jed Lowrie Astros 332,534
5. Jose Reyes Blue Jays 217,417
       
Designated Hitter
# Player Club Votes
1. Nelson Cruz Mariners 1,225,255
2. Kendrys Morales Royals 918,049
3. Alex Rodriguez Yankees 351,567
4. David Ortiz Red Sox 340,606
5. Victor Martinez Tigers 276,232
# Player Club Votes
1. Salvador Perez Royals 1,447,753
2. Stephen Vogt Athletics 795,848
3. Russell Martin Blue Jays 395,192
4. Brian McCann Yankees 342,826
5. Caleb Joseph Orioles 205,568
       
Outfielders
# Player Club Votes
1. Lorenzo Cain Royals 1,376,217
2. Mike Trout Angels 1,297,085
3. Alex Gordon Royals 991,606
4. Adam Jones Orioles 981,926
5. Yoenis Cespedes Tigers 668,059
6. Alex Rios Royals 629,119
7. Jacoby Ellsbury Yankees 546,188
8. Jose Bautista Blue Jays 499,673
9. Michael Brantley Indians 484,548
10. Hanley Ramirez Red Sox 478,070
11. Josh Reddick Athletics 331,846
12. Brett Gardner Yankees 303,171
13. Carlos Beltran Yankees 288,674
14. J.D. Martinez Tigers 245,736
15. Mookie Betts Red Sox 241,279
PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY MLB MEDIA RELATIONS; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

 

 

 

 

Houston Texans chosen to be a featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks”

HBO SPORTS®, NFL FILMS AND THE HOUSTON TEXANS JOIN FORCES FOR

A NEW SEASON OF THE ULTIMATE SPORTS REALITY SERIES WHEN

HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE HOUSTON TEXANS,

CHRONICLING THE RIGORS AND DAILY DEMANDS OF NFL TRAINING CAMP, DEBUTS TUESDAY, AUG. 11, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO

HBO Sports, NFL Films and the Houston Texans team up for an all-access look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League when HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE HOUSTON TEXANS debuts in August. The first sports-based reality series – and one of the fastest-turnaround programs on TV – kicks off its five-episode tenth season TUESDAY, AUG. 11 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO. Other hour-long episodes of the 12-time Sports Emmy® Award-winning series debut subsequent Tuesdays at the same time, culminating in the Sept. 8 season finale.

“We are thrilled that the tenth edition of HARD KNOCKS will spotlight a team in a division that we have not featured previously on HBO,” says Ken Hershman, president, HBO Sports. “It’s exciting to feature a team, a franchise and a city for the first time on HARD KNOCKS. We are grateful to Texans chairman Bob McNair, general manager Rick Smith, coach Bill O’Brien and the entire organization for agreeing to participate and look forward to what we expect to be one of the most compelling and interesting seasons in HARD KNOCKS history. The series has become a summertime destination for TV viewers, and we can’t wait for the premiere on August 11.”

“We want to thank Bob McNair, Rick Smith, Bill O’Brien and the entire Houston Texans’ organization for the trust they have in NFL Films by allowing us unprecedented access into their training camp,” says Howard Katz, COO of NFL Films and NFL senior vice president of broadcasting. “We are looking forward to highlighting this team comprised of star players, free-agent newcomers and hopeful rookies as they come together to try to ascend to the top of the AFC South. We are excited to work with both the Texans and HBO Sports to give fans an inside look into the game they love.”

The cinema verité series will focus on the daily lives and routines of players and coaches as the Houston Texans, who play in the hard-nosed AFC South, conduct the franchise’s 14th training camp and prepare for the 2015 NFL season. HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE HOUSTON TEXANS will chronicle second-year head coach Bill O’Brien and an intriguing mix of high-profile veterans, emerging stars, free agents and rookie hopefuls throughout training camp and the four-game preseason schedule. Each week, players will experience drills, instruction, meetings and fun, while striving to prove they have what it takes to make the team and leave their mark on the NFL. The Texans are a team on the rise, with O’Brien improving the team’s record from 2-14 to 9-7 in his first season at the helm.

“We are thrilled to partner with HBO and NFL Films to give fans unprecedented access to our team and organization,” says Texans founder, chairman and CEO Robert C. McNair. “The HARD KNOCKS documentaries do a tremendous job of displaying how an NFL team prepares for the upcoming season. We look forward to showcasing the Houston Texans to a worldwide audience.”

A 30-person NFL Films crew will be at the Texans’ training camp at team headquarters in Houston, shooting more than 1,500 hours of footage over the course of the series. Camera and sound crews will have unencumbered access to the players’ and coaches’ meeting rooms, training rooms, living quarters and practice fields.

“This is an opportunity to provide a behind-the-scenes look at our team as we prepare for the 2015 season,” says Rick Smith, the Texans’ executive vice president of football operations and general manager. “Fans will get a chance to see the great competition that takes place day-in and day-out on the practice field, as well as get to know all the unique personalities on our roster.”

Four summers ago HARD KNOCKS moved its premiere night to Tuesday and the results have been a resounding success. The five-part 2014 series on the NFC South Atlanta Falcons averaged more than 3.6 million viewers per episode, an increase from the show’s 2013 performance. No other sports reality series can match the critical acclaim, awards and audience numbers posted by the HARD KNOCKS franchise.

To date, HARD KNOCKS has earned 12 Sports Emmy® Awards for production excellence. The series launched with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, followed by the Dallas Cowboys in 2002, and resumed in 2007 with the Kansas City Chiefs, winning the show’s first Sports Emmy®. In 2008, the series returned to the Dallas Cowboys, receiving a second Sports Emmy®. In 2009, HARD KNOCKS spotlighted the Cincinnati Bengals and captured two more Sports Emmy® Awards, for Outstanding Edited Series/Anthology and Outstanding Post-Produced Audio/Sound. In 2010, the New York Jets were featured and the series captured three Sports Emmys®, including Outstanding Edited Series/Anthology. Summer 2012 spotlighted the Miami Dolphins, earning an Emmy® in the category of Outstanding Post-Produced Audio/Sound. The Bengals were featured again in 2013 and the series captured three more Sports Emmys®, for Outstanding Editing, Outstanding Music Composition/Direction/Lyrics and Outstanding Post Produced Audio/Sound. The 2014 series featuring the Falcons was recognized with the Emmy® for Outstanding Music Composition/Direction/Lyrics.

Each of the last five teams featured on HARD KNOCKS has improved its won-loss record in the regular season immediately following the training camp presentation.

TIME called the show “riveting,” while NFL.com hailed the series as “undoubtedly the greatest football program in the history of the television medium.” Business Week observed, “As a workplace drama, it ranks among the best on television,” and New York’s Daily News termed it “the gold standard of sports reality programming.” ESPNW wrote, “The return of the NFL season also means the return of one of the best shows on television, ‘Hard Knocks.’ This rare look at how any given moment can be the end of a season or even a career.” Grantland.com observed, “Hard Knocks is when it really feels like we’re getting football back in our lives.”

HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE HOUSTON TEXANS is narrated by Liev Schreiber.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NFL MEDIA RELATIONS; COURTESY OF HBO SPORTS, NFL FILMS, THE HOUSTON TEXANS AND NFLmedia.com

 

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