For its nationally televised game between the Yankees and
Red Sox from Boston Friday night, Fox Sports will introduce Scooter, an
animated, talking baseball, to explain the types of pitches to young viewers.
It also will utilize enhanced graphics that will trace the arcs of pitches and
hits and use changing color zones for runners' leads.
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Fox Sports chairman David Hill said yesterday that the talking baseball
concept - using the voice of "SpongeBob SquarePants" - resulted from
conversations with commissioner Bud Selig's office about making the telecasts
more appealing to a younger demographic. "It's an experiment," Hill said
The graphics will be used mostly on replays, Fox executives said. Some
enhancements echo ones utilized by ESPN.
On its Sunday night Giants- Padres telecast, ESPN miked Giants manager
Felipe Alou for live reaction from the dugout and interviewed starting pitchers
after they left the game. "We can only sit back and applaud," Hill said.
Fox is discussing the possibility of live interviews with Yankees and Red
Sox officials, but nothing was finalized yesterday. "I think in the coming
years," Hill said, "you'll see far more access in baseball."