Fox targeting young fans

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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.

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

yesterday.

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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."

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